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On How Much Longer Until Solar Eliminates the Utilities?

What happens in August that makes demand so much higher, and solar so much lower, than in July and September?

August 14, 2014    View Comment    

On Renewables Rising: Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Biomass Will Top Hydropower in 2014

"Wind, solar, geothermal and biomass are surpassing hydropower as the dominant form of renewable electricity."

Lumping four different things together and calling them "the" dominant energy source seems more than a little misleading. Eyeballing the last graph,

Hydro: 300 TW-h/yr

Wind: 250 TW-h/yr

Bio: 150 TW-h/yr

Solar: 100 TW-h/yr

Geo: 75 TW-h/yr

August 5, 2014    View Comment    

On Geoengineering - Insanity? All the More Reason to Discuss It

Anyone who's sure this trend is going to change drastically is free to dismiss geoengineering:

July 22, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear Is Cheaper Than Solar Thermal

Okay, first of all, that flowing-glass thing is an urban legend.

Second, "spent" nuclear fuel is rotated out of reactors because the amount of fissile material is getting too low for a self-sustaining chain reaction, despite a moderated, geometrical arrangement designed to maintain exactly that. Mixed with other stuff, it'll generate decay heat for a very long time, but there's no risk of more than that.

Third, the history of the Oklo reactors demonstrates that even with no design at all, even enriched fissile material in the ground won't burn out of control.

June 27, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear Is Cheaper Than Solar Thermal

It shows as '113' in my browser. There are several other comments with over 100 likes as well.

June 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear Is Cheaper Than Solar Thermal

"... remember that the deal for Vogtle was cinched with a very generous loan guarantee under the Obama administration."

Not really.  The government offered a loan guarantee in 2010, but the utilities didn't accept because it would have cost them more than it was worth.  After four years of off-and-on negotiation, they've finally come to an agreement, but the plant is already about half-built.  

June 19, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear Is Cheaper Than Solar Thermal

"You can build wind and solar in the middle of deserts, but you have to build nuclear by a prime water resource."

The largest nuclear plant in the US is in the middle of a desert, in Arizona. It used urban wastewater for cooling.

June 17, 2014    View Comment    

On Science is Science, but Indifference Trumps All

'18% think “thousands” or “millions” of people die annually because of global warming,...'

Adding the 16% who said 'thousands' to the 2% who said 'millions' is rather misleading. I personally would guess '1-10k', with soft confidence. Does anyone who's well-informed say 'millions'? The annual death rate is about 56M; 'millions', i.e. 2+M, would be over 3% of all deaths! Do you believe that? 

As for the political indifference, that would be due to the 70% who said 'no one' or 'don't know'.

June 16, 2014    View Comment    

On Nuclear Is Cheaper Than Solar Thermal

Vogtle is the poster child for new US nuclear; meanwhile the Summer plant flies under the radar despite costing a third less. I don't understand the difference, since both plants are building pairs of AP1000s. Anyone know why?


Another solar/nuclear comparison, from the UAE:

Shams CSP:   600 e6 USD / 100 e6 W = 6  USD/Wpeak; @ 0.24 CF = 25 USD/Waverage

Barakah NPP:  20 e9 USD / 5.6 e9 W = 3.6 USD/Wp; @ 0.85 CF = 4.2 USD/Wave 

June 16, 2014    View Comment    

On US Strategic Gasoline Reserve: Solution or Band-Aid?

typo: "2007′s hurricanes Katrina and Rita" should be 2005.

June 2, 2014    View Comment    

On New Jersey: 80 Percent by 2050

Denmark has Norwegian and Swedish hydropower.

March 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Radiation: The Facts

"Radiation dose is the energy transferred from radiation to body tissue. A one-millisievert (mSv) dose is 0.001 watt-second of energy per kilogram of tissue (x20 for alpha particles). ..."

You're skipping maybe half a step here. 1 joule/kg of radiation is a dose of 1 gray. That gets converted into the effective dose in sieverts, depending on the type of radiation (alpha particle vs. neutron, beta or gamma) and type of tissue exposed.

March 4, 2014    View Comment