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Messages - Bob Wallace

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Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:14:27 PM »
I just want to say that some of you live in denial and use word games to maintain your denial.

Pretty much every economy in the world is capitalistic.  Some have done a reasonably good job of controlling the problems that unfettered capitalism can cause.  Others are working to get better.  Some are in bad shape and not doing much to improve.

The problem is the way countries are governed.  Some countries have allow oligarchies too much influence or dictatorial governments.  If you Europeans take a close look at the countries with whom you share a continent you can find both extremes, you don't need to look over the big water to find a country doing well or poorly. 

As for you doomers, grow up. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: July 01, 2019, 06:10:38 AM »
The city of Los Angeles is reviewing a rather astounding proposal for new solar...

If approved, the city will enter into a 25-year power purchase agreement for 400 MW AC/530 MW DC of solar electricity at a price of 1.997 cents per kWh — the lowest price yet for solar power in the US. Adding a 100 MW/200 MWh battery will cost an additional 1.3 cents per kWh. The project includes the option to add 50 MW/200 MWh of energy storage for 0.665 cents per kWh more.

Two cents per kWh for direct from farm solar and about 3.3 cents for solar stored to be used after the Sun sets.  Twenty-five years at an apparently fixed price, no appreciation to keep up with inflation.  Assuming 3% inflation the price in 2045 would be half what is would be now in time adjusted money. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
« on: June 30, 2019, 08:33:01 AM »
But think out what it would take to cause the entire world to fall into conditions that would drive us back to the stone age
We can't go 'back' to the stone age I think because we miss the expertise, the know-how. Almost all skills have been forgotten, especially in richer countries.

Our global interconnectedness and extreme dependence on technology makes us very vulnerable. Local collapse will have ripple on effects. I don't think 'we' can scale back. Once it goes, it goes. We don't have the resilience and redundancy like e.g. ecosystems. We've built a house of cards.
Seeing what's left of ideals and enlightenment, empathy and morals, I'd say civilisation is already collapsing.

sorry for the off-topic.

I simply don't buy into domer porn.  The total collapse of civilization due to extreme climate change is as unlikely as the other big fantasy that entertained so many a few years back, the total collapse due to peak oil.

Peak oil is no longer a danger because within a few years we could transform our transportation systems, make some unliked but tolerable changes in lifestyle, and continue on.  There was no oil cliff over which the world would have tumbled but, at worse, a decrease of affordable oil supply played out over several years.

If we screw up and allow extreme climate change we won't wake up one morning and find seas eighty feet higher and summer temperatures unbearable over the entire planet.  Those changes would happen over time and as thing became worse at least a portion of us would devise a way to survive. 

We've got the technology to protect ourselves from extreme heat and grow the food we need in controlled conditions.  We probably couldn't support billions, but we could support hundreds of thousands or millions.  And we can take our knowledge and technology with us as we retreat underground or into heavily insulated buildings during the worst of the heat.

Policy and solutions / Re: Biomass issues
« on: June 29, 2019, 10:58:57 PM »
Hi Bob, nice to have you back in the forum.

The french way you describe is one of the best way to get firewood. You never cut a tree, and since roots are still there, regrowth works very well.

Regarding eucalyptus, it has a major problem regarding fire security, it burns too well, and is quite invasive. So I would be careful with that wood.

But do remember - a new tree puts down new roots.  The carbon sequestered by the harvested tree remain underground and the new roots sequester more.  We generally overlook how plant root systems fix carbon in the soil as long as the roots are not disturbed.

Eucalyptus can be invasive, but easily controllable.  At least the species I've worked with.  I helped establish three firewood sites back in the 1980s and saw no problem of new eucalyptus springing up more than a short distance from those trees.  A quick walkthrough once a year with a hoe culled the volunteers. 

And there are other fast growing species that regenerate from the stump.  Populars are one.  Sweet chestnut is a species common in France.  Even some conifers regrow from stumps.  Christmas tree farms will cut the tree and leave a few inches of trunk.  From that stump new branches will emerge.  The multiple branches will be thinned to one which will then grow upright, creating a new Christmas tree to be harvested sooner that a new tree could be grown from a seedling.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
« on: June 27, 2019, 11:06:22 PM »
shows that injecting air and carbon dioxide into methane ice deposits buried beneath the Gulf of Mexico could unlock vast natural gas energy resources while helping fight climate change by trapping the carbon dioxide underground.

Nitrogen-Driven Chromatographic Separation During Gas Injection into Hydrate-Bearing Sediments, Water Resources Research (2019). DOI: 10.1029/2018WR023414

"In the paper, the authors showed that a process in which one type of molecule trapped in hydrate is exchanged for another (called guest molecule exchange) is a two-stage process and not a single, simultaneous process, as it was previously thought to be.

First, nitrogen breaks down the methane hydrate. Second, the carbon dioxide crystalizes into a slow-moving wave of carbon dioxide hydrate behind the escaping methane gas.

The computer simulations indicate that the process can be repeated with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide until the reservoir becomes saturated. The authors said that unlike some methods of carbon storage, this provides a ready incentive for industry to begin storing carbon dioxide, a major driver of climate change."

This sounds like a suggestion to quit beating our thumb with a 20 oz hammer and switch to a 16 oz hammer. 

Leave the damn methane where it is causing no problems.  Install wind and solar faster so that we don't need to burn fossil fuels.

Mother "Thumb" would thank us.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 27, 2019, 07:27:26 PM »
Why is France not held up as a shining example of how to do power without endangering 2bn lives?

For the same reason Paraguay, 100% hydro, is not held up as a shining example.  Neither countries installed low carbon generation in order to combat global warming.  Paraguay had big rivers to dam and dammed them.  France had a national security problem due to OPEC forming using oil supply as a way to force other countries to bend to its will. 

Germany earned great cred earlier when they established very attractive subsidies for solar and boosted installation rates high enough to bring down solar prices.  More recently Germany has slowed with renewable projects and praise for Germany's progress has cooled.

France did good for the climate by accident.  Germany did something purposeful.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
« on: June 24, 2019, 07:28:09 PM »
The average US electricity bill is about $100/month.  The possibility of saving ten or twenty dollars a month is not enough to get most people to put out a lot of effort.

In Germany there was a subsidy program that meant if you installed solar, not only could you cut your utility costs, you could actually make a nice profit.  You could put yourself in business as an electricity provider and earn good money.

In Australia the cost of electricity was so high that installing solar save a lot of money per month, not the sort of ten/twenty dollar stuff.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 24, 2019, 06:31:12 PM »
1) The question isn't if it's economically feasible, Interstitial. The question must be, is it bringing us closer to our zero emissions goal?

2) Yes, it is economically feasible. The plant in Spain for example:

The 11 megawatt (MW) solar power tower produces electricity with 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats. It took four years to build and so far cost €35 million. PS10 produces about 23,400 megawatt-hours (MW·h) per year, for which it receives €271 per MW·h under its power purchase agreement, equating to a revenue of €6.3 million per year

So when someone thinks renewables can't provide the baseload needed, just point them to this.

