Comments by Randy Voges Subscribe

On Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

A much-needed dosage of sanity.  Surprised that the hopium addicts aren't out in force against this heresy.

August 19, 2014    View Comment    

On The Polar Vortex and the Power Grid: What Really Happened and Why the Grid will Remain Reliable Without Soon-to-Retire Coal Plants

Given that Stan and Ollie here are so impressed with the grid operators, I wonder if they noticed this from the head of ISO-NE: “The challenges to grid reliability are not a question of if they will arise, but when. And when is now.”

May 3, 2014    View Comment    

On The Polar Vortex and the Power Grid: What Really Happened and Why the Grid will Remain Reliable Without Soon-to-Retire Coal Plants

Love to see these lawyers dancing around the 'sticker shock' issue. 

May 1, 2014    View Comment    

On IPCC Double Standards on Energy Barriers

Climate scientists make really crappy engineers.

April 15, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Pipeline Update: And So It Begins ...

Just wish Obama would make a bleeping decision instead of putting everybody through this Death By Study.

February 6, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change, Public Policy, and the University

“We do not expect divestment to have a financial impact on fossil fuel companies.  Divestment is a moral and political strategy to expose the reckless business model of the fossil fuel industry that puts our world at risk.”

Or as Otter put it, "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

October 24, 2013    View Comment    

On After Forty Years, Politicians Still Understand Little About Energy

"Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me eight times, what am I, a (bleep) idiot?"

October 24, 2013    View Comment    

On Impacts of Shutting Down Most US Coal Power, Part 2

Well, on the bright side it'll keep us engineers busy until we're dead.

October 21, 2013    View Comment    

On Low Capacity Factors: challenges for a low carbon energy transition


A few comments elaborating on some of your points (and you probably know this stuff anyways):

1) It may be helpful in a future post to elaborate more on the distinctions between types of load (base, intermediate, and peak) and how the characteristics of each form of generation play into that, because this does influence capacity factor (as you put it, the typical order of dispatch is nuclear first, then coal, and then gas).  Because coal and nukes utilize steam turbines, it is more practical and economical to simply run them flat out, which makes them most suitable for base load.  Gas combined-cycle plants have a gas turbine in the mix which makes them more flexible and thus more suitable for intermediate load (or load following) which has the effect of reducing the capacity factor.

2) Some people may not be clear on how nuclear has the lowest running costs.  Costs for power plants are broken down into capital, fixed, and variable (or fuel) costs, and it is important when formulating policy to have a firm grasp of the tradeoffs with each fuel source.  Everybody knows that nuclear has massive capital costs, but less understood are the low variable costs, and this is the only thing that keeps nuclear in the game.  The only way to recoup the costs are to take full advantage of this and extract every last bit of energy from the fuel.  By contrast, natural gas has a clear advantage over coal and nuclear in its (relatively) lower capital costs, but not when it comes to fuel (although as you mention, the shale gas revolution has cut into coal's normal base load advantage).

3) Because of the variability of the "fuel", wind and solar are classified as energy resources as opposed to capacity resources, and this factors into why they must be curtailed.  To put it another way, conventional generation is dispatchable; the fuel can be throttled back and forth as necessary depending on the load curve, whereas wind and solar cannot (though the efforts to make them more grid-friendly should not be overlooked).  For this reason, wind and solar have sometimes been characterized as negative load.

October 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Understanding the Continued Dominance of Fossil Fuels


Sounds like you've been digesting quite a bit of Vaclav Smil.  He's an excellent antidote to all the hopium going around.

October 15, 2013    View Comment    

On Illustrating How the Keystone Pipeline Fails the President's Climate Test

Blah blah blah blah.  Given that The Facts Are Clear, what in the name of Gaia is taking The One so long to nix it?  Is there some special revelation that remains hidden?  Has he not heard the words of The Goracle?  Does he not understand the concept of Game Over For The Climate?  

October 15, 2013    View Comment    

On The Science Is Clear: The IPCC Report and the Need for Climate Action

"the debate is over"....."the science is clear"....."the assessment is inescapable".....What was that old definition of mental illness?  Doing the same thing over and over and yet expecting a different result?

September 28, 2013    View Comment