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Re: Energy storage for wind and solar power

Yes Clive. Negative feedback dominates everything in the natural world (with the exception of nuclear fusion). Yet the loonie greenies believe that the climate is dominated by positive feedback.

Re: Energy storage for wind and solar power

In reply to Clive, that's an interesting point you raise about the "start from scratch pretty much every time effort involved with nuclear". Quite a few people might be puzzled by that claim as it's not consistent with the idea that nuclear power is a "mature technology", which it might reasonably be expected to be as it's been around for sixty years.

An example of something like the starting from scratch syndrome is this new Hinkley C nuclear power station proposed for the UK. People might assume that as the French are now in control of Britain's nuclear industry, we might get the advantage of the well-established French tendency to build lots of plants of the same design, which has been one of the major factors in France being able to build up to having 80% of its electricity generated by nuclear power. But Hinkley C is a significantly new design, an enhanced safety Generation III reactor known as the EPR or "European Pressurized Reactor", as described in this Wikipedia article:

What the motivation is for embarking on the EPR I don't know - it could be that to be perceived as leaders in the international nuclear industry your reactors need to be regarded as the safest, it may be a change pushed for by Western nuclear regulators to improve safety, or it could be that Western politicians are putting pressure on their nuclear regulators to reduce the likelihood of major nuclear accidents even further. You might have thought that there would have been a push to keep on building the cheaper Generation II reactors in response to the AGW malarkey and in recognition of the death rate in major nuclear accidents being extremely low.

Four of these EPRs are currently under construction. One in Finland started in 2005 and is expected to be completed in 2018 at a cost of 8 billion Euros. One in France started in 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2017 at a cost of 8.5 billion Euros. Two in China started in 2009 and 2010, with the first of these expected to be completed in 2015, at a cost of 8 billion Euros for the pair. I would guess that the lower costs in China, about half what they are in Europe, might be attributable to it being likely there is less 'red tape' in China.

In the case of the UK's Hinkley C station, which is a pair of EPRs, there is an additional cost element coming from having the Lib Dems in charge of the arrangements. The UK's electricity consumers are going to pay a guaranteed price of £92.50 per MWh for Hinkley C's electricity, which is apparently based on the pair of stations possibly costing £24 billion (33.5 billion euros) to build, presumably based on the project going very badly indeed, even worse than in Finland. I suspect that in Finland, France and China the electricity consumers are just going to pay a price based on what it actually did cost to build the EPR.

One thing I didn't mention in my earlier posts in this thread is that the EROEI figures quoted by Weissbach don't give too much confidence in the cost of wind and solar power coming down, as is often claimed by the proponents of wind and solar power. The EROEI values are a bit low in comparison with fossil fuel, and that's after forty years of development effort. The flying wind turbines idea might improve the EROEI relative to fossil fuel, if they ever got that concept to work. However when you eventually bring in the issue of energy storage it looks, from the EROEI figures, like the price of wind is going to quadruple and the price of solar is going to double, unless this future Green utopian world is going to put up with the blackouts.

Re: Energy storage for wind and solar power

Ah? Should I buy a truck that lets me get my garbage to the dump, haul dirt to my house, carry away the green downfall after storms, and still get me to the store when I need to? Or do I buy a economy car that lets me drive to the store and then rent when i need a truck?

Time Value of Money lets me put numbers to it, but then you have to take in the convenience factor.

How much is that convenience factor worth?

I have seen discussion of "Cradle to Grave" that try to encompass the entire problem. They leave me a little cold, because they too have a convenience factor involved.

R > E. Always R > E..