Why back such great projects with dubious claims? That’s an expensive PPA, meaning that somebody else is footing the bill. Most likely the tax payer. Most importantly the technology is working but it is not (yet) cost competitive.

Economics is allocating our scarce resources most efficiently. Using them on uncompetitive technologies is waste of precious natural resources and manpower.

Offshore wind is much more expensive in the US than in western Europe.  Why?  Because Europe started installing offshore wind several years ago and over time has learned how to do the job for less money.  US prices will drop as we get more experience, strengthen our supply chains, and develop the ship/port infrastructure we need.

Thermal solar is cheaper in places where more has been constructed.  Our prices will probably come down if we build more.  But, remember, thermal solar with storage is not competing with PV solar.  Thermal solar/storage is competing with whatever we use to fill in when the Sun isn't shining and the wind not blowing.  Thermal solar, unlike PV solar, can store the Sun's energy for when it is most needed and sell into that market.

Policy and solutions / Re: Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: June 19, 2019, 08:42:31 PM »
100 x 100 square miles of panels to supply the United States with all the energy it needs = 10,000 mi².

Area of the Great Lakes = 94,250 mi².

Policy and solutions / Re: Direct Air Capture (of Carbon Dioxide)
« on: June 19, 2019, 07:11:15 PM »
The Great Lakes covered in solar panels and wind turbines, the price of the future?

No, you hugely, hugely overestimate the amount of land required for a 100% RE future.  Some wind turbines not too far from major population centers (minimize transmission costs while minimizing aesthetic objections).  And no floating solar installation on large bodies of water subject to major storms and major ice events.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 19, 2019, 06:42:52 PM »
BTW, Tom the title of the article you linked is "Shift to renewable energy could have biodiversity cost, researchers caution".

The article is a warning, a flawed warning IMO, but only a warning.  Not a report of biodiversity damage already occurring as your post inferred.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 19, 2019, 06:09:20 PM »
Renewable energy has biodiversity costs:

Interesting article -

“The transition towards a renewable energy and transport system requires a complex mix of metals — such as copper, cobalt, nickel, rare earths, lithium and silver — many of which have only previously been mined in small amounts,”

We only mined for copper, nickel, and silver in small amounts in pre-EV/RE days? 

“The mining of many metals used for renewable energy technologies and EVs already impacts wildlife biodiversity,” Dominish told Mongabay, citing the example of bauxite mining.

Bauxite ore is used to produce aluminum, a key component in almost all renewable technologies

How much bauxite do we mine that gets turned into soda cans in landfills vs. the amount of aluminum that is used for solar panel frames, stays in use for decades, and is easily collected for recycling?

New mines that will become active in the next two years, listed in the Earthworks report, include one for cobalt in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), nickel in Zambia, and rare earth metals (a group of 17 elements such as scandium and yttrium) in South Africa’s Western Cape region. These highly biodiverse sites are not the only areas at risk; threats to wildlife from such mining can be found nearly worldwide.

Battery technologies are moving away from cobalt. 

"We use less than 3% cobalt in our batteries & will use none in next gen" - Elon Musk Jun 2018

"Tesla has succeeded in reducing the cobalt content of the Model 3’s batteries to just 2.8% as of last year."  Apr 2019

"Scandium is a rare earth metal from the transitional metal group. It is a soft but strong metal with a high melting point that is mostly used with aluminium alloys in the manufacturing of sporting equipment, aircraft, light bulbs and future predicted use in fuel cells." 

"The largest use of the element is as its oxide yttria, Y2O3, which is used in making red phosphors for color television picture tubes. Yttrium metal has found some use alloyed in small amounts with other metals and It is used to increase the strength of aluminium and magnesium alloys."  Apparently a small amount is used in solar panels.

“We need conservation scientists to identify the sites that house immense biodiversity value and should therefore be off-limits to mining,” Sonter added, while allowing that mining in some areas would be necessary: “These sites must be [robustly protected against] threats posed by mining, but also flexible enough to ensure a transition to a renewable-energy economy is feasible.”

At present, though, conservation officials are largely unaware of the increased threat to biodiversity that is posed by the shift to a renewable energy economy, according to Sonter.

We absolutely need to avoid the most critical parts of the ecosystem.  Except we might not have the luxury of saving "0.01%" if it means the destruction of "50+%".  We haven't yet had to make very tough decisions about accepting the bad over the terrible but it might come to that.

Recycling will be “the most important strategy” to reduce primary demand for battery metals, according to the report, although some materials, like lithium and manganese, are not currently recovered at high enough rates.

The first step in recycling EV batteries is to obtain enough used batteries to support a recycling program.  Tesla designed in battery recycling at their Reno Gigafactory but when you're selling batteries that last half a million miles or more it will take time for used batteries to show up for recycling.  Used batteries are the most concentrated source of raw materials for battery manufacturing to be found.  Shred, separate, reuse.

My take?  Yes, we need to be aware and we need to work to minimize the damage we create.  But we need to balance that against the damage we are avoiding.  Think of the damage being done now by mountaintop removal and open pit mining, fracking for oil and gas, massive oil spills and simply sloppy oil production and transportation practices.  Think about the metals we already use for ICEVs, for oil rigs, for pipelines, for refineries.

Honestly, if we had no option but to mine as much steel, copper, and aluminum for solar panels, wind turbines,  Evs, and batteries as we now mine for fossil fuel use and ICEVs wouldn't we produce a net gain for the environment? 

And we must be careful to not let "It's not a perfect solution" keep us from replacing something truly terrible with something that is less than perfect.  We're in a crisis situation.  We need to make progress, take the steps we can take now.  That should buy us some time to seek out better solutions.

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: June 18, 2019, 06:54:21 AM »

Too tempting to point out how optimistic your error was (considering I find all your other comments to be in the same vein).

I am an optimist. Not the pollyanna type, but someone who tries to stay grounded with facts and believes that we can solve most of our problems if we look for answers.  I also believe that being a pessimist is a likely route to failure.   

I'll try to avoid disparaging comments in the future...

That would be nice.  The older I get the less tolerance I have for a-holes.

So, I am totally committed and on board for changing the world to be 90% plus off of fossil fuels in the next 2 decades...BUT I don't think it is possible with the same sort of lifestyle the 1st world currently lives. You seem to disagree and believe there are like-for-like substitutes which can make (for example: CARS) effectively "green". I do not hold this belief.  I would love to, in good faith, discuss this.

First, let's recognize the difference between "could" and "will".  My comment was that we have the technology in hand to eliminate fossil fuel use for grid generation in the next 20 years by simply doubling the effort we've made in recent years.

I am not optimistic about that happening because we're losing time with this regressive administration and Senate trying to return us to the days of the robber barons.  I think there's a good chance of putting a decent person in the White House but I'm afraid we won't adequately deal with the Senate.  I think Republicans will cost us at least five years with their foot-dragging.

As for the rest of the world, Europe is likely to quit fossil fuels faster than the US.  China and India may surprise us and switch over fairly rapidly.  Russia probably won't. Africa is likely to have the greenest energy on the planet because it's cheaper for them to leapfrog over fossil fuels and go straight to renewables.

