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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1550 on: March 03, 2017, 08:36:08 PM »
EIA:  U.S. electric generating capacity increase in 2016 was largest net change since 2011
More than 27 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity was added to the U.S. power grid during 2016, the largest amount of added capacity since 2012. These additions more than offset the retirement of roughly 12 GW of capacity, resulting in a net capacity gain of nearly 15 GW, the largest change since 2011. These net additions follow a 4 GW net capacity decrease in 2015—the largest net drop in capacity recorded in the United States.

The mix of capacity additions has changed considerably in recent years. In the past 15 years, nearly 228 GW of natural gas capacity was added, and from 2002 through 2006, natural gas made up most of the capacity additions in each year. More recently, renewable technologies, primarily wind and solar, have made up a larger share of additions. Of the 2016 total utility-scale capacity additions, more than 60% were wind (8.7 GW) and solar (7.7 GW), compared with 33% (9 GW) from natural gas. Because of differences in the capacity factor across different types of plants, shares of new capacity additions are not typically a good indicator of the shares of generation provided by new capacity across technologies. In addition to varying across generation technologies, new plant capacity factors can also vary significantly across regions.
...
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=30112
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1551 on: March 07, 2017, 05:46:57 PM »
As energy mix becomes cleaner, Minnesotans paying less for it
...The report points to another continuing trend – the decoupling of energy consumption from a growing economy. Since 2007 the national economy has grown by 12 percent while energy demand has fallen by 3.6 percent, she said.

Prices haven’t increased, either. Consumers across the nation actually pay four percent less per kilowatt hour for electricity today than they did in 2007 after taking into account inflation, the report said....
http://midwestenergynews.com/2017/03/07/as-energy-mix-becomes-cleaner-minnesotans-paying-less-for-it/


Electrek says:
Minnesota electricity getting cheaper as renewables added – Two caveats, 1. Gas prices are low, 2. There is a *lot* of renewables, yet. But – with that – I thought renewables were supposed to make electricity prices in the USA go through the roof? Isn’t a collapse of western economic society supposed to closely follow these greens and their weird electricity? I see the northeast USA with some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices of the new millennia – and this is a region with significant renewables and they’re shutting down old nuclear and coal. What’s up with that? Is it possible that our prices of energy might fall further while cleaning themselves? Is that comprehensible?

If you look really closely – at the base of these wind mills – you can see ‘tiny’ 75 ft tall wind mills. I will name them…mini-wind. :) 
https://electrek.co/2017/03/07/38898/
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1552 on: March 08, 2017, 05:57:21 PM »
From news article: Vertical wind turbines could produce 10x the power per acre as their horizontal counterparts
Source: Craig AE et al. Low order physical models of vertical axis wind turbines (link for abstract) in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. 2017.

Wind power surged last year, with enough turbines installed globally to generate over 54 gigawatts of power. Nearly all of those turbines were the good old-fashioned kind: a tall tower with three propeller-like blades rotating on top.

But researchers and some small companies have been working on another turbine concept for years: vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs), which are cylindrical and typically look like an egg-beater or a weather vane. Vertical-axis turbines are cheaper to make and maintain, take up less space, and safer for birds and bats. The problem is that they are not very efficient.

Now, researchers at Stanford University have created a state-of-the-art lab model that could make it easier to increase the productivity of VAWTs. The model, reported in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, makes it easy to test how large arrays of vertical turbines function together.

The power output of a wind farm depends on how its turbines are arranged. That’s because individual turbines interact with each other and affect the flow of wind across the array. When conventional wind turbines are placed close to each other, for instance, upstream turbines slow down wind and cause turbulence, which decreases power output from neighboring turbines. This is why such turbines have to be placed hundreds of feet apart.

VAWTs, on the other hand, affect each other positively when placed close to each other. “We think that the VAWTs can have blockage effects causing speedup around the turbines that helps downstream turbines,” said Anna Craig, Stanford mechanical engineering PhD student and the study’s leader author, in a press release. An individual VAWT typically produces a fraction of the power produced by a same-sized conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT). But if you pack VAWTs closer together, you could in theory produce 10 times as much power from the same acreage of land than an array of HAWTs.
...
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1553 on: March 08, 2017, 09:37:30 PM »
Tesla launches its Powerpack 2 project in Hawaii, will help Island of Kauai get more out of its solar power
Tesla recently brought online its massive Powerpack 2 project with Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii and held an event today to inaugurate the facility.

We are talking about a 52 MWh Tesla Powerpack installation with a 13 MW solar farm built by SolarCity. The system will help the Island of Kauai get more out of its solar power and retire more diesel generators.
...
KIUC serves just over 30,000 customers on the remote island and it already has significant solar power capacity, but they have to run diesel generators when the sun is not shining.

