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On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

Okay,

1. The German approach of retiring nukes & building coal while renewables surge is at best sub-optimal. As you are likely aware, a great number of factors contributed to this path. Roberts, at Grist, had a number of interesting/illuminating discussions of this such as this one: http://grist.org/renewable-energy/why-germany-is-phasing-out-nuclear-power/ Key issue: shutting down the coal plants was much harder legally than nuclear power.  

2. We are seeing emergent countries that are driving out fossil fuesl from their electricity sector combining hydro and wind.  A small -- but tangible example -- Cape Verde islands which were diesel only just a few years ago and are now wind/pumped hydro storage.  Morrocco is leveraging pumped hydro storage for its renewables. Etc ...

3.  Non-hydro/biomass renewables are beginning to play a meaningful role in electricty systems. And, they are opening the door for meeting most -- if not all -- of regional & national electricity needs. Obviously, as per above examples, hydro in the mix creates the massive battery backup.  Scandanavian hydro as backup for German/Danish wind resources. 

April 21, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

Okay,

1. The German approach of retiring nukes & building coal while renewables surge is at best sub-optimal. As you are likely aware, a great number of factors contributed to this path. Roberts, at Grist, had a number of interesting/illuminating discussions of this such as this one: http://grist.org/renewable-energy/why-germany-is-phasing-out-nuclear-power/ Key issue: shutting down the coal plants was much harder legally than nuclear power.  

2. We are seeing emergent countries that are driving out fossil fuesl from their electricity sector combining hydro and wind.  A small -- but tangible example -- Cape Verde islands which were diesel only just a few years ago and are now wind/pumped hydro storage.  Morrocco is leveraging pumped hydro storage for its renewables. Etc ...

3.  Non-hydro/biomass renewables are beginning to play a meaningful role in electricty systems. And, they are opening the door for meeting most -- if not all -- of regional & national electricity needs. Obviously, as per above examples, hydro in the mix creates the massive battery backup.  Scandanavian hydro as backup for German/Danish wind resources. 

April 21, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

1.  Here is the solar link: http://rameznaam.com/2015/04/08/how-much-land-would-it-take-to-power-the-us-via-solar/

2.  Sorry, Mark, 'winner takes all" is quite viable for renewables mix.  The "greater total cost" is a nice line but not going to be how it plays out ... especially if we look at true costs.

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

1.  Here is the solar link: http://rameznaam.com/2015/04/08/how-much-land-would-it-take-to-power-the-us-via-solar/

2.  Sorry, Mark, 'winner takes all" is quite viable for renewables mix.  The "greater total cost" is a nice line but not going to be how it plays out ... especially if we look at true costs.

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

Mea culpa: forgot solar footprint analysis link:  http://rameznaam.com/2015/04/08/how-much-land-would-it-take-to-power-the-us-via-solar/ 

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

The footprint issue becomes an absurdity argument with sensible renewable energy laydowns.  Look at how little land is required if one plays the theoretical "100% of US energy with solar energy systems solely".  

Yes, wind turbines do have a disruption footprint.  Compare the ridgetop photos of wind turbines, as a reasonable example, with mountaintop removal impacts.  

"Mis of renewables generally means large environment footprint" really falls by the wayside if one puts aside dedicated land for low-efficiency biofuels.  And, when it comes to that arena, we are a lot closer to viable very high-density algae fuels than we are to fusion energy.

And, just to be clear, I am not "anti-nuclear faction".  At a very high level, back when coal was roughly 50% of US electricity, here is a thought-piece laydown of eliminating coal from US electricity w/in 20 years: http://getenergysmartnow.com/2008/02/28/eliminating-coal-from-the-electricity-equation/ That 2008 thoughtpiece has 30% excess over what required to eliminate coal even with including electric vehicle penetration. And. looking at that projection today, I would suggest that -- without massive heavy lifting -- we will likely see far more solar/wind than what that thought piece included. When it comes to nuclear, the 'nuclear renaissance' certainly seems stalled in introducing numerous large-scale plants. The 'hope', it seems to me, is that SMRs get certification and providing a viable market alternative.

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

The footprint issue becomes an absurdity argument with sensible renewable energy laydowns.  Look at how little land is required if one plays the theoretical "100% of US energy with solar energy systems solely".  

Yes, wind turbines do have a disruption footprint.  Compare the ridgetop photos of wind turbines, as a reasonable example, with mountaintop removal impacts.  

"Mis of renewables generally means large environment footprint" really falls by the wayside if one puts aside dedicated land for low-efficiency biofuels.  And, when it comes to that arena, we are a lot closer to viable very high-density algae fuels than we are to fusion energy.

And, just to be clear, I am not "anti-nuclear faction".  At a very high level, back when coal was roughly 50% of US electricity, here is a thought-piece laydown of eliminating coal from US electricity w/in 20 years: http://getenergysmartnow.com/2008/02/28/eliminating-coal-from-the-electricity-equation/ That 2008 thoughtpiece has 30% excess over what required to eliminate coal even with including electric vehicle penetration. And. looking at that projection today, I would suggest that -- without massive heavy lifting -- we will likely see far more solar/wind than what that thought piece included. When it comes to nuclear, the 'nuclear renaissance' certainly seems stalled in introducing numerous large-scale plants. The 'hope', it seems to me, is that SMRs get certification and providing a viable market alternative.

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

Jesse: The "diss":  "It is hard to envision geothermal, with its minimal surface impacts and reliable baseload power as the target of these ecomodernists’ ire. Wave and tidal power are so tiny as to barely warrant mention."

They are tiny now (although there are some decent size (old) tidal systems (Rance is almost 50 years old now: http://www.wyretidalenergy.com/tidal-barrage/la-rance-barrage)) but there is potential promise for meaningful contributions. EPRI's US number is that the "total recoverable resource along the U.S. shelf edge is 1,170 TWh/yr, which is almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year." (http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Renewable-Energy-Guide/Ocean-Wave-Energy.aspx)  And, that is US only. Of course, that theoretical is rather absurd.  But, if you look to ARPA-E funded projects, things that are out in the open press, and other projects, there are 10s of technologies developing many with a promise of near baseload below 10 cents/kWh and some seem to have viable below 5 cents.  They 'hold the promise' -- lots of steps between here and achieving that promise.  But, those challenges are far easier than what we are talking with (big) fusion and yet fusion is in the Eco-Modernist guide.

Wind is "mature" (yes, improvements always but already significantly far down learning curve with multiple generations of deployments) while wave / ocean is something like 10-15 years behind.  

April 16, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

Jesse


This is a nice piece -- on multiple levels. Thank you.

I question your 'dissing' the potential for ocean (wave, tidal, current) energy systems.  They are already producing more power than fusion (which does make that "EcoManifesto") and there are a very large number of technologies/systems developing.  Looking at the systems, we're talking about terrawatts of potential generation that would be highly predictable & high capacity figure power generation.  

 

April 16, 2015    View Comment    

On It is Time to Stop Measuring Fuel Efficiency in Miles Per Gallon

Geoffrey / Robert -- also one who has discussed this in past. (See, for example, http://getenergysmartnow.com/2009/06/11/a-note-why-gpm-makes-for-better-policy-than-mpg/)  

RE mpg illusion, worth linking to/mentioning the site: http://www.mpgillusion.com/  Discussion there is not just re mpg/gpm but where other measures confuse ... such as, top of the posts right now, how people don't understand sunscreen SPF factors.

Re price per mile, as mentioned above there is the serious issue of how do we help people understand total cost of ownership (capital cost, general repairs, insurance, ...) versus incremental costs (increased maintenance costs, perhaps increased insurance costs, fuel) versus solely the fuel cost. Most people, in my understanding, simply think the last to the extent that they consider the cost to drive a mile.  Thinking the first helps people understand / think about 'do we really need two cars in the family or does it make sense to have one and rely more on public transportation then rent a car or use a taxi when there is really is a need for that second one.

November 7, 2014    View Comment    

On It is Time to Stop Measuring Fuel Efficiency in Miles Per Gallon

Geoffrey / Robert -- also one who has discussed this in past. (See, for example, http://getenergysmartnow.com/2009/06/11/a-note-why-gpm-makes-for-better-policy-than-mpg/)  

RE mpg illusion, worth linking to/mentioning the site: http://www.mpgillusion.com/  Discussion there is not just re mpg/gpm but where other measures confuse ... such as, top of the posts right now, how people don't understand sunscreen SPF factors.

Re price per mile, as mentioned above there is the serious issue of how do we help people understand total cost of ownership (capital cost, general repairs, insurance, ...) versus incremental costs (increased maintenance costs, perhaps increased insurance costs, fuel) versus solely the fuel cost. Most people, in my understanding, simply think the last to the extent that they consider the cost to drive a mile.  Thinking the first helps people understand / think about 'do we really need two cars in the family or does it make sense to have one and rely more on public transportation then rent a car or use a taxi when there is really is a need for that second one.

November 7, 2014    View Comment    

On It is Time to Stop Measuring Fuel Efficiency in Miles Per Gallon

If we included in gasoline, repairs, insurance, etc ... E.g., is it the real cost per 1000 or simply the fuel cost that merits discussion/highlighting?

November 7, 2014    View Comment