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August 09, 2008

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PeterUK

Denmark,a world leader in the production of electricity generated by wind turbines,sells its off peak production to Norway and buys nuclear generated power from Germany at peak periods.
Seems like a winner to me,Norway and Germany are probably very grateful.

Karl

The scaling is almost always where these things fall apart. And in particular, with wind, you almost always end up falling back on wind turbines. Powered by gas. In which T. Boone Pickens has no small interest.

Mel Park

Pumping water as a storage battery has long been implemented. Each night and throughout the wee hours of the morning at Niagara Falls, NY water is diverted from the falls into penstocks to drive turbines. That electricity is then used to pump water up the Niagara Escarpment where is stored in a large artificial lagoon. This is located a mile or so down river from the falls. During peak electricity usage that stored water drives its own turbines to provide power to the electrical grid.

Bill Woods

A bit too late to patent it, yeah.

"The first use of pumped storage was in the 1890s in Italy and Switzerland. ...
In 2000 the United States had 19.5 GW of pumped storage capacity, accounting for 2.5% of baseload generating capacity."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity

Kevin B

PeterUK

I once read an article by the former head of Denmark's power company detailing some of the problems they had with their wind generators.

Until recently, the subsidies for installing windmills and the fact that the power company was forced by law to buy all wind generated electricity at a fixed price meant that installing windmills was a very good investment. That's the main reason that the Danes are world leaders in the business.

Yes, they can sell electricity to Norway and Sweden, but often at a loss per unit, and when the wind drops they have to buy from Germany at more than cost. They've even had situations where they had so much power to spare that they almost had to shut down one of their base load generators.

Still, cheap fusion is just around the corner, so we're ok.

PeterUK

KevinB,
The same thing here,subsidized "Green" electricity.A Renewable Obligation Certificate is a license to print money.
Poor Danes,they have to sell the electricity otherwise it will blow their grid.

Rick Ballard

I just hope that everyone who believes in the CO2 Monster sinks every extra dime they possess into windmills and PV schemes. I believe that it will turn out to be an extraordinarily educational investment.

Kevin B

Rick

The problem with that is that there are already lots of people betting their future on cap'n,trade, wind, sun, corn etc. and they are really invested in perpetuating the catastrophic climate change myth.

This means that it is taking longer than it should to shut the whole thing down, and when it finally crashes and burns, the economic consequences will be serious.

I've often thought it will take a real catastrophe to shake the greens out of their narcististic self-righteousness. Let's hope that South Ossetia isn' the start of it.

Regret

Why don't we just evaporate large quantities of water into vapor and move the water vapor to high elevations where we can store it in the form of glaciers and snow? Then during the summer months when we need the electricity, we could warm up the ice and snow and let it run downhill through large turbines to generate electricity? We could come up with some snazzy name like hydroelectric power and... oh, wait.

PeterUK

Rick,
"I just hope that everyone who believes in the CO2 Monster sinks every extra dime they possess into windmills".

In the UK and Europe it is a money spinner,the power utilities have to use "green" electricity by law.
A winner,find a windswept beauty spot,whack up a wind farm,recoup the costs in no time,keep taking a profit until it all goes pear shaped.The shell company in the Caymans can't be located to repair the things when they break down,so either the taxpayer picks up the tab or we stick a wick in a green and light our lives by that.

Rick Ballard

"Let's hope that South Ossetia isn' the start of it."

Dunno about that - the Russian Bear might stimulate additional nuke construction within the EU. I know the watermelons have even more power there than they have here but that gentle right turn which has occurred in France, Germany and Italy may get a lot sharper as the Russians flex their muscles.

If this Russian play pops oil back up above $140 it will have major repercussions for the election. It will also offer McCain the opportunity and rationale to go to ANWR and be photographed with a shovel in his hand standing next to a big "Dig Here For Oil" sign.

I know, probably way too optimistic. Maybe not, though.

Danube of Thought

I gotta go back and get refreshed on the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics...

Kevin B

Governments world wide are offering lots of money to people to pretend to save the planet. So, lots of people are pretending to save the planet. (Even if it means such onerous tasks as flying to exotic destinations in fleets of private jets, being driven in convoys of air-conditioned, armor-plated limos to five star hotels, and discussing ways of faux planet-saving over seven course meals.)

