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cesium62

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Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« on: August 13, 2015, 03:28:38 AM »
[rebuttal to a rebuttal that was in the "melting season thread"]



Let's face it, coal is cheap

No it isn't.  Even if you ignore the externalities (deaths from particulate inhalation, CO2 emission, digging up and burning entire mountains), it still isn't all that cheap.
http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm
Geo, hydro, natural gas, and wind are all cheaper.  You can and should switch applications like pumping water to the tops of hills to pressurize city water systems to do most of the pumping when the wind is blowing instead of at night.
There exist regional areas where centralized PV is cheaper than coal.  PV and wind remain sufficiently unused that we can easily afford to rapidly build these out in the market niches where they are cheaper than coal and continue to drive down their costs.  Comparing the cost of electricity at the customer roof instead of at the factory gate produces a different set of more advantageous levelized costs for PV.  Google and Walmart can install PV using their advertising budgets.

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Then add to that the exponential growth in vehicles, many of which are diesel and you realise that air quality is not going to be quite to easy to get.
The exponential growth in vehicles parallels the exponential growth in electric vehicles.  And electric vehicles can be powered from non-dispatchable technologies like wind and sun.  In the meantime, petroleum is "a very constrained resource which is hard to extract".  The US shale revolution can't fuel China and India.

Additionally, you now have to justify the assumption that "ease of life and comfort" requires exponential growth in vehicles.

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Now let's look at the UK...
Obviously not representative of most of the world.  If I remember correctly, the latitude of the UK is somewhat further north than, say, China, India, the United States, Brazil, Australia, Africa...

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So we shift the personal vehicle traffic to EV.
You left carbon fiber out of you analysis.  You've read Amory Lovins?  who includes commercial vehicle traffic in his analysis as well?  http://www.rmi.org/Winning%20the%20Oil%20Endgame

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  Worse is that we will be closing down 7gwh of coal fired plants in the next 5 years
It's not entirely clear to me that we have to be completely off coal within 5 years.  Do you want to explain that?

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Creating whole new businesses will require epic level government funding which will require epic level taxes.
Ah, so you have bought into that whole thing that any form of cooperation between people outside of a corporation is communism and inherently evil.  We must scale back "ease of life and comfort" for the masses because we can't possibly have cooperation on the large scale social level which would otherwise be required.

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We have started too late and too little.  Far too few people even care about what is going on and even fewer of them want to make the sacrifices.  Trust me I talk to people about this a LOT.  The level of ignorance fostered by the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), pushed out by the right wing press and the denialoshpere is huge.

I don't need to produce surveys to prove my point, I just need to read the press, talk to people and, above all, watch how they vote.

Meanwhile the cryosphere shrinks and idiots like the Daily Mail and WUWT talk about "recovery"....

I'll accept this last argument.  I find it well-argued and convincing.  (I would say "perceived sacrifices".)

cesium62

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 04:41:48 AM »
https://www.climatecommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/presidentialaction.pdf
is an interesting read.  Particularly the answer to FAQ 5 on page 4.  Costs of stablizing CO2 emissions are given as 0.12% of global GDP per annum.  Hardly a cost that would significantly reduce ease and comfort.


Jim Hunt

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 02:47:29 PM »
It's not entirely clear to me that we have to be completely off coal within 5 years.  Do you want to explain that?

See e.g.

http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/energy-industry/coal-generation.html
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

NeilT

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2015, 07:11:47 PM »
[rebuttal to a rebuttal that was in the "melting season thread"]
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No it isn't.  Even if you ignore the externalities (deaths from particulate inhalation, CO2 emission, digging up and burning entire mountains), it still isn't all that cheap.

If you look at the figures, all of the renewal energy in the UK amounted to about 2% of energy consumed in the UK.  I did a simple calculation of wind power required to replace UK baseload power based on the average figures of wind turbine efficiency in the UK recorded over time.  The end result was one turbine every 500m over the entire surface of the UK.  Even then you only get power when the wind blows and that is not every day.

Simply put, in relative terms, BAU coal is not that expensive for the huge power it produces.  Coal is flexible, ramps up and down and is very high in power density.

Nuclear, on the other hand, comes with astronomical construction costs, long lead times, huge decommissioning costs and is subject to the cost of Uranium fuel.  The window of Peak Urianium is much smaller than that for Peak Oil.  Which would then drive Nuclear fuel prices massively.

So, as I say, Coal is cheap in relative terms as a fuel.  The UK, for instance, in the late 1970's, was estimated to have 300 years of Coal reserves left at 1970's consumption rates.


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The exponential growth in vehicles parallels the exponential growth in electric vehicles.  And electric vehicles can be powered from non-dispatchable technologies like wind and sun.

