Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - numerobis

Pages: [1]
Policy and solutions / Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:37:42 PM »
There was a grist article that made the rounds predicting that Bitcoin mining would take more power than the US uses by two years from now. Ars Technica points out that's not likely:

The number of bitcoins is controlled to grow by roughly a set amount per time period. If it's increasing too fast, the network increases the computational cost per bitcoin.

As bitcoin prices rise, miners fire up their computers to mine bitcoin, increasing the energy cost. That increase the rate of bitcoin production, so the network increases the computational cost. That reduces the bitcoin benefit per $ spent on computation, so miners start to drop out, and there's an equilibrium reached.

In short, bitcoin energy cost grows roughly as the number of kWh you can buy for one bitcoin grows. It doesn't grow without bound.

Arctic Background / Walrus
« on: August 18, 2017, 03:57:30 AM »
One of the consequences of sea ice melt is walrus end up living on shore in the thousands. And that puts them at risk of polar bears and stampedes:

This used to be a rare event; now it's becoming an annual event, and happening ever earlier.

Policy and solutions / Net metering policies
« on: July 14, 2017, 03:42:50 PM »
Excellent news: QEC (Nunavut's power company) has announced it's moving forward on a net metering program.

My interpretation:
  • This applies only to residential customers.
  • Month by month you get net metering, paying as little as zero for electricity. You still pay per day for being on the grid. A thing about Canadian tax law, you pay GST on the electricity you buy, but you don't collect it on the electricity you sell, so IIUC, "net metering" is really just "up to 95% off". That's not clearly spelled out. Still, 95% off is a lot off.
  • If you overproduce, it rolls over to the next month, but it gets zeroed out at the end of March. So e.g. if you overproduce in spring and summer, but underproduce in fall, you will still get 95% off your electricity charge.
  • Max 10 kW.
  • Max 7% of the grid (measured at its annual peak demand).
  • For any renewables, not specifically for solar (but solar is the most realistic right now).


Why this makes financial sense: Residential charges are about C$0.30 - C$0.40 per kWh here (depending whether you're a land claims agreement beneficiary or not), plus/minus a fuel surcharge. Diesel fuel alone in Iqaluit at current prices is about C$0.25/kWh. Adding in maintenance, it looks to me that the variable costs roughly match the residential charges in Iqaluit. In the communities, which are 2/3rds of the electricity demand, the costs are higher (more $/litre of diesel, and more litre/kWh, and more expensive to send parts) but revenue is identical. The utility definitely wins there.

The actual cost overall, including maintenance and capital and administration, is estimated at a minimum of $0.60/kWh in Iqaluit, up to about $1.20/kWh in the most expensive communities. But that's a funny figure: some is a fixed cost no matter how much energy is generated (and the fixed administrative costs go *up* not down with net metering), some is a capital cost that depends on peak demand, not on the average demand. It doesn't tell you much about the cost of electricity that net metering is avoiding.

I suspect the peak demand on the grid doesn't change when you use solar panels in Nunavut. I'd expect the peak demand every day to be around 6pm or so. In winter you'll get zero solar generation at that time, so there'll be no effect on the peak.

Walking the walk / Trash
« on: July 13, 2017, 04:55:11 PM »
Not exactly climate change, but still takin care of the environment:

Over a decade ago (!) when I was in grad school, I walked through a park to my office just about every day. A beautiful 20-minute walk. Slightly marred by just how much trash there was on the way.

Eventually I decided to pick up one particularly ugly piece that had been there for weeks. The next day, I picked up another. After two weeks, the path was almost clean -- I'd find a piece once in a while, but not all the time.

From that experience I took on the goal of picking up one piece of someone else's trash in a public place every day. It may seem Sysyphian at first, it actually does help. By having it be routine, i do more through than I can do in that feel-good day of volunteering (which I've also been known to partake in).

I've never mentioned this to anyone until last week, when I mentioned to my partner that in Iqaluit I would bump it up to two pieces given how bad it is here. She hadn't thought of doing anything about it until then; now she's taken on the habit. And so I resolved to talk more about my habit, in hopes it'll spread far and wide.

Consequences / Arctic transport affected by climate change
« on: July 12, 2017, 06:58:48 PM »
Something I noticed last night while looking in to the schedule for when my goods get to Iqaluit: this year, my shipper, Desgagn├ęs Transarctik, is not picking up goods in Churchill to deliver to communities in central and western Nunavut. Instead, it has a ship leaving Montreal that's going down the St Lawrence and around Labrador and Quebec, to get to those communities -- and to Churchill itself.

That's because one of those 500-year events that's become so common lately knocked out the rail line to Churchill this spring. With that, Churchill flipped from being the port to supply Hudson Bay and the western Arctic, to being a fly-in community.

That's similar to what's happened in the NWT and the northern reaches of Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan: they're supplied by a seasonal road only open in winter -- the roads follow frozen lakes and rivers. That season is getting shorter. Increasingly often they're stuck flying in all their supplies -- even the diesel for heat and electricity.

Walking the walk / Sourcing solar panels and batteries
« on: April 24, 2017, 04:01:50 AM »
Where does one get good information on sourcing supplies for home solar + battery systems, for Canada? I'm finding it hard to know what current prices are.

I know Tesla is selling its battery, supposedly shipping next month, for surprisingly not so expensive. But they must have competition. And for panels, it seems highly fragmented.

Arctic sea ice / Amundsen helicopter crash kills three
« on: September 11, 2013, 12:40:22 AM »
Tragic accident on the Amundsen:

Its helicopter crashed into the sea, killing the pilot, captain, and a researcher.

The forum / How to find the forum?
« on: April 01, 2013, 07:56:38 PM »
The forum is well hidden from the blog.  To find it, I knew of its existence, googled, found the announcement of its creation, and looked for the appropriate link in that blog post.

How would anyone who doesn't know about the forum discover it?

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Gulf of Saint Lawrence
« on: April 01, 2013, 07:07:00 PM »
Looking at the NSIDC March maximum map, I noticed that the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is largely ice-free -- whereas normally it is frozen over.  Indeed, Environment Canada anomaly maps show it very low compared to the normals.  How long has the Gulf been thawed?  I hadn't heard about it in the media.

I wonder how the climate of Newfoundland will be (or has been) affected.

Pages: [1]