The problem, of course, is that govenments don't have any money so that have to get it from the sheep taxpayer.

Also, since faux planet-saving can increase a company's costs, they have to put up prices to the sheep consumer.

So, you may get a grant to change your light bulbs, but it ain't half going to cost you.

Baa! Humbug!

PeterUK

"I know the watermelons have even more power there than they have here but that gentle right turn which has occurred in France, Germany and Italy may get a lot sharper as the Russians flex their muscles."

Unfortunately now they have ratified the Lisbon Treaty/ Constitution all they can do is grab their collective ankles and think of Brussels.

Ric Locke

T. Boone Pickens shows the way.

Pickens is a scammer -- somebody who specializes in people not knowing what they're getting into until too late, people who don't pay attention to the fine print. He's made four billion dollars by scamming.

But he's not in jail. In fact, he's highly respected. Why is that? --because he doesn't scam widows and orphans; he specializes in scamming other scammers and conning con-men. Many celebratory parties, in which people gleefully congratulate one another for having put one over, have gone quiet when the phone rings: "...I think he said 'Mesa Petroleum'." If Pickens takes an interest in a business or scheme, somewhere in the system there's people raking in the bucks by scraping with the thin edge of legality, and T. Boone wants his cut. Which is most of it.

T. Boone Pickens looooves him some wind power. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Regards,
Ric

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Les Nessman

TM:
"And just off-hand, the areas in which T. Boone Pickens is planning his wind farms don't strike me as having easy access to lakes and dams."

Oh, but they do have the potential for eminent domain takeovers for water pipelines. Which is part of ol' Tbone's plan.

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M. Simon

I wish this canard would just go away.

Distributed wind power is not totally intermittent.

Wind turbines generate an average of 33% of name plate ratings.

Distributed wind can provide 20% of nameplate rating as base load. Or about 2/3s of its average output.

It would be wise if our gracious host would consult an engineer knowledgeable in the field before spouting off. The link also tells why wind and natural gas electricity are complimentary.

As to what T Boone is up to? There are valid suspicions.

In any case get the technology right. Then critique the politics.

M. Simon

I wish this canard would just go away.

Distributed wind power is not totally intermittent.

Wind turbines generate an average of 33% of name plate ratings.

Distributed wind can provide 20% of nameplate rating as base load. Or about 2/3s of its average output.

It would be wise if our gracious host would consult an engineer knowledgeable in the field before spouting off. The link also tells why wind and natural gas electricity are complimentary.

As to what T Boone is up to? There are valid suspicions.

In any case get the technology right. Then critique the politics.

ajacksonian

The problem with fuel cells is that they are, at best and in theory, only 80% round-trip efficient: you only get 80% out of what you put in. Lead acid batteries are in the 90% range.

The Niagara Falls power complex fills its reservoirs at night and uses Lake Erie water level as it goes down the Niagara River to do that - and then releases that water during the daytime for the increased generation of electricity during peak hours: that is efficient and works. You can pump water uphill, but do go through the energy needed to do that pumping and the return on that energy investment when said water is released.

Fusion, via the Polywell system, promises much and is going through its first tests at a decent scale to show viability. It may solve a lot of problems as it is 'off-the-shelf' technology. That said the best solution would be an X-Prize level investment in superconductors for high capacity and high temperature (both, separate prizes and a much higher combined prize for one that does both simultaneously). At so close to 100% round-trip energy return, superconductors offer the best possible means to store electricity.

Solar's best place is out of the atmosphere and reduced sunlight due to absorption and angle of incidence to the planetary surface, and to be out in space with a microwave system on the ground to rectify it electricity. India is already clearing an island for this purpose and will be putting up its first pilot project within a decade. Add a bit of manufacturing and mining on the moon, and you get a much lower cost production system with high levels of automation (either via robotics or remotely operated systems).

Current fission systems (third and fourth gen) have a demonstrated reliability and lower pollution stream as seen in Japan and France, plus other nations investing in such designs and moving away from the designs of the first and second generation. The concept of an completely encapsulated nuclear generator that becomes its own storage container once it runs out of fissile material has been looked at and those designs are ones where a critical mass for meltdown cannot be reached. For isolated towns, that may serve as a good near-term solution. Also the larger generators would do very well for a moderate term solution and into the future. Final silica encapsulation of waste has been proposed and should be thoroughly examined, as well as final storage facilities. May I suggest drilling to put them into subduction zones for recycling?

Basically, wind, water and other 'green' sources all offer a bare fraction of the solar energy they take in, while that solar energy is cheap and efficient for the procurement in orbit with low to near zero risk (as seen in O'Neill's Princeton group back in the 1960's) for beaming it back to the surface.

Any moderate term solution must recognize the nature of the infrastructure we have, that changing to any of the alcohols requires a huge re-investment in that infrastructure, that electricity is relatively efficient although lacking proper high efficiency storage, and work to shift that mix, over, say, 30 years, from the chemical system to a system of distributed energy generation, transportation and storage that slowly eliminates the chemical system for all but specific uses.

Hydrocarbons are, really, far too valuable to waste as fuel when they could be making up plastics, lubricants and other advanced polymers and monomers for use in daily life. Unfortunately you can't do this by government mandate as any chosen solution *now* will prove to be costly and inefficient as better technology comes along. Government does have a role to play in the incentivizing of such technologies, mandating only winning needs not winning solutions, and then using its contract power to purchase lots of that new solution for a set period. Do this in a non-first past the post system, so that the first three new technologies in a given area are rewarded and you get: diversified competition that is not monopolistic.

That is an energy policy.

Note that no political candidate knows how to talk policy any more.

kim

Even in the old days, windmills were perched over wells. That was before rural electrification and rural water made those two valuable commodities reliable. Natural gas is easy to engineer into any energy scheme, and that water ain't his.
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kim

Excellent, ajack; alternatively, nuclear wastes that can no longer be re-refined may be dropped into the midocean trenches, where nothing geologically can happen to them for millions of years, except be silted over.

Excellent point about the horrible waste of all those lovingly and laboriously created hydrocarbon bonds. They are much too valuable to waste simply for the energy within them. Alternative sources will surely price them out of the energy market. Surely, surely. As you point out, what must be avoided at all costs is the sort of government intervention that brought us the biofuel fiasco. My Daddy told me twenty years ago that the only way ethanol made sense was with subsidies from government. Where was the uproar back then? And why wasn't there an uproar?
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kim

I mean that water ain't his'n.
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kim

By the way, Peter, the Guardian is already out of date with their Arctic Ice melt gloom and doom. Three days of high melting gave them an opportunity to frighten the masses again, but the Baby Ice has huddled together for comfort and the melt rate dropped precipitously just in the last two days. It is a great race though with symbolism far more important than reality. Last year's great melt was more from warm winds than from global warming. Last weeks melt was from warm air from Siberia, not from Beaufort Sea storms as the Guardian would have it.
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kim

Follow the Great Baby Ice Race at climateaudit.org
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M. Simon

Here in the Mid West temps are expected to hit a low of 49 deg F. During a time that is expected to be the hottest time of the year.

It is only weather of course. However, a few years of this and it will be climate.

Space Weather

kim

Poisonally, Simon, I think noctilucent clouds are an aurora-like manifestation, from magnetic and electrical forces. I also think they may have a little to do with albedo and climate regulation. You heard it here first, 'cuz I just MSU, that is 'make stuff up'.
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M. Simon

You been cribbing from Real Climate again Kim. :-)

kim

Oh, is that what they say there? I don't read RealClimate except rarely. I do read climateaudit.org and icecap.us and climatesci.org and Watt's Up. I've also been trying to pound the mules at DotEarth with a 2X4, but am about ready for a sabbatical. I've made my point there.
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battery

Just did a little research. By seating Florida and even splitting MI in Hillary's favor, like 60/40, she would seem to still be behind at the current rate, something like 2096 to 2209. If you add in SD etc I'm not sure she can close it, but I would have to add in the hard figures from those states just be sure. Well in that case I would not be so mad at FL and MI not counting.

sophy

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