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80 Comments

  1. Gotta love those aristocrats telling us how to live our lives.

    Watch the deteriorating green energy situation in Europe. The CEOs of all major utilities are crying uncle. They can’t take the imposed energy paradigm anymore.

  2. Has Letterman ever had a true undiluted pro-nuke advocate guest on his show? Be nice if NEI or ANS or such orgs sent Letterman an offer for a competent counterpoint spokesman (Draft Rod). God knows these shows rarely if ever have one! I just can’t sit and let FUD artists and green charlatans take center stage all the time! (Ah, if only I was prez of NEI/ANS…just off a the cuff fantasy)

    Re: “..It is particularly absurd for someone has proposed a power system in which the state of New York would receive 40% of its total energy supply from 12,700 off-shore wind turbines — by 2030 — ”

    What’s too often overlooked or disregarded besides the financial is the aesthetic and scenic and natural heritage consequences of going all wind and solar! Who wants to drive up the New York Thruway with windmills whirling away (when they do) on the rim of all your once bucolic horizons all the way up or see them scattered all over in the distance from the Empire State building deck or other high-rises or shorelines? Too many people think windmills are almost romantic till get up close to the monsters they really are. We’re supposed to let future generation grow up believing thousands of acres of glass panels and monster whirligigs around the place are as natural as maple trees now when there’s a ready far less obtrusive alternative? Then, if even nature-passionate Vermont’s willing to raze the haunts of The Green Mountain Boys and Ethan Allen for such, I guess we would.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. We’re as likely to get windmills off the coast of the Hamptons as we are getting them off Martha’s Vineyard. I’d like to know what Christie Brinkley will do when the surveyors are out on her beach benchmarking for the substation.

  3. “…power demand of 94 GWe will require an installed capacity of 271 MWe of …”

    Did you mean 94 *MWe*??

    Great rebuttal, Rod. I can see all of us who believe in a really humane future for our species spending 100% of our time on this issue.

    David

      1. That average power demand of 94 GWe has to be for all of the energy demands of New York state and not solely electricity generation. Indian Point 2 and 3 provide only a bit more than 2 GWe, but I know that they provide much more than 4% of the electricity for the state of New York.

        1. @Joel Riddle

          Yes, Jacobson’s wind, water, and sunshine proposal claims to replace all energy demands, including industrial and transportation.

  4. James, how far to you live form “Big Bertha” in Astoria?

    I always thought a set of SMRs placed at the old Con Ed plant on west 57th street would be an ideal location for some NYC nuclear!

    1. Re: “James, how far to you live form “Big Bertha” in Astoria? I always thought a set of SMRs placed at the old Con Ed plant on west 57th street would be an ideal location for some NYC nuclear!”

      You mean “Big Allis” on the East River whose breakdowns never got the play Indian Point did. No joke, as I think I mentioned here before, during TMI on WCBS-TV a Con-Ed spokesman getting harshly grilled by the “reporter” said quite bluntly that he’d feel safe if Indian Point was on Welfare (now Roosevelt) Island. Wish there was a way to get a video clip of that!

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      1. @James Greenidge

        Are you aware of the fact that Con Ed wanted to build a nuclear plant in Long Island City along the East River?

        http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/when-con-ed-wanted-a-nuclear-plant-in-the-heart-of-nyc/?_r=0

        I’m guessing that “Big Allis” was built on that site when the antinuclear movement had its way.

        On further research, I found a treasure trove of historical articles about nuclear power plants inside New York city limits.

        https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/84177-queens-atomic-plant.html

        Fascinating reading!

        1. Rod, thanks for those hotlinks!! One infamous nuke hysteria road-kill here was that Columbia U had to scuttle a little nuke of its own in Manhattan — the snug media here said it caught “Brookhaven fever”. I THINK Fordham also had one they had to abandon — someone had a “training” nuke within the city limits way back but I have to strain to recall. It was in their best interests to be mum about that neighborhood-wise.

          James Greenidge
          Queens NY

          1. agreed! amazing! The good ‘ol days…I have one singular objection to putting nukes in NY or any major city, at least of the old PWR variety: I would never want to subject a dense urban population to that sort of 24/7 4 to 6 year construction period! No way…way too much (though, at the time, Long Island City had about as many residents as a tiny village in upstate NY). R&D reactors are of course something altogether different, as are, I suspect, SMRs.

            David Walters

    1. Daniel,
      I am not sure whether UK parliament will approve this, as:

      – It seems that they give the Chinese major influence (control?) over one of their biggest electricity plants.
      – The guaranteed rates during 35 years (inflation corrected!) imply a subsidy of $40-60billion.
      If the opposition can calculate, and they add to that the liability subsidies and the value of the loan guarantees then they have a nice point for next elections:

      “The Tories smashing big money ($2,000 per UK tax payer!) to the Chinese in the form of many subsidies, while common citizens have to economize!”

  5. It sounds very much like WWS is just another incarnation of increased natural gas use. Even corporate raider Boone Pickens and party animal Robert Kennedy admit that any scheme that pushes wind and solar is nothing but a natural gas project in disguise. They have two things in common: get rid of nuclear, and burn more natural gas. That’s what all of these schemes come down to in the end.