They can run 100% on renewables for short periods of times under the best conditions in mid-day if demand is low, but the new Tesla Powerpacks will enable them to achieve 100% renewables more frequently. ...
https://electrek.co/2017/03/08/tesla-powerpack-2-project-hawaii-kauai-solar-power/
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DrTskoul

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1554 on: March 08, 2017, 11:24:01 PM »
How many charge cycles before replacement does these powerpacks  allow ?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 04:28:51 AM by DrTskoul »
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ghoti

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1555 on: March 09, 2017, 04:06:35 AM »
I think the claim is 5000 full charge equivalent cycles. I've seen 15 years mentioned as well. Might be a while before we know if it is true.

DrTskoul

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1556 on: March 09, 2017, 04:28:05 AM »
Thanks ghoti.
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1557 on: March 09, 2017, 06:24:13 PM »
Robots cleaning solar panels will increase long term energy production and lower operating costs.

Exosun releases module-cleaning robot and free software add-on for PV plant design
http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2017/03/exosun-releases-module-cleaning-robot-free-software-add-pv-plant-design/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1558 on: March 12, 2017, 11:41:50 PM »
President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House back in 1979. (His successor, President Reagan, removed them.  President Obama installed new ones.)

Now, 10 acres of Jimmy Carter's land host solar panels that track the sun and power his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

http://www.ajc.com/news/jimmy-carter-leases-his-land-solar-power-much-plains/XwFS50Kf1wEI9fXxpvSUnM/
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magnamentis

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1559 on: March 13, 2017, 05:33:42 PM »
President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House back in 1979. (His successor, President Reagan, removed them.  President Obama installed new ones.)

Now, 10 acres of Jimmy Carter's land host solar panels that track the sun and power his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

http://www.ajc.com/news/jimmy-carter-leases-his-land-solar-power-much-plains/XwFS50Kf1wEI9fXxpvSUnM/


there is a huge step between someone who does NOT install them and someone who REMOVES them, horrible, didn't know that and even though it's long past it still makes me shaking my head heavily looking at such a
stupid move (by reagan i mean) thanks for the info.
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rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1560 on: March 13, 2017, 10:43:26 PM »
My worry in the U.S. is that it has a large amount of under utilized natural gas capacity. With the large falls in NG prices, and with the possibility of the NG prices going even lower ($2 mmbtu again?), may be cheaper just to increase the NG capacity usage than add Solar and Wind. The marginal cost has to be really low.

The climate-change driven warmer winters we are getting in the North East reduce NG usage for heating, and the unused supply may find its way into the electricity generating sector.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1561 on: March 14, 2017, 03:51:20 PM »
EIA estimates low-ball solar (again)

Even while increasings its numbers, the agency has again shown that it cannot be relied upon to produce reliable forecasts of the electricity future in the United States.
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2017/03/13/eia-estimates-low-ball-future-solar-growth-again/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1562 on: March 18, 2017, 06:28:19 PM »
U.S.:  The Block Island Wind Farm posted an impressive performance as winter storm Stella barreled through Rhode Island earlier this week.
All five turbines at the wind farm three miles off Block Island were operating at full capacity (30 megawatts) during much of the powerful storm Tuesday, according to Deepwater Wind’s performance data.

The wind farm produced clean power throughout the bulk of the storm, except for a window of several hours when sustained wind speeds exceeded 55 miles an hour. That’s the designated high-wind limit when the wind farm is designed to automatically power down and feather its blades until winds calm.

During that automatic shutdown, the wind farm successfully weathered winds that topped out at approximately 70 miles an hour. Once wind speeds decreased below the 55 mph threshold, the wind farm powered back up and resumed normal operations....
http://dwwind.com/press/project-update/
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1563 on: March 18, 2017, 08:08:41 PM »
Here’s a long video of the first ever public event at the Met Office’s new High Performance Computing Complex near Exeter:



https://youtu.be/lE7fDp3kxqo?t=14m30s

The broad theme was the Exeter City Futures project, which aims "to make the region congestion free and energy independent by 2025". I was in attendance, and if you skip to the “Questions” section at the end you can even see me asking the UKMO's Vicky Pope a tricky question! I asked another question later too.

After that I had a long chat with David Underwood, since nobody else seemed terribly interested in what 16 petaFLOPS and counting might ultimately be capable of. Arctic sea ice inevitably entered the conversation. David said he was proud of the UKMO’s “unified” model’s performance in that regard. In ~3 yrs the ocean and atmospheric components of their model are due to become “close coupled”, at which point their sea ice predictions should improve as well.

The proof of that pudding will be in the eating of course!

P.S. My old trick for embedding a YouTube video doesn't seem to work anymore. Does anybody know the secret, if there still is one?
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 08:19:14 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1564 on: March 22, 2017, 04:37:54 PM »
California bills propose 'clean peak' standard to boost renewables deployment

• Lawmakers in the California Assembly and Senate have introduced legislation to encourage more clean energy resources in the state in order to address peak load, reliability and to avoid the need for new fossil fuel generation.