I think the world will move to EVs fairly rapidly.  For the simple reason that we are on the cusp of it being cheaper to manufacture an EV than an ICEV.  And it's already much cheaper to operate an EV. (edited: incorrected entered ICEV)  It's going to take a few more years for some of the major car manufacturers to transition into EV manufacturers but I think some of them now realize that it is necessary for their survival.

There are a number of other issues around sustainability in terms of materials for manufactured goods but I'm not dwelling on those.  If we run out of 'whatever' then we'll use something else.  We don't have an option to move to a planet with a better climate if we screw up this one.  Personally, I'm zeroed in on electricity, transportation, and heat.  The areas in which we turn fossil fuels into CO2.

To establish a mutual level of understanding: what is your personal familiarity with manufacturing, mining, transportation, fluid transportation, industry at large, etc?

I've never worked in any of those areas.

(for those who claim this is off topic: tesla's "glory" (at least on ASIF) is about its ability to aid humanity in removing itself for activities which increase GHG levels. thus, if you don't understand how this is germane, shut up and let the adults converse)

How about we do this.  Use this thread for Tesla.  There are threads for renewable energy and electric vehicles.  Perhaps there should be one for greening up industry and mining.

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: June 17, 2019, 12:26:03 AM »
The solution for avoiding extreme climate change is probably not to destroy the system and hope something beneficial will arise from the ashes.  We don't have time to do that over and over until we get our desired outcome.  Our best route, IMHO, is to pressure the existing system so that we speed the installation of renewable energy generation and the adoption of low carbon transportation. 

We are very unlikely to get more than a tiny percent of humans to make hard changes to their lifestyles in order to avoid extreme climate change.  Most will not change, at least until we reach the point at which the pain is severe.  We do not want to wait that long.  What we need to do is to give people acceptable low carbon/GHG alternatives that blend smoothly into their current lifestyles and costs then nothing more than what we now spend. 

We can replace fossil fuel generated electricity with renewable energy electricity and users won't even notice.  Their cost of electricity shouldn't increase and may well decline.

We can replace fossil fuel ground level transportation with EVs, battery powered buses, and electric trains.  It's much cheaper to drive a mile in an EV than to drive a mile in an ICEV and soon the price of EVs should be less than the price of ICEVs. 

We still have a problem to solve when it comes to air travel but air travel is only a small percentage of overall travel energy use so we can tackle the larger part of the problem while we continue to work on decarbonizing air travel.  We're starting to fly using batteries and new developments in batteries should lead to longer range flights. 

We need to get stuff done in a hurry.  And that means large scale efforts which means we need the lifting power of large business.  Solar panels, wind turbines and EVs need to be built on large scale in order to be affordable.  Someone is going to make money manufacturing, installing, and managing those systems/products.  Some may get mega-rich. 

Given the looming danger of climate change we should probably work to slow global warming first and deal with wealth inequality later or as a side issue.  Probably not best to clog up the low carbon industry with an economic revolution.

I'm guessing our best route to minimizing climate change is to work to get the right sort of people into leadership positions at the federal, state, and local level.  We need things like a price on carbon or RE/EV subsidies along with enabling legislation.  Make it profitable and not too difficult to convert our energy system from fossil fuel to renewable energy and "capitalism" will get busy and get it done.

I am not advocating for free market, unregulated capitalism.  We need to institute reasonable regulations that protect us while allowing those who are the most motivated to do stuff and make money to make money by installing RE and providing EVs.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 16, 2019, 06:58:32 PM »
Bob, records show that high adoption of wind and solar does not equal to low enough per capita co2 emissions. As you wrote nuclear power decreased emissions even when not intended to do so. At the time of climate crisis this is not something to simply ignore.

B_l my problem with trusting renewables comes from lack of real world data showing emission cuts. German electricity mix is maybe green but it is certainly not clean. I am deeply concerned we are betting our money on the wrong horse without any kind of backup plan.

The only country that I can think of that has a low CO2 footprint due to high nuclear penetration is France.  France generates between 70% and 75% of its electricity with nuclear.  France also gets close to 20% of its electricity from hydro, wind and solar.

I can't think of a country that gets nearly that much of its electricity from wind and solar.  Until we see a country where 90+% of electricity comes from RE then making a claim that high RE penetration doesn't lead to a low CO2 per capita like France's can't be made.  Common sense tells us that we don't actually need to see a real world example.  Wind and solar have lower lifetime carbon footprints than nuclear.

That is not to say that nuclear's footprint is problematic, it isn't.  If nuclear was affordable, quick to install, and did not introduce unnecessary dangers into our lives then we should be using nuclear to replace fossil fuels.  But, unfortunately, nuclear is expensive, slow to implement, and dangerous.

Germany.  As the German grid has become greener Germany has enjoyed a decrease in CO2 per capita.  In 1985 German electricity emitted 2.0 million tonnes of CO2 per TWh of electricity generated.  By 2017 that had fallen to 1.2 million tonnes.

Remember, a lot of CO2 per capita statistics do not separate sources of CO2.  If you look at a CO2 per capita number for Germany or any other country you are looking at electricity generation, vehicles, and other CO2 sources combined.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 16, 2019, 10:30:47 AM »
Wait Bob, i wasn't aware coal is only ~10% better than wind in CF. I assumed it to be way higher.
Capacity factor is how much it gets used overtime not how often it can be used.

Right.  "How often it can be used" is the availability factor.  In the US coal plants have an availability factor of about 85% but because they are intentionally not used at times the capacity factor comes in at about 54%.

Nuclear's availability and capacity factor are roughly the same in the US.  We don't turn off reactors when we have too much generation available,  we turn off something else.  Coal and CCNG have ~54% CFs rather than ~85% because they are largely what does get turned off.

France's reactors have lower CFs because France does do some load-following with their reactors.  And, I think, turns some completely off during longer periods of low demand.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 16, 2019, 10:14:38 AM »
Nothing can replace all co2 emitting plants in 12 years, neither theoretically nor practically. To leave one zero carbon technology out of the equation just makes things more difficult.

Nukes have their issues, sure, but we mustn’t forget that nuclear power has a proven record of bringing down per capita emissions. Whereas high adoption of renewable energy doesn’t equal to very low per capita emissions anywhere in the world. Maybe this will change in the future with storage techonolgy and whatnot, but maybe it won’t.

A reasonable person would build both nuclear and renewables as fast as possible. Unfortunately people are either not caring or downright denying AGW, or they are using all their efforts advocating against nuclear power instead of fossil fuels.

We have a limited amount of capital to spend.  It shouldn't be so limited based on the danger we face, but it is.  Do we spend $1/watt to install solar, $1.60/watt for wind or $8/watt to install nuclear?  Even adjusting for CF nuclear is multiples more expensive than solar or wind. 