I was talking about China rather than world wide as this was the breathing thing.  OK so look at the numbers.  In 2015 the number of EV's is expected to reach 800k world wide.  In 2015 the number of vehicles on the road is 1.2bn.  In 2014 71million cars were sold.

There is not enough land free to spread wind turbines on or to put out solar panels on to feed this kind of usage.  Not in developed economies like the EU who emit much of the CO2.  This is why I pointed you to the energy use chart for the UK.  We'd have to increase the renewable energy by 1,400 times it's current capability just to even have a slight chance of meeting the demand of a full EV switchover.

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Obviously not representative of most of the world.  If I remember correctly, the latitude of the UK is somewhat further north than, say, China, India, the United States, Brazil, Australia, Africa...

Yes, but as one of the top ten emitters of CO2, it has to be considered a very prime representation of what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

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You left carbon fiber out of you analysis.  You've read Amory Lovins?  who includes commercial vehicle traffic in his analysis as well?  http://www.rmi.org/Winning%20the%20Oil%20Endgame

I had a quick peruse of the site.  It is a grand design but the realities are in the details and there are unsubstantiated statements in there like "Super efficient transport".  The reality of that is the transport industry is not even close to closing the gap between where we need to be and where we are.  The IC engine is reaching the limit of what they can squeeze out of it and a replacement except electric is not there.


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It's not entirely clear to me that we have to be completely off coal within 5 years.  Do you want to explain that?

Jim explained that with the link.  The UK is meeting it's obligations to reduce emissions by closing down coal powered stations and replacing it with?  Well pretty much a lack of emergency capacity in the system in winter.

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Ah, so you have bought into that whole thing that any form of cooperation between people outside of a corporation is communism and inherently evil.

No actually I'm an observer of people and governments.  Nobody does anything for nothing and governments think in how much revenue they can claw back and not how much new revenue they can generate.  It is not a match made in heaven....  I'm all for cooperation outside of major corporations but it's just not going to happen without the Government footing the bill in the long run.

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I'll accept this last argument.  I find it well-argued and convincing.  (I would say "perceived sacrifices".)

Very sad and bitter experience......
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

cesium62

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 04:41:14 AM »
It's not entirely clear to me that we have to be completely off coal within 5 years.  Do you want to explain that?

See e.g.

http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/energy-industry/coal-generation.html

I found "by 2020, 15% of energy (30% of electricity) will be produced by renewable technologies".
I did not find "by 2020 the UK must no longer use any coal".
Is there a more specific link you all want me to look at?


The proposal that I found (link previously posted) was annual reductions of 2% of 2010 greenhouse gas production per annum.  I suppose it's possible that 20% of coal-fired powered generation is equivalent to 2% of overall greenhouse gas emissions.  Seems a bit unlikely...

cesium62

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 06:18:17 AM »
We'd have to increase the renewable energy by 1,400 times it's current capability just to even have a slight chance of meeting the demand of a full EV switchover.
Just over 27% growth per annum for 30 years.  What's the problem?  ;D

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Coal is flexible, ramps up and down
I'm going to need a reference for that.  What I'm finding tells me that coal takes a long time to ramp up.

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I did a simple calculation of wind power required to replace UK baseload power based on the average figures of wind turbine efficiency in the UK recorded over time.  The end result was one turbine every 500m over the entire surface of the UK.  Even then you only get power when the wind blows and that is not every day.
You realize that the argument that 100% of energy consumption for either cars or UK baseload power has to be renewable over the next 30 years is a straw man, right?  And we can safely assume there won't be any technological progress over the next 30 years?  Energy efficiency is optimal in the UK and we can't improve it at all?  We didn't spend the past 50 years encouraging energy users to find ways to use energy at night (when baseload coal power plants that aren't all that flexible produce more electricity than is demanded)?  We can't find applications that can switch from using baseload power to using power when it's available? 

Using Whitelee as a data point, and using 22GW of baseload power (2011) [http://www.roymech.co.uk/Related/Electrics/Electrical_transmission.html], I'm getting...

Whitelee has 539 MW in 53 km^2 at 27% load.  Or about 2.75 MW average production per square kilometer.  (They have 215 turbines; pretty much the same as your density.)  I get 243,610 square kilometers for England.  So covering England in turbines would produce 668 GW of capacity.  We'ld only need about 1/30th of that.  We don't seem to be using the same numbers.

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Yes, but as one of the top ten emitters of CO2, it has to be considered a very prime representation of what needs to be done to resolve the situation.
Um, sure, if we ignore that there's a Pareto distribution for emissions by country, and if we ignore relative growth in emissions between the UK vs China, India, and the rest of the developing world.