• The bills would require utilities to deploy clean energy during peak demand in order to meet California's aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals, while mandating the California Public Utilities Commission determine a percentage of kWh each peak-load time period to be served with clean energy.

•The bills build upon a proposal in Arizona, where the state consumer advocate proposed tweaks to the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that could maximize the value of new capacity by adding a timing component.
...

Electrek says:
California looking to specify renewables for peak moments – The gist – California legislators are attempting to restructure the power market so it makes more sense economically for renewable energy to be applied to the very expensive peak demand areas. The reason we ought watch these types of legislation is that places like California are at the cutting edge of power markets and how we’re going to monetize clean energy. Funny that we’ve so quickly progressed from renewables can’t scale and are expensive, to there are too many renewables and they’re so cheap we need to change everything.
https://electrek.co/2017/03/22/electrek-green-energy-brief-sunpower-ceo-doubtful-on-musks-ability-to-deliver-california/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1565 on: March 28, 2017, 12:08:34 AM »
“At midday today, California got 56.7% of its power from renewables, a new record.”
https://twitter.com/billmckibben/status/846103064654180352
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1566 on: March 29, 2017, 03:55:56 PM »
NREL research forecasts 80-100% residential solar power deployment across much of California.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162516307569
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1567 on: April 02, 2017, 06:57:56 PM »
"New record in German wind and solar power production in March 2017:
9.4 TWh wind
3.5 TWh solar
12.9 TWh total
Factor 3 compared to Jan. 2011"
https://twitter.com/energy_charts/status/848260289099444225
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1568 on: April 04, 2017, 04:31:45 PM »
"The tumult at the state level will help resolve the direction the nation takes at a time when the world's progress toward meeting long-term climate goals appears to be in jeopardy."

U.S.:  Hundreds of Clean Energy Bills Have Been Introduced in States Nationwide This Year
Lawmakers in state legislatures across the nation have proposed hundreds of bills this year relating to clean energy. While many propose to grow alternative energy resources, others work to impede them, creating a chaotic map of countervailing efforts.

State politicians have introduced measures to dramatically expand renewable electric power in nearly a dozen states in the first three months of 2017, some as ambitious as aiming to run entirely on renewables within a few decades; some would launch smaller-scale community solar ventures, like a pilot in Virginia; others would add tax breaks for solar users in South Carolina and Florida.

But other state legislatures are resisting the advance of clean power as it begins to transform the energy landscape. Less a new assault inspired by the Republican-led backlash against green energy under way in Washington, D.C., it's the continuation of campaigns by conservative groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity and the Heartland Institute with ties to the fossil fuel billionaires, the Koch brothers. Members of traditional energy companies, including utilities and fossil fuel companies, have also supported some attacks.

There are proposals to end the popular solar financial arrangement known as net metering in Indiana, Missouri and elsewhere. There are moves afoot to roll back statewide clean energy targets in North Carolina, New Hampshire and Ohio. There was even a bill to effectively outlaw utility-scale wind and solar in Wyoming, and a defiant measure seeking a two-year moratorium on new wind projects in North Dakota.

But many clean energy policy experts and advocates told InsideClimate News that despite the challenges, they remain encouraged by the conversations playing out at the state level. That's because they are seeing examples of bipartisan collaboration for clean energy and polls showing widespread support for cutting emissions from the electric grid. And there is widespread business support for a cleaner energy marketplace and for the Paris climate agreement generally.

"I would say that bills like the ones in Wyoming and North Dakota that are trying to fight wind are more the outlier," said J.R. Tolbert, vice president of state policy at the research and lobbying group Advanced Energy Economy. "The policy debate [in states] is actually a healthy debate that's going on across the country right now."
...
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24032017/renewable-energy-clean-energy-solar-wind-power-states-climate-change

Article includes a state-by-state listing of clean energy mandates.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1569 on: April 04, 2017, 06:32:51 PM »
Too Much of a Good Thing? An Illustrated Guide to Solar Curtailment on California’s Grid
How the leading solar state is managing oversupply
...
Curtailment and negative prices come from a surfeit of generation. Lots of generation relative to supply means low prices, as generators compete to be called on by the ISO market optimization software. Too much generation, or “oversupply” as CAISO calls it, can create reliability problems, and must be curtailed. 

Neither is strictly a problem -- they are just signals to market participants to change behavior -- but if California’s clean energy and climate goals are to be met, they can create long-term complications.
...
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/An-Illustrated-Guide-to-Solar-Curtailment-in-California
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1570 on: April 05, 2017, 03:37:05 PM »
Watch this trend:  solar installed as standard feature in higher-end homes.

Solar will be standard on 126-home community being built in Manteca, California
http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2017/04/solar-will-standard-126-home-community-built-manteca-california/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1571 on: April 07, 2017, 10:14:07 PM »
Renewable electricity in Africa could outstrip demand in 2030, study says
Africa has huge untapped resources for renewable energy, with the potential for electricity generated from wind and solar to surpass total projected demand in 2030, according to new research.

The paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is the first to comprehensively map the potential for new wind and solar plants in 21 African countries.

Well-chosen sites together with interconnectors that allow resources to be shared between countries suggestAfrica’s rapidly growing electricity demand could be met with renewable sources at a similar cost to conventional fossil fuel generation, say the authors.
...
https://www.carbonbrief.org/renewable-electricity-africa-could-outstrip-demand-2020
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tombond

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1572 on: April 10, 2017, 10:52:58 AM »
Dr James Hansen on intermittent renewables.

https://twitter.com/gordonmcdowell/status/850964371786186752

Real world engineering shows that reducing CO2 emissions gets harder with more deployment of renewables due to the intermittency factor.

Germany has increased solar and wind generation capacity from 35GW in 2009 to 85GW in 2016 but German annual CO2 emissions have remained unchanged at about 900 million tonnes.

DrTskoul

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1573 on: April 10, 2017, 01:58:41 PM »
Dr James Hansen on intermittent renewables.

https://twitter.com/gordonmcdowell/status/850964371786186752

Real world engineering shows that reducing CO2 emissions gets harder with more deployment of renewables due to the intermittency factor.

Germany has increased solar and wind generation capacity from 35GW in 2009 to 85GW in 2016 but German annual CO2 emissions have remained unchanged at about 900 million tonnes.

It is not easy to throttle coal power plants. So a good solar energy day produces excess electricity that is sold to the neighbourig countries not replacement electricity for coal. Natural gas turbines can throttle but return on capital demands maximum utilization
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Seumas

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1574 on: April 11, 2017, 10:26:48 AM »
Real world engineering shows that reducing CO2 emissions gets harder with more deployment of renewables due to the intermittency factor.

Germany has increased solar and wind generation capacity from 35GW in 2009 to 85GW in 2016 but German annual CO2 emissions have remained unchanged at about 900 million tonnes.


Meanwhile, here in Scotland, 2014 GHG emissions were 45% lower than in 1990 and in 2015 we had 59% of electricity from renewables (the 2016 figures aren't released yet, but will probably be well north of 60%).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-36519506

The current target is 100% by 2020, which we might well miss, but I don't think it'll be by much. If we don't get there at all I'll concede that over, say 90%, is difficult :)

DrTskoul

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1575 on: April 11, 2017, 12:33:25 PM »
Real world engineering shows that reducing CO2 emissions gets harder with more deployment of renewables due to the intermittency factor.

Germany has increased solar and wind generation capacity from 35GW in 2009 to 85GW in 2016 but German annual CO2 emissions have remained unchanged at about 900 million tonnes.


Meanwhile, here in Scotland, 2014 GHG emissions were 45% lower than in 1990 and in 2015 we had 59% of electricity from renewables (the 2016 figures aren't released yet, but will probably be well north of 60%).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-36519506

The current target is 100% by 2020, which we might well miss, but I don't think it'll be by much. If we don't get there at all I'll concede that over, say 90%, is difficult :)


With the difference that in the 2000's there was 100% redundancy in Scotland power generation and now there will be need for imports during the winters...
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rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1576 on: April 11, 2017, 08:55:40 PM »
This is like comparing apples and oranges, they are not the same:
- Germany's problem has been that its low-carbon renewables have been replacing low-carbon nuclear power, not their coal plants.
- Scotland, just like Denmark, can free ride off the grid of much larger countries around it to balance off the renewable intermittency.

There are significant issues as the penetration of renewables ramps up within a national energy system, especially if it cannot rely upon outside supplies/takers to help balance the intermittency.
Even Germany has been doing this with the other countries around it, dumping excess electricity to other countries when over-producing then importing electricity when needed.

Also, a big chunk of the growth in German renewables has been in the use of biomass (bigger provider of electricity than solar) which is dispatchable - helping to balance the grid. There is limited future potential for this though, especially as the carbon-neutrality of some biomass options (e.g. wood pellets from the U.S.) is being questioned.