Nuclear has a CF roughly 3x that of PV solar.  In order to get the same total output we'd need to install $3 worth of solar to generate the same amount of electricity as $8 worth of nuclear.  Wind CF is about half that of nuclear so $3.20 vs. $8.  Hardly requires any time at all to contemplate.

Spending limited money on nuclear would mean that we get less generation for the money we have.  Less generation, obviously, means more fossil fuels burned.

And we need to stop using fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.  We can build a wind or solar farm  and have it online producing electricity in a year or two.  A nuclear reactor can take 8 to 12 to many more years before it replaces any fossil fuel.  That's many more years of making our condition even more dangerous.

Then there's the problem of a lack of trained and experienced nuclear engineers and workers.  It would take several years to train a new generation of people who have the competency to build a reactor.  Just look at the problems new nuclear builds have run into over the last decade because, basically, people didn't know what they were doing. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: June 14, 2019, 08:55:32 AM »
OK, what did I miss?  What step absolutely requires fossil fuel?

If you think mining can be done with solar, then nothing. I take it you have never worked in serious industry.

Your list of things that can theoretically be done without fossil fuels is similar to list of what is necessary to live on Mars. Creating the check list isn't too tough. Doing it is nearly impossible, and totally impossible in the time frame necessary to avert disaster.

Let's start by recognizing that I did not say that mining could be done with solar.  I said that mining can be done, and is being done with electricity. 

Now, let's move past that and I'll claim, without hesitation, that mining could be done using only solar energy.  We'd just need enough storage to allow mining to continue even when the Sun is not shining.  Obviously solar-only is not the lowest cost way to power a renewable grid.  It makes much more sense to add in a large percentage of wind along with whatever hydro, geothermal and other renewable sources we can put together. 

"Doing it is nearly impossible"

You're not clear on what your "it" is.  Running a large piece of equipment using electricity?  Here's an entire gold mine that is run on electricity - no fossil fuel equipment used.

Running electric grids on 100% renewable energy?  There are tons of research papers showing it can be done and around the world we see RE replacing fossil fuels.

"totally impossible in the time frame necessary to avert disaster"

I'm not sure how you define "disaster".  If you mean avoiding damage caused by climate change we're already too late.  We're already suffering disasters such as droughts, floods, heat waves, and wildfires.  If you mean extreme climate change that would make it very difficult for humans to survive on planet Earth, we should be able to avoid that.

If we would simply put leaders in office who put a priority on fighting climate change we could be largely off fossil fuels in about 20 years. 

Take the US grid.  In 2016 we generated 65% of our electricity with fossil fuels.  That fell to 63% in 2017.  Electricity generated from renewable sources rose from 15% to 17%.  We made a 2% market share transition in one year.

To get from 63% to 0% in 20 years we would need to annually flip 3.2% of our fossil fuel generation to renewable generation.  We've already demonstrated that we can do 2% per year.  And we did that without breaking a sweat.  We wouldn't even need to double our generation efforts to achieve a 100% RE electricity supply by 2020. Bad error.  Should have been 2040.

Now vehicles.  We already have EVs on our roads which are perfect replacements for ICEVs.  They have the range, fast enough charging, and they are cheaper to power.  What we would need to do is to build a lot of battery factories and open a bunch of lithium mines in a hurry but in less than ten years we could be manufacturing enough EVs to replace all ICEV manufacturing.  And in another ten years or so most of the ICEVs that were manufactured earlier would be wearing out and disappearing.

These are things that we can do with the technology we have in hand right at this moment in time.  We don't need to invent anything other than will to move us off fossil fuels in a couple of decades.

BTW, before you tell us that EVs are too expensive do you realize that if you bought a Tesla Model 3  or a Toyota Camry V6 that your monthly out of pocket expenses would be just about the same during a five year loan payoff?  Long range luxury EVs are already price competitive with <luxury sedans.

Policy and solutions / Re: The Boring Company
« on: June 13, 2019, 06:06:51 AM »
Have some people here not ever been involved in doing something for the first time?  Something somewhat complex.  Generally one starts with some assumptions and refines their ideas as things are tried and better ideas developed.  We didn't get to the Moon by simply building a rocket and going there.  We worked our way there through numerous steps, developing the hardware needed over time.

A few years back Musk proposed the hyperloop, traveling through an almost vacuum in a tube at speeds faster than passenger jets.  He envisioned using an air compressor on the front of the passenger/freight pod to compress what air was in the tube and then blow it out through jets to position the pod equal distance from the tube walls.

There are a few problems with an above ground metal tube.  Acquiring right of way can be difficult and expensive, lots of NIMBY sorts of issues.  A metal tube exposed to sunlight is going to expand and then shrink as it cools.  Which means a bunch of tricky expansion joints.  And JoeBilly could easily shoot some holes in it 'just for fun', or more sinister people could blow up a section.

A solution to those three problems might be to go underground.  In order to make a tunnel water tight it has to be more than capable of maintaining a partial vacuum.  Tunnels are out of sight, out of mind.  And it's not hard to detect someone or something digging its way toward the tunnel long before damage could be inflicted.

But there's the cost of tunneling.  Musk and his crew of merry thinkers went to work and decided that by simply making the tunnels small they became much cheaper per mile.  Then they worked through a number of thing that they could do to drastically lower the cost of tunneling.  Things like almost constantly drilling rather than, on average, ten minutes out of each hour.  Improving the cooling system for the cutter so that it could run at higher speeds.  Finding a way to dispose of the wastes at no cost or even a bit of a profit.

Then bootstrapping.  Building a hyperloop from LA to NYC would require a lot more than pocket change.  The best route is probably building some somewhat short but very fast subway systems in which all rides are 'express', no stops between getting on and arriving at destination.  Build some systems, sell rides, make profits, use profits to build a modest length hyperloop.

The cheapest initial vehicle would be to take an existing battery powered car that could safely travel at 150+ MPH in the tunnel and simply use it.  Later a higher capacity passenger could be built but not until the first system is up, running, and making money.  In fact, it would be very possible to take the Tesla S/X skateboard and bolt a eight or twelve passenger pod on in place of the sedan/SUV body.

Boring has demonstrated that they can drill a tunnel rapidly and at a very attractive cost.  And that is using only a modified used tunneling machine.  Boring has the next two generations of their custom designed tunneling machines in production. 

Boring has demonstrated that they can use an 'off the shelf' Tesla and safely drive their short test tunnel at speeds in excess of 125 MPH.  The first used 'guiding wheels' to keep the car centered in the tunnel but later showed that Tesla's lane keeping software could accurately steer the car.  Yes, the ride was a bit bumpy but, remember, right up front Musk explained that the tunnel driving surface had not been installed.

Boring has demonstrated a prefab elevator that can be quickly installed and moves vehicles from street level to tunnel level rapidly.

Communication between vehicles and between vehicles and 'central command'?  How hard can that be.  Send out position and speed data a few times per second.  If a problem develops issue an "All Stop" to all vehicles behind the vehicle with a problem.  Sensors along the tunnel can serve to backup and verify data from individual cars.

Why would we want this to work?  Imagine leaving your house in a robotaxi, riding a short distance to a Loop spur, changing vehicles, and then going to the airport 20 miles away non-stop at over 150 MPH.  For small money.  Using renewable energy.

Think about not spending a half hour or more each day commuting in bumper to bumper traffic but zipping to work and then back home, giving you an extra hour each day to do something other than commute.

Will it work?  Maybe.  Looks good so far other than finding places to build the first few projects that will be needed for proof of concept.  (Or more proof of concept.)  Boring can bore economically, run cars at high speeds, and move them from surface street to tunnel quickly.  Now the remaining question becomes how inexpensive can they make it.

There are independent companies like FastNed that are building fast charger networks.  FastNed started, IIRC, in the Netherlands and is building out from there into the rest of Europe.

Tesla is way out front in terms of installed chargers but as other car manufacturers release more longer range EVs we should see essentially all EVs capable of convenient all day drives.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 25, 2018, 06:55:26 PM »
It's all fine reasoning, but ask the question in reverse - is there reason to believe that cutting down US trees to convert to wood pellets, shipping them to Europe for burning, is a good thing?

To know the answer to that question we'd have to do the complete math.  Do the math and determine whether there is more, less, or about the same amount of carbon extracted from below the surface and put into play.

More = stop using wood pellets.
Less = keep on using them. 

Keep using wood pellets until at least until all carbon generation is stopped and then replace the wood pellets.

(Here's Bob pushing for supporting the lesser of the evils thing again.  Why doesn't he believe in magic?)

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 24, 2018, 06:50:21 PM »
In 2017? In electric power generation? Yes. I was speaking of ALL energy demand growth

Electricity generation is what matters at this point in time.  (In my opinion, which you don't have to accept.)

The very high probability that we are moving to mostly electricity powered transportation and toward mostly electric heating means that we can largely ignore primary energy use.  We waste about two thirds of the primary energy we consume due to highly inefficient internal combustion engines and steam turbines.

This is US only but is indicative of how little primary energy is actually used (services) and how much is wasted (rejected).

Growth in oil use for vehicles does mean more CO2 but it's almost certainly a short term problem.  EV production should soon reach levels equal to annual vehicle growth.  And then EV production should start lowering the number of ICEVs on the road.

Natural gas capacity and use is growing.  NG capacity is needed to replace closing coal and nuclear plants.  We don't yet have affordable alternatives for when wind and solar are not providing.  NG gives utilities the ability to maximize wind and solar penetration and keep the lights on 24/365.

Wind and solar electricity costs are falling below the cost of fuel for CCNG plants.  When the wind or Sun is providing CCNG plants will be curtailed.  Coal plants are not flexible to serve as fill-in for wind and solar.

In the US new natural gas is replacing coal generation but overall NG and coal are losing market share to wind and solar.

From 2016-2040 net additions in coal-fired power generation is projected to grow by another 400 GW

The EIA is terrible when it comes to predictions.  They are predicting that US coal will maintain a large market share in 2040 as they are posting the closure of US coal plants and recognizing that no new coal plants are being built.  They are ignoring the fact that many US coal plants are losing money and are almost certain to be closed for economic reasons.

Globally, coal consumption seems to have plateaued.  Major banks, including the World Bank, have announced  that they no longer intend to finance coal plants. 

At no point in the last 30 years has the annual growth in low-carbon hydro, nuclear and renewable energy ever met the annual increase in total energy demand.

History is not a good predictor of the future.  It's only in the last few years that wind and solar have become cheaper than coal and natural gas generation. 

Forget the first 25 years of your 30 year span.  It's only in the last five years that wind and solar have become bargains. 

And it takes time for organizations to take on new information and change their activities.  We're seeing wind and solar installations accelerating but it will take a little while for them to cover annual increases in demand and to start significantly cutting fossil fuel use.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: June 23, 2018, 06:59:30 PM »
I minimize my driving.  I drive less than 50% of the average American.  I don't own any petroleum powered "toys" such as boats or planes.

I reduce, reuse, and recycle.  I've been an organic gardener for 40+ years and eat little meat.  Meat, for me, is pretty much a seasoning.

I'm off the grid, producing about 95% of my electricity with solar.  I've been off the grid for about 30 years.

When I travel I use public transportation about 99% of the time.

I do fly some but purchase carbon offsets for air miles and my other carbon sins.   

I walk the walk to some extent.  But I'm not willing to be part of the 0.00001% wearing the "I'm perfect" hairshirt. 

But enough about me.  Most other people are not going to sacrifice in order to fight climate change. 

People will buy more efficient ICEVs, and eventually EVs, because they save money.  Lower CO2 output is something they might appreciate but that will not have been the big driver.

People will insulate their houses and move from oil/gas furnaces to heat pumps in order to save money.  Lower CO2 emissions are just the prize in the Cracker Jack box and many care nothing about the prize.

I am a pessimistic person with regards to AGW which is why I disagree with some here.

I'm more realistic than you might assume.  It's like we are lost in the forest with temperatures well below freezing.  We've already lost some toes and fingers to frostbite and stand to lose all and perhaps our lives.

I'm looking for that damn cabin that's out there somewhere so we can get out of the cold and spare some of our digits.  At lease survive.

Pessimism is dangerous.  It can cause us to cease looking.  We need to keep looking until the very last minute.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 23, 2018, 05:45:39 PM »
Bob - Do you know if a barrel of oil can be refined to produce the types of products in demand? Is there some flexibility in the ratio? Not a chemist or engineer so I am not clear if the oil product itself determines the final products.

I don't know much about refining oil but did know that there's some flexibility in the gasoline/diesel ratios that can be produced from a barrel of oil.  In checking I found a good comment on another site -

I work in the oil industry currently, but in the R&D sector, not in refining itself. Maybe I can contribute something anyway.

As superradish said, the entire process of refining a crude is ridiculously complicated and there are several "classes" of refineries currently operating in the world. The simplest of these are called hydroskimming refineries, which do little more than separate the crude into fractions based on boiling points(atmospheric distillation, vacuum distillation). The more complex refineries built incorporate chemical processes (Fluidized catalytic cracking, Hydrocracking, Hydrodesulfurization, etc.) which can break larger molecules present in the crude into smaller molecules to form a "lighter" cut which is then reblended with starting crude, as an example, or sent to another distillation tower to be further fractionated. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

To answer your question, it depends. The first factor to consider, as you mentioned, is crude quality. Crudes are characterized by macro qualities, such as density, sulfur content, boiling range, etc., since there isn't really a fast way to characterize them in terms of molecular structures. A single crude can contain thousands of different molecules in exceedingly small concentrations - even if we were to characterize all of the molecules in a single crude, it would be of limited value on the refining end when compared to knowing things like its boiling range. Anyway - crude quality. The lighter the crude, the more expensive it typically is on the market because it flows better, can be converted into the fuels you mentioned such as gasoline, etc., because those are lighter, more valuable blends. Heavier crudes require much more processing, from hydrocracking to hydrodesulfurization, typically involve expensive catalysts, etc., and you get a much larger mass% of heavy-end products, which sell for stupid cheap and are a hassle to blend into anything or dispose of. So the range of products you can make partly depends on these things.