    1. Here’s another smoking gun:

      Natural gas can displace most gasoline use, which could double the US market for NG all by itself.  However, there is no push for this because it would displace imported petroleum.  Only the much smaller (in fuel consumption) trucking industry is converting… which allows the freed US ULSD to be sold to profitable overseas markets.  Whose interest does this serve?  The oilco’s.

  6. Cut to the chase already. The oligarchs hate nuclear. Nuclear enhances freedom. The oligarchs want a bunch of dummies in silly uniforms living in tents.

  7. In the nineties the Germans had a 10 year long debate and spent ~$200million for studies, before they agreed in 2000 to their present path:
    A 50year scenario, which targets no nuclear (in 2023) and >80% (probably >90%) renewable for electricity generation (in 2050).

    Somehow parties in this debate did not take the opportunity to learn from the German experience, and set unrealistic targets, etc.
    Often the Atlantic ocean is still very wide…

    Now transition will go faster as the costs of solar is ~5times lower and wind ~half. But it still will take ~5 decades for 100% renewable.
    Unless all political parties agree that they are prepared to suffer in order to reach that 100% renewable target (the Germans were not prepared to that).

    But it is a good thing that US arrived now roughly at the point Germany was in ~1990.

    1. @Bas

      Once again, I must remind you that America, unlike Germany, has no history indicating that it can be seduced into lemming-like behavior on an ill-advised course of action. We have our arguments and our policy challenges, but we have never been accused of speaking or acting in a singleminded manner.

      The people who are responsible for providing reliable electricity to customers in Europe are finally pointing out the futility of the energy supply choices recommended by people like Gerhart Schroeder and his Gazprom buddies.

      http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/11/utilities-renewables-ceos-idUKL6N0I11UF20131011

    2. The only thing we can learn from Germany is how *not* to decarbonize the economy. To prevent the mistakes made in Germany, a few simple rules should be followed:

      1. Base energy policy on science, not on sentiment or enthousiasm. (The laws of nature are not subject to human preferences or ideologies)

      2. Think the energy policy through, including implementation and ultimate endpoint. (It is *not* good policy to rely on ‘future technological innovations’ as a fundamental requirement for succes.)

      3. Be honest. If a policy is going to cost money, don’t lie about it and tell people it will not cost money.

      4. Strive to *increase* domestic industrial activity, not to reduce it. (Policy prejudice against ‘polluting industry’) is rampant in EU democracies. The theory is that environmental targets can be met by reducing industrial activity (i.e. by raising energy prices thereby forcing industry out of the country). This is *not* a valid strategy. It is actually counterproductive, because the industries in non-EU countries are likely to be less well regulated (i.e. more polluting!). Industry should be kept at home, which is done best by guaranteeing *low* prices, (rather than constantly lobbying for ‘extra taxes on energy for energy intensive industries’ like the pseudo greens are doing!)

      1. Joris
        The Germans did all those 4 points, so their public is happy as shown at last month elections.
        They spend $200million for (partly scientific) scenario studies, formulated end points, told honestly about it, and increased industrial activity far more than we in NL.

        1. @Bas

          The German public has been happy so far because their leaders have pushed much of the cost into the future in the form of commitments for Feed In Tariffs purchasing electricity for higher than market prices lasting twenty years.

          Many are pleased with the seemingly free income stream from their Chinese made solar panels, but I will bet that they will be increasingly disappointed with their performance as the systems deteriorate and require maintenance. Solar advocates love to imply that systems with “no moving parts” require no maintenance, but they forget that windows have no moving parts yet people often fail to keep them clean. Dirty solar panels do not produce as much power as clean ones.

          Materials that must purposely be fully exposed to weather variations also deteriorate. Roofs have no moving parts, but most roofing materials only last 15-20 years before needing to be replaced.

          It is easy to increase industrial activity based on borrowed money, but if the money is spent on items that do not produce as much valuable output as expected, it will be increasingly difficult to make the required payments.

          1. Rod
            Present FiT’s (15c – 10c/kWh for solar, 8c for wind on land) can hardly called a huge subsidy (German consumers pay 26c for electricity now).

            … most roofing materials only last 15-20 years …
            In NL and in Germany roofs have ceramic tiles which lasts at least 100years.
            PV panels are guaranteed 25years (also regarding yield). So I expect those last roughly the same. Economic life will be shorter. Being replaced by sheets that have much higher yields.

            Btw.
            I tried two times to upload my response to your first reaction, but it vanished…?

            1. @Bas – those are the FITs for NEW systems. I know you will correct me with references if I am wrong, but existing systems get paid the FIT that was in effect at the time they were built.

          2. Rod,
            Your 20 year FiT assumption in Germany is right. So their surcharge may even slightly raise from the present ~4c to ~5c or so.
            It won’t be much as I remember that Angela said those should not rise anymore.

            And her word is about the law, even in the EU now, as shown with the intended import tax (~40%) on Chinese PV-panels. When she said that those seemed not productive, the bureaucrats in Brussels started to seek a compromise agreement with the Chinese, going to Beijng…
            Seems similar with the EU investigation regarding the too low electricity rates big German companies pay (forbidden). That investigation may never end…

            It may also be a reason wind on sea is lagging far behind, as those FiT’s have to be rather high (until wind turbines become maintenance free).

            Guarantee
            Agree, as the PV-panel market is still in its infancy it is very difficult to predict whether a company will survive the (necessary) two or three shake-outs.