Germany is running out of the easy options, and it will get a lot harder from here.

http://fortune.com/2017/03/14/germany-renewable-clean-energy-solar/


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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1577 on: April 12, 2017, 08:01:59 AM »
with 82 GW if installed wind generation capacity in the U.S.  IEEFA projects an additional 49 GW of installed wind generation capacity, based on current contracted projects to be installed by 2021

http://ieefa.org/analysis-96-billion-new-u-s-wind-projects-2021/
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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1578 on: April 12, 2017, 12:12:35 PM »
As much as I despise growth for growths sake, it would seem the same market forces that made the fossil fuel industry so wealthy is now starting to work against it.

https://thinkprogress.org/big-coal-wins-a-court-battle-in-kansas-but-its-losing-to-renewables-on-the-economics-1b70a4851b88
“I would be absolutely floored if Sunflower did not go out and realize that wind was a vastly superior choice to coal,” she said, “not just to the Holcomb plant but to fossil fuels in general.”
As for what’s going on in Washington, Bender predicts it will have little impact on plans for the plant.
“The coverage has been about the political fight over this plant, and the fight over greenhouse gases before they were fully regulated, and what happens now with the Trump administration,” she said. “Frankly, none of that really matters. I just don’t see the rational case for a coal-fired power plant. We don’t have to rehash the fight we’ve been having for the past 10 years to have a conversation about that.”

Seumas

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1579 on: April 12, 2017, 03:36:21 PM »

With the difference that in the 2000's there was 100% redundancy in Scotland power generation and now there will be need for imports during the winters...
Really? Because the last reports I read suggested we'd dropped our usage and *increased* our exports. Do you have figures showing this?

Not that importing energy is such a terrible thing. We used to import a fair chunk of coal for Longannet power station before it was closed.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1580 on: April 12, 2017, 04:23:40 PM »
Global Solar Market to Hit 85GW in 2017—Double the Amount Installed in 2014
GTM Research currently projects the annual global solar market to reach 85 gigawatts in 2017 -- more than double the installed capacity in 2014. The higher forecast is driven largely by China, which is expected to install roughly 30 gigawatts of the 2017 total....
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/global-solar-market-forecast-to-hit-85gw-in-2017-with-surge-in-china
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rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1581 on: April 14, 2017, 05:34:45 AM »
Global Solar Market to Hit 85GW in 2017—Double the Amount Installed in 2014:

The reality is that with only a 5.2% growth rate in the amount installed each year, the annual increase in the installed base will fall year over year - from 37% in 2017 (85.4 on base of 306), to 16.5% in 2022 (110.1 on base of 769.1).

With solar power currently providing approx. 1% of global electricity (not overall energy usage), and electricity demand growth of about 2% per year, solar would be providing about 2.5% of global electricity at the end of 2022. As electricity demand will be 112% of what it is currently, no real impact on decarbonization.

The same deceleration can be seen in the growth in installed wind capacity, at a time when we need much faster rates of increase to counter-balance the increases in electricity demand to get actual decarbonization (as against coal to gas switching).


sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1582 on: April 17, 2017, 07:55:03 AM »

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1583 on: April 17, 2017, 08:50:24 PM »
There are significant issues as the penetration of renewables ramps up within a national energy system, especially if it cannot rely upon outside supplies/takers to help balance the intermittency.
Even Germany has been doing this with the other countries around it, dumping excess electricity to other countries when over-producing then importing electricity when needed.

You aren't aware that France has been doing that for years with their nuclear generation?  In the last few years Germany has been making a nice profit off France by buying cheap surplus nuclear and selling back power when France is undersupplied.

Europe is moving toward a large regional grid in which some countries will produce a lot of wind, others large amounts of solar.  Countries with lots of hydro will furnish electricity for fill-in demand.  And, as needed, more storage will be built.

It's very, very early in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.  There are things like large scale storage which are simply not yet needed and may not be needed for ten or more years on many grids.  In the short term there is adequate dispatchable generation which can be curtailed and some storage which was created for nuclear. 

It will also make financial sense to simply overbuild wind and solar and curtail some output.  With wind at $0.03/kWh it's cheaper to toss a bunch than to build storage.  Curtailing 20% of wind drives the price up to $0.038 which still leaves it the least expensive way to generate electricity.

(In the US we curtail our coal and CCNG plants over 40% of the time and curtail our gas peakers 95% of the time.)

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1584 on: April 17, 2017, 09:22:45 PM »
Germany currently has a very limited problem to manage because of its baseload coal, peaker gas plants and dispatchable bio-energy, plus the remaining nuclear. As the penetration of intermittent renewables becomes much greater, the ability to manage the scale of the problem through interconnects with other countries will become exponentially harder. Its not the "throw the excess away" days that will be the problem, but the "next to zero output days of wind+solar" that will become the problem. You could overbuild intermittents and pay for a fossil-fuel backup for the low output days, but that does get pretty expensive.

I think that you are greatly underestimating the cost and complexity of building out a Europe-wide smart grid to deal with these issues. Also, the rate of change required is accelerating as reductions in emissions are delayed year after year. I feel that Kevin Anderson will be proved correct, at 8-10% per year reductions the transitional problems will start occurring fast and furiously.

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1585 on: April 17, 2017, 09:59:28 PM »
One way or another Europe is going to have to build a low carbon grid.  As will all countries/regions.  With wind and solar becoming incredibly inexpensive there's little opportunity for nuclear to play a role.

Batteries have now reached a point at which they are roughly the same cost a s pump-up hydro for short cycle use (one cycle per day).  The price of batteries will continue to fall.  That means that we'll probably build our grids with enough storage to allow us to go up to about three days with limited wind/solar input using only batteries. 

For periods of low wind/solar hydro (and perhaps compressed air) storage along with dispatchable biofuel generation are likely to be our goto sources.

A 2013 study of the largest wholesale grid in the US used four years of actual minute to minute demand along with four years of hourly wind and solar data to model the feasibility of an all wind/solar/storage grid.  They found that at expected 2030 turbine/panel/battery prices we could power that grid 99.1% of the time for about the same cost as current fossil/nuclear generation.  The cost of turbines/panels/batteries has already reached their 2030 assumptions and will head lower.

For the last 0.1% they found it more economically affordable to use gas peakers.  About 7 hours per year.  Those peakers could be run on biogas from sewage/landfills.  Or we could run some converted coal plants with wood waste.

They didn't include hydro and power exchanges with adjacent grids in their model.  Doing so would further lower peaker and storage needs.

Overbuilding wind and solar, once their prices drop below $0.02/kWh, is a small issue.  Given that there is little chance of producing electricity from nuclear for less than $0.10/kWh we could overbuild wind and solar by 5x and still be ahead of the game.

Don't forget that nuclear also needs backup generation and storage if it plays more than a minor role on grids.  An all nuclear grid would need significant storage to time-shift electricity from low to high demand periods.  There would need to be the ability to bring the equivalent of several reactors online very quickly.  We see incidents of more than one reactor abruptly going offline without notice. 

An all nuclear grid would see perhaps a third of the reactors offline for months at a time in the low demand seasons (spring/fall).  That would add cents/kWh to generation costs.  There would have to be enough storage to time-shift up to half the output from low to high demand periods.  There would have to be enough backup generation to replace a significant portion of the fleet in the case of an event (earthquake, heat wave, grid surge) that caused multiple reactors to shut down.  And that backup might have to operate for several days until the reactors can be brought back online.


oren

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1586 on: April 17, 2017, 11:42:59 PM »
I think that you are greatly underestimating the cost and complexity of building out a Europe-wide smart grid to deal with these issues. Also, the rate of change required is accelerating as reductions in emissions are delayed year after year. I feel that Kevin Anderson will be proved correct, at 8-10% per year reductions the transitional problems will start occurring fast and furiously.
You are right that the costs are higher than simple math shows. But it is still better for a European country needing new power plants to build solar + wind + storage instead of nuclear (expensive, too long to build, risky), coal (dirty), gas (has to be imported from Russia), even when carbon is mostly ignored.
And the assumption that because emissions need to be curtailed fast, that they will actually be curtailed fast, is wrong unfortunately imho. So the actual (too slow) rate of renewable deployment might leave enough time for adaptation to the intermittent nature of the beast and for building a smart grid.

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1587 on: April 18, 2017, 12:26:50 AM »
Re: 2013 study grid in the USA

Is that the paper   doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2012.09.054 Journal of Power Sources, Budischak et al. 2012  ?

I like that paper, I commented on it and another one last year over at realclimate. It was a long comment so i wont repost, but you can find at

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/08/unforced-variations-aug-2016/comment-page-3/#comment-658616

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1588 on: April 18, 2017, 01:06:01 AM »
Yes, Budischalk et al. 2012.  Not 2013.

A comment or two on your comment.  GM is now paying LG Chem $145/kWh for batteries (cells).  Tesla's cost should be somewhat lower with the Gigafactory, perhaps around $130/kWh.  And pushing to $100/kWh over the next 2-3 years.

And, as you say, 12% financing is for high risk projects.  Wind and solar have become very low risk.  I'm not aware of any that have failed to be completed leaving the financier holding the bag.  5% would probably be conservative with something under 3% possible in today's market.

I'm not convinced that we need fueled generation.  If a modest part of our storage is pump-up hydro then when the weather folks identify an upcoming period of low wind/solar the PuHS facilities can start generating 24 hours a day.  The generating not needed during low demand hours can recharge short cycle batteries in order to meet daily high demand periods. 

The other option is to hold on to some CCNG plants, fuel them with biogas, and run them 24 hours a day as needed to keep demand met.  Using existing batteries to move their output to high demand hours.
--

Would we need to spend $3 trillion on high voltage DC transmission?  Perhaps not if we distribute storage around the grid.  That would allow us to move a much lower peak amount of electricity, charging local batteries when demand is low then using that locally stored electricity during demand peaks.



Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1589 on: April 18, 2017, 01:44:11 AM »
From your Real Climate comment -

There are some small complications like building a 3 odd trillion dollar HVDC grid

We currently spend between $140 to $252 billion dollars per year treating the health problems caused by coal pollution.

If we had to spend $3 trillion on grid upgrades (which I suspect it high) getting coal pollution out of our air would repay that cost in 12 to 21 years.  That's a 3.4% to 6% return on investment on an asset which should be usable for a century or more.

Throw in the climate change savings (which you point out) and the cost is trivial.  Just think about the cost of hardening or moving our coastal cities because of rising sea levels.  Three trillion is chickenfeed.

Archimid

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1590 on: April 18, 2017, 03:57:39 AM »
Demand Energy Breaks Ground on Groundbreaking Solar-Storage Microgrid in New York City

http://microgridmedia.com/demand-energy-breaks-ground-groundbreaking-solar-storage-microgrid-new-york-city/

Extract:
Comprising a 400-kW solar PV system, 400-kW fuel cell and 300-kW/1.2-MWh lithium ion (Li-ion) battery-based energy storage system (BESS), the renewable energy storage microgrid is also the first to be built for an affordable housing development. Once completed, it will serve the power and energy needs of residents and businesses at Marcus Garvey Village, a “mixed-income apartment complex” in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section owned by L+M Development Partners.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1591 on: April 18, 2017, 05:18:19 AM »
Re: " $3 trillion on high voltage DC transmission? "

That is from the other paper i commented on at realclimate, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2921 , MacDonald et al. Nature Climate Change 2016 , not in Budischak (2012). As I commented, I think  Budischak(2012) has the more compelling vision. And as he says, " Hydropower makes the problem of high penetration renewables too easily solved and little is available in many regions, including PJM." But i recall an estimate that 12 GW can be added to presently unpowered dams (https://www1.eere.energy.gov/water/pdfs/npd_report.pdf) so that helps ...

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1592 on: April 18, 2017, 05:35:25 AM »
I also should mention that in Budischak's comment on limitation of hydro in PJM, there are already feeders from Hydro Quebec into PJM and James Bay hydro is wheeled at least as far south as South Carolina. So not so much a big problem, considering if you look at James Bay on satellite, you see the huge hydro projects, 16 GW according to wikipedia.

sidd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1593 on: April 18, 2017, 06:12:42 AM »
Did the authors of Budischalk et al. 2012 review their paper with the actual grid operator, PJM? Their possible future scenarios do not seem to have been taken to heart by the operator of the grid, which seems to favour a predominantly natural gas generation base to meet all their measures of reliability. The 2017 report below notes a 30% ceiling on wind+solar.

http://www.pjm.com/~/media/library/reports-notices/special-reports/20170330-pjms-evolving-resource-mix-and-system-reliability.ashx

Also, PJM suppliers seem to have built quite a lot of natural gas capacity recently - which would have to be retired before being fully amortized (i.e. financial write-offs). Pretty low usage of renewables currently, so would need a very aggressive build out plan by their suppliers. Plus of course large grid expenditures by PJM (they currently have a $36 million yearly capital budget).

Did I cost the central battery storage in the paper correctly at $20 billion?

Apart from direct government financing, I don't see a way of linking future health cost savings to current energy system investments (imagine getting completely different government departments to agree on this?). Even then it would be very difficult in the U.S., given how many healthcare dollars are spent on private provision.

rboyd

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1594 on: April 18, 2017, 06:28:42 AM »
To follow on from sidd's comment, a fully integrated North East US + Eastern Canada grid would seem to provide the best option at first glance. Quebec Hydro provides the big hydro battery, with a great mix and diversity of possible sites for wind and solar across the North East US and Eastern Canada.

Same could be true for Western Canada and the Northwestern U.S.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1595 on: April 18, 2017, 08:48:27 AM »
Re: " $3 trillion on high voltage DC transmission? "

That is from the other paper i commented on at realclimate, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2921 , MacDonald et al. Nature Climate Change 2016 , not in Budischak (2012). As I commented, I think  Budischak(2012) has the more compelling vision. And as he says, " Hydropower makes the problem of high penetration renewables too easily solved and little is available in many regions, including PJM." But i recall an estimate that 12 GW can be added to presently unpowered dams (https://www1.eere.energy.gov/water/pdfs/npd_report.pdf) so that helps ...

sidd



US installed hydro capacity was 100 GW in 2007.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectric_power_in_the_United_States

10 additional GW could be added by converting existing dams.

http://www.hydro.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Converting4.pdf

 Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has identified more than 65 gigawatts of untapped hydropower potential in US rivers and streams.  Run or the river hydro.

http://nhaap.ornl.gov/nsd

I suspect we're going to see more storage dams built in places like California to make up for the reliability of the snowpack.  And the eventual disappearance of the snowpack.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1596 on: April 18, 2017, 09:07:46 AM »
the operator of the grid, which seems to favour a predominantly natural gas generation base to meet all their measures of reliability.