Another thing refineries have to consider is what they're built to do. A simple refinery with an atmos distillation tower and a vacuum distillation tower won't be able to convert very heavy fractions because it simply doesn't have the capacity to do so. Refineries are expensive, and adding units to them simply to convert one, two, or even a handful of crudes, is typically not something companies consider unless that refinery is underwater already.

Finally, petrol, diesel, jet fuel, bunker fuel, fuel oil - all of these are blends. They aren't one "product" that comes out of one unit of a refinery, but are usually instead blends of a handful or more individual refinery streams which then make up the end product. So not only can refineries convert a particular fraction of a crude into something different or lighter or more aromatic or less aromatic, but they can then pick and choose from the streams they manufacture in order to meet the spec of the final products that are currently selling on the market, or sell to a distributor who can pick and choose from the streams of several refineries in their geographical area.

So yes, from the conversion aspect all the way to the blending aspect, there is a huge degree of control over what comes out of a refinery in theory. But on paper, when management is deciding whether a particular crude is worth buying or not, a refinery has to take a whole lot of things into consideration before committing and, even though they might be able to process it in theory, side products or cost of processing might make it economically prohibitive to do so.

I wonder if we can turn all, or almost all, of a barrel into industrial feedstock and asphalt.  Or if there are parts of a barrel that have no use other than fuel and we'd either have to burn with carbon capture or pour back into the well.

And I just found this -

The asphalt that forms our roads can be modified to store carbon and help reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, new research as found.

A team from Rice University in the US has used asphalt, or bitumen, to make a cheap porous material that can store an impressive 114 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide.

Known as asphalt-porous carbon (A-PC), the new material stores the carbon dioxide like a sponge at room temperature, but lets other gasses, such as methane flow through freely.

This means it’s an ideal material to use as a filter in natural gas wellheads, which currently release a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in addition to the desired methane. The captured CO2 could later be extracted for other practical purposes, and the study shows that the material can store and then release CO2 over and over again without degrading.

"This provides an ultra-inexpensive route to a high-value material for the capture of carbon dioxide from natural gas streams," said chemist James Tour, who led the research, in a press release. "Not only did we increase its capacity, we lowered the price substantially."

The team made several variation of the material, which is made by mixing asphalt with potassium hydroxide at a high temperature, but the cheapest cost was just 30 cents per pound (~0.4 kg).

If that holds up in the real world then that's a great discovery.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 21, 2018, 08:49:58 AM »
In the world of nuclear reactors a decade is very recent.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 21, 2018, 08:48:00 AM »
Has global energy demand been increasing and projected to keep increasing? Yes

Has global fossil fuel energy demand been increasing and projected to keep increasing? Yes

Global oil consumption has been increasing.  It will almost certainly peak and then we will probably see demand decay by 2030.

Global coal consumption peaked in 2013 and dropped 3.5% by 2017.

Global natural gas consumption has been increasing.

Global primary energy consumption has been increasing but we will increasingly see fossil fuel derived energy replaced with renewable energy which will mean a massive drop in energy consumed.  About two-thirds of the primary energy we now use is wasted (waste heat) and there is no reason to replace what we waste.

So based on the discussions here between SH and BW it seems we have agreement at last:

* It will take at least 2 decades/until around 2040 to switch to EVs and reduce oil consumption significantly.

* It could physically happen in ~5 years, but will not.

* The transition is a good thing but too slow.

It will take until about 2040 to get most ICEVs off the road but oil use should be considerably lower much sooner.  By 2030 we could see most buses and other commercial vehicles running on electricity.  That includes "18 wheelers".

If an order was given by the Ruler of the World we could move to only EV production in five years.  But, obviously,that won't happen. 

I doubt that we could remove all fossil fuel from the grid in five years.  I'd guess that it would take 15 to 25 years. 

The problem with "too slow" is what do you mean by too slow?  Obviously we won't dodge climate change because it's already happening.  We almost certainly will not avoid melting Arctic Sea Ice since that's apparently only a few years away.  Pretty much an 'any day now' thing.

Do you mean avoid extreme climate change which would kill off ~75% of the population and send the rest of us to live underground or in highly insulated buildings during the hot season?  If that's what you mean then I think we might be OK.

Wind and solar installations are ramping up rapidly as costs drop.  And costs should continue to drop.  I expect fossil fuel use to be less than 10% of what it is today by 2040 and down to about 0% by 2050.  I don't know what sort of climatic pain that would mean.  That's a question I'd put to a climate specialist like James Hansen.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 20, 2018, 11:01:47 PM »
Hansen made a rookie mistake.  He started talking about a field in which he had no experience, no expertise, without first reading even the basic literature.

Early on he declared that fighting global warming would require nuclear energy.  That it was impossible to power a grid with renewable energy.  There were multiple published papers which proved his claim wrong.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 20, 2018, 03:31:22 PM »
James still hasn't learned about the economics of electricity. 

France made an economic decision when it decided to quit using oil to generate electricity.  France would not make the same decision today.  There are now much cheaper alternatives.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: June 17, 2018, 10:19:50 AM »
It doesn't matter what I vote for to be honest.

George Bush = Illegal invasion of Iraq.

Al Gore = No Iraq invasion.

Yep, votes don't matter.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 14, 2018, 05:08:19 PM »
I've been in Turkey a few times in recent years.  There's a lot of civil stress in the country with a strongman president who appears to be trying to establish himself as 'president for life'.  I.e., the dictator.

He gets a lot of support from rural areas where people are more conservative and is being assisted by the Syrian war next door and a large number of refugees flooding over the border. 

Turkey may take a more conservative, religious turn for the next few years.   And that would probably mean less emphasis on clean energy.  Plus, as Turkey has screwed its chances of joining the EU, Europeans are likely to have less influence in getting Turkey to clean up its grid.

Working to help is the fact that few banks are willing to loan money for new coal plant construction and that number seems to continue to drop.

We're likely to see some countries head in the wrong/fossil fuel direction during this transition period.  Spain and Italy got off track and are now getting back on.  Germany is having trouble closing coal plants but has a new agency being set up to deal with the coal industry's resistance.  And, as we all know, the US is having its own set of problems at the moment.

These things will pass.  The comparative economics of fossil fuels and renewables will overcome political opposition.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 13, 2018, 05:35:57 PM »
Good news out of Europe.  Looks like Italy and Spain may get back to work cutting fossil fuel use.

New political leaders in Italy and Spain have brightened the outlook for renewables in two of Europe’s biggest energy markets.

In Italy, the fourth-largest economy in Europe, new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in his inaugural speech this month that “we will work to speed up the process, already in progress, of the ‘decarbonization’ of our production system.”

Conte was sworn in as a caretaker head of state after months of wrangling between the two coalition partners that emerged from Italy’s latest elections.

The center-right federation called League (Lega in Italian) and the populist Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle or M5S) both claim a commitment to environmental causes that might affect energy policy.