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Nobody does anything for nothing
Hyperbole much?  Wipneus publishes daily data on Neven's blog.  Mother Teresa?  The Gates Foundation?

Besides which, people working in government jobs get paid.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2015, 01:52:25 PM »
I found "by 2020, 15% of energy (30% of electricity) will be produced by renewable technologies".
I did not find "by 2020 the UK must no longer use any coal".
Is there a more specific link you all want me to look at?

My link provided a list of coal fired power stations that are "to close by the end of 2015" to support Neil's assertion that "[The UK] will be closing down 7gwh of coal fired plants in the next 5 years". What more do you need?

The explanation given at that link is "A third of these power stations are expected to close by 2016 so that they meet EU air quality legislation". Is that what you're after?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2015, 01:59:03 PM »
Just over 27% growth per annum for 30 years.  What's the problem?  ;D

From a UK centric perspective:

"Sustainable Energy – without the hot air"
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

NeilT

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2015, 10:39:15 PM »
Just over 27% growth per annum for 30 years.  What's the problem?  ;D


Yes I know.  Given that we are doing the opposite.....

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I'm going to need a reference for that.  What I'm finding tells me that coal takes a long time to ramp up.

Actually it came from a site promoting Nuclear as the best source of energy.  Where it stated, as compared to coal, that Nuclear did not scale up or down with load very well.  Nuclear is best when delivering constant steady load.

I can go find it but not immediately as I'm still fighting a month long battle to recover 12tb of virtual server data.  Getting there but it is really time consuming.

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You realize that the argument that 100% of energy consumption for either cars or UK baseload power has to be renewable over the next 30 years is a straw man, right? 

It would be if everyone didn't keep telling me how much more "efficient" Wind is than other types.  It isn't.  Or we would never have stopped using windmills.....

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Whitelee has 539 MW in 53 km^2 at 27% load.  Or about 2.75 MW average production per square kilometer.  (They have 215 turbines; pretty much the same as your density.)  I get 243,610 square kilometers for England.  So covering England in turbines would produce 668 GW of capacity.  We'ld only need about 1/30th of that.  We don't seem to be using the same numbers.

The very best performing windmills in the UK produce peak power 30% of the time.  Only 30% or less of the windmills currently deployed produce peak power at any time.

So whilst the figure is great, for per sq km, real world tracking of delivery of power is something very different.

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Um, sure, if we ignore that there's a Pareto distribution for emissions by country, and if we ignore relative growth in emissions between the UK vs China, India, and the rest of the developing world.

Nope.  It's a political problem.  The developing world uses the developed world's inability to exit carbon energy as the prime reason for them to ramp up their own.  We must lead by example if we are going to tell them to use renewables.  Notably we are not.


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Hyperbole much?  Wipneus publishes daily data on Neven's blog.  Mother Teresa?  The Gates Foundation?

OK let me rephrase that.

In the world of energy and manufacturing, nobody will introduce a new technology, with the inherent risks of total company failure as a result if it fails, without substantial backing of the government.  Backing of the government is paid for by the taxpayer as the government is not a revenue centre, it is a cost centre.  All it does is switch the cost of this from direct to indirect.  Indirect cost is controlled by the voter and the voter is not going to vote to tax themselves more heavily to reduce a CO2 level they don't believe is really a problem.  (see original post about how people vote).

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Besides which, people working in government jobs get paid.

By the government.  Which means by the taxpayer.  The only benefit of government employees is that the government claws back 30%-50% of that money in direct and indirect taxes....
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

NeilT

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Re: Moved: Solutions require reductions in ease and comfort
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2015, 10:46:01 PM »
BTW, the clean air directive is shutting down the most powerful generating stations we have in the UK. Not for CO2 but to avoid summer pollution problems.  Sadly much of that problem comes from the continent anyway.

The UK is also committed to the 2020 EU directive on emissions.  So Coal, Oil and Gas have to go eventually.

However my original point was this.  The elephant in the room is that if fuel energy is to be replaced by electrical energy, then we must massively increase our electricity generating capacity with renewable sources.

There are nearly 1,000 weirs in the UK which are viable in flow and drop to put in turbines.  This has only been done in a very few cases by companies looking for some money savings in electricity.

Nobody is truly looking at renewable for what it is.  Cheap, freely available always on power which comes with an infrastructure and maintenance cost but no ongoing running cost in fuel.  That needs to change before we can even think about removing our fuel dependency.

I don't see that happening until something really bad happens. Then, as engineering projects take decades, not years, to produce, we are on the wrong end of the curve and our efforts will be being impacted by the very thing we seek to stop.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein