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Everything Is Outter In Texas
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2021-02-18, 17:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Privatization has its uses, and as a conservative, I think government is grandly efficient when tasked with oversight duties, but tends to lose grip on actually running day-to-day non-core activities.
I'm not denying that privatization works well in some cases. I'm not sure essential infrastructure is one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
I understand that you think what is happening in Texas is a failure of the free market running power plants. I tend to see it (so far) as a failure of proper government oversight, particularly those tasked with overseeing the state's emergency readiness.
Yes, well, turns out when you starve the beast, the beast isn't very effective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
If it turns out that the authorities issued regulations that the utilities needed to be winterized, and the business people prioritized compensation and dividends instead, I'm happy to endorse jailing them for a few years.
Texas could've, like 49 other states, used the existing regulatory framework and chose not to because government bad™, so if the authorities didn't issue such regulations, part of the blame goes specifically not to bureaucrats, but to politicians who pushed for small government in the first place.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2021-02-18, 18:19

This is an important conversation. Not just because of the political ideas, but also I'd like to see Novans chime in on what a real next-generation electrical grid would look eventually look like.

Is it realistic to have solar panels on every roof feeding power in while the house takes power from the grid? Can anybody plug in their car during the day and get credits, or does that just wear out your car battery too fast? We can get rid of coal, but even after we did that Ontario's grid is still somewhat backward and inefficient. What role does nuclear play?

We all seem to agree we need a new kind of grid, but no-one on Earth seems to be able to produce one.

I vote we move the Texas posts to a separate 'Texas and the Grid' (or whatever) thread so we're not cluttering the News Thread.

Anybody else?
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Matsu
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Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-02-18, 18:26

Frank, I didn't make any arguments about privatization, rather arguments about how green energy and grid refurbishment were somewhat routinely conflated to an extent that the numbers don't bare out a direct line between energy cost and "green" energy initiatives. Nor did I demonize what Ford is doing now, just a little caution of, "let's see what it looks like in a few years time." If you look at the government's own data and cancel out partisan bias/messaging by considering the regulators' statements under all of Harris/Eves/McGuinty/Wynne/Ford governments, then a few things jump out. Harris/Eves allowed the generation capacity to languish. The 2003 blackout was an acute expression of that (Ontario's capacity was about 8000MW short of peak demands) and also, of a significantly languishing transmission capacity. Rolling blackouts happen for two reasons - not enough power, or not enough bandwidth to move it around. In layman's terms, all those transmission towers have to be able to sustain peak loads 2X higher than the max nominal load, so that if one circuit fails for some reason, the power can move into the remaining circuit that will then safely carry both loads only long enough to sustain or reroute power until normal loads resume across both. In actual use, each circuit would be operated close to 40%, and the combined load would peak at 80% when the redundancy was activated for some reason. The cost of all this is in the millions per KM, and Ontario has about 30,000KM to look after. Additional Harris/Eves obfuscated their own fiscal management by burying many of the costs in a corporate restructuring and break of Hydro crowns, including a massive debt holding entity.

Their Liberal successors were very successful at refurbishing this capacity, phasing out coal, replacing it with natural gas and renewables. But, it can be argued that they were too successful, and overbuilt compared to near and mid term projections. Ontario's existing capacity is nearly 39,000MW, peak demand in 2020 was about 60% that on the hottest (highest demand) days. This part is hard to say, because also during the last 17 years we have experienced both unprecedented residential expansion and charted for a sustained rate for at least another 30 years according to provincial growth projections. So, eventually, we will use all of that capacity. Liberals will make the argument that they were trying to root a new sector into Ontario's economy, something that would form a cornerstone of next-gen jobs, but that's hard going, and hard to measure. I think they lost the plot, and people ended up thinking, why am I paying for "green". That was never the case, they were really paying for energy security. How sharply this ever comes into focus may also depend on what Ontario decides about its long term nuclear investments, which account for 13,000MW (or almost 35%). Solar, which got the bulk of negative press is about 1% of the mix, plus some other off grid stuff. Wind, which also got a shit kicking in public opinion, is about 7%. Neither enough to have changed Ontario's consumer electricity costs significantly.

Look at FAO (ontario's financial accountability office) here. Over the last ten years Ontario's rank tends to remain the same among provinces, and average household energy spending about the same too. And yes, subsidies and consumer spending changes must be taken into account, but it's not so dire, nor was ever, and certainly not because of green energy...

.........................................
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-02-18, 18:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
… I'd like to see Novans chime in on what a real next-generation electrical grid would look eventually look like.
We had that discussion a while back right after the Fukashima reactor debacle back in 2011. A lot has changed since then, and I've learned a lot.

1) We need cheap oil, because cheap oil means cheap plastic, transportation, manufacturing, etc. Cheap oil is the biggest reason the cost of solar has come down so dramatically in the last four years.

2) We need nuclear wherever it fits, but too much government oversight has made it too expensive. Let's work on that!

3) Every new home built where there is more than 100 days of sunshine should be required to have at least 1/2 it's daytime electrical needs supplied with solar panels from its own roof, and I actually think it should be closer to 100%.

4) We need cheap oil, because cheap oil is the path to cheap alternative energy. And when alternative is cheap, people will build it. And if you build it …

Yes, I mentioned cheap oil twice, because read it again.

As far as the grid is concerned, the grid needs to be "smaller", not bigger. It needs to be solar-focused, and neighborhood-focused. What I mean by that is that small neighborhoods should be tied together in a small grid of solar-powered homes with modern battery backups that supply power for freezers, heating, emergency lighting, and emergency medical, and they should be limited to something like 100 homes (and each of those homes should have 2 days minimum of battery backup on hand). Those neighborhoods should then be linked together with other neighborhoods such that one neighborhood can help supply emergency power to other neighborhoods. Then, groups of neighborhoods should be linked in larger grid-linked neighborhoods and so on.

And, yes, that sounds counter to my argument (smaller is better). But it's not. The focus needs to be on the home (the smallest individual electrical need), and then the neighborhood the home is in, and then the greater sub-grid, then the major grid, then the state grid, and finally the national grid. Right now, power is generated at the "large" level and delivered to the small home, when a good portion of that power (50%+) should be delivered the other way. We should be an interlinked community of power-generating homes backed up by power-generating power plants. Instead, we all rely on the power plants and home-power is the backup (and in far less than 1% of homes), and when they fail everyone loses. A smaller grid system localizes power outages in small pockets in which others have the ability to divert some of their power to help out in an emergency. Naturally, a long storm could cause issues, but what's new with that?

And all inter-neighborhood power lines and batteries should be buried in waterproof, earthquake proof "bunkers" (perhaps beneath the community square?), while the only exposed transmission lines would be those linking one city with another, and those to the power plants.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)

Last edited by kscherer : 2021-02-18 at 19:24.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-02-18, 19:33

Solar lends itself well to this because costs fall with volume. I remember trying to advocate that this be advanced in building codes and growth plans. Just make it a feature of new subdivisions and you’ll hardly feel the amortization of a built in solar against the overall mortgage.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-02-18, 19:51

I also think new neighborhoods should have a large park, and in the center of that park should be a small wind turbine (where by small I mean not one of those gigantic, European monsters ) that is tied to the community's backup batteries, and when those batteries are full, tied to the next community's batteries, and so on, such that the turbine's only job is to keep batteries full.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)
  quote
drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-02-18, 19:52

Also some tropical domed golf courses so that Senators can get in some time on the green without getting caught in an airport.



...
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-02-18, 19:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I would guess if it came out that a significant amount of money was spent proofing Texas(!!) infrastructure against freezing temperatures, you'd have a fairly broad "what a waste of money!" sentiment. And, given how much privatization has taken place, you'd have a competitor spring up who doesn't weatherize, and therefore gets to be cheaper.

(Turns out the FrEe MArKeT isn't great at long-term investments. Who knew?)
Ya *think*?

The thing is, it wouldn't have taken a massive weatherization effort. If *any one* of Texas' power supply systems had bothered to weatherize, they'd be in much much better shape. If they had collectively done *any* weatherization, they'd be in even better shape. But no, in true FrEe MArKeT fashion, they *all* figured they'd let the next sucker spend *his* money on it, and instead get that sixth yacht.

What a clusterfuck of fucking chucklefucks, but that's what you get when you kneel at the altar of deregulation and instead depend on the kindness of sociopaths.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-02-18, 20:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
2) We need nuclear wherever it fits, but too much government oversight has made it too expensive. Let's work on that!
I'm gonna stop you right there.

Nuclear power is expensive in comparison to fossil fuel, etc, only because nuclear is the only energy source that is required to pony up for the clean up up front.

If fossil fuel companies were similarly required to pay for the CO2 scrubbing, nuclear would be a goddamned bargain in comparison. And guess what... they should be required to do so. When you piss on the floor, you get to clean it up.

The disaster in TX this week is because government opted out of oversight, and instead of requiring the utilities to invest a minimum into weatherization, at *all*, they trusted in the invisible hand, and got roundly bitch-slapped by it.

Now, take that same proven ginormous level of irresponsibility and apply it to an industry where if you spill a tank of leftovers, you can kiss inhabiting that area goodbye for 10k years. Yeah, sorry, I don't trust the sociopaths running these utilities to do the right thing. Ever.

There is absolutely room for discussion about modifying the regulations to not only allow but encourage more modern reactor technologies that result in lower-grade and lower-life waste, but that's a policy derived from the decision in the 50s to push reactor designs that required fuel purified on equipment suitable for bomb making. Fast breeder reactors, thorium piles... there are some great approaches out there that are ready to go to scale, if only they were allowed on US soil.

But reducing *oversight*? Jesus, man, are you nuts?

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
  quote
kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-02-19, 13:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post
There is absolutely room for discussion about modifying the regulations to not only allow but encourage more modern reactor technologies that result in lower-grade and lower-life waste, but that's a policy derived from the decision in the 50s to push reactor designs that required fuel purified on equipment suitable for bomb making. Fast breeder reactors, thorium piles... there are some great approaches out there that are ready to go to scale, if only they were allowed on US soil.

But reducing *oversight*? Jesus, man, are you nuts?
Too much can be as bad as too little. Should it be decreased?

Well, when was the last time a nuclear power plant came online in the U.S.? A search tells me Tennessee brought one online in 2016. Before that, also in Tennessee, was in 1996. They're too expensive compared to every other viable solution!

You, yourself said, "if only they were allowed on US soil." So, why aren't they? Americans are scared of them? or too much regulation? I'm curious, because I have no idea, but I suspect it's either the latter or *conspiracies*.

Trust me, I don't want the things melting down, but I also want to rid ourselves of oil and coal. And if oil prices go back up, then so does the cost of everything, including alternative electricity generation.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)
  quote
Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-02-19, 13:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
Too much can be as bad as too little. Should it be decreased?

When was the last time a nuclear power plant came online in the U.S.? A search tells me Tennessee brought one online in 2016. Before that, also in Tennessee, was in 1996. They're too expensive compared to every other viable solution!

You, yourself said, "if only they were allowed on US soil." So, why aren't they? Americans are scared of them? or too much regulation? I'm curious, because I have no idea, but I suspect it's either the latter or *conspiracies*.
I suspect it's a combination of both fear and cost. The American public is constantly barraged with when things go wrong with nuclear power plants. Whether through natural disaster events( Fukushima), human error/design flaws( Chernobyl, 3 mile island), or just through Hollywood. Then you have the,
"What about the nuclear waste!" push back, etc etc.

Now of course we have politicians are blaming wind for the power issues in TX( wind turbines can operate in the cold, you just have to do the proper winterization) so we have that working against any sort of progress because we need distractions.

I am sure costs due to *gasp* ensuring safety of the reactors and plants play a role given the short term focus of American business instead of long term outlook so they don't want to pay the up front costs.

giggity
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-02-19, 20:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
Too much can be as bad as too little. Should it be decreased?
That's a rhetorical question, right?

Quote:
Well, when was the last time a nuclear power plant came online in the U.S.? A search tells me Tennessee brought one online in 2016. Before that, also in Tennessee, was in 1996. They're too expensive compared to every other viable solution!
Because they're the only energy production system that has its pollution treated seriously.

Every other energy production system should *ALSO* be required to pre-invest in capture and cleanup. This isn't rocket science. This is basic science.

Quote:
You, yourself said, "if only they were allowed on US soil." So, why aren't they? Americans are scared of them? or too much regulation? I'm curious, because I have no idea, but I suspect it's either the latter or *conspiracies*.
I already answered that. Slow uranium reactors were picked in the 50s as the technology of choice because they could also produce weapons.

Period.

End of story.

That's the whole of it.

Now as to why it *continues*? There's been a concerted PR campaign against alternate techs every time one pops on the radar. Fast breeders are used elsewhere in the world, but in the US they were subject to a media push claiming that terrorists would storm them for dirty bomb fuel. (Newsflash: our regular reactor waste, that crap we barely secure or contain, is dirtier.) Thorium reactors? Could be made so small that a terrorist would turn one into a *bomb*! (It is literally impossible to force a thorium reactor to supercriticality.) Etc. etc. etc. It's not a conspiracy, just the regular bureaucratic antibodies that come to bear anytime a decades-long standard policy is questioned, coupled with bog standard marketplace self-preservation.

We have an entrenched policy system in this country that is going to be absolutely antagonistic to any nuclear power technology that is not based in 1950s weapons making philosophy.

If you're interested in the basics, I can recommend David Bodansky's Nuclear Energy. I had the pleasure of studying under him for a year at the Univ of Washington for my Physics degree, in a three class series on Nuclear Processes, Nuclear Power, and Radiological Risks. (Or, as he put it, what happens in a reactor, how to build a reactor, and how it can kill you.) He was already in his mid 70s at that point, and had been in the thick of that discussion in the 50s, and was an advisor to both the NRC and the IAEA.

http://www.amazon.com/Nuclear-Energy...urearthling-20

If you're interested in the safe and *comparatively* inexpensive use of nuclear power, concentrate on leveling the playing field by requiring all energy producers to clean up after themselves, like adults. They won't do it voluntarily.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
  quote
drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-02-19, 21:30

Do we all believe that the sting of this disaster will result in regulation or an abusive spouse situation ("Don't call the cops baby, I won't do that again - it'll all be better from now on")


...
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-02-19, 23:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post
If you're interested in the safe and *comparatively* inexpensive use of nuclear power, concentrate on leveling the playing field by requiring all energy producers to clean up after themselves, like adults. They won't do it voluntarily.
Hey, I want what you want. I just want to find a compromise that neither kills us, nor makes energy capture prohibitively expensive. I personally believe that cheap oil is the path to cheap alternatives, not the detriment to it. Solar panels are not getting cheaper because more are being made; it's that more are being made because cheap oil makes it cheaper to make more of them.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9)
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-02-20, 00:01

Is that really true?

...
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2021-02-20, 00:42

Residential solar prices are certainly continuing to drop, and it doesn't take much searching to find pages of graphs and tabular data from multiple sources showing pricing trends since the late 1970s. Residential solar today appears to be less than half the cost per watt of what it was just ten years ago. It's unclear that there's a direct cause correlation with fossil fuels, though. Just naively overlaying graphs showing the oil prices over the years would suggest there isn't a strong link because oil has been far more volatile with some high peaks that don't correspond to any similar surge in solar cost.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Brad
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2021-02-20, 01:47

Also, in terms solutions that don't "kill us", when you look at "per unit of energy", deaths linked to nuclear (including Chernobyl and Fukishima) and renewable energy sources combined are still dwarfed by those linked to fossil fuels by at least two to three orders of magnitude. Kurzgesagt recently covered this topic in the aptly titled How Many People Did Nuclear Energy Kill? Nuclear Death Toll, and as usual, they included a very long, fantastically detailed document that fully quotes and cites their sources used in their analysis.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
 
2021-02-20, 15:22

You don't want a nuclear power plant constructed within two years in your backyard, so why should you suspect anyone else would.

Alternative reactor designs are decades away from commercialisation; new reactors can take decades to build safely. These aren't the solution now when the next ten years are hypercritical to prevent humans from dying off as our waste overwhelms us.

Besides: central power supplies are passe for good reason (you want to generate power where it is needed to reduce transmission losses and make a 'grid' resilient).

This discussion of nuclear power is a proxy for something else, a whataboutism that lets you escape the fact that we are, with every ounce of oil and chunk of coal, killing ourselves at a prodigious rate, which will only accelerate going forward.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2021-02-20, 17:16

Speaking of "in your backyard", I lived next to (well, within literally just a few hundred meters) and walked by one every day for several years at university. Admittedly, it's a very small reactor with only 1MW output built for research and training purposes, but nonetheless it behaves like any other light water reactor. It's never been a secret, yet I never once heard a peep of controversy from even the most outspoken conspiracy theorists when I was over there.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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2021-02-20, 18:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Also, in terms solutions that don't "kill us", when you look at "per unit of energy", deaths linked to nuclear (including Chernobyl and Fukishima) and renewable energy sources combined are still dwarfed by those linked to fossil fuels by at least two to three orders of magnitude. Kurzgesagt recently covered this topic in the aptly titled How Many People Did Nuclear Energy Kill? Nuclear Death Toll, and as usual, they included a very long, fantastically detailed document that fully quotes and cites their sources used in their analysis.
Yeah, I already said that!

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