And last month Platts reported the coalition had agreed on measures including greater support for electric vehicles and renewables.

In Spain, citizens are still reeling from a change in government that took place within a week.

There, Pedro Sánchez used a no-confidence vote to oust Mariano Rajoy as prime minister after senior figures in Rajoy’s right-wing People’s Party (Partido Popular or PP in Spanish) were convicted of corruption.

Pulling a cabinet together over the weekend after the vote, Sánchez put distance between his center-left Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español or PSOE) and the PP.

His pick to lead energy policy was an acknowledged climate action advocate. On taking office, Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera was hailed as representing “a 180-degree turn in the fight against climate change in Spain.”

She is widely expected to seek a repeal of Spain’s notorious solar self-consumption "tax on the sun," and in one of her first ministerial interviews said, “I don’t think coal has much of a future.”

Ribera’s stance contrasts that of the PP, which clamped down on admittedly out-of-control renewable subsidy payments in 2011 and then steadfastly refused to offer any concessions to the industry afterward.

Plant owners found themselves in a regulatory quagmire as the rules of the game continued to change. Wind and solar installation rates plummeted.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 13, 2018, 05:17:55 PM »
Why all this "concern" over Turkey? 

Globally coal is on the decline.  Coal plants are being closed.  Turkey is a tiny player on the coal stage.

This feels like what climate change deniers do when they claim that the planet isn't warming because it was cold one night last winter.

If we are to survive this crisis, we need to cultivate an artists sensibility of the world around us.

If we are to survive this crisis we must find things that work.

Try hauling three toddlers, groceries, and yourself with your bum knee on a two wheeler in a driving rain. 

Try hauling your aged parent to their doctor's appointment.

Do that and you'll understand why bikes haven't replaced cars.


Try reading with understanding what I write so you don't post incorrect things like -

"One for Bob Wallace & Others captured by personal mobility?"

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 07, 2018, 05:59:25 AM »
I find this part of the Greenpeace article interesting.

China’s coal use remains well below its peak in 2013. Total CO2 emissions could be lower or higher depending on which time series you look at.

Note though that there are major uncertainties about short-term data – calculating back from recently published data, coal output in 2016-2017 seems to have been recently revised down by 5-10%, without explanation, which means that the recent increase is just coal demand reaching the level that we thought it was on in 2016. The revisions mean that the statistics initially understated how fast coal use and emissions were falling.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 04, 2018, 06:33:28 PM »
Sometime during the previous century I became aware of and concerned about climate change.  At that point I began to wonder how we might be able to stop using fossil fuels and move to clean electricity and transportation.

At the time wind was incredibly expensive ($0.39/kWh) as were solar panels ($12/watt).  Nuclear, was the least expensive low carbon way to generate electricity.  Hydro and geothermal might have been less expensive but too resource limited. 

With low carbon electricity from nuclear we might be able to perfect fuel cells enough to allow driving with hydrogen.

But moving to nuclear generated electricity and FCEVs would have meant higher electricity rates and transportation costs.  Which led me to trying to figure out how to get people to accept paying more when concern over climate change was very limited.

Having been involved in trying to get people to adopt less wasteful, organic lifestyles since the 1960s I couldn't generate much hope.  Most people won't spend money or effort on things that don't benefit them immediately.  People, in general, were not likely to spend money on something to benefit their yet unborn grandchildren.

Then the cost of renewables began to drop.  It became clear that renewables were going to become less expensive than nuclear.  So my thinking shifted from how do we get people to pay more for nuclear to how do we get people to pay more, but not as much more, to switch to renewable energy.  At that point I left nuclear behind.

Now we've reached the point at which wind and solar have become our two least expensive ways to generate.  As we add renewables to grids we should see the cost of electricity drop (or at least not rise as fast as the inflation rate). 

We are now (post 2015) in a new reality.  One in which renewables are replacing fossil fuels based on cost alone.  The external costs of health damage and climate change don't even need to be factored in. 

Renewables have dropped in cost while the cost of nuclear has risen.  It makes no sense to consider nuclear based on cost alone.  We don't even need to consider the possibility of a nuclear disaster or the unsolved problem of safe storage of nuclear waste.

Nuclear is dying.  Globally a large majority of reactors are aging out and new reactors are not being built in adequate numbers to replace them.

It's unlikely we'll ever see another reactor built in North America or western Europe.  South Korea is unlikely to build more.  Only China and Russia are likely to build more than one or two reactors going forward.  Some countries will probably need to build a reactor in order to prove to themselves that nuclear simply is a bad economic decision as has just happened in the US (South Carolina and Georgia).

This development seems to bring a lot of grief to a handful of individuals who, for some reason I can't fathom, have placed their faith in the future of energy firmly in nuclear.  For some reason they can't look at numbers that clearly show nuclear to be doomed and adjust their opinion.

Wind and solar are expected to continue to drop in price to the point at which electricity from wind and solar farms will cost only a bit more than the cost of fuel for a nuclear reactor.  There is simply no physical way to lower the cost of a nuclear plant to allow nuclear to become competitive.

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 04, 2018, 06:27:18 AM »
Solid proof that Germany has not decreased its CO2 emissions....

It's ridiculous to say that Tesla doesn't benefit from subsidies.

Perhaps it's a fine distinction that doesn't interest you, but there's a difference between receiving subsidies in the sense of “heavily subsidizing Elon Musk and his investors” and the company benefiting from higher sales due to customers receiving a purchasing subsidy. 

Especially when those subsidies are given to all electric vehicle sales in the US, regardless of manufacturer.

You'll have to excuse me when  I object to unfair and fact-free attacks on a company that is doing more to fight climate change than pretty much any other company in the world.  Fighting climate change is my number one priority.

z -  As I said earlier, I have no energy I wish to expend engaging in your stupid arguments.

This site needs an "Ignore" function.

It looks like we'll see about 2% of all global sales plug in vehicles this year.

It's taken about eight years to go from near nothing to 2%.  It took just over six years to go from near nothing to 1%. 

There's a generalization that says it takes about the same amount of time for a new technology to grow from 1% to 10% as it took to grow from 0% to 1%.  If that holds then 10% of all new car sales in 2024.  I suspect more than 10% of all new car sales will be EVs by 2024.

Why do I think the IEA's prediction is crap?  Look at the basis for their prediction -

Electric vehicle (EV) ownership will balloon to about 125 million by 2030, spurred by policies that encourage drivers, fleets and municipalities to purchase clean-running cars, the policy advisor to energy-consuming nations forecast on Wednesday.

Purchases will be pushed by policies.  These are people who are not paying attention.  (These are people who constantly fail with their RE predictions.)

By 2024 it should be as cheap, if not cheaper, to purchase an EV than a similar-featured ICEV.  Same or cheaper.  Plus significant annual operating savings.

For you lower purchase price you get not only lower opex but also a better, quieter ride, avoid filling stations, and don't have to deal with a lot of oil change type maintenance.  EVs will have become the new, must have technology.  Only dinos will buy a car that has to be filled up with smelly gasoline.

I suspect that by 2030 almost all new car sales will be EVs.  That's more than enough time to build the needed battery factories and change assembly lines to deal with battery packs rather than engines.

Policies are likely to come into play after 2030.  Policies designed to get the last fueled vehicles off roads and crushed. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: May 31, 2018, 07:19:33 PM »
However, here we are not looking for the occasional 'unreasonable man',   we are looking for a significant majority of the 'advanced' world's population to adopt a new way of living which will avoid catastrophic climate-related outcomes.

I'll return to my oft made claim. 

We will only get a significant majority, no, all people to adopt a new way of living if it:

a) is as good or better than the old way and

b) costs little more, or better less, than what the old way cost.

" How about we dispense with the terms "capitalism" and "socialism". "

Because those terms mean something. I'd rather use the original terms. I do not agree with the definition of capitalism as "how human beings operate" or with socialism as "buyer's clubs."


The theory of socialism has failed.  No country or large group has found it possible to operate as a socialist state.  Some level of force has to be added to keep people in line.

We're friggin' fighting over words left over from economic speculation.  Toss those old red flag words out and let's move to a potentially more productive discussion:

1) How do we control the greedy and make sure everyone has a reasonable route to success?

2) What do we need to own/pay for in common?

3) We all agree that we need to take care of those who are not able to take care of themselves.  Where do we set the limit of who gets help?

Those sane people would be ones like  Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), Manchin(D-WV), Nelson (D-FL), Shaheen (D-NH), Warner (D-VA) ? who voted a torturer for CIA head ?

We're kind of low on perfect people.  We're having to go to war with a few that don't 100% share your opinions.  If you really want to lose then set up a "my way" filter and don't allow anyone impure into your tiny tent.

And sometimes people who might agree with you vote differently.  Because they have to.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: May 25, 2018, 09:37:48 PM »
This is one of the most exciting things I've read in a long time.


"GTM Research did the math in a new report, Trends in Solar Technology and System Prices, which projects that utility scale fixed-tilt systems could reach 70 U.S. cents per watt by 2022.


For this analysis, pv magazine chose to increase the system cost above to 75¢/W to account for single-axis tracking. Our opinion is that this price is actually giving an extra penny or two, considering efficiency gains.

For capacity factor – we started with the 30.2% that we’re getting in California single-axis trackers last year and the year before, and we added 12.5% for the bifacial panel gain. That brought us to a capacity factor of 34%.

Next, we brought the capacity factor to 38%, an increase of about 11.8%. We did this because 20% bifacial solar panels mean an increase in panel efficiency of 17-25% from today’s product, and 38% seemed conservative.

Next we adjusted O&M costs to $7.50/kW to align with increases expected here as well. Currently, there are contracts sneaking out at $8-10/W – some influenced by the tax credit, some by super dense installation areas.

That leaves us with a simple, levelized cost of renewable energy at 1.5¢/kWh. This price does include profits for the utility scale developers.

And, if the solar power developer were to partner with a strategic tax equity investor who discounted the tax credit and depreciation by 25% – lowering the effective capital cost to 52¢/W to install, we get a price of 1.1¢/kWh. The cheapest electricity on the planet...."

The impact of 1 to 1.5 cent per kWh electricity would be enormous.  And this is an analysis that seems reasonable.   

Solar under 2 cents and wind at or below 2 cents means that resistance to decarbonizing the world's grids should crumble.  It would create a rush to replace fossil fuels with renewables, the sort of World War II effort that Jacobson and Delucchi talked about in their 2009 Scientific American paper, their blueprint to a renewable energy world.

Those sorts of electricity prices would speed the movement to EVs, leaving oil behind.  And 2 cent and lower electricity from the turbine/panel would create a rush to find new movable loads, cutting our need for storage and dispatchable generation.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: May 25, 2018, 08:45:08 PM »
I go to Costco when I buy toilet paper and purchase a pack of 48 rolls which lasts months. It is not that I wipe my ass a lot all at once and then go months without toilet paper. I wipe my ass only when needed which is almost always daily unless I am having difficulties.

Install a handheld bidet.

Save a forest.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: May 24, 2018, 10:20:53 PM »
The EIA just released the May monthly electricity report.  It covers the first quarter of 2018. 

Comparing the first quarter of 2018 to 2017 -

Wind generated electricity increased 19%.

PV solar generated electricity increased 33%.

That suggests the US will transition more fossil fuel generation to renewables in 2018 than they did in 2017 when 2.2% changed hands.

Tell you what, zizek, you pursue your solution.  I can't see how it can hurt.  If some people lighten their footprint then that just makes the job of replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy easier.

But I can sure as hell guarantee you that you aren't going to change Bubba.  He's not towing his bass boat to the lake behind a bicycle.  And he's not going to quit fishing even if it's the right thing to do.

You know who I see disrupting solidarity towards progress?  The same wet behind the ears idealists that I saw joining up with the SDS and supporting candidates who were too far to the left to wind back in the 1960s.

Been there.  Been through that.  Have low expectations of the most extreme moving society in any meaningful way.

He's gone out to reinvent the wheel, and tailor it for wealthy people.

You are shooting before clearing leather.  Get on top of the facts.

Elon just announced that the first LA tunnel has been completed.  Once the pod system is installed riding the system will cost less than a bus ticket.

Earlier he said that passengers would take precedence over private cars.

People are going to have to do make significant lifestyle changes if we are going to realistically combat climate change and other environmental issues.

No.  Lifestyles will not need to change.  If that were true then we would totally be screwed.  Many of us have worked for 50 years or more to get people to change their lifestyle and live lighter on the planet.  It hasn't worked, only a small percentage are willing to adopt a different lifestyle.

What we must do is to give people ways to continue to live in approximately the same way they live today.  But take away the CO2 (and other GHGs).

People can continue to drive cars.  Build them using renewable energy.  Build them out of sustainable materials.  "Fuel" them with renewable energy.

People can continue to live in individual houses.  Make the houses more energy efficient and heat/cool/light them with renewable energy.

The route to avoiding extreme climate change is to find acceptable, affordable replacements for carbon fuels. 

We are extremely fortunate.  We've figured out how to generate low carbon electricity.  We've figured out how to build battery powered vehicles.  We've figured out the "acceptable" part.  And it looks fairly certain that low carbon electricity will be cheaper than high carbon electricity and battery powered vehicles will be cheaper to purchase and cheaper to operate than the ICEVs they replace.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: April 25, 2018, 04:02:15 PM »
I trust the EIA's data.  But I place no value on their predictions.

I suspect as a part of the government they are making predictions that protect their budget rather than predictions which are likely to be predictive.

If the EIA predicted the death of coal and nuclear and the ascendency of renewable energy I suspect the Koch-sponsored member of Congress would cut their funding in the next budget.  We have a significant number of elected officials (offals) who have no problem ignoring inconvenient facts.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: April 25, 2018, 01:34:27 AM »
Here's a letter three of us sent to the EIA four years ago.

After some difficultly we managed to route it through the White House and got someone at the EIA to read it.  They basically blew us off and kept on keeping on.

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