Grid operators must have reliability.  They're going to install generation that they can switch on as needed, at least until they have a longer history with wind and solar.  In the long run we'll probably over install CCNG but the installed cost is not that high.  Most likely those investments will be recovered.

Plus, the contracts for those gas plants were largely signed before storage prices dropped.  Utilities are just starting to install batteries for grid smoothing.  Few, if any, have significant experience with using batteries for storage.  It will probably be a few more years before we see utilities installing storage on large scales and cutting back on new NG.  The EIA sees big increases in NG capacity addition through 2018.  I wouldn't be surprised to see rates drop after 2018.
---

I don't see health care savings being used to install transmission and renewables.  But I think we need to talk about the savings so that there is more acceptance of spending on renewable subsidies and government assistance with transmission.  The more people who understand how spending some money now will save lots of money in the future will make it easier for (future) legislators to put transmission money into budgets.

Few people see aware of the health cost of burning coal.  They think that coal is a cheap way to generate electricity when it's actually our most expensive if external costs are folded in.  If we each try to spread that message where we can we should be able to help the move away from coal.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1597 on: April 18, 2017, 09:22:47 AM »
To follow on from sidd's comment, a fully integrated North East US + Eastern Canada grid would seem to provide the best option at first glance. Quebec Hydro provides the big hydro battery, with a great mix and diversity of possible sites for wind and solar across the North East US and Eastern Canada.

Same could be true for Western Canada and the Northwestern U.S.

Yes.  But not just the US Northwest.  Everything west of the Rockies needs to be tied together.  Between Western Canada hydro, PNW hydro and wind, Idaho hydro, Wyoming wind, Southwest solar, Nevada (and potentially SE Utah) geothermal there's a lot of generation variety that could create a large grid with only modest needs for storage.

The backbone of that large grid is already in place.  There's a HVDC line running from LA to the PNW (Pacific Intertie) which mainly brings hydro to SoCal but can, as well, take SoCal/SW solar north.  There's also a HVDC line running from LA to Utah (Mountain Intertie) which was built to carry coal generation to SoCal.  That is being freed up.

Plans have been drawn to connect the north ends of the Pacific and Mountain Interties in order to create a transmission loop which increases reliability.  And then add a spur into Wyoming to pick up the very excellent wind available there.  Companies are looking at adding pump-up hydro storage in Utah which could then serve the entire grid.  Cheap land with lots of abrupt elevation changes.

The Pacific Intertie runs close to where most of the Nevada geothermal is located.  And there is at least one lower voltage line running to the NorCal coast where some excellent offshore wind resources are located.  The land is secured. It would just mean increasing the size/voltage of the line.

Then there's a spot in New Mexico where the three main US grids (Western, ERCOT, and Eastern) come with about 60 miles of each other.  If Texas/ERCOT would cooperate we could tie all of the US lower 48, lots of Canada and Northern Mexico together and share power over a very large area. 

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1598 on: April 18, 2017, 09:57:31 AM »
Good to see you post again, Bob. You always get my spirits up.  :)
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

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Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« Reply #1599 on: April 18, 2017, 12:51:48 PM »
To follow on from sidd's comment, a fully integrated North East US + Eastern Canada grid would seem to provide the best option at first glance. Quebec Hydro provides the big hydro battery, with a great mix and diversity of possible sites for wind and solar across the North East US and Eastern Canada.

Same could be true for Western Canada and the Northwestern U.S.

Yes.  But not just the US Northwest.  Everything west of the Rockies needs to be tied together.  Between Western Canada hydro, PNW hydro and wind, Idaho hydro, Wyoming wind, Southwest solar, Nevada (and potentially SE Utah) geothermal there's a lot of generation variety that could create a large grid with only modest needs for storage.

The backbone of that large grid is already in place.  There's a HVDC line running from LA to the PNW (Pacific Intertie) which mainly brings hydro to SoCal but can, as well, take SoCal/SW solar north.  There's also a HVDC line running from LA to Utah (Mountain Intertie) which was built to carry coal generation to SoCal.  That is being freed up.

Plans have been drawn to connect the north ends of the Pacific and Mountain Interties in order to create a transmission loop which increases reliability.  And then add a spur into Wyoming to pick up the very excellent wind available there.  Companies are looking at adding pump-up hydro storage in Utah which could then serve the entire grid.  Cheap land with lots of abrupt elevation changes.

The Pacific Intertie runs close to where most of the Nevada geothermal is located.  And there is at least one lower voltage line running to the NorCal coast where some excellent offshore wind resources are located.  The land is secured. It would just mean increasing the size/voltage of the line.

Then there's a spot in New Mexico where the three main US grids (Western, ERCOT, and Eastern) come with about 60 miles of each other.  If Texas/ERCOT would cooperate we could tie all of the US lower 48, lots of Canada and Northern Mexico together and share power over a very large area.

Assuming that Climate Change does not screw with Hydro.....
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman