UK’s Looming Energy Gap Suffers ‘Wind Chill’

I’ve often thought that maybe the Kyoto Protocol could have been more aptly named the ‘Don Quixote Protocol.’ Why? Because ‘Kyoto’ sounds like ‘Quixote’ and, in the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Quixote fought an imaginary enemy of giants that turned out to be windmills. Today, our imaginary enemy is ‘big warming’ driven by CO2 conjured up in computer models. One of the consequences of fighting this phantom menace is the UK’s looming energy gap. Instead of windmills, we have wind turbines. This brings me to a new report by the Centre for Policy Studies entitled: ‘Wind Chill’

The summary states:

Britain faces an energy gap of up 32 GW by 2015 as older coal and nuclear power stations are paid off. At the same time, Britain has made a binding commitment to deliver 15% of all its energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Government policy is based on using wind power both to help close the energy gap and to meet its renewable energy targets

If the Government is to meet its renewables target, then the amount of electricity to be generated by wind farms
will have to increase by more than 20 times.

Expensive

This will be very expensive. Electricity generated by wind turbines already enjoys huge subsidies and tax breaks
through the Renewables Obligation scheme.

The Government has now accepted that the total costs of meeting the 2020 target will be £100 billion. This is the
equivalent of £4,000 for every household in the country.

WIND CHILL

The Royal Academy of Engineering has calculated that wind energy is two and a half times more expensive than other forms of electricity generation in the UK.

Unreliable

Wind generation does not provide a reliable supply of power. It must be backed up by other baseload sources.

Greater reliance on wind power could lead to electricity supply disruptions if the wind does not blow, blows too hard or does not blow where wind farms are located.

The experience of Denmark – often hailed for its pioneering development of wind farms – is that wind energy is expensive, inefficient and not even particularly “green”. There are signs that other countries are losing some of their enthusiasm for wind power.

Unpopular

There is no evidence that people are prepared to pay for wind power. Only 15% of people say that they are fairly or very willing to pay higher electricity bills if the extra money funds renewable power sources such as wind. The figures for “very unwilling” and “fairly unwilling” are 37% and 24% respectively.

This over-reliance on expensive wind energy, coupled with rising gas prices, will drive six million households
into fuel poverty.

Disrupting

Present wind farm planning applications do not take into consideration the economic viability of the project or whether the topography and meteorological conditions are suitable.

The planning system already favours wind farm developers. But if the Government is to meet its renewable target by 2020, then current planning regulations will have to be weighted even further in favour of wind farm suppliers.

The Ministry of Defence has recently lodged last minute objections to at least four onshore wind farms claiming
the turbines will interfere with their national air defence radar.

The alternative

The energy gap must be filled with equivalent baseload capacity as quickly as possible.

The UK should therefore now develop its nuclear, clean coal (including coal gasification) and other renewable supplies of energy (particularly tidal).

Wind energy, in contrast, should only play a negligible role in plugging Britain’s looming energy gap.

There is also an article about the report in the Daily Mail: Wind turbines are ‘unreliable and will cost each home £4,000′ claims think-tank

88 Responses to UK’s Looming Energy Gap Suffers ‘Wind Chill’

  1. Ian Mott June 26, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    The key to windpowers inefficiency is the need to maintain a base load back-up which is, by its nature as a back-up, run inefficiently. No amount of technological improvement will off-set this structural inefficiency.

  2. Ender June 26, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    Ian Mott – “The key to windpowers inefficiency is the need to maintain a base load back-up which is, by its nature as a back-up, run inefficiently.”

    The key to base load’s inefficiency is that it has to be backed up with peaking power plants.

    “No amount of technological improvement will off-set this structural inefficiency.”

    None except batteries, dispersing the wind farms connected by HVDC, interfacing electric transport with V2G, using advanced weather prediction to schedule wind, interfacing gas turbines with advanced power controls etc

    So in Mott world of the late 19th century there is nothing that can be done however this fortunately is 2008 and we have progressed from the Victorian age that Mott wants us to return to so he does not have to innovate or think.

  3. Louis Hissink June 26, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Just imagine starting up coal mining again and solving the unemployment problem. These days its pretty safe though the methane issue remains controversial and raises the origin of anthracite coal, which we won’t dwell on here.

  4. Ender June 26, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    “This will be very expensive. Electricity generated by wind turbines already enjoys huge subsidies and tax breaks through the Renewables Obligation scheme.”

    So wind is subsidised?????????

    http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/index.html?http://www.antenna.nl/wise/379-80/3722.html

    “Subsidy of billions for nuclear power
    Since 1990 nuclear power has been subsidised by this arrangement with £1,175 billion in 1990/91, increasing to £1,260 billion in 1991/-92. For 1990/91, that was a 2.6 pence subsidy per kilo-watt nuclear electricity.4 To compare: in the Nether-lands the total costs of a kilowatt produced by a gas power station are only 2.5 pence n less than the subsidy for nuclear electricity in England. HALF (!) of the total income of Nuclear Electric comes from subsidies.5 In total, the subsidy from 1990 to 1998 for England’s nuclear reactors will be £10.08 billion. And still the nuclear sector doesn’t make a profit. Instead, they complain about unfair competition! They want more grants.6 Indeed, they admit that the nuclear reactor under construction, Sizewell B, will be a loss; but, they claim, that is because it is only one reactor. If there were more nuclear reactors being built, for instance a series of 10, than they would be cheaper.6 In 1994 the government will decide whether to build new nuclear power stations. The nuclear lobby is very busy trying to influence that decision in their favor.”

    Cost of decomissioning:

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2006/2006-03-31-05.asp

    “LONDON, UK, March 31, 2006 (ENS) – The cost of cleaning up Britain’s old nuclear sites is estimated at £70 billion ($US121.6 billion), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said Thursday, releasing a comprehensive plan that has been approved by the Blair government.

    The publication of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) strategy sets out for the first time how the UK will tackle the decommissioning and cleanup of the NDA’s 20 civil nuclear sites.

    NDA Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver said the estimated total cost of cleanup is still subject to change. “Within these overall totals are the cost of our income generating commercial operations at £14 billion (US$24 billion) and the cost of decommissioning and clean-up at £56 billion (US$97 billion). However, there are a range of factors, some of which are the subject of government policy reviews which will require further assessment. We are targeted to establish the full costs of cleanup by 2008 and so this remains work in progress.” ”

    So before this brave new world of inflexible base load nuclear power is launched you still have to spend 70 billion cleaning up the mess left behind from the old ones – good plan so far!!!!

  5. wes george June 26, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    So hang on a minute, Ender. I’m baffled by your argument. Let’s see…

    Ian wants us to return the Victorian Age when complex windmill problems had no solutions? And build nuclear power plants?? This would save him from having to “innovate or think?”

    But in the very next post you claim that “the brave new world” of nuclear energy is too hard to “innovate or think” upon even in 2008?

    Hmmm. Will the real Luddite among us please take a bow.

    A more consistent allegory would be for those who wish to return Old England to the age of windmills to honestly acknowledge the pedestrian Victorian nature of their values.

  6. Ender June 26, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    wes george – “So hang on a minute, Ender. I’m baffled by your argument. Let’s see…”

    Top marks for distorting the argument however it doesn’t work this time. Mott’s statement was:

    “No amount of technological improvement will off-set this structural inefficiency.”

    I pointed out several technological improvements that off-set this. Whats your problem?

  7. wes george June 26, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Here’s Don Ender’s solution to tilting windmills…

    I quote:

    “None except batteries, dispersing the wind farms connected by HVDC, interfacing electric transport with V2G, using advanced weather prediction to schedule wind, interfacing gas turbines with advanced power controls etc…”

    Now that’s pure innovation all right–in techno-babble.

    “Advanced weather prediction to schedule wind?” Well, hey, why not? If a UN bureaucracy can control the global thermostat, surely with a few more technocrats we could have the gales blowing on demand.

    Sure hope Ender isn’t a Qantas flight mechanic on strike.

  8. Ian Mott June 26, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    No Ender, you outlined an option, batteries, that don’t solve the structural problem. They merely skirt the structural problem at additional expense. So read this nice and slowly, Ender;

    THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OF THE BATTERIES ADDS TO THE COST, AND THEREFORE THE INEFFICIENCY, OF THE WIND GENERATORS.

    The base load generators deliver their power on a ‘just-in-time’ basis, the most efficient way possible.

    And here we go again, and again, and again, with his endless dogs vomit on the cost of nuclear waste disposal. Ender, you have the retention capacity of an antichinus in rut (nil). The US nuclear waste storage program is fully funded, at current prices. And has been for decades. At the moment there is a dollar earned in interest on funds for every dollar added to the fund from the levy on all nuclear power that is sold.

    But poor old Ender gets a bit bamboozled by the numbers involved. And his grasp of discounted cash flow and compounding interest is so poor that he can rightfully be described as a complete economic illiterate.

    And do us all the favour, for just this once, of sticking to the discussion on the costs and benefits of wind power. This continual diversion to blatant nuclear red herrings is getting really tedious.

  9. Ender June 26, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    wes goerge – “Now that’s pure innovation all right–in techno-babble.”

    Well from your perspective no doubt it is however for most of us these are mainstream technologies that are coming online now and need no further breakthroughs to achieve.

    ““Advanced weather prediction to schedule wind?” Well, hey, why not?”

    Sorry – “schedule available wind POWER” – I forget that you had problems with things invented since 1900.

    Anyway back to the coal mine – can you name the next Queen Victoria so we really feel at home.

  10. wes george June 26, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    As Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote:

    “The pen is the tongue of the mind.”
    (La pluma es lengua del alma.)

  11. Ender June 26, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    Ian Mott – “THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OF THE BATTERIES ADDS TO THE COST, AND THEREFORE THE INEFFICIENCY, OF THE WIND GENERATORS.”

    I do realise that shouting is the normal way you deal with people that disagree with you however please save it for your probably thoroughly cowed underlings and family where it may do some good. I am not the least bit impressed.

    The additional cost of batteries does add to the cost however these clever people have run a new innovation called a cost/benefit analysis. Having batteries allows wind farms to bid into higher price electricity brackets thereby offsetting the cost of the batteries.

    “The base load generators deliver their power on a ‘just-in-time’ basis, the most efficient way possible.”

    Just in time??? Please do tell us how a base load station, especially nuclear, that takes hours or days to change output deliver power in a just in time fashion. This should be good.

    “And here we go again, and again, and again, with his endless dogs vomit on the cost of nuclear waste disposal. ”

    Well no – I posted ACTUAL figures for nuclear power station decommisioning. Also you have not yet vomited up how the current 25 billion shortfall in power station revenues compared to the actual cost of the waste disposal is to be made up.

    “But poor old Ender gets a bit bamboozled by the numbers involved. And his grasp of discounted cash flow and compounding interest is so poor that he can rightfully be described as a complete economic illiterate.”

    Not really as you are 25 billion behind the compound interest curve today and this is not being made up by anything other than a 25 billion or so cash injection from somewhere to put it back on track. That is what all the enquirys into Yucca Mountain are about. I suggest as you seem to have the answer in this Mott nu-economics where compound interest still works on zero amounts you should offer yourself to these Senate Comittees as having the solution.

    “And do us all the favour, for just this once, of sticking to the discussion on the costs and benefits of wind power.”

    Sure as long as you acknowledge that nuclear has had 10 or 20 times the amount of subsidies that wind ever has. This article asserted that wind is subsidised and nuclear and clean coal are the actual answers. I pointed out that nuclear is far far more heavily subsidised than wind.

    Mind you this is only one of the rubbish points that this article brings up.

  12. wes george June 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    Oh, I get it, Ender wants to hijack this thread into an off topic techno-tit-for-tat pseudo- science fog about the merits of nuclear energy. Right?

    This would distract our attention from the debate at hand, which is all the special ways in which wind power fails to live up to the fantasy. This is the most common anti-debate tactic used by Ender, Luke, et al, divert attention, then post noise until the signal drowns.

    Don’t take the bait, Ian.

  13. Paul Borg June 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    I have no idea why you guys would waste time with Ender the serial liar.

  14. Ender June 26, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    wes – “This would distract our attention from the debate at hand, which is all the special ways in which wind power fails to live up to the fantasy”

    So how does it fail to live up to the fantasy? This article has no references and is an opnion piece from someone that obviously does not know the first thing about wind power.

    So go for it then and I will shut up about nuclear unless of course you mention, like the article does, that clean coal and nuclear is what should be put in place instead of wind.

    “I have no idea why you guys would waste time with Ender the serial liar.”

    Yes Ender the serial liar that almost always posts references to other obviously, serial liars that back up his lies.

    Hmmmmm funny how the truth tellers like Mott and wes almost never post supporting references obviously since they are authorities on everything and there word should be taken as law.

  15. KuhnKat June 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    Hey Endoh, where are the designs for the 1GW batteries to give the gas turbines start up time to back up the wind farms?? Ever figure how much fuel you will waste to keep them running to prevent brown and blackouts otherwise??

    You don’t think you are going to charge all those cars, run trains and elevators, industries, desalination plants… on private wind mills do you??

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Hope you don’t mind tossing in your allowance for the next 1000 years to upgrade the grid to improve the efficiency of transporting power thousands of miles from wind farms to end users!! Maybe you could provide the designs for Microwave or Laser power transport at high efficiency??

    Here, try reading a report that basically recommends doing tidal in GB. 2 years old and the technology, with all the subsidies, still hasn’t significantly progressed:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    You should really read some engineering level reports on power systems Endoh!!

    By the way Endoh, when the Gubmint gets over its breeder ban, there will be quite a bit less of the waste you and others are whining about. It will also improve the cost effectiveness of nuclear plants!!

  16. Ender June 26, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    KuhnKat – “Hey Endoh, where are the designs for the 1GW batteries to give the gas turbines start up time to back up the wind farms??”

    Hmmmmmm.. I always find descending into gibberish is always a good tactic in a discussion. Tens to put people off through confusion.

    Sorting the wheat from the chaff we have a battery question which is easily answered:
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/environment/2007-07-04-sodium-battery_N.htm
    perhaps you can ask the company for the plans however I don’t think that they will give them to you.

    Also the ramp up and ramp down speed of wind and gas are completely compatible already. Why not read about the Esperance wind/gas system.

    “Hope you don’t mind tossing in your allowance for the next 1000 years to upgrade the grid”

    The grid needs upgrading anyway and HVDC links are one method to reduce power loss. Also renewables emphasise local storage and power generation wherever possible.

    “You should really read some engineering level reports on power systems Endoh!!”

    What like the documents here:
    http://www.nemmco.com.au/powersystemops/powersystemops.html

    “By the way Endoh, when the Gubmint gets over its breeder ban”

    So that would be the one that was shelved in the US because no-one could make any money from it. Breeders were discouraged perhaps because of this:

    http://www.princeton.edu/~globsec/publications/pdf/Sciencev293n5539.pdf

    “Reconsideration of U.S. policies to promote a world powered by plutonium-fueled reactors began in 1974, after India shocked the world by testing a nuclear explosive made with plutonium separated with reprocessing technology provided by the United States (6).

    Concern was also expressed that the projected global plutonium economy, in which millions of kilograms of plutonium would be separated out of spent fuel annually, might spawn nuclear terrorism. Less than 8 kg of plutonium is required to make a Nagasaki-type bomb”

    I mean the world will be so much safer when large amounts of plutonium are being transported around the place. Perhaps we should start this new government breeder program in Iran.

  17. Ian Mott June 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    It wasn’t shouting, ender. It was put in large type so you would have no trouble reading it. But we can see that even that was pointless when dealing with a mind wired shut.

    You agree that batteries add to the cost of the wind power. But you cannot grasp that they also reduce the time available for the operation of the back up system thereby raising the unit cost of the backup system. And as that back up system is only required for the wind power system then the combined costs must be considered as the total cost of the wind power system.

    Unless, of course, you have been drinking your bong water again, Ender. In which case “cream pie” divided by “Kylies butt” over “page three tits” = “enders take on power costing”.

  18. Ender June 26, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    Ian Mott – “It was put in large type so you would have no trouble reading it”

    I had not problem reading it in small type as your crap is still crap no matter how big the type is.

    “You agree that batteries add to the cost of the wind power. But you cannot grasp that they also reduce the time available for the operation of the back up system thereby raising the unit cost of the backup system.”

    No I cannot grasp this as it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Storage reduces time for the back up system?????????

    “And as that back up system is only required for the wind power system then the combined costs must be considered as the total cost of the wind power system.”

    Except for the back up needed for baseload and the back up needed for when systems are taken down for maintenance or when base load needs a hand in peak times. Wind power is not the only thing that needs backup.

    “Unless, of course, you have been drinking your bong water again, Ender. In which case “cream pie” divided by “Kylies butt” over “page three tits” = “enders take on power costing”.”

    So mott reverts to his normal level of argument.

  19. Ender June 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    However having said all of that I do sort of agree that the British Government is wrong if this thinks that wind alone can be the answer because no single form of electricity supply can be the ‘answer’. Britain is quite a small country and I don’t think that they can disperse the wind farms sufficiently to enable the gains that come with this method. Also there are a lot of sites, I guess, in England that wind farms should never be put in.

    The point is that there is not a single supply silver bullet and I hope that the British government understands this.

    First and foremost the cheapest and easiest way to help is to reduce demand through efficiency gains or generating negawatts as some people put it. Insulating houses, energy efficient appliances, helping industry to use the more efficient options for refrigeration etc can reduce demand up to 30% if done properly. This should always be first before more supply is considered.

    Second all forms of renewables will need to be used up to about 70% of supply. Wind will play its part however solar, tidal, wave and geothermal will all have to be integrated into a smarter grid that wastes less and uses local generating capability wherever possible.

    Thirdly fossil fuels have to be used more efficiently. The CHP plants that are proliferating in England at the moment are a case in point. Using the gas for electricity and heating reduces the amount of required natural gas and as the generating plant is local to the demand source this minimises transmission losses so savings are made all round.

    Coal should be gasified and if possible some of the CO2 sequested which should help a bit. However more importantly gasifying coal changes the type of power plant it is used in. It can be used in CHP plants as well as intermediate Combined Cycle gas power plants that are far more efficient that thermal coal and also as they are classed as intermediate instead of baseload, they can integrate with renewables as they can change output quickly enough.

    I do agree that wind alone is not the answer and if the government of Britain thinks it can become green with wind alone it is wrong and it will lead to disaster.

  20. wes george June 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Hang on a minute, Ender. I’m confused again. (sorry ;-0)

    You claim that when Ian TYPES IN ALL CAPS he is shouting and therefore ipso facto beats his wife as well.

    But when you chronically employ multiply “?” that’s not shouting???????

    ??????????????

    Doesn’t this logically mean you beat your dog????????????????

    If every second comment you make carries logical inconsistencies and/or double standards, what does that imply about the intellectual integrity of your on-topic debate points?????????????

    Back to tilting windmills…

  21. Ender June 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    wes – “Doesn’t this logically mean you beat your dog???????????????? ”

    I do

  22. cohenite June 26, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    ender; what’s wrong with thorium?

    Louis; why can’t we talk about the origin of anthracite coal? Does it involve Tommy Gold?

  23. Ender June 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    you can see how mistreated she is here:

    http://stevegloor.typepad.com/sgloor/2008/06/our-pampered-pu.html

  24. Ender June 26, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    cohenite – “ender; what’s wrong with thorium?”

    Nothing is wrong with thorium. The accelerated thorium reactor is a form of nuclear power I could support as it does not produce dangerous waste and cannot in any circumstances melt down.

    However it has the critical disadvantage that nothing in it can be diverted to weapons programs so I cannot see any government wanting to finance develping it.

    Renewables are developed and ready to roll.

  25. allan June 26, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    What do the abbreviation HVDC and V2G stand for Ender

  26. allan June 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    What do the abbreviation HVDC and V2G stand for Ender

  27. Travis June 26, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    Your patience and decorum are a virtue Ender :)

  28. Louis Hissink June 26, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    Cohenite

    Anthracite coal? Tommy Gold, oh bad topic to mention in front of Ender – he is a firm believer in miracles – thinks diamonds are made by compressiong coal in Superman’s hand.

    Gold seems to be quite right in the origin of anthracite – deposition of carbon from exhalative mantle derived methane. One needs to read Gold’d book, however, to be able to counter his theories.

  29. cohenite June 26, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    Self-replenishing carbon producing energy; we humans are blessed; when the next Milankovitch squashes the interglacial, we’ll have all that warmth producing carbon based energy.

  30. Louis Hissink June 26, 2008 at 7:36 pm #

    Hardly surprising as we are a carbon based lifeform. My suspicions with the AGW ra ra crowd is that a Canadian Beaver would be excoriated for dam building. Us burning hydrocarbons is natural, though I don’t feel sorry the UK at all-they want socialism, be prepared to pay the final price, which they are now starting to realise is a lot more than they bargained.

  31. Ender June 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    allan – “What do the abbreviation HVDC and V2G stand for Ender”

    HVDC is High Voltage Direct Current. Normal transmission lines are typically 33 000V AC. AC is easy to transform into lower voltages so passive devices like transformers can change this high voltage into low voltage AC for your home. The disadvantage of AC is that at very high voltages, up to the 110 000 volts that we would like to use that it loses more power than a comparable DC line at the same voltage. HVDC only became possible with modern semiconductors that can operate at such high voltages and can convert AC to DC and then DC to AC again very efficiently.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVDC

    V2G – Vehicle to Grid. This is the idea of using battery electric cars and plug in hybrids to act as bulk storage to supplement the grid when it is needed. The advantages are that the utilities get thousands of batteries that they do not have to buy and car owners get revenue from the car when it is at rest.

    With the BEV car plugged in modern AC car drives can also act as inverters to make 240V AC from the cars DC batteries. Thousands of cars connected to the grid can be controlled precisely from a central point to add energy to the grid if needed as well as charge.

    You can read more about it here. It is already being trialled.

    http://www.acpropulsion.com/technology/v2g.htm
    http://www.v2green.com/docs/control_charge_utility_prod200801.pdf

  32. Ivan June 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    “V2G – Vehicle to Grid….”

    Hard to see the practicality of this technology – at least in the descriptions provided in the above references. Its only merit seems to be in time-shifting electricity back to the grid at peak times. I wonder if anyone has done any calculations of the energy losses involved in charge / discharge in this distributed model?

    “..car owners get revenue from the car when it is at rest.”
    And stays at rest. They would then have to buy it back later when they need to recharge their batteries to drive home. Most of the schmucks in the world I live in drive to and from work during the peak hours, so there’s not much opportunity there for differential pricing.

    None of the V2G models actually produces a watt of electricity (unless you are suggesting that everyone leave their petrol-burning hybrids running during peak hour). Sounds like a scheme where everyone sells insurance to everyone else – nobody actually produces anything.

    Maybe each car could be fitted with a $3000 PV “special” to charge the batteries while ‘at rest’.

  33. Marcus June 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    Yes Ivan,
    I came to the same conclusion, when Ender linked to this a few months back, but saw no point in debating it, he obviously thinks it’s a good idea.

  34. Jan Pompe June 26, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    “None of the V2G models actually produces a watt of electricity (unless you are suggesting that everyone leave their petrol-burning hybrids running during peak hour). Sounds like a scheme where everyone sells insurance to everyone else – nobody actually produces anything.”

    I think they are in danger of inventing a perpetuum mobile.;)

  35. Mark June 26, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    Hey guys, don’t be too hard on Ender! IMHO market pricing mechanisms will work quite admirably in order to leverage V2G capabilities WHEN they exist in any meaningful quantities. However, we’re still a few years off from basic market availability and even then the economics may be questionable particularly if we’re talking about lithium ion technologies. It will also take a number of years before there is reasonable capacity to leverage particularly if we’re talking about PHEVs (rather than full EVs).

    IMHO the merits of wind power are overblown (pun definitely intended). Here in Canada, green-deluded governments are paying double the average market tariff for wind power and this doesn’t count the parasitic leverage of standard power generation capacity by wind power to cover lulls in the wind or the need for expensive transmission capacity. Despite Enders talk of using local generating capacity where ever possible, that ain’t necessarily where the wind is and even if it was, who’d want giant windwills towering over their fucking neighbourhood anyway?

    Anyway, you guys on Ender’s side of the planet should find out who his dealer is. He’s definitely got access to some pretty good stuff!

  36. Mark June 27, 2008 at 12:03 am #

    By the numbers . . . (all that really counts in the end!!!)

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/20/mackay_on_carbon_free_uk/

  37. Eyrie June 27, 2008 at 7:38 am #

    Pity that batteries have a limited number of charge/discharge cycles. So connecting your EV to the grid to be used as capacity will shorten the battery life.

    Nukes are the answer. Lots and lots of them, thorium also. When we have future electricity shortages the Enders of the world should be disconnected from the grid so more is available to others who didn’t prevent rational development.

  38. Ender June 27, 2008 at 9:52 am #

    Lets deal with the Victorian age people about V2G that cannot seem to drag themselves out of the 1800s.

    So lets imagine 3 companys ABC, XYZ, and QED. They will be V2G agregators and join your V2G car with other V2G cars that also choose to join one of the companies. They will issue a smartcard which you will install in your car much like you do in your mobile phone.

    First of all you will set your preferences in your car about how your V2G is going to work. You may specify that the battery can never be drained beyond 50% or that you will allow only 10 V2G cycles per month or that at 5:00pm there must be at least 70% charge in the battery and you leave for work at 5:00am so you would like at least 70% then as well. At any time you will always be able to log into your car via the internet and change these to cope with unexpected events.

    ABC company is a spinning reserve company. Every hour during the day the main computer polls its members and sees that it has for example 20MWh of available battery capacity. The computer then contracts to the NEMMCO for 20MWh of spinning reserve available in milliseconds. The NEMMCO then start paying ABC x cents per kWh just for having this reserve available. So ABC is generating revenue without using the batteries of the cars at all. If this spinning reserve is called on during the day then the NEMMCO will pay per kWh for this power as well.

    XYZ is different it specialises in delivering the very expensive ancillary services. From time to time as things are turned off and on teh grid goes out of sync and the voltage rises or falls, the frequency changes or the phase changes, all of which have to be very tightly controlled by law. To bring the grid back into balance the utilities employ small generators that are controllable. Now XYZ has thousands of generators belonging to it distributed all over the grid that are precisely controllable with microsecond and millivolt precision in voltage, phase and frequency. If a grid transient is detected computers can calculate the exact required damping wave which can be broken down by FFT algorithms. Each small part can then be sent to each individual car and then generated which will synthesise the damping wave and stabilise the grid. These services are charged at a very high rate are are the most expensive wholesale electricity.

    Battery cycle life is determined by Depth of Discharge or DOD. A lead acid battery will have a life of only 300 charges and discharges or cycles if these cycles are 100% of the capacity. However the same battery, if you only cycle it back and forth to 50% of its capacity, can last for 1000 of these cycles. If you limit it to say 10% of its capacity it could last for 2000 cycles.

    XYZ company, as it is an ancillary company, will only use 10% or less of the cars capacity which will not shorten the life at all as most modern lithium batteries would last 5000 cycles at 10% DOD. So if you are concerned with the life of your cars battery the this is the aggregator for you. Even if you belong to the other ones you can specify how much you want your battery used.

    Finally QED is a peaking company. It may use your batteries a bit harder however I guess there will have to be a different business model involving perhaps leased batteries. This company will bid to the NEMMCO that it has say 200MW of peaking power available at 1 seconds notice. When the NEMMCO needs peaking power it will contact QED and ask for the supply that it contracted for at which time QED will drain the required batteries to deliver the power to fulfill the contract.

    So by using the power of distributed computing these companies can supply valuable services to the grid and deliver revenue to the car owners. ABC, QED and XYZ can also have seperate contracts with wind farms, expecially the ones without organic storage, to take the inevitable excess wind power at very low rates thereby storing peak wind power for times when the wind is low.

    At no time do you have to generate a watt of electicity to add value and earn revenue you just need to break out of the huge central base load power station mentality.

  39. Ender June 27, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    Also just to make it clear the plug in hybrids with IC motors will never be required to start them up to generate power. V2G is about storage only. IC engines are far too inefficient ever to be used as stationary generators in this manner.

    The only exception to this would be hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. I am not a huge fan of FCVs for a variety of reasons however I guess they will have their place in the mix. A fuel cell can be up to 40% efficient and has no emissions to poison the place where it is parked. FCVs could act as generators.

  40. Ian Mott June 27, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    Ender, you admission that you still don’t get it on how the use of batteries adds to the inefficiency of both wind generation and the back-up system tells us all we need to know. Go and ask ANY accountant on the planet, next time you come out of orbit, to explain it to you.

  41. bikerider June 27, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Sounds very plausible Ender

    How long do you think it would take to set up the infrastructure to make such a system viable and to replace a sufficient number of the existing vehicle stock? You’re offering a radical change to transport in one way – the fuel cycle – but other than that it’s business as usual, we all get to keep our high-use personal vehicles.

    I’m cynical about V2G because I think it will demand too much organisation on the part of individuals. If I’m low on fuel I can spend 5 mins getting petrol on the way to work. With V2G you’ll hear lots of ‘but I thought it was your turn to plug the car in last night dear!’

  42. Marcus June 27, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    Ender,
    the more complex a system is the more things can go wrong.
    The system you described here, is about as complex as can be.

    I still maintain, that a large central power plant is the most economical, and efficient system.
    It may not be attractive to your way of thinking, you seem to be attracted to a community based system.

  43. Ender June 27, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Ian Mott – “Ender, you admission that you still don’t get it on how the use of batteries adds to the inefficiency of both wind generation and the back-up system tells us all we need to know”

    First of all you have to tell us all how it does add to the inefficiency as you have not made this clear as it does not make any sense to me.

    I await your explanation of this.

  44. Ender June 27, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    bikerider – “How long do you think it would take to set up the infrastructure to make such a system viable and to replace a sufficient number of the existing vehicle stock? You’re offering a radical change to transport in one way – the fuel cycle – but other than that it’s business as usual, we all get to keep our high-use personal vehicles.”

    I do agree that we need to use more public transport and true zero emission transport like bikes however the new electric transport model will be a lot easier to sell if we do not take away people’e freedom machines which cars are.

    “I’m cynical about V2G because I think it will demand too much organisation on the part of individuals.”

    There is that of course. No-one will force you to join a V2G company so if you find yourself unable to maintain this then you will either drop out or not join in the first place. Also connections at home could be made automatic. When you drive your car into the garage or whatever the charger could automatically connect so you do not have to remember.

    Also V2G will work at a house level as well. I am sure that you will get a few inquiries when you have your lights and TV on as normal when all the other houses in your area have no power in a blackout. You will also be reminded then to plug in your car to restore your house’s power.

  45. Ender June 27, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Marcus – “I still maintain, that a large central power plant is the most economical, and efficient system.
    It may not be attractive to your way of thinking, you seem to be attracted to a community based system.”

    I have been in computers a long time. I used to hear this a lot from mainframe people when PCs were first available. No business would ever use inefficient small computers to do anything serious as logging into a mainframe was much more efficient they would say. Now these people are a little sad in their empty sad computer halls where the massive computers used to be.

    Now tell me Marcus what sort of computer are you using to access this blog? I would lay a lot of money on it not being a mainframe terminal.

    Mainframes do have their place and they are still essential for some tasks however distributed computing has taken over the mainstream of computing.

    Similarly the new forms of generation with modern electronics and wireless connections can be just as efficient small or large. This was not true of thermal coal and nuclear can only be large.

    Already small highly efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units are being installed as they save the owners a lot of money on heating and electricity bills. The complexity of the distributed system is no worse than the screensaver computing programs like SETI at Home that are already in use.

    Yes it is complex however such complexity is manageable.

  46. Ender June 27, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    Funnily enough I just read another thing on V2G:

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/06/volkswagen-unve.html#more

    “The project will demonstrate the use of electricity generated by renewable energy such as wind and solar for powering up to 20 PHEVs in a fleet trial under real-world conditions. The project will also evaluate the use of various vehicle-to-grid (V2G) methods of integrating these vehicles into the electric power grid for stabilization purposes.”

  47. Mark June 27, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    US generating capacity = 900,000,000 kW
    1% of capacity for 6 hours = 54,000,000 kWh

    Typical battery capacity of a PHEV: 12 kWh
    Available capacity for V2G: 10% of fleet at best

    So to provide backup capacity for even 1% of the U.S. grid for 6 hours when the wind ain’t blowing would require a base of 45,000,000 PHEV vehicles in the U.S. Needless to say, it will be a loooooong time before we see that!!!!

  48. Ender June 27, 2008 at 11:54 am #

    Mark – thank you for at least trying to analyse it however your figures are way off.

    There are:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

    “According to the US Bureau of Transit Statistics for 2004 there are 243,023,485 passenger cars”

    So even with your very conservative figures you would only need 17% of the vehicles in the US to be PHEVs for this to work.

    However in studies:
    http://www.udel.edu/V2G/docs/V2G-Cal-ExecSum.pdf
    “For example, peak late-afternoon traffic occurs during the hours when electric use is highest (from 3-6 pm). A supposition one might have from
    (iii) driving, that the majority of the vehicles are on the road during rush hour traffic, is false.
    We calculate that over 92% of vehicles are parked and thus potentially available for V2G power production, even during peak traffic hours of 3-6 pm.”

    The figure of 10% available is grossly wrong as 50% or 60% would be more accurate so this would decrease the amount of cars available.

    Also you are assuming that there was no wind in the whole of the USA therefore every car in the USA would have to be used. This of course is nonesense. If you have read anything I have written all the V2G grouping will be done on a local regional scale. Every region or community will have its own ebbs and flows so treating the problem as the whole of USA is wrong.

    However the figure of 17% of PHEVs and BEVS is not unreasonable considering the half life of the car fleet is about 10 years. So in 10 years, 2018, 17% of the fleet, considering the price of oil is still climbing, could easily be PHEVs and BEVS with V2G capability.

  49. Ender June 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    “would be more accurate so this would decrease the amount of cars available.”

    Sorry this should read:

    “would be more accurate so this would decrease the amount of cars required”

  50. Ender June 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    Eyrie – “Nukes are the answer. Lots and lots of them, thorium also”

    Really? How about printing solar panels?

    http://www.nanosolar.com/blog3/#post-33

    You have to watch the video!!

  51. Ender June 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Mark – “US generating capacity = 900,000,000 kW
    1% of capacity for 6 hours = 54,000,000 kWh”

    Also quoting figure like this is nonsensical. Even though the USA may have 900GW if installed capacity depending on the time of day the electricity demand of the USA might be only 100GW. Not all fossil fuel generators are on all the time. There is always a percentage off for regular maintenance or repairs.

    There is not 900GW of power plants in the USA running flat out all the time.

    Lets have at a more realistic example:

    http://www.nemmco.com.au/

    At the front page for NSW you can see that peak demand is about 11GW. NSW has about 3.5 million cars. Lets say 20% of them were PHEVS and BEVS that had an average of 20kWh capacity.

    .2 * 3.5 million = 700 000 cars

    700 000 cars has 14GWh of capacity, sufficient to run the entire peak demand of NSW for more than an hour. It could run the off peak demand for 2 hours or more.

    So all the generators in NSW could fail and 20% of the cars could run the entire state demand for at least an hour at peak times or 2 hours of off peak.

  52. Marcus June 27, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    Ender
    Your comparison re. computers is not a particularly good one.

    There is only a lack of suitable infrastructure, that stands in the way of a distributed system.

    After all we have ISPs don’t we, but you wouldn’t want computer speeds like, that of the Internet?
    (incidentally you can back up your data now on the net, but again why would you?)

    I think our disagreement about the electrical systems is mostly philosophical, not technical, if we want badly enough, we could make any system work, the question is of efficiency.

  53. Ender June 27, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    Marcus – “I think our disagreement about the electrical systems is mostly philosophical, not technical, if we want badly enough, we could make any system work, the question is of efficiency.”

    So why would a distributed system be any less efficient?

    It is the base load generators only that are more efficient, as a general rule, the bigger they are. That is the exact reason they are so big.

    With modern power electronics smaller generators can be equally, if not more efficient, than larger ones.

  54. Doug Jones June 27, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    As an AGW skeptic I generally disagree with most things Ender says. However I have to agree with him here on the advantages of distributed energy systems. One only has to look at WA’s case where one ruptured pipe and subsequent fire has crippled the state’s industry by reducing the gas supply by one third for the next six months. Incredibly poor Govt planning. Makes the Germans’ large uptake of household solar generation and buyback a real winner by comparison.

  55. Ivan June 27, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    “As an AGW skeptic I generally disagree with most things Ender says.”
    Don’t apologise – most people are of this opinion.

    “..on the advantages of distributed energy systems..”
    Fine, but V2G is not a distributed energy system – it’s a distributed storage system. Not one watt of power is generated outside the vile base load generators.

    The WA analogy is baseless. In the V2G model, if the base load generator blew up, you would (potentially) have a few minutes backup. Big deal. Once the V2G batteries are discharged – then what ?

  56. Ivan June 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    Welcome to Ender-land: the happiest kingdom of them all. Nothing costs anything in Ender-land, because it’s all subsidised by the government (or somebody).

    Here’s what we would all be driving in Ender-land.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/09/mitsubishi_unve.php

    Note the wind turbines in the grill – very chic!

  57. Peter June 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    Ender,

    How many of those 20% of vechiles would be connected. Just thinking your example is over optimistic and sheesh all those cars that wouldn’t start in the morning , yikes.

  58. Ender June 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    Ivan – “Fine, but V2G is not a distributed energy system – it’s a distributed storage system. Not one watt of power is generated outside the vile base load generators.”

    No it is but one part of it. It is mainly a neat way of using battery electric cars batteries when to construct a large battery system. This large battery system is also distributed so that elements of it can work independently so that the loss of one allows either a graceful shutdown or running in survival mode until whatever caused the disruption is fixed. Also a lot of the energy in the storage system will be surplus wind power where quite often supply exceeds demand.

    V2G cars are not the answer on their own either they simply allow surplus energy to be stored in batteries that are not just sitting around in warehouses doing nothing else. This way you only have to construct one battery system and not two.

    “The WA analogy is baseless. In the V2G model, if the base load generator blew up, you would (potentially) have a few minutes backup. Big deal. Once the V2G batteries are discharged – then what ?”

    Well not really. If WA had more wind, solar PV, solar thermal, tide and wave tied together with normal and V2G storage in a smart grid then we would be having far less problems.

    One of the main problems is that our main heating gas is down by 30% so industries that need heat are forced to use other forms of heat or stop working. Also if we keep the essential industries going with gas from other places then there is less for the critical peaking power plants that are mostly gas fuelled. Peaking power can also be powered by diesel however the worldwide shortage of diesel is driving prices into the stratosphere.

    If we had storage, V2G or otherwise, this could be doing some of the peaking duties freeing up gas for industries that burn it. Also the wind and solar that we do not have could be replacing the lost gas generating capacity.

    Ir really brings home the fact that if you concentrate on one form of generation or fuel, if the supply gets disrupted then you are screwed. It reinforces my point that Britain (and WA) should diversify its electricity generation to avoid this sort of thing again.

  59. Ender June 27, 2008 at 9:15 pm #

    Ivan – “Note the wind turbines in the grill – very chic!”

    You don’t seriously think that they are wind turbines do you?

    And yes if they sell it in Australia I would look at buying one. Mind you I like the Aptera much better.

  60. Marcus June 27, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Ivan
    Yes the turbines are the ones to clinch the deal.
    Why, if you drive fast enough, they will recharge the batteries even! (/sarc just in case)

    This really bugs me, people keep saying it’s a conspiracy, that we don’t have a decent EV.

    Believe me, with the potential market already, if there was one good enough, they would be snapped up faster than they could be made. I would buy one myself.

    Look at the rate, that dog of a car the Prius is selling?

  61. Ivan June 27, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    “If WA had more wind ….”

    The AGW world’s favourite word: “IF”. Finally we get to the core of the issue.

    Not sure why you’d bother with highly inefficient solar PV and wind, when solar thermal, geothermal, wave and solar tower (even nuclear) would probably all be more cost effective — and provide a true distributed energy generation system. In this case V2G would be an expensive “nice-to-have” – a distant second to solar-thermal, I would guess.

  62. Ivan June 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    “You don’t seriously think that they are wind turbines do you?”

    What??
    You think environmentalists would lie??
    Isn’t that part of their covenant with God??

    I’m shocked!

  63. Mark June 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm #

    Ender: “So even with your very conservative figures you would only need 17% of the vehicles in the US to be PHEVs for this to work.”

    “Also quoting figure like this is nonsensical. Even though the USA may have 900GW if installed capacity depending on the time of day the electricity demand of the USA might be only 100GW. Not all fossil fuel generators are on all the time. There is always a percentage off for regular maintenance or repairs.

    You missed the point entirely (no surprise there)! I was using a representative example to show that even to meet a middling degree of power generation backup that a large number of EV’s would be required. You may have missed the bit in my calculation where I used just 1% of the installed generating capacity!

    I can just imagine the new excuses of the future. “Hon! I’ll be late back from the office tonight because the wind’s not blowing and I need to leave the car plugged in so you can cook dinner and then I’ll need to push it home!” LOL!!

    Oh! And care to suggest how many decades it will be before there are 54 million EV’s in the U.S.?

    The scary thing is that are far too many people like you in public office these days!

  64. Ivan June 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    “The scary thing is that are far too many people like you in public office these days!”

    Amen to that, brother!

  65. Eyrie June 28, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    WA wouldn’t have a power problem if it had 3 or 4 nice nukes.

    Run the desal plant when peak power demand isn’t there and divert the power to grid when it is.

    The gas can be used as is or turned into liquids for transport fuel.

    As for the gas dependancy, didn’t we see all this in Victoria a few years ago?

    I once asked a friend who is high in the defence forces if there was an office in the defence Dept with “Office of Strategic Vulnerabilities” on the door. Didn’t get a good answer. I’d say not.

  66. Ivan June 28, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    “As for the gas dependancy, didn’t we see all this in Victoria a few years ago?”

    Help me out here, but I can’t see what all the fuss is about.

    All these AGW nutters and their Loony Green friends are busily working away for a carbon-free future, and then suddenly: *BANG* — an opportunity to live the future drops into our hands (better than Earth Hour, even) and all everyone does is complain.

    Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

  67. Ender June 28, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Mark – “You missed the point entirely (no surprise there)! I was using a representative example to show that even to meet a middling degree of power generation backup that a large number of EV’s would be required.”

    Not really. You used a completely representative example that had no basis in reality to try to show what you wanted to see. I used actual figures from reality to show that a quite small number of cars has a quite huge power potential.

    What you seem to be unable to grasp it is exactly that large numbers of cars are required. Western societies have enormous numbers of these cars that could be available to store energy when they are not ferrying their owners around. The utility does not have to buy these cars or their batteries and they are saving resources as the battery system does not have to be duplicated. Remember that utilities are already installing batteries in fossil fuel grids for stabilisation purposes.

    “I can just imagine the new excuses of the future. “Hon! I’ll be late back from the office tonight because the wind’s not blowing and I need to leave the car plugged in so you can cook dinner and then I’ll need to push it home!” LOL!!”

    Imagine this then “Hon I can’t afford the $100 I need for the petrol to get home and anyway I would have to queue for 2 hours to get it – I wish we had bought that electric car now”

  68. Ender June 28, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    Eyrie – “WA wouldn’t have a power problem if it had 3 or 4 nice nukes.”

    What good would they do? The gas supplies are affecting peaking plants, the nukes would be just as helpless.

    The last thing WA needs is nukes.

    Ivan – “Help me out here, but I can’t see what all the fuss is about.”

    The fuss is that the WA economy is propping up the whole Australian economy at the moment. The gas supplies that are cut are affecting the resources boom. I asked a customer of ours in the Kimberley, jokingly at first, how was the gas problem/ He said they are shutting down tomorrow. This was not a small operation either.

    WA economy tanks – the Australian economy tanks. Obviously Victoria is not as important as it thinks it is.

  69. Ender June 28, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Mark – “Not really. You used a completely representative example that had no basis in reality”

    That should have been:

    “Not really. You used a completely UNrepresentative example that had no basis in reality”

  70. Ivan June 28, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    “The fuss is that the WA economy is propping up the whole Australian economy at the moment.”

    It’s good to see WA pulling its weight for a change, but your comment completely misses the point – yet again. If nutters like Hansen ever get their way, there won’t be any economy left to prop up.

    Which I think you’ll find is what some of us have been saying for some time.

  71. KuhnKat June 28, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Ender,

    V2G will cost you your allowance for at least as long as it will take for you to evolve.

    Try this new newspaper on wind farming and other energy issues:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/20/mackay_on_carbon_free_uk/

    “Professor David J C MacKay of the Cambridge University Department of Physics holds a PhD in computation from Cal Tech and a starred first in Physics, so we can take it that he knows his numbers”

    “Our conclusion: if we covered the windiest 10 per cent of the country with windmills, we might be able to generate half of the energy used by driving a car 50 km per day each. Britain’s onshore wind energy resource may be “huge,” but it’s not as huge as our huge consumption. I should emphasize how audacious an assumption I’m making. … The windmills required … are fifty times the entire wind hardware of Denmark; seven times all the windfarms of Germany; and double the entire fleet of all wind turbines in the world”

    Seriously, you simply have no concept of the word MAGNITUDE!!
    You play with numbers but have no concept of value, worth, and REALITY!!!

    Tell us, how many people purchase new cars each year. How many of those are going to be in the area you are trying to convert. How many years is this going to be a FUBAR!!! Oh yeah, you warmers are going to turn FASCIST and FORCE everyone to do it your way!!

    Where is the money coming from realist?? Are you going to force all the rich people to pay for it?? What happens when the designs turn out to have ISSUES and you have to redesign and replace large chunks of this KLUDGE!!

    If you take long enough to insure everything is solid, the world has already melted down!! If you don’t, the usual problems will tank the project!!

    And guess what, if the same type of people doing the climate science do the engineering on this………..

    Uh Oh ENDOH!!!!!!!

  72. Ivan June 28, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    “Oh yeah, you warmers are going to turn FASCIST and FORCE everyone to do it your way!!”

    You got that one right.
    Here’s what they’ll be forcing everyone to drive when they take their Prados and Hummers off them:

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/30/venturis-eclectic-solar-wind-powered-car/

  73. Eyrie June 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

    Ender, you really have convinced me you are irretrievably stupid.
    “The gas supplies are affecting peaking plants, the nukes would be just as helpless.”

    Let’s see, the nukes would have several years’ worth of fuel on site. Not exactly likely to suffer from temporary supply disruptions. WA also has lots of uranium and you could get it from seawater if you had to with not disastrous effects on the cost of the power. I did note that WA had lots of coastline when I lived there.

    Last I saw gas was supplying 65% of WA’s electricity. This is peaking load? Anyway you do need peaking load to run the system.

    I notice you slid right by the “run the desal plant” when you don’t need the power for the grid.

    Under those conditions ordinary “baseload” nukes can supply your peak load also. Not that there aren’t designs for peak load nukes. Way back in the 1950’s there was a lot of work done on nuclear jet engines which could be turned into relatively quick response nuclear peak load generators. Much peak load nowadays is gas fired turbines which are close cousins to those on 747’s etc. The nukes are similar but run heat exchangers to carry heat from the reactor to the “combustor” section of the turbine engine.

  74. Ender June 28, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    KuhnKat – “”Professor David J C MacKay of the Cambridge University Department of Physics holds a PhD in computation from Cal Tech and a starred first in Physics, so we can take it that he knows his numbers”

    Well I have found one mistake already. He uses the average wind speed to estimate the energy output of a windfarm.

    I downloaded his book:
    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    “Chapter B (p.257) explains how to estimate the power per unit area
    POWER PER UNIT AREA
    windfarm 2W/m2
    (speed 6m/s)
    Table 3.1. Facts worth
    remembering: windfarms.
    of a windfarm in the UK. If the typical windspeed is 6m/s (13milesper hour, or 22 km/h), the power per unit area of windfarm is about 2W/m2. This figure of 6m/s is probably an over-estimate for many locations in Britain. For example, figure 3.2 shows daily average windspeeds at Cambridge during 2006. The daily average speed reached 6m/s on only about 30 days of the year. But some spots do have windspeeds above 6m/s – for example, the summit of Cairngorm in Scotland (figure 3.3).”

    From the wind power manual:

    http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/wres/bottle.htm
    ” The Average Bottle Fallacy
    What is the average energy content of the wind at your wind turbine site?
    Most people who are new to wind energy think they could easily live without the Weibull distribution. After all, if we know the average wind speed, we also know the average power of the wind, don’t we? So, can’t we just use the power (or energy) at the mean wind speed to figure out how much power (or energy) will hit the wind turbine?
    In other words, couldn’t we just say, that with an average wind speed of 7 m/s we get an average power input of 210 Watts per square metre of rotor area? (You may find that figure in the table on the power of the wind in the Reference Manual ).
    The answer is no! We would underestimate wind resources by almost 100 per cent. If we did that, we would be victims of what we could call the Average Bottle Fallacy: Look at the smallest and largest bottle in the picture. Both have exactly the same shape. One is 0.24 m tall, the other is 0.76 m tall. How tall is the average bottle? ”

    I sent him an email.

  75. Ender June 28, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    Eyrie – “Ender, you really have convinced me you are irretrievably stupid.
    “The gas supplies are affecting peaking plants, the nukes would be just as helpless.””

    Well thanks for that Eyrie.

    “Let’s see, the nukes would have several years’ worth of fuel on site. Not exactly likely to suffer from temporary supply disruptions. WA also has lots of uranium and you could get it from seawater if you had to with not disastrous effects on the cost of the power. I did note that WA had lots of coastline when I lived there.”

    Really? And where do we get the nuclear fuel from? Natural uranium is only fuel for one type of reactor the CANDU. All others require enriched uranium. Uranium from seawater? I did a calculation once that you can get about 20 times the power out of putting a solar panel above a unit area of sea than trying to get the uranium out of it.

    “Last I saw gas was supplying 65% of WA’s electricity. This is peaking load? Anyway you do need peaking load to run the system.”

    No some of it is used in the co-gen intermediate plant in Kwinana. However peaking plants are all gas or diesel fuelled.

    “I notice you slid right by the “run the desal plant” when you don’t need the power for the grid.”

    Actually I didn’t. I just thought it was a joke. You seriously think that you can use a billion dollar desal plant as a dump load for a nuke? Quite apart from the 2 billion cost of the nuke power plant you propose that to avoid building a couple of million dollar peaking plant, to spend a billion dollars building a desal plant that gets it’s power cut off unexpectantly every day. I am sure the desal operators would be overjoyed at that one.

    “Under those conditions ordinary “baseload” nukes can supply your peak load also. Not that there aren’t designs for peak load nukes.”

    No they can’t. They could pump water for pumped hydro however not a lot of mountains in WA. Peak load nukes LOL – so now you are reduced to vapourware to justify your crap nuclear power ideas.

    And you say I am irretrievably stupid?

  76. Eyrie June 29, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Ender,

    We’d get the enriched nuclear fuel where everyone gets it from. Ask the French. At least until we built our own enrichment plant and could do this ourselves with our own uranium.

    As for putting solar panels above a square meter of sea and getting more energy than extracting uranium from it, you’ve equated an area with a volume. Irretrievably stupid.

    BTW how do the desal operators get by now with their wind driven plant? Oh yes, I forgot, it actually runs off the gas fired WA power grid. How’s that working out right now?
    Peak loads are also relatively predictable over the 168 hour cycle so the power would hardly be cut off unexpectedly just reduced on a known schedule

    For pumped storage you don’t need thousands of feet of head. The Darling range will do fine and it is close by the major power users in the south west, but everything depends on having the energy available in the first place for which nuclear power plants will do fine.

    The engineering on nuclear gas turbines got done 50 years ago. I know of one company promoting this technology for peak load electricity.

    .

  77. Ender June 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    Eyrie – “We’d get the enriched nuclear fuel where everyone gets it from. Ask the French. At least until we built our own enrichment plant and could do this ourselves with our own uranium.”

    So you want to put our energy future in the hands of others that sell us nuclear fuel? On the enrichment – Iran is having a really easy time building an enrichment plant. Why are you so certain we would be allowed to enrich uranium?

    “As for putting solar panels above a square meter of sea and getting more energy than extracting uranium from it, you’ve equated an area with a volume. Irretrievably stupid.”

    Again usually the person crying stupid is the one that actually is. A volume of water contains a certain amount of uranium which is a incredibly diffuse energy resource. If the uranium in a unit volume of water say 1 M^2 down to a 1000 M deep was extracted and turned into energy it would contain far less energy than simply placing a 1 M square solar panel in the sun. I did the calculation to show how irretrievably stupid it is to think we can extract uranium from seawater. Even if you did this only .72% of it is U235 anyway.

    “BTW how do the desal operators get by now with their wind driven plant? Oh yes, I forgot, it actually runs off the gas fired WA power grid. How’s that working out right now?”

    The idea that it is powered by the wind is a political stunt by the WA Government to greenwash the desal plant. It cannot, as it stands, be a dump load for a nuke you would have to build a couple of them for each dumb nuke plant.

    “For pumped storage you don’t need thousands of feet of head.”

    No you don’t however if you do not have thousands of feet of head you need many many times more water. I am sure that nobody would object to flooding millions of hectares of native forest just for pumped hydro to prop up nukes.

    “The engineering on nuclear gas turbines got done 50 years ago. I know of one company promoting this technology for peak load electricity.”

    I am sure it did however utility grade peaking nukes are vapourware. Also who is going to spend 2 or 3 billion dollars on a nuke plant that is used twice a day for a couple of hours? For 2 billin dollars you could buy a bank of batteries to do the same job. I guess it would be the stupid taxpayers – I thought you were against socialism? Oh I forgot, socialism is OK if it is getting nukes built.

  78. Mark July 1, 2008 at 7:48 am #

    I know, we’ll use V2G to load balance for nukes! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

  79. Mark July 1, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Hey, why don’t they use V2G to take base load from nukes and store it to meet peak demand. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

  80. Ender July 1, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Mark – you can do this however why would you? Especially in Australia the renewables are cheaper and cleaner than nuclear power and faster to deploy.

    Nukes do not make any sense.

  81. Mark July 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    That’s great Ender! Except when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow! I must get out of the way before I get trampled by market governed private utilities scrambling to build your proposed nirvana rather than tried, true and workable solutions!

  82. Ender July 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    Mark – “Except when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow!”

    When these things happen the other elements of the smart renewable grid will take over so this argument is just old and tired now.

    “I must get out of the way before I get trampled by market governed private utilities scrambling to build your proposed nirvana rather than tried, true and workable solutions!”

    Maybe you would be trampled by the market forces rushing to build nukes:

    http://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Newsletter/NLRMIspring08.pdf

    “Nuclear power, we’re told, is a vibrant
    industry that’s dramatically reviving
    because it’s proven, necessary,
    competitive, reliable, safe, secure, widely used,
    increasingly popular, and carbon-free—a
    perfect replacement for carbon-spewing coal
    power. New nuclear plants thus sound vital
    for climate protection, energy security, and
    powering a growing economy.

    There’s a catch, though: the private capital
    market isn’t investing in new nuclear plants,
    and without fi nancing, capitalist utilities aren’t buying. The few purchases, nearly all in Asia, are all made by central planners with a draw
    on the public purse. In the United States,
    even government subsidies approaching or
    exceeding new nuclear power’s total cost have
    failed to entice Wall Street.”

  83. Ender July 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    Just a bit more on nuclear costs:

    http://www.energycentral.com/centers/energybiz/ebi_detail.cfm?id=525

    “”It’s not so much how much the plant costs, it’s what’s the price of electricity is when the plant comes online and how does that compare with natural gas, that’s really the important question,” says Heymer.

    Yet consultant Harding says that he estimates that operating cost per kilowatt-hour for a new nuclear plant will be 30 cents per kilowatt-hour for 12 or 13 years until construction costs are paid down, at which point operating costs will drop to 18 cents. Harding adds those costs are a tough sell when concentrated solar power and wind power can be had for about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. He said he believes that those renewable resources, as well as natural gas, and perhaps LNG, might prove competitive to a new nuclear plant. ”

  84. Mark July 1, 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    “When these things happen the other elements of the smart renewable grid will take over so this argument is just old and tired now.”

    Like what? Hamsters?

  85. Geoff Sherrington July 2, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Peter Lang is experienced in electricity provision and costs in Australia. He has given me permission to circulate the following paper.

    It deals with the cost of avoiding emission of a tonne of CO2 from a new power generator in Australia. Because of the need for backup power, the windmill approach costs over $1,000 per tonne of CO2 avoided. Nuclear costs $22.

    Worth a read? It’s a word document to click once you get my esnips account page. It’s my only post there at the moment.

    http://www.esnips.com/web/CostofCO2inpowergeneration

  86. Geoff Sherrington July 2, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    World Nuclear News notes thus –

    IEA spells out carbon reduction challenge. The OECD International Energy Agency’s
    biennial publication Energy Technology Perspective has outlined what it says is necessary to
    halve today’s CO2 emissions by 2050 in order to keep global temperature increase below 2.4C.
    This would require the virtual decarbonising of the power generation sector and entail
    investment in new technology of over $45 trillion by 2050 plus carbon emission costs of $200
    to $500 /t CO2. Apart from conservation, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage are
    the main technologies to achieve this, and some 1400 new nuclear plants are likely to be
    required by 2050. WNN 6/6/08.

    This is reality land, calculated by experts rather than dreamers.

    If you wish to kill millions of people, stop fossil fuel consumption and GHG emissions overnight. To parody Oscar Wilde, “There is only one thing in the World worse than GHG, and that is not having GHG”.

  87. Marcus July 2, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Ender,
    The Victorian gov. approved a new coal fired power station.
    (I’m sure it’s to power the desal plant)
    It will use brown coal, dried to black coal standard.
    Looks like they don’t have a lot of faith in renewable energy supply just yet, or in the foreseeable future either, given that it takes years to build.

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