Comments by Mario Montero Subscribe

On Utilities, Cheap Batteries Won't Hurt You; You Have Much Worse Things to Worry About - Part I: Assault and Battery

Do you really think people need almost perfect realiabity ? I dont think so.  Perhaps you are not considering the demand side of electricity.  Demand can adapt.  Perhaps 95% is easily achived by changing some habits, using more efficient appliances, using using other resources, etc., etc..

I do agree with idea that not everybody will leave the grid.  But how many ?  Would they be enough to start the death spiral ? (less clients, higher electricity prices, more defections, less clients, higher electricity prices ... and so on)



May 8, 2015    View Comment    

On LUNA RING To Turn Moon Into Solar Power Collector

Isn't that just aggravating the problem by inyecting more heat into an already heating planet ?

Seems to me this company doesn't understand radiative forcing ... or themodynamics.

December 9, 2013    View Comment    

On Can 3D Printing Turn Space-Based Solar into a Reality?

Talking about climate change, this energy would finally be converted to heat (low frecuency radiation), hence contribuiting to global warming.  How come nobody see this?

December 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Update on Fukushima Leaks: Unrepresentative Sampling Supports Fear Mongering

You are right.  That's what happens locally.  But it just doesn't just vanish Mr. Adams, it goes somewhere.  Or is it like "out of sight, out of mind" ?

Just like smoke from a smokestack, it dilutes, but goes somewhere downwind, where it can concentrate via different physical and biological processes.  Perhpas through bioaccumulation.

And this is where real tissue analysis of fish or other species are needed.  Maybe nothing is happenning. But maybe this isotopes are bioaccumulating in fish.

Can I assume you would agree with me that TEPCO should run with the cost of the testing (done by a third party of course!) and making the results public?

September 9, 2013    View Comment    

On Update on Fukushima Leaks: Unrepresentative Sampling Supports Fear Mongering

I really don't buy this dilution hypothesis.  There are a number of reasons that can cause concentration: currents, a particular species feeding close to the discharge, etc., etc., etc.., things any biologist can tell.

However, you need to sample the tuna, or whatever fish, and find the species is bioaccumulating radioactive isotopes.  Otherwise, these are empty claims.

I do believe TEPCO should be paying for mayor sampling of marine species that are consumed regualarly in Japan and of migrating species,  such as ... yes .. .tuna.  And of course, results should be made public.  No less.

September 2, 2013    View Comment    

On The Fundamental Limitations of Renewable Energy

Ah, forgot the most important piece.  Costa Rica does not have an electricity market.

August 9, 2013    View Comment    

On The Fundamental Limitations of Renewable Energy

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here's Aug 8, 2013 dispatch.

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(I couldn't paste the graph here, but there's a link to it)


You can see, Geothermal (yellow) at the base, wind (white), hydro PPA's (blue, mostly run-of-the-river plants), ICE run of the river plants (lighter blue), Arenal Complex (light blue, multi year reservoir), fuels generation (red, diesel, bunker or gas), and exchange with neighbor systems (black).

On a yearly basis Costa Rica's generation goes something like this (data for 2012):

Hydropower           77%

Geothermal           14%

Fuels Generation    8,2%

Wind                   5,2%

Biomass                1%

Solar  ...           0,03%

That sums up to 91,8% renewable energy, with a very very low carbon footprint of about 80 tonCO2eq/GWh.

Fuel synthesis ???


August 9, 2013    View Comment    

On The Fundamental Limitations of Renewable Energy

Why compete in an open market ?

In fact, markets are the big obstacles renewables face.  Markets were designed for predictable energy, coal, nuclear, gas.  But they don't know what to do with renewables which have seasonal, daily and even hourly variations (in the case of wind and solar).

Go look at the case of any country without an electricity market.  Say Costa Rica, with 92% penetration of renewables.



August 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Can Switching Heavy Duty Trucks to Rail Transport Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Aesthetics??  Most trains in Europe are electric.  For example the TGV (train a gran vitesse) second fastest in the world ...

July 15, 2013    View Comment    

On Can Switching Heavy Duty Trucks to Rail Transport Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Highway maintenance is not a trivial issue.  I m sure a closer look would make yields for train systems even more profitable.  In fact, its possible that highways maintenance costs alone justify switching to trains.


July 15, 2013    View Comment    

On The Path to 100% Renewables

We ve been there, done that!

Costa Rica has generated consistently over 90% of its electricity from renewables over the past 15 years.  Yes, even before climate change was sexy.

How do we do that ? Much in the line of what Rosana writes.

Some 75-80% hydropower, with a big reservoir providing seasonal storage, as we have a very marked "dry" season.  Run of the river plants also have reservoir capacity of several hours and can help take our two daily peaks.

Some 10-15% geothermal power, used as base power.

Some 0-5%  wind power, starting in the 1990s.  And this fraction should grow markedly since we are in the process of contracting or building an additional 10% of our capacity from wind.  Also complements hydro during our dry season.

Some <1% biomass from bagasse burning in sugar mills.

Some <1% solar.  No matter how inefficient (low plant factors compared to hydro) it has the potential to cover us during the dry season.  Will probably develop as distributed energy.

Along with that, our distribution network covers 99,4% of the population.


So thats how we do it.  A sustained country effort from policy down. It can be done.



April 8, 2013    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy's Hidden Costs?

Cost numbers seem a bit inflated (outdated=?) for wind and solar, hence the big difference.   We have recieved competitive bids for wind at the $80-90/MWH onshore (50 MW size plants) and lately Guatemala apropriated a (competitive bidded) 50 MW solar farm at $120/MWH.

Baseloads need not be produced with coal or nuclear.  Here in Costa Rica we use geothermal and big reservoirs for that.  Granted, these are not problem-less solutions as they can have important environmental and social problems.  But costs are on check.


April 1, 2013    View Comment