    3. “Often the Atlantic ocean is still very wide…”

      And getting wider every day, thank god. Keep the fanatical European greens as far from North America as possible.

  8. @Rod
    You are a good writer:-)!

    …an ill-advised course of action…
    Remember vaguely that some US consultancy firms also got part of that $200million.

    Getting to the beef:
    Last month elections showed that the German public is rather happy with the situation.
    Angela even started negotiations with the greens in order form a coalition, as those with the socialists go rather difficult.

    From your Reuters article:
    …CEOs, who call themselves the Magritte Group after an initial meeting in an art gallery…
    Their name (after surrealist Magritte) and the art gallery meeting place, show how far off from the real world those boy’s are.

    Except in Spain where they organized sort of coup d’etat, these CEO’s head companies that are loosing market share while the market volume goes down.
    So many face losses. Especially in Germany as they over-invested in new PP’s.

    So they create FUD (despite excellent German availability figures), in order to arrange changes in the EU regulations in such a way that those will subsidize and benefit them…
    Trying to get rid of Feed-in-Tariff’s, etc.

    1. “Last month elections showed that the German public is rather happy with the situation.”

      Really? So the phase out of nuclear plants and subsidies for renwables was the ONLY issue in the election?

      Sorry Bas, but the winner of an election where multiple issues are involved can’t claim that the populace agrees with every one of their policies unless they get 100% of the votes. Just like Obama can’t claim that the US populace is happy with Obamacare because he won the 2012 election.

      All that winning the election says is that when all the issues are taken together the populace prefers the winners stance over the losers. The populace might be 100% against any particular policy of the winner, yet still believe that over all that candidate is the best choice.

      So please don’t make unwarranted claims of support based on a source that provides no such support.

      1. ddpalmer,
        The public did more.
        They voted the only party that wanted a slow down of the Energiewende (delaying closure of NPP’s), out of parliament (I believe the first time since its existence)!

        Furthermore poll’s show that support for the Energiewende grew in the last years substantially (suppose thanks to Fukushima) towards ~90% levels. Which is in line with my personal experience talking with Germans (found no one against) in Germany (my German is much better than my English).

        1. Are you really that clueless or are you just acting that way to try and convince yourself you are right?

          The only way your contention can be true is if the ONLY difference between the parties was the issue of delaying closure of the NPP’s, and none of us (including you) are ignorant enough to believe that. I don’t doubt that it may have been the deciding factor for some voters, but with many many other issues involved it is impossible to claim that based on the election results the population supports the closure.

          Now if you had made the claimed based on a poll, that you of course can provide a link to, that would be a different situation. But you didn’t, you claimed that the election proved your claim which is laughable. Almost as laughable as your anecdotal evidence.

      2. All that winning the election says is that when all the issues are taken together the populace prefers the winners stance over the losers. The populace might be 100% against any particular policy of the winner, yet still believe that over all that candidate is the best choice.

        @ddpalmer

        Good point. Japan is also a very good example of this.

        Polling is typically where you look to get these answers (not election results).

        1. El
          This is the first time the FDP, that wanted to slow the Energiewende, didn’t get the threshold of 5% voters since it’s foundation in 1949.
          In last elections (2009) they got 14.6%. So this is not a ‘normal’ loss.

          There are big differences between Germany and
          US, Japan, UK, France.

          For German population, nuclear is far more important.
          They had war-like fights with police/army involving >100,000 people, etc.

          Apart from other NPP’s, such as Brokdorf and enrichment installation Wackersdorf, they also succeeded in stopping Kalkar which was considered to be the cornerstone of German nuclear strategy.
          The fast breeder, Kalkar, was stopped while it was completely ready to start. An investment of some 10billions down the drain.

          Even now many Germans cannot go into their nearby woods and gather & eat the mushrooms, due to Chernobyl, as a few complained this spring to me.

          You do not find big green parties in similar other countries. In Germany they run/ran some states (in the south).

          How important it is for them was shown when Merkel decided in the autumn of 2010 to postpone the phase-out of NPP’s by some 10years. Her popularity fell dramatically. So Fukushima delivered her a great opportunity to restore.

          She stopped all NPP’s immediately (do not know of any other country doing that) and started safety investigations. My rough estimation; that move delivered her ~20 points in the polls.
          Then she declared she would guard the Energiewende and make it into a success! And ordered the closing of 7 NPP’s to be final. I believe a few more than according to the year 2000 agreed schedule!
          (utilities started legal fights to get compensation; not sure whether that is smart. Their future depends on political benign)
          All in all, I consider her moves & flexibility to be brilliant. So do the Germans considering her exceptional high ratings in the polls (>80%, far more than the ~45% of her CDU/CSU).

          German politics don’t have the bitter fights that US has. The differences are relative small. The Greens want to speed up the Energiewende (they lost some), the FDP a slow down (lost 67%), SDP wants a minimum wage (won some; almost all countries in EU have that), CDU/CSU (Merkel) just wants to continue (won substantially).
          Politicians are aware that the interest of the country is far more important than that of their party.

          1. @Bas

            You incorrectly wrote:

            She stopped all NPP’s immediately (do not know of any other country doing that) and started safety investigations.

            Merkel ordered 8 out of 17 nuclear plants to shut down immediately. The other 9 are still operating and providing Germany with a substantial quantity of reliable, 24 x 7 electricity. In the first half of 2013, 9 German nuclear plants produced 46 TW-hours of electricity, 18% of Germany’s total production. That portion is almost identical to the 19% of total US electricity supplied by our 100 nuclear reactors.

            http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-G-N/Germany/#.Ul0GkWTvndk

            I read recently that none of the 8 that were shut down immediately have been put into a condition that prevents them from being restarted in the future, however, I am having a little difficulty finding the link.

            One more thing – you must stop characterizing Ted Rockwell’s small variations in punctuation in his letter to the NYAS as being malicious. His wording accurately summarizes the intent of the authors of the scientifically unsupportable Chernobyl Consequences fiction. If you fail to heed my warning, I will stop tolerating your presence here.

          2. @Rod,
            Sorry, I remembered wrongly that Merkel ordered March 15 a temporal stop of all NPP’s (I should have checked).
            According to Wikipedia, she stopped 7 NPP’s temporary, until the decision at May 30 to stop the 8 oldest NPP’s permanently.

            It was decided then that one NPP should stay stand-by until 2013 in order to handle the winter peaks. However the responsible grid authority (the ‘Bundesnetzagentur’) judged that that was not necessary, as it could secure reliable supply without that spare capacity.
            All info from: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom-Moratorium

            It throws another light on the publications about possible German black-outs during summer / fall of 2011.
            _____

            Agree, no mentioning of Ted Rockwell’s letter.
            Sorry, I should have realized it may hurt.

            1. @Bas

              Though Google translation leads to some potential for misunderstanding compared to reading the native language, I believe that your link supports my contention that none of the shutdowns are irreversible. The order is described as a moratorium, not a law and it indicates that litigation over compensation and long term decisions is still in progress.

              Your claim of victory over future German nuclear energy use is premature. As my friend’s bumper sticker proclaims “Reality bats last.” That phrase might not translate well unless you are a baseball fan.

          3. “The Greens want to speed up the Energiewende (they lost some), ”

            Now if your claim that the election results can be used as a proxy for the publics feelings agains the NPP’s, shouldn’t the Greens have shown a gain since they are pushing for faster shutdowns?

            Or is it possible, as someone suggested, that the publics feelings about NPP’s and the various parties stance on that one issue are just one of many factors that lead voters to vote as they did?

            “SDP wants a minimum wage (won some…”

            And how can their stance on the minum wage have help the SDP gain votes if the votes where all about the NPP stance of the party?

            Thank you for shooting yourself in the foot.

          4. Rod,
            .. your link supports my contention that none of the shutdowns are irreversible…
            You may be quite right.
            I have not seen any publication at all regarding decommissioning the plants.

            They may follow about the same policy as NL.
            Doodewaard, 60MW NPP, was closed in 1997.
            Last fissionable material removed in 2005.
            Decommission after 40 years.

            Or they may want it to keep “ready for restart” as that may deliver them an argument in the legal battle. However that seems rather expensive to me.
            Those fights may continue long time. And I remember vaguely the utilities only demand financial compensation.

            And the election results deliver no prospect for a restart in the next four years (unless forced by the judge).
            Merkel’s coalitions are rather stable, so four years before next elections.
            And at that time production flexibility will be even more important as they will then have added at least another 4 x 5GW = 20GW (wind+solar).

            Yesterday evening I spent time looking at their grid plans.
            The grid being the prime bottle neck that restrict the installation speed of wind and solar down to only 5GW/a.
            Despite the new law to speed grid enhancements, it seems to me those grid plans go rather slow. So it may take until 2018 before wind+solar installation speeds can go back to the 10GW/a levels (solar FiT’s are then at ~7c/KWh levels).
            At that time the first plant for conversion of electricity into gas suitable to be injected in the gas pipelines may be ready, and capacity of the connection to Norway may be enhanced (the new NL-Norway line should then ready), so (pumped) storage capacities are enhanced as well.

            Why this long grid enhancement period? E.g.
            They are still in the trial phase for the 1MV DC lines (it is easier to put DC lines underground than the usual AC. Underground takes away lots of NIMBY). Actual trajectories not really planned yet, etc.
            You can see the long distance developments at: http://www.netzausbau.de/cln_1911/DE/Vorhaben/BBPlG-Vorhaben/BBPlG-Vorhaben-node.html

          5. @ddpalmer
            shouldn’t the Greens have shown a gain since they are pushing for faster shutdowns?
            German know quite well that higher speed implies more surcharges or tax. So may be they don’t want to pay more than the present ~4c/KWh (probably the reason Angela said the surcharge shouldn’t be raised more).

            How skeptic Germans feel you can read from a fragment of the response by a German to a NYT article about the Energiewende (many faults in it):

            Sadly this article get’s it all wrong. In fact there is no real government support for the shift to renewables. The smaller coalition partner, the FDP, is openly against it. Angela Merkels CDU isn’t honest enough to say what it wants, including Angela Merkel herself.
            One has to remember, that the present government inherited the plans for renewables from the former government, including plans to shut down all nuclear plants. The switching to solar began long before Merkel took over. Merkel worked hard to end all these plans – and nearly succeeded. It was the exit from the exit from nuclear energy, resulting in public uproar without end. An unprecedented debacle for Merkel .
            Then Fukushima happened and Merkel jumped on the chance to take a 180deg turn. She presented her own plan, that was basically a facade of the old one, minus solar energy. It was the exit from the exit from the exit from nuclear energy. So much for Angela Merkels commitment to renewable…

          6. @Bas

            LOL! How much did you pay for those tap dancing lessons?

            So gaining votes is because of supporting shutting down NPP’s and losing votes is because of supporting shutting down NPP’s. And the ONLY reason voters pick a given party is because of their stance on shutting down NPP’s except when they chose a party because of its stance on minimum wage.

            Why did you quote from one German on an issue that has nothing to do with what we were discussing? Is it another attempt to avoid a failed argument? I mean it is not like we haven’t seen you try and pull the same trick over and over when one of your baseless claims is exposed.

  9. Now can we have this long awaited cold snap this winter so that we can finally see both US And EU grids fail because of political choices.

    Then the Green Aristocrats could trachéen ux a lesson or two about conservation at minus 40 degrees.

    1. I doubt anything bad happens in Europe this winter. The Germans actually still have a significant security margin, as well as France. If nothing changes, the winter of 2016 will be a lot more delicate.

      But the European utilities are starting to weight strongly in favor of a change, so it’s very unlikely we don’t see some strong change before 2016 :
      http://www.gdfsuez.com/en/shareholders/calendar/press-conference-eu-energy-policy-ceo/

      Also it’s very clear than when actual threat to it’s energy stability will emerge, Germany will choose CO2 instead, as they are *already* doing for cars :
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24532284

      The very annoying point in all that is that the strategy of environmentalists is more and more clearly leading to the direct consequence of less nuclear, but a lot more CO2.
      They then will claim it’s someone’s else fault, but we should rejoice since at least we have less nuclear.

      1. @jmdesp
        I have to agree that motive priority for their Energiewende is:
        1. no nuclear (Chernobyl harmed in Germany)

        2. no / less dependence on other countries.
        To my opinion the OPEC embargo in the seventies, contributed greatly. It did little in the US with its own oil and gas wells, but Germany has none.
        So while we (in NL), had only Sundays with a ban to drive any car (still remember the strange feeling when we went walking over the middle of the highway), they had more trouble (no heating oil, etc). In NL we used our own natural gas for that (still do).

        3. less CO2. This is also shown by the fact that you are still allowed to drive with speeds that produce high levels of CO2 at most German highways (no speed limit; they overtook me fast when I once drove 180km/h).

        1. – As far as can be scientifically determined, Chernobyl harmed no one in Germany. There was a lot more fallout in Sweden and Norway, and no harm was demonstrated there. Coal harms a lot of people in Germany. The same internationally recognized medical health sources that fail to find any effect from the level of fallout Germany received identify that each year around 8000 German prematurely die for coal related pollution. Since Chernobyl, that’s 200 000 German who suffered a premature death because of that. My opinion is that a very strong pro-coal lobby in Germany has successfully managed to hide it’s own wrong deed and promote inane theories about nuclear.

          For reference, if you go above a coal ash pile in Germany, you’ll find that the radiation dose it emits is equivalent around 1 mSv/year. Most of coal ash in Germany is not in such deposits. It has been directly incorporated in the concrete used for construction. As a result, Germans get directly exposed in their own house to between 0,01 and 0,24 mSv/year, an average of 0,1 mSv. Cumulated over 25 years, this is much more than the Chernobyl fallouts in Germany.
          See http://i.iv.2.eu-norm.org/index.pdf page 9 and 10.

          Whilst the German are convinced the Chernobyl fallouts have harmed them, they are also convinced the small amount of radioactivity of the coal ash they include inside concrete is to low to has any consequence. Go figure.

          – Whilst the production of lignite can be said to be a factor for energy independence, the German import 7 times more hard coal than they produce, at a very highly subsidized cost. The locals hate the coal miners, both for the high subsidy they know they are paying but also the seismic tremors their activity regularly causes.
          See http://uk.reuters.com/article/2008/03/05/lifestyle-germany-coal-dc-idUKL0415299220080305

          – I don’t understand your point 3. You seem to show that Germans indeed don’t give a damn about CO2. France is talking recently of reducing max speed outside of highways to 80 km instead of 90, to save lifes, but that would also somewhat reduce CO2 emissions.

          1. Germany imports a substantial amount of its coal from South Africa. They literally ship it half way across the world to burn in their power plants. The costs of burning oil to ship the fuel should be included in the CO2 and air-pollution burden of Germany’s coal-burning energy policy.

          2. @jmdesp

            My opinion is that a very strong pro-coal lobby in Germany has successfully managed to hide it’s own wrong deed and promote inane theories about nuclear.

            I share your opinion. Germany still subsidizes domestic coal mining. I need to update my numbers, but I computed that the subsidy worked out to $80,000 per mining job.

            There is also an interesting confluence of interests between the Green Party and the coal industry. On some issues — like fighting for rapid abandonment of nuclear energy — they work with Russian gas interests.

          3. @jmdesp
            Many scientific studies showed substantial harm in Germany, Sweden, Finland (Norway got less fall-out; don’t know of any good study there): Significant more Stillbirth, Down syndrome, lower intelligence, Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects, other congenital deformations such as cleft lip, etc
            of children born >3months after Chernobyl.
            All in all these count for >1 million (all countries).

            Apart from stillbirth and perinatal mortality, indications are that even infant mortality is affected in Germany: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2889%2991091-X/abstract

            As shown by:
            – Life Span Studies (LSS) regarding the A-bombs on Japan (report no.14)
            – Studies regarding smoking:
            – Studies regarding low level asbestos;
            – Medical radiation studies
            harmful effects of low level radiation to living humans come after 20 – 60 years.
            So at the time of the Chernobyl forum (2006), almost all death due to Chernobyl still had to come (and they knew that…).

            Scientific statements regarding the death toll of Chernobyl range from 6million death in total; as the death due to low level radiation then still had to come).

            Btw.
            IAEA/WHO statements are highly political motivated as shown by:
            – Only study results regarding three countries in English considered. Those all had a prohibition for physicians to connect any illness to Chernobyl radiation as well as bad population administrations.
            So they excluded all studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals from countries with elaborate accurate population administrations (that showed harm).

            – The press release of the 2006 forum report contained a significant lower death estimate than the summary. And the summary estimate is not supported by the content of the report…

            – Typical way WHO handled the matter:“ …Comparisons of … incidence rates before and after the accident … showed a significant increase …, but this was mainly due to increases in the older age groups in rural areas. The incidence of childhood … was not significantly different …”.
            After handling similar study results this way, it was concluded:”On balance, there is no convincing evidence…” (Page 60 of the 2006 WHO report; which has no summary. Only the IAEA 2006 report has it, which allowed them to state even more favorable conclusions…)


            This behavior of IAEA/WHO is not strange:
            Yesterday an important group of scientific medical journals (BMJ, Heart, Thorax, etc.) decided not to accept any study financed by the tobacco industry (following open access journals such as PLOS). While those studies seemed objective, accurate (expensive) research showed they are biased.
            Alas, in medical & social sciences it is often: “you don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. These UN organizations are still mainly paid by the atomic powers.

            NB.
            – you can only understand German policy if you realize the real Chernobyl harm. Not only in Germany but also in Ukraine / Belarus, as there are numerous informal contacts between those populations. In Austria even more of those informal contacts. Those contributed to Austrian’s total ban on the import of nuclear generated electricity (against EU regulations).

            – My estimation is ~1 million death and ~1 million disabled (heredity effects) people.

          4. Somewhere in the uploading process a smaller than sign created an hick.
            So please read the paragraph regarding the death toll as:

            Scientific statements regarding the death toll of Chernobyl range from less than 10K (IAEA/WHO; 2006) to ~935K for the period until 2005 (implying more than 6million death in total; as the death due to low level radiation then still had to come).

          5. @jmdesp (2)
            Coal ash
            That is a point of concern. However as your link (and others) state:“… In conclusion … concrete … delivers only a small contribution … when compared with other building materials …” (page 11/12).

            In general it is substantially (~5x) lower than the Chernobyl radiation in Germany! Main concern is Radon. One of the reasons all new houses here have ventilation that cannot be put off by the inhabitants (obliged).

            CO2
            CO2 is important for the Germans as it is point 3 on the list.
            More important than:
            – cheap electricity (which I believe to be more important in US, except GA and SC);
            – democratization of control over electricity (which the Energiewende delivers);
            – more robust. Thanks to far more distributed generation. It is far more easier to take 10GW down and create an serious outage, if it’s generated by NPP’s.
            – more reliable delivery. The average customer connection has a total outage time of ~15 minutes / year in Germany, while in similar countries (except those are nuclear) such as France and UK it is at least 4 times worse (USA 10 times worse?).

          6. “harmful effects of low level radiation to living humans come after 20 – 60 years.”

            Then how can you believe that all these horrible results less than 3 months after Chernobyl were caused by Chernobyl?

            Which is it? Does low level radiation have deadly effects within less than 3 months or are the effects of low level radiation not apparent until 20-60 years after exposure?

            “Alas, in medical & social sciences it is often: “you don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. These UN organizations are still mainly paid by the atomic powers.”

            So then those scientific studies paid for by anti-nuclear groups can all just be thrown out too? Or is it a one way street? Who decides whether a funding source is too closely tied to the research topic? And isn’t most research paid for by a group that is interested and has connections (whether pro or con) to the topic being researched?

          7. Bas – You’re obviously not concerned about cancer. Here is a real source of cancer — one that is greatly exacerbated by “Energiewende”:

            Air pollution a leading cause of cancer – U.N. agency

            But I guess according to you, this is just another conspiracy by the IAEA and WHO. After all, you have outdated, discredited, and irrelevant papers published over two decades ago to back you up.

            Bas, have you ever considered seeking professional help for your paranoid delusions?

          8. Bas, the Red Cross is about as apolitical a respected health organization as you can get and they toe the IAEA and WHO line. Something is seriously wonky with you to so desperately recruit bogus unverified and uncredited “sources” for a vindictive anti-nuclear crusade.

          9. @Brian
            …Germany imports a substantial amount of its coal from South Africa…
            So lignite burning may implicate less CO2, as:
            – mining requires (at/near the surface; just a big digging mill); and
            – transport (a conveyor belt only to the power plant)
            generate far less CO2.

            Probably that over-compensate the ~30% more CO2 that burning lignite in the power plant generates!

          10. Rod
            … Germany still subsidizes domestic coal mining…
            They continue to do that, while there is no real prospect that it can compete against foreign coal in the future.

            But it makes their electricity production slightly more independent from over-sea countries (like US, S-Africa, …).
            And becoming more dependent on Vladimir Putin, also brings its issue’s…

  10. How does Letterman’s show choose its guests? I would love to see Rod on the show. Preferably, without some “counterbalance” such as Lovins. If the anti-nukers get to talk with no opposition, then the pro-nukes should get a chance. The problem with debating someone like Lovins or his ilk, is that it takes five minutes of explanation to undo a 30 second lie.

    I saw this on a Charlie Rose episode. I can’t remember who all the guests were. I think Lovins and Robert Bryce were on it, but I may be remembering wrong.

    1. With all due respect to Rod (and much indeed is due), why not lobby Letterman to have Robert Stone as a guest? He could promote Pandora’s Promise. This would be especially good in the next few weeks, since Pandora’s Promise will be airing (wiring?) on CNN November 7 (Thursday 9pm).

      1. Dogmug
        October 15, 2013 at 3:22 AM
        With all due respect to Rod (and much indeed is due), why not lobby Letterman to have Robert Stone as a guest? He could promote Pandora’s Promise. This would be especially good in the next few weeks, since Pandora’s Promise will be airing (wiring?) on CNN November 7 (Thursday 9pm).

        Might require a mass letter-writing campaign to Letterman for either guest in order to catch his attention.

        1. I think we pretty well proved with the White House petitions, that our version of a “mass letter-writing campaign” is less than 200 people…

  11. Bas wrote:

    At that time the first plant for conversion of electricity into gas suitable to be injected in the gas pipelines may be ready

    So far it appears that only hydrogen is injected; it is not converted to methane.

    I have been watching the news releases about these “E-gas” plants, and not one of them mentions what the gas actually costs to make.  Nor can they add very much to the flow of natural gas, because a lot of equipment expects a specific energy per unit volume and hydrogen has about 1/3 the volumetric energy of methane.  Worst of all, much pipeline equipment like compressors simply won’t work with a large content of hydrogen because the mass density is far too low.

    So what’s the deal with electricity-to-gas?  It’s a publicity stunt, a feint to make the public think something is being done while the real alternatives are being closed off.  By the time the public realizes that ordinary people can barely afford to cook with E-gas made from RE purchased at the feed-in tariff rate (let alone heat with it!), it’ll be too late.  Energy will be a thing for the rich, and the rich alone.

      1. Thank you for proving my point.  Nowhere in that article is cost mentioned.  Not for the hardware, not for the energy input, not for the amortization, not for the O&M.  That’s because “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

        1. May I remind you that:

          – the operator, Audi the automaker, is a commercial company with shares at the stock market and stockholders that want to see profit. So they see profit in this or its successor.

          – I wrote 2018 as the year for the first real plants (6MW is pilot level).
          I expect that costs will go down substantially during coming years.
          Not only because of economy of scale, but also significant improvements of the processes

          There are quite a lot of initiatives. Research, as well test facilities and pilot plants.
          Even in US! The Germans created a research facility together with a US company (I remember vaguely) in Texas?…

          I remember also that the Scottish are building a pilot for conversion into car fuel (they have superfluous electricity if the wind blows in the night).

          1. Why do you have this major blind spot when it comes to research? (Well at least research on technologies you like.)

            Research doesn’t mean their will ever be a viable technology. Or do you believe that if someone just spends enough money on research that they can ultimately develop a perpetual motion machine?

            Yes electricity can be used to make hydrogen, heck at my workplace we make our own hydrogen by splitting natural gas. And yes hydrogen can be used as a fuel. But none of that means that hydrogen will ever be a viable fuel for anything but fringe uses.

            That is not to say that hydrogen won’t ever be a viable widely used fuel source. But guess what? A nuclear plant can be the source of electricity to produce hydrogen too. And if a significant portion of the transportation system relies on hydrogen then there damn sure better be a steady reliable source. Just imaging if due to an extended period with low winds a country were to have to survive for a week or more on 50% of its usual amount of fuel. While if nuclear was powering the hydrogen production that shouldn’t be a problem.

          2. @ddpalmer

            Suggest you first read the post (7:26PM; stating methane) and the link that I posted above.
            It saves you lot of senseless typing.

            The 6MW electricity-to-gas plant, I referred to, produces gas:
            …virtually identical to fossil natural gas…!
            (citation from the article in the link)

          3. @Bas

            Suggest you stop implying everybody except you is ignorant. I have read ALL of the comments on this page. Including where you wrote “I wrote 2018 as the year for the first real plants (6MW is pilot level).”

            It is by your own claim a pilot plant. I can point you to 3 pilot plants for various technologies built within 100 miles of my home. They are all now shut down and not a single one of those technologies were every made into full scale production facilities. They were ALL also built by for profit companies with shareholders that wanted to see profit and they ALL expected to build bigger profitable plants based on the pilot plant. But NONE of them did.

            It is that same blind spot you have shown over and over. You like something so obviously the research into it will produce a viable and economic result. Sorry but that isn’t reality.

            You also continue to ignore things you don’t like. How many vehicles currently run on methane? Who pays for converting all the others to methane? Who builds and pays for the methane storage and transportation system? Where does the methane come from when there is no surplus green electricity? And as many of the comments on other articles about this pilot plant have asked, why not use the electricity directly in electric cars since there are undoubtedly efficiency loses in the multi-step conversion process?

          4. why not use the electricity directly in electric cars since there are undoubtedly efficiency loses in the multi-step conversion process?

            Because it’s much cheaper to store a GWH of energy as methane in reservoirs than as electricity in batteries.

            I’m going to have to go over the numbers for superconducting energy storage and see why the RE folks aren’t proposing to use that for daily-scale buffering.

          5. it’s much cheaper to store a GWH of energy as methane in reservoirs than as electricity in batteries
            I’m not sure it’s that true. Yes, it’s cheaper, but the scale at which it becomes excessively expensive is far from being that large. Given that the cost quickly becomes multiple of the cost of the initial electricity, there’s still rapidly a major economic problem.

            Also one should keep in mind that when using methane generated from capturing the CO2 of a large CO2 source, you merely displace the location where the CO2 is released, you don’t cancel any of the CO2 generation. It’s still useful, but not as great as it would be if it really canceled any CO2 emission. It could end up as a reason to deliberately maintain a CO2 source that we could reasonnably get rid of.

          6. I’m not sure it’s that true. Yes, it’s cheaper, but the scale at which it becomes excessively expensive is far from being that large.

            I don’t think you get it.  Storing methane seasonally is cheap; spent gas wells are typically used, and they’re both capacious and very inexpensive per unit if your quantity is big enough.

            Spot-on about any carbon dumped in the atmosphere being just a diversion from direct dumping of fossil emissions.  Worse, any “renewable” scheme which depends on FF to supply carbon guarantees FF use and breaks down if it stops.  The only renewable supplies of concentrated CO2 are things like landfill gas, decay of fallen leaves, etc.

      2. The hydrogen economy is years away and won’t happen in our lifetime as far as powering cars is concerned.

        Industrial uses are in place and justified.

        After 14 hours in a car or any other storage area, most of the hydrogen has left. We are not about to solve this storage issue.

        Plus it goes in the atmosphere and the ecological impacts are not fully understood.

        1. Daniel

          This 6MW electricity-to-gas plant converts to gas:”…virtual identical to fossil natural gas…”! It started this summer!

          http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/audi-opens-6-mw-power-to-gas-facility_100011859/#axzz2hvk6ceap

          The operator, Audi the car manufacturer, is a commercial company with shares at the stock market. So it estimates that this plant or the next (bigger) will be profitable!

          There are many similar initiatives.
          Also pilot plant to convert electricity into liquid car fuel (in Scotland).

          1. There’s a plant in North Dakota which has been operating since the 1980’s, making pipeline-quality methane from coal.

            It went bankrupt shortly after it was commissioned, and could not make a profit if it had to pay off its construction expenses.  These electricity-to-methane plants have most of the problems of coal-to-methane, plus a very expensive energy input and the need to find carbon somewhere.

            The E-gas plants are being pitched for absorbing surplus power from RE.  This means they’ll operate at very low capacity factors, and have even less output to sell to cover the amortization on their construction expenses.  The only way to make this pay is to have an expensive product.

          2. Engineer-Poet, ddpalmer,
            So we agree that the technical feasibility of this type of conversion & storage solutions, is a non-issue.

            Now the economic viability.
            Your conversion plant in N-Dakota used old technology, still it was economic viable after the investment was written off via bankruptcy.
            So economic viability is not really far away, especially not as the input is almost for free (which was not the case with the coal of the N-Dakota plant).

            Remember this summer wholesale electricity rates reached record levels of minus $100/MWh in Germany! With continued installation of >5GW/a wind+solar in Germany, negative prices will continue and become more frequent (NPP’s deliver a good contribution as they cannot be regulated down to low levels).
            Even after the closure of all NPP’s and removing the feed-in priority of wind+solar, prices will often be around zero (variable costs of solar and wind are ~ zero).

            If you check around, then you see there is a research boom by parties in different countries in order to improve these types of conversion.
            So apparently many experts could convince investors that the conversion process itself can be improved significantly to the level it becomes economic (including Audi cars)!

            Not being a chemical expert, I follow the opinion of all those experts.
            We will know in ~5 years.

          3. So we agree that you keep ignoring reality and ignoring what others write, while continuing to push your assumptions as proven facts.

            “still it was economic viable after the investment was written off via bankruptcy”

            Are you for real? So you propose economic viability by declaring bankruptcy? What a novel idea, I wonder why no economist has ever suggested that as a reasonable economic policy.

            “NPP’s deliver a good contribution as they cannot be regulated down to low levels”

            Where does this claim come from? I lived with a NPP that was constantly changing from low to high to medium output. True the most economical operation for a commercial NPP is designed to be at or close to full power, but that doesn’t prevent them from operating at varying load.

            “So apparently many experts could convince investors…”

            Do you want a list of things that experts have convinced investors of that turned out to be wrong? It would be a very very long list.

  12. For those who have some interest in German policy:

    It seems The Greens overplayed their hand in their talks with Angela.
    CDU/CSU and the socialists (SPD) announced yesterday to start negotiations for a government next week.

    This implies >90% chance we get a coalition with the SPD.
    Especially since both parties expressed confidence.
    It seems that CDU/CSU will agree with a minimum wage (big concession to SPD).

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