# The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Over the last decade, renewable-energy sources have been emerging as good alternatives to fossil fuels for powering industrial economies. Preindustrial technology was all powered in renewable fashion, except for coal burning here and there. But that proved inadequate for powering industrial technologies, and for a long time, the main renewable source has been hydroelectric generation.

Fossil fuels have three problems: (1) they won't last for more than about a century at current consumption, (2) much of the more easily-exploited resources have already been used up, and (3) using them puts a lot of carbon dioxide into our planet's atmosphere, and that has already been causing global warming. For these reasons, development of additional renewable energy sources has been actively pursued over the last few decades, and that effort is now bearing fruit.

-- present-day wind turbines are not your ancestors' windmills. They look much like 3-blade airplane propellers on tall posts -- and recently very tall ones, over 100 m (300 ft) high. The installed capacity has been growing by a factor of around 10 every 10 years since the 1990's, and the worldwide value is now around 500 gigawatts.

-- a big surprise for me, for these reasons: (1) photovoltaic cells are made much like computer chips, and I expected that to keep them relatively expensive, and (2) I expected concentrated solar power with thermal generation to be the solar winner, but it has not been.

But photovoltaic cells' installed capacity has also been growing by a factor of around 10 every 10 years since the 1990's, and is now around 400 gigawatts worldwide.

A big problem with wind and solar generation is that they are intermittent, and that has provoked a lot of work in electricity-storage technologies like improved batteries.

Another problem is the inadequacy of synthetic-fuel technology. This is for transport, where battery storage is often inadequate, and where liquid fuels are a great convenience. One makes synfuels with electricity by electrolyzing water and then combing the resulting hydrogen with carbon dioxide from the air -- the Fischer-Tropsch reaction. It has been used to make synfuels by nations with relatively little oil, like Germany and South Africa, and it is nowadays used to make synthetic motor oil. But in most places, synfuels are still more expensive than their petroleum-derived counterparts.

Cleantech News — Solar, Wind, EV News (#1 Source) | CleanTechnica is a renewable-energy enthusiast site (EV = electric vehicles, mainly electric cars). But it is revealing that that site seldom discusses synfuels.

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#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor

Often it has proven not economically viable. There are problems with end of life of the plants, expensive decommissioning costs. And dealing with dangerous nuclear waste. They are a big head ache all around.

https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/high-cost-nuclear-power

Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving America’s energy problems.
Per dollar of investment, clean energy solutions – such as energy efficiency and renewable resources – deliver far more energy than nuclear power.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum

Often it has proven not economically viable. There are problems with end of life of the plants, expensive decommissioning costs. And dealing with dangerous nuclear waste. They are a big head ache all around.

https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/high-cost-nuclear-power

Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving America’s energy problems.
Per dollar of investment, clean energy solutions – such as energy efficiency and renewable resources – deliver far more energy than nuclear power.

Nuclear power is economically nonviable, because unlike all other power generation technologies, it has a regulatory regime that refuses to countenance the slightest risk to human health, and under which no level of additional regulatory burden is considered unreasonable.

Were other technologies held to the same standard (as they probably should be), then they would be even more expensive than nuclear power.

This despite the fact that nuclear power is demonstrably the safest method of generating electricity on a commercial scale so far discovered.

The decommissioning costs would be negligible, if the maximum allowed radiation exposure levels were calculated based on actual effects on health; Instead, the principle of 'As Low As Reasonably Achievable' (ALARA) is applied, and operators are required to go to insane lengths to protect people against increased levels of ionizing radiation, even where those levels are demonstrably harmless. Meanwhile, contaminated fossil power plant sites get a cursory cleanup at best, and then get abandoned, with only the local parents showing the slightest concern about the very real risks they pose.

'Dangerous nuclear waste' from power plants is so dangerous that in sixty plus years, not one person has ever been injured or killed by it. It is mostly perfectly good fuel, which could be recycled, if the anti-nuclear lobby were not so adamant that (in this one case) recycling is bad, and should not be permitted. meanwhile, waste from fossil fuel plants has no such impeccable safety record; But nobody seems to mind. When was the last time somebody mentioned 'Dangerous coal waste'? why do people think that they need to prefix 'nuclear waste' with 'dangerous', when it has caused no harm whatsoever to anybody in the entire history of commercial nuclear power generation? Are we really so uncaring about fact, and so easily swayed by propaganda*?

All of the problems trotted out by the anti-nuclear lobby in opposition to nuclear power are self-fulfilling prophecies - the cause of the 'problems' is their refusal to even consider any reasonable solutions.

Meanwhile, the propaganda for renewables and against nuclear power can't hide the fact that countries like France and Sweden, and states like Ontario, where nuclear and hydro are the main power sources, have GHG emissions form electricity generation well below 100gCO2eq/kWh, while countries like Denmark and Germany, who have piled VAST sums into renewables still average GHG emissions form electricity generation in the order of 500gCO2eq/kWh.

Lots of really excellent things have been claimed for wind and solar power; But a look at the actual generation profiles of countries that have embraced these technologies shows that the real effect has been to move from coal to gas for most of their power, with the renewables filling in patchy bits of supply (but on the rare occasions when they fill 100% of supply for a whole day, it makes headlines as though they had achieved some fabulous goal. Nobody posts the '0% of power in Germany was produced by wind power for 48 hours due to calm weather' headlines to offset these apparent victories).

Reality is real. The proof of the pudding is in the GHG emissions. I will be an avid supporter of Energiewende if, as and when the Germans routinely match the French on that CO2eq/kWh number over a full year. I am NOT holding my breath.

The question of whether the best approach to GHG reductions is nuclear or renewables has been tested in the real world, over the long term, at the scale of entire large developed nations. The answer is that nuclear power, as adopted by France, consistently and easily beats the pants off renewable energy, as adopted by Germany, by every single important measure (unless popularity is included as 'important').

Nuclear power isn't renewable; But it could power the world for an indefinite time - the total Uranium resource is enough for thousands of years, and the Thorium resource is even larger - particularly if we use breeders and reprocessing to recycle the otherwise unusable and/or unused fraction of the fuel, rather than declaring it to be 'waste' and burying it at pointless expense.

*Apparently, yes.

#### humbleman

##### Senior Member
Parties in my family weren't wild but there were in a different era. In the years of Grandpa, neighbors used to knock the door, I was told to open, the neighbor ignored me but saying hi to grandma who was behind me, showed her fresh chicken hanging up side down from a string, saying, "hi neighbor, we hear the music and we should like to joint you", grandma hit my head so I pick up the chicken and taken them to the back patio where they will be killed and have more food for the party.

Other neighbors showed up with beer, wine, etc.

The house was full, and many leaved the house late and taking food as leftover grandma always insisted to give away.

However, many people were drunk and some of them sleeping everywhere. About 2:00 am, my grandpa woke me up to go and buy more chicken for next morning. Breakfast wasn't omelets and sh*t like that, breakfast after parties were chicken soup, beans and rice, beer -no liquor... too early for that...- and etc.

So, 2:00am going to the "Chinese chicken place".

The Chinese chicken place was a chicken farm owned by a Chinese dude. Clever, eh?

It happens that this Chinese chicken place was located in a route without street lights, it was a road without pavement. The property was surrounded by a Trump's style wall the whole perimeter. Grandpa knocked the door and asked for two fat chicken and two dozen of eggs. We came inside and waited over there.

The old Chinese man called his grandson, who was about 10 years old. He told him to "turn the lights On".

Here is the best renewable energy of the world:

The Chinese boy jumped to a stationary bike, connected was a huge dynamo to the wheel which was also huge. And there he went. After the boy started his biking, lights made from flashlights started to illuminate the whole area from the house of the Chinese family to the henhouse, plus the entrance where we were waiting for the chicken., and the corners of the property.

The old man came with everything my grandpa asked for and after payment we went back home in grandpa's car.

Today renewable energy is in us, but we are lazy, this is the sad truth, and this is why tomorrow morning I will order lots of dynamos to be installed in different stationary bicycles at home, so if people at home want to watch TV, they must do some exercise to turn it On...

But, as usual, to us, the ones with real solutions, the rest never listen to us....

#### BH

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Couldn't we go back to steam for a lot of stuff?

#### Juma

##### Gone
Couldn't we go back to steam for a lot of stuff?
Nuclear power uses steam.
Steam isnt an energy source. Its a physical means to turn aheat flow into work.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Couldn't we go back to steam for a lot of stuff?

We never went away from it.

Most electricity generation is done by steam turbines - the choice is do we generate the steam by burning coal, gas, wood, oil, or refuse; or by nuclear fission; or by pumping water into hot rocks; or by parabolic mirrors concentrating the energy of the sun?

Non-steam generation technologies contribute a fairly small (if growing) fraction of total electricity generation. By far the largest of these is Hydro power, where the turbines are turned by liquid, rather than gaseous water.

according to Wikipedia:
In 2014, the share of world energy consumption for electricity generation by source was coal at 40.8%, natural gas at 21.6%, nuclear at 10.6%, hydro at 16.4%, other sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, etc.) at 6.3% and oil at 4.3%. Coal and natural gas were the most used energy fuels for generating electricity.
...
In 2016 while total world energy came from 80% fossil fuels, 10% biofuels, 5% nuclear and 5% renewable (hydro, wind, solar, geothermal), only 18% of that total world energy was in the form of electricity. Most of the other 82% was used for heat and transportation.

Those 2014 figures add up to 77.3% stuff that makes steam, and 22.7% mostly stuff that doesn't make steam (of which almost three quarters [72%] was Hydro power; and which includes geothermal and biomass [and some of 'etc.'] which belong in the 'steam' column but are not broken out by Wikipedia). The non-steam, non-hydro fraction of electricity generation in 2014 would be in the order of about 2-4% of all power generated that year.

The 2016 figure includes lots of non-steam fossil fuel use (internal combustion engines, furnaces, etc); But the combined wind and solar figure there cannot be more than a few percent of the total - when rolled in with Hydro it is only 5%, and we saw above that Hydro was in the order of three quarters of that figure only two years earlier.

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#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
Couldn't we go back to steam for a lot of stuff?

Solar towers use steam, generated by focusing sunlight on the tower to generate steam to run a turbine.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
I am steam powered. Without a hot shower in the morning, I never really wake up.

#### Angry Floof

##### Tricksy Leftits
Staff member
I am steam powered. Without a hot shower in the morning, I never really wake up.

I'm steam powered due to too much exposure to political news. I'm not a very efficient steam engine as most of it comes out of my ears.

#### Speakpigeon

##### Contributor
This thread is running out of steam.
EB

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
I'm steam powered due to too much exposure to political news. I'm not a very efficient steam engine as most of it comes out of my ears.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
The United States is far behind Europe in offshore wind-energy generation, but there are some efforts on the way, like Ørsted & Eversource Announce 200 Megawatt Connecticut Offshore Wind Farm | CleanTechnica -- alongside some plans for one off the southern shore of Massachusetts. The first US one to go into operation was , a five-turbine pilot project that started operations in December 2016. However, the project was recently abandoned. It was to be built off the southern shore of Cape Cod, but NIMBY's like the Kennedy family and one of the Koch brothers succeeded in litigating it to death.

Ørsted (or Oersted) is the new name of DONG Energy (Denmark Oil and Natural Gas), one that reflects its new focus. The name is from , someone notable for discovering that electric currents make magnetic fields around them.

Renewable Energy World - News, Resources, Companies, Jobs and more

First Floating US Wind Farm May Be Built Off California Coast - Renewable Energy World
An agency that leads sustainable energy efforts for cities and counties along the state’s Redwood Coast chose a consortium of companies -- including Energias de Portugal SA’s EDPR Offshore North America LLC and Principle Power Inc. -- to build a floating wind farm that may generate as much as 150 megawatts of power, according to a statement from EDPR. The group was one of six bidders, it said.

Energy Transition – The Global Energiewende
Will the Energiewende succeed? – Energy Transition
We could ask people: how would you like to improve your community?

Instead, the discussion roughly breaks down into three camps:
• more technology is needed to save us from our current technology, and renewable energy alone will not suffice;
• renewables will help us live within planetary boundaries at a high enough living standard; and
• civilization is on a path to destruction because we will fail to do either of the above.
I roughly fall into the second category. While I don’t deny that we can screw this transition up, I like to remind people where happiness comes from: friendships and community. It specifically does not come from material well-being, at least not once a certain basic level of comfort has been attained (such as clean water, electricity, good housing, and personal safety). So the transition not only needs to reduce carbon emissions, but also strengthen communities and overcome the isolation that people increasingly suffer from (the British Minister for Loneliness could be a step in the right direction).

Green Technology | Clean Tech & Renewable Energy News
Trump Targets Chinese Wind, Battery and EV Imports, but With Limited US Impact | Greentech Media
The U.S.solar industry breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when Chinese-made solar cells and modules were not included on a list of products that could be subject to new Trump administration tariffs. Inverters were also absent.

Other clean energy technologies did make the list, but the U.S. market impacts appear to be modest.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
India Added More Solar & Wind In 2017 Than Coal-Based Capacity | CleanTechnica India A Step Closer To First Offshore Wind Energy Auction | CleanTechnica

Renewable Energy In Kenya: Meeting The Needs Of An Expanding Population | CleanTechnica -- "Geothermal Renewable Energy in Kenya (8th in the world, with more on the way), Electrification of Kenya’s Trains Boosted by China, Race to Wind Power Part of Renewable Energy in Kenya, Small Solar Projects to Accomplish Big Returns in Kenya"

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#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry - Bloomberg -- these are battery-powered buses and hybrid-electric ones, not electric trolleybuses, the kind of bus that gets its electricity from overhead cables.

Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early model. ...

Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry. ...

The numbers are staggering. China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
China got into electric buses because its cities are so smoggy, with about 1.6 million deaths a year attributed to that smog. Buses consume about 30 times as much fuel as cars, and to date, electric buses have displaced about 5 times as much fuel as electric cars.

Outside China, several cities have been acquiring electric buses, even if not as many as China.

This is worth mentioning in the context of renewable energy, because the most successful renewable sources make electricity.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry - Bloomberg -- these are battery-powered buses and hybrid-electric ones, not electric trolleybuses, the kind of bus that gets its electricity from overhead cables.

Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early model. ...

Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry. ...

The numbers are staggering. China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
China got into electric buses because its cities are so smoggy, with about 1.6 million deaths a year attributed to that smog. Buses consume about 30 times as much fuel as cars, and to date, electric buses have displaced about 5 times as much fuel as electric cars.

Outside China, several cities have been acquiring electric buses, even if not as many as China.

This is worth mentioning in the context of renewable energy, because the most successful renewable sources make electricity.

It's also worth mentioning that the buses in question are powered by whatever the local power generation mix is; and that even in places like Denmark, where wind power has been massively adopted, that's FAR from 'emissions free'.

For electric vehicles to be worthy of the tag 'emissions free', they must be recharged in a location with very low emissions from electricity generation - like France, Sweden, Norway, or Ontario.

Electric buses in China are doing a good job of reducing the pollution levels in the cities. But they are not doing much to lower emissions overall. In China, an electric bus runs mostly on coal.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Wind, Solar, & Batteries Continue To Squeeze Out Fossil Fuels, Finds BNEF | CleanTechnica
With lithium-ion batteries' prices falling 79% with 2010, it is becoming evident that a missing piece of the renewable-energy puzzle is falling into place.

At first site, wind and solar electricity generation seem like they are trading the vagaries of powerplant-fuel markets for the vagaries of weather. But weather is often very predictable, though only on average for more than a few days. Arid areas often have very little obstruction of incoming sunlight by clouds, and likewise for dry seasons. Likewise, the Earth's rotation is very predictable, as are solar eclipses. In fact, some people have gotten solar-eclipse light curves by monitoring the output of their solar panels.

Energiewende passes solar eclipse stress test | Clean Energy Wire
What blackout? How solar-reliant power grids passed the eclipse test
German and European Power Grids, Civilization Intact Following Solar Eclipse | Greentech Media
Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
Eclipse | Vernier

But such predictability does not get around the problem of intermittency. So one ought to store energy from when the wind is blowing and when the Sun is visible for when the wind is not blowing and the Sun is blocked off. The most common energy-storage technique has been pumped hydroelectric storage, but batteries are now starting to challenge that:

Falling Grid-Scale Storage Prices Create "Watershed Moment" | CleanTechnica
RTO Insider reports she enthused that the energy storage industry will grow to 35 gigawatts by 2025 and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs along the way. Energy storage will account for $4 billion in cumulative operational savings during that time while avoiding 3.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Christopher Parent, ISO-NE’s director of market development, told the conference his organization had no storage in its interconnection queue a couple years ago. Now it has more than 500 megawatts of grid-scale energy storage proposals in the queue, a number that has been growing even in recent weeks, he said. ... Dan Finn-Foley, senior energy storage analyst for GTM Research, said “energy storage costs have dropped dramatically over the past few years” and projected the trend to continue. ESA figures show the costs for large-scale storage systems declined by 50% since 2014, and Finn-Foley estimates those costs will drop an additional 35% by 2022. This will be good not only for renewable sources, but also for coal and nuclear. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Europe Faces Another Solar Boom, Increasingly Unsubsidized | Greentech Media Europe was once the world's biggest solar spender, until the region's PV market fell into a structural decline after subsidies were pulled back. Now Europe is on the upswing once again — this time, with far less government spending. As Subsidies Phase Out, Wind Still Powers Ahead | Climate Denial Crock of the Week In the US, subsidies for wind energy are due to be phased out in 2020, and for solar energy in 2022. I find it welcome that subsidies are being phased out. This phasing out has the effect of slowing down renewable-energy development, but it has a beneficient political side effect: giving at least the appearance of being independent of taxpayers' money. If anything, it may help in directing attention to fossil-fuel subsidies. #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric. And Texas now leads the nation in wind power. 17% of our electrical energy is now generated by wind. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric. Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric. Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit. Third rail electric power has a lot of problems though - it doesn't work for high speed services, and it's no good for areas shared with pedestrians, which is the typical case for buses and tramway/light rail setups. Heavy rail can use it - the London Underground uses a four rail system, and the London and South East England heavy rail uses a three rail system with the return current via the traction rails. My uncle, who was a scheduler for British Rail before his retirement, used to say that he was strongly in favour of the third-rail system, because while it didn't stop people from trespassing on the railways, it did at least usually stop them from doing so twice. Of course, overhead power can also be a major hazard, but generally you need to be a lot stupider to get caught out by it. Having said which, the standard 25kV used for overhead railway power is quite capable of jumping a large gap to a well earthed human; He needn't tough the wires in order to be incinerated. A chap who was stealing radios from cars on a rail transport wagon at Wakefield (the car loading facility next to Westgate station) found that out the hard way back in the 1980s when the East Coast line was electrified. They had to use dental records to identify him, and the whole area smelled like BBQ pork for a week. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Fox News Slams California Rooftop Solar Initiative With Lies, Half-Truths, & Distortions | CleanTechnica The California Energy Commission has mandated that most new residential structures — single family homes, condominium complexes, and apartment buildings — have rooftop solar systems beginning in 2020. While most people who care about the Earth are applauding the move, Fox News has greeted the decision with derision and scorn. Amber Beck, a spokesperson for the California Energy Commission, says, “For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about$40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills. On average, the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about$9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years.” However, Fox News found some people with contrary opinions, like the Republican leader of the California State Assembly. Why The Energy Storage Problem Won't Be A Problem For Long | CleanTechnica ... Sure enough, here comes the US Department of Energy with a solution: a newly announced round of$30 million in funding for next-generation technology leading to batteries that can store electricity in bulk for at least 10 hours.

At that scale, energy storage can solve three problems at once: it can funnel more wind and solar into the grid, it can shrink reliance on coal baseload power plants, and it can push gas “peaker” plants out of the picture. Problem solved!

By the way, 10 hours is just for starters. The new round of funding aims at systems that can shoot electricity into the grid for up to 100 hours, which puts nuclear power on even shakier ground than it is now (that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms).

...
The background material for the funding announcement also hammers home the aim of enabling “a greater share of low-cost, intermittent sources of wind and solar in the future generation mix.”
ARPA-E (Energy) put out a report on the prospects of improved storage, noting that 10-hour storage would have some performance features that would enable various design shortcuts. Such shortcuts may be necessary to reduce costs enough to make utilities willing to install something that they are not likely to use very often.
…the future unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of these technologies will be at or below 2.5 cents/kWh.8 These low prices for wind and solar create a substantial opportunity for the United States, through the reduction in electricity bills and through an increase in the ability to maintain low natural gas prices for use in the chemical industry or for export.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Renewable & Fossil Fuel Organizations Oppose "Emergency" Coal & Nuclear Bailout | CleanTechnica
An unlikely coalition of renewable energy, natural gas, energy efficiency, and oil industry associations have collectively submitted their concerns to the US Department of Energy regarding the possibility of effectively bailing out and subsidizing uneconomic and aging power plants that would otherwise be forced to retire, such as FirstEnergy Solutions’ recent request for the same.

In a move which is striking in its bilateral and bipartisan support, a combination of American industry associations have submitted a legal analysis to the Department of Energy (DOE) effectively condemning the misuse of Government power to prop up coal and nuclear power plants which, for one reason or another, are being forced into retirement. The group of associations includes Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Petroleum Insititute (API), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGA), and the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) — a cross-section of American energy voices which speak almost louder than words.
As renewable energy gets better and better, this could be followed by more such pushes for bailouts. It's not quite the twilight of the fossil fuels (Fossilenergiedämmerung?), even for electricity generation, but it looks like a foretaste of what is to come.

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric.
Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit.

Our electric buses are battery powered. Houston is too big in area to string overhead wires everywhere. Our metro trains use overhead wires, but they are nowhere as extensive as our bus system.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Statoil Officially Changes Name To Equinor | CleanTechnica
After announcing its intention earlier in the year, Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil has today officially changed its name to Equinor after the company’s annual general meeting approved the name change on Tuesday.

Energy companies and utilities around the world are looking to not only transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, but are also looking to ensure that the world knows they are doing so. In October of 2017, Danish energy giant DONG Energy announced that it would change its name to Ørsted, and in late March Swedish power company Vattenfall made the cosmetic decision to change its logo.
DONG = Danish Oil and Natural Gas
Ørsted = Oersted = discoverer of magnetic fields made by electric currents

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Statoil Officially Changes Name To Equinor | CleanTechnica
After announcing its intention earlier in the year, Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil has today officially changed its name to Equinor after the company’s annual general meeting approved the name change on Tuesday.

Energy companies and utilities around the world are looking to not only transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, but are also looking to ensure that the world knows they are doing so. In October of 2017, Danish energy giant DONG Energy announced that it would change its name to Ørsted, and in late March Swedish power company Vattenfall made the cosmetic decision to change its logo.
DONG = Danish Oil and Natural Gas
Ørsted = Oersted = discoverer of magnetic fields made by electric currents

That's nice. But image is no substitute for substance.

#### Underseer

##### Contributor
What about nuclear fusion, like ITER, projected to produce energy by 2025?

https://www.theguardian.com/environ...-fusion-project-reaches-key-halfway-milestone

EB

As scientists and engineers have been saying for decades, we already have the perfect fusion generator.

The purpose of fusion research is not to produce a new power source. It is to learn more about how the universe works and maybe discover a couple of new technologies in the process of trying to make it work.

In fact one possible solution to the duck curve is to put solar satellites in orbit and beam the energy down at lower frequencies. My granduncle worked on a design for a receiving station that lets higher frequency E=M pass through so that the land beneath the (admittedly large) receiving stations could still be used for farming.

With the right arrangement of solar satellites, we could get solar energy more or less 24-7 using the technology we already have. Heck, we could have put solar satellites up decades ago.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
What about nuclear fusion, like ITER, projected to produce energy by 2025?

https://www.theguardian.com/environ...-fusion-project-reaches-key-halfway-milestone

EB

As scientists and engineers have been saying for decades, we already have the perfect fusion generator.

The purpose of fusion research is not to produce a new power source. It is to learn more about how the universe works and maybe discover a couple of new technologies in the process of trying to make it work.

In fact one possible solution to the duck curve is to put solar satellites in orbit and beam the energy down at lower frequencies. My granduncle worked on a design for a receiving station that lets higher frequency E=M pass through so that the land beneath the (admittedly large) receiving stations could still be used for farming.

With the right arrangement of solar satellites, we could get solar energy more or less 24-7 using the technology we already have. Heck, we could have put solar satellites up decades ago.

The problem still remains that solar energy is very diffuse, and you need a big collecting area.

The state of California alone uses about 22GW of power. According to Wikipedia, at the end of 2016, California had a total installed solar capacity of 18,919.8 MW - not far off the amount needed. Yet this capacity generated only about 10% of the power used in California - a woeful capacity factor, that could be massively boosted by putting all that capacity into orbit, where it sees the sun 24x7x365.

Sounds great. But. That amount of generation requires a collecting area of about 580 square km. The ISS P6 solar array assembly masses about 16.3 metric tonnes; its collecting area is about 400 square metres, and it cost in the order of $450 million to put into Low Earth Orbit (That's just the launch cost, not the cost of building the thing). There are a million square metres in a square kilometre; To supply solar power to California alone from Low Earth Orbit using arrays similar to those on the ISS would require (conservatively)$652,500 Trillion in launch costs alone, just to get the equipment up there - then you have all the cost of assembling and configuring the thing, and the cost of your ground collection station(s), and you still need to allow for some losses in transmission back to the ground, ongoing maintenance and repair, etc, etc, ...

Compare that with about $80 billion for the same amount (20GW) of high capacity factor nuclear power plants, and you can see the problem here. Unless you can manufacture your collectors with materials sourced from outside the Earth's gravity well (eg asteroid mining, or from the Moon); Or you can MASSIVELY reduce the cost of getting to orbit (eg build a space elevator), this is just too expensive to even consider. Even if space-based solar is 100x as effective per sq metre as ground based solar, it is still unimaginably expensive. Like, a million years of the current US Defence budget expensive. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout | FiveThirtyEight -- at least in the United States There are 99 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the United States today. Collectively, they’re responsible for producing about 20 percent of the electricity we use each year. But those reactors are, to put it delicately, of a certain age. The average age of a nuclear power plant in this country is 38 years old (compared with 24 years old for a natural gas power plant). Some are shutting down. New ones aren’t being built. And the ones still operational can’t compete with other sources of power on price. Just last week, several outlets reported on a leaked memo detailing a proposed Trump administration plan directing electric utilities to buy more from nuclear generators and coal plants in an effort to prop up the two struggling industries. The proposal is likely to butt up against political and legal opposition, even from within the electrical industry, in part because it would involve invoking Cold War-era emergency powers that constitute an unprecedented level of federal intervention in electricity markets. But without some type of public assistance, the nuclear industry is likely headed toward oblivion. Defenders of nuclear energy might say that what's sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, that if renewable sources can be subsidized, then so can nuclear energy. Subsidies are good for building new industries, but they are not so good for mature ones. The phasing out of renewable-energy subsidies may not be good for developing it, but it is good politics, and it may force defenders of fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy subsidies to explain why those are worth subsidizing. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor New US Solar Record — 2.155 Cents Per kWh! (with Escalator for Inflation) | CleanTechnica We have seen solar power in the Middle East come into the low 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) range. We have seen it under 2 cents per kWh in Mexico. Misguided, casual observers claimed these prices only occurred due to heavily exploited labor, but now we have also seen 2.155 cents per kWh in the United States (h/t RenewEconomy). This contract was one of six contracts that Nevada Power recently signed. All 6 contracts came in under 3 cents per kWh. ... At CleanTechnica, we have published numerous stories projecting that the price of solar would continue to decline despite already low prices. Nevertheless, I still feel the need for someone to convince me that I am not dreaming every time a solar price record is obliterated. (Notably, not even 5 years ago, 2–3¢/kWh solar was projected for 2050.) The 6 solar farms range from 50 megawatts to 300 megawatts. Combined, they will total 1,001 megawatts. Just a reminder for any newer readers of CleanTechnica and such energy stories — 1,000 megawatts is equal to 1 gigawatt. Roughly speaking, 1 gigawatt of solar panels cover about 1 square kilometer. ... Three of the solar farms will also include battery storage totaling 100 megawatts (MW) of power capacity and 400 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage. Only 1/10 of the solar capacity, and only for 4 hours. But it may be good for quick fluctuations, and it may make "peakers" and "spinning reserve" less necessary. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout | FiveThirtyEight -- at least in the United States There are 99 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the United States today. Collectively, they’re responsible for producing about 20 percent of the electricity we use each year. But those reactors are, to put it delicately, of a certain age. The average age of a nuclear power plant in this country is 38 years old (compared with 24 years old for a natural gas power plant). Some are shutting down. New ones aren’t being built. And the ones still operational can’t compete with other sources of power on price. Just last week, several outlets reported on a leaked memo detailing a proposed Trump administration plan directing electric utilities to buy more from nuclear generators and coal plants in an effort to prop up the two struggling industries. The proposal is likely to butt up against political and legal opposition, even from within the electrical industry, in part because it would involve invoking Cold War-era emergency powers that constitute an unprecedented level of federal intervention in electricity markets. But without some type of public assistance, the nuclear industry is likely headed toward oblivion. Defenders of nuclear energy might say that what's sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, that if renewable sources can be subsidized, then so can nuclear energy. Subsidies are good for building new industries, but they are not so good for mature ones. The phasing out of renewable-energy subsidies may not be good for developing it, but it is good politics, and it may force defenders of fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy subsidies to explain why those are worth subsidizing. The nuclear industry is newer than either solar or wind power. The first solar-voltaic cell was invented in 1883 (http://energyinformative.org/the-history-of-solar-energy-timeline/); The first wind turbine used to generate electricity was built in 1887 (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2014/11/history-of-wind-turbines.html). The first use of nuclear power to make electricity was in 1948 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-10_Graphite_Reactor). So if subsidies should be reserved for new technologies, nuclear is more deserving of them than either solar or wind power. That it's opponents rely on factually incorrect information to argue against it surprises me not at all, but it is disappointing to see these untruths repeated uncritically so often, and by people who really should know better. And nuclear power doesn't need a subsidy. It just needs not to have to pay VAST sums for needless regulatory compliance. Or, if you think that spending trillions of dollars per life saved is a good idea, the government could apply a similarly harsh regulatory environment to all power generation industries, proportional to the harm they do to people and the environment, and nuclear would suddenly be cheapest of all. By far. Saying 'You must pay us millions every year for a licence to operate, and millions more to employ people to write reports about every little detail of what you do', and then saying 'well it seems that you are no longer profitable without a subsidy, so we clearly can't afford you', is incredibly dishonest (and typical of the anti-nuclear propaganda machine). Last edited: #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout | FiveThirtyEight -- at least in the United States There are 99 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the United States today. Collectively, they’re responsible for producing about 20 percent of the electricity we use each year. But those reactors are, to put it delicately, of a certain age. The average age of a nuclear power plant in this country is 38 years old (compared with 24 years old for a natural gas power plant). Some are shutting down. New ones aren’t being built. And the ones still operational can’t compete with other sources of power on price. Just last week, several outlets reported on a leaked memo detailing a proposed Trump administration plan directing electric utilities to buy more from nuclear generators and coal plants in an effort to prop up the two struggling industries. The proposal is likely to butt up against political and legal opposition, even from within the electrical industry, in part because it would involve invoking Cold War-era emergency powers that constitute an unprecedented level of federal intervention in electricity markets. But without some type of public assistance, the nuclear industry is likely headed toward oblivion. Defenders of nuclear energy might say that what's sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, that if renewable sources can be subsidized, then so can nuclear energy. Subsidies are good for building new industries, but they are not so good for mature ones. The phasing out of renewable-energy subsidies may not be good for developing it, but it is good politics, and it may force defenders of fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy subsidies to explain why those are worth subsidizing. The nuclear industry is newer than either solar or wind power. The first solar-voltaic cell was invented in 1883 (http://energyinformative.org/the-history-of-solar-energy-timeline/); The first wind turbine used to generate electricity was built in 1887 (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2014/11/history-of-wind-turbines.html). The first use of nuclear power to make electricity was in 1948 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-10_Graphite_Reactor). So if subsidies should be reserved for new technologies, nuclear is more deserving of them than either solar or wind power. That it's opponents rely on factually incorrect information to argue against it surprises me not at all, but it is disappointing to see these untruths repeated uncritically so often, and by people who really should know better. And nuclear power doesn't need a subsidy. It just needs not to have to pay VAST sums for needless regulatory compliance. Or, if you think that spending trillions of dollars per life saved is a good idea, the government could apply a similarly harsh regulatory environment to all power generation industries, proportional to the harm they do to people and the environment, and nuclear would suddenly be cheapest of all. By far. Saying 'You must pay us millions every year for a licence to operate, and millions more to employ people to write reports about every little detail of what you do', and then saying 'well it seems that you are no longer profitable without a subsidy, so we clearly can't afford you', is incredibly dishonest (and typical of the anti-nuclear propaganda machine). Everything has regulations. To squeal it's those bad ol' regulations causing nuclear's problems is nonsense. Our nuclear plants are aging and getting expensive to keep going and operate. Wind and gas are cheaper and easier. Costs of handling nuclear waste are not cheap. (Nor massive amounts of coal ash for that matter.) And gas and solar and wind do not have the tail end costs of decommissioning radioactive nuclear plants. Sorry, but the wind is going out of nuclear's sails. Meanwhile, Bill Gates, and several other billionaires are creating a long term project for creating technology to store renewable energy, a key piece of the renewable puzzle. As Gates explains it, sometimes big energy companies do not want to support long term projects without an immediate pay off. And in our current political clime, government isn't willing to take on the task. So this effort which will not expect a payoff for 20 years will fill that gap. Progress is marching on. Sorry about that. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor -- a nice article. Wind energy has been utilized for centuries, though always in direct mechanical fashion until the last century. It gradually went into eclipse over the late 19th cy. and early 20th cy. as fossil fuels proved more energy-dense and otherwise more convenient. The modern era of wind turbines started in the late 1970's and early 1980's with experimental models in the US and Denmark. So modern wind turbines are younger than nuclear reactors by some 30 years. -- the first practical ones were developed in the 1950's, so they are not much younger than nuclear reactors. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum The nuclear industry is newer than either solar or wind power. The first solar-voltaic cell was invented in 1883 (http://energyinformative.org/the-history-of-solar-energy-timeline/); The first wind turbine used to generate electricity was built in 1887 (https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2014/11/history-of-wind-turbines.html). The first use of nuclear power to make electricity was in 1948 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-10_Graphite_Reactor). So if subsidies should be reserved for new technologies, nuclear is more deserving of them than either solar or wind power. That it's opponents rely on factually incorrect information to argue against it surprises me not at all, but it is disappointing to see these untruths repeated uncritically so often, and by people who really should know better. And nuclear power doesn't need a subsidy. It just needs not to have to pay VAST sums for needless regulatory compliance. Or, if you think that spending trillions of dollars per life saved is a good idea, the government could apply a similarly harsh regulatory environment to all power generation industries, proportional to the harm they do to people and the environment, and nuclear would suddenly be cheapest of all. By far. Saying 'You must pay us millions every year for a licence to operate, and millions more to employ people to write reports about every little detail of what you do', and then saying 'well it seems that you are no longer profitable without a subsidy, so we clearly can't afford you', is incredibly dishonest (and typical of the anti-nuclear propaganda machine). Everything has regulations. Indeed. To squeal it's those bad ol' regulations causing nuclear's problems is nonsense. No, it's not. When something is risky, it needs close regulation to mitigate the risk. When something is harming the environment through externalities, it needs regulations to prevent that. NEITHER is applicable to nuclear power, but the 'alternatives' including both fossil fuels and renewables, are given a pass and not subjected to the insane level of regulation applied to nuclear power. That is stupid, and leads to inappropriate outcomes, including harm to both people and the environment. Between 1980 and 1992, the regulatory costs of running a nuclear power plant in the US almost doubled. Why? Where are the injuries, deaths, or pollution incidents in the US nuclear power industry before that time, that this increase was required to mitigate or prevent? That increase achieved nothing, other than to make it possible for idiots to declare nuclear power to be too expensive. Our nuclear plants are aging and getting expensive to keep going and operate. Not really. Nuclear plants cost very little to operate - other than regulatory fees and the employment of needless staff to fill forms for the government. Wind and gas are cheaper and easier. On a level playing field, they are not cheaper (even before we add the MASSIVE externality of storage and grid stability services that they cause a need for, but do not have to fund). Costs of handling nuclear waste are not cheap. (Nor massive amounts of coal ash for that matter.) Bullcrap. Coal ash is just dumped into our environment and forgotten. Just like broken and out of date solar panels and the tailings from mining the rare minerals used in the manufacture of both solar and wind power facilities. ONLY nuclear power, amongst all industries on Earth, actually takes responsibility to ensure that its waste does no harm to people or the environment. And to date they have been 100% successful in achieving that objective. Not one person has ever been injured by spent fuel from the nuclear industry. The Solar, Wind, and fossil fuel industries cannot honestly make that claim even if we were to generously ignore everything prior to the start of this year. And gas and solar and wind do not have the tail end costs of decommissioning radioactive nuclear plants. Sorry, but the wind is going out of nuclear's sails. LOL - only because morons have been duped into taking it out. Meanwhile, Bill Gates, and several other billionaires are creating a long term project for creating technology to store renewable energy, a key piece of the renewable puzzle. A piece we don't have, need immediately, and may never get at a price we can afford. Tell me again how nuclear is too expensive, when compared to the unknown but clearly not small cost of energy storage? As Gates explains it, sometimes big energy companies do not want to support long term projects without an immediate pay off. And in our current political clime, government isn't willing to take on the task. So this effort which will not expect a payoff for 20 years will fill that gap. Progress is marching on. Sorry about that. You should be apologizing for blocking progress with your quasi-religious nonsense. You and people like you are responsible for millions of deaths, and for about 50% of the CO2 pollution in our atmosphere. I would say "I hope you are proud of yourselves", but the sad fact is, you genuinely fucking ARE. Your sanctimonious and pious commitment to being factually wrong in ways that are directly and avoidably harmful to everybody reminds me of evangelical Christians. You are so convinced that you are right that you won't even consider investigating the possibility that the facts do not support your beliefs. Last edited: #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum -- a nice article. Wind energy has been utilized for centuries, though always in direct mechanical fashion until the last century. It gradually went into eclipse over the late 19th cy. and early 20th cy. as fossil fuels proved more energy-dense and otherwise more convenient. The modern era of wind turbines started in the late 1970's and early 1980's with experimental models in the US and Denmark. So modern wind turbines are younger than nuclear reactors by some 30 years. And yet electricity was generated from wind power in the 19th century. -- the first practical ones were developed in the 1950's, so they are not much younger than nuclear reactors. And yet electricity was generated from solar voltaic power in the 19th century. The first nuclear power reactors, like the first electricity generating wind turbines and EV cells, look very different from their modern counterparts. Nuclear power designs are just as new (if not newer) and just as deserving of subsidy for R&D, if not more so, as wind or solar power. The argument that Nuclear is a mature technology and that Wind and Solar are not, and that therefore subsidy is appropriate for renewables but not nuclear, depends upon one choosing a different set of starting rules when considering the different modes of power generation - ie, it is a dishonest argument. If we are discussing the first use of a technology to make electricity, Nuclear is the newest. If, instead, we are discussing the latest developments in each technology, then all are roughly equal - all are making advances that require R&D funding, and that have the potential to radically alter their respective industries. To argue that nuclear is an older technology requires that you do not consider all options equally. Honest people who want the best outcomes for the human race and our environment should not repeat such dishonest arguments, as doing so is counterproductive. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor If one wishes to use arguments than that, then one can go all the way back to the discovery of radioactivity in 1896. Costs for both wind turbines and photovoltaic cells have been dropping dramatically since the late 1970's and early 1980's, and from the looks of it, they will continue to do so. That does not seem like the behavior of a mature industry to me. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum If one wishes to use arguments than that, then one can go all the way back to the discovery of radioactivity in 1896. 1896 being later than the 1880s. So demonstrating that I am correct - any fair and equivalent comparison has nuclear as the newest of the three technologies. Costs for both wind turbines and photovoltaic cells have been dropping dramatically since the late 1970's and early 1980's, and from the looks of it, they will continue to do so. That does not seem like the behavior of a mature industry to me. Fuel costs are one area of steadily increasing efficiency and cost reduction. For instance, in Spain the cost of nuclear electricity was reduced by 29% over the period 1995-2001. Cost reductions of 40% were achieved by boosting enrichment levels and burn-up. Prospectively, a further 8% increase in burn-up will give another 5% reduction in fuel cost. ... There are other possible savings. For example, if used fuel is reprocessed and the recovered plutonium and uranium is used in mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, more energy can be extracted. The costs of achieving this are large, but are offset by MOX fuel not needing enrichment and particularly by the smaller amount of high-level wastes produced at the end. Seven UO2 fuel assemblies give rise to one MOX assembly plus some vitrified high-level waste, resulting in only about 35% of the volume, mass and cost of disposal. (Source) Also: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor It would appear that none of the three can justly or reasonably be described as 'a mature technology'. The facts simply do not support subsidies for wind and solar but not for nuclear, on the basis of technological age or maturity. Arguments for and against apply either equally for all three, or slightly favour nuclear subsidies over those for wind and solar. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor 1896 being later than the 1880s. So demonstrating that I am correct Grasping at straws. Fuel costs are one area of steadily increasing efficiency and cost reduction. For instance, in Spain the cost of nuclear electricity was reduced by 29% over the period 1995-2001. Cost reductions of 40% were achieved by boosting enrichment levels and burn-up. Prospectively, a further 8% increase in burn-up will give another 5% reduction in fuel cost. ... There are other possible savings. For example, if used fuel is reprocessed and the recovered plutonium and uranium is used in mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, more energy can be extracted. The costs of achieving this are large, but are offset by MOX fuel not needing enrichment and particularly by the smaller amount of high-level wastes produced at the end. Seven UO2 fuel assemblies give rise to one MOX assembly plus some vitrified high-level waste, resulting in only about 35% of the volume, mass and cost of disposal. (Source) Not nearly as big as what has been achieved with wind turbines and photovoltaic cells since 1980. Two can play the game of citing technologies that are being developed. I can cite improved batteries in support of wind and solar electricity generation. #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor "Quasi-religious nonsense" indeed! Engineering nuclear reactors is undergoing a rethink. New designs, new ideas. So that mitigates against building new reactors from old and expensive designs. The big problem is as Westinghouse demonstrated, it is easy to botch up new ways of doing nuclear reactors. So as it stands, experts are telling us we are a decade away from new designs, and then another decade to implement those designs. If possible. Meanwhile, in that time, a couple of more of our current reactors will reach their designated end of life. and will have to be decommissioned or rebuilt at huge costs. Meanwhile, wind power will continue to grow and solar, but at a lessor rate for solar. From a real life perspective, nuclear is not an attractive prospect for the near future. And nuclear is needing subsidies to survive as it is. Will future plants need subsidies? Will states allow building of plants that will need such large subsidies to build, maintain and operate? Probably not in wind rich states. 10 years to new designs, 10 years to build. Texas gets 17% of it's electrical power from wind and in 20 years that will be 50% - 60% at this rate. Can nuclear compete in Texas? Coal, long term, cannot. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum Grasping at straws facts. FTFY. The claim you made has been demonstrated to be false, by use of factual information. That's not 'grasping at straws' Not nearly as big as what has been achieved with wind turbines and photovoltaic cells since 1980. Hardly surprising, given the vast disparity in funding available. Two can play the game of citing technologies that are being developed. I can cite improved batteries in support of wind and solar electricity generation. Sure, you can do that. But the question is not whether these technologies are developed; It is whether their relative maturity justifies large subsidies for some, but not for all. And the answer is that it does not. There may be other justifications for that; But the one presented has been shown to be false, so you need to either find another one; change your position; or be wrong. Those are your only options at this point. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum "Quasi-religious nonsense" indeed! Yes, indeed. Engineering nuclear reactors is undergoing a rethink. New designs, new ideas. So that mitigates against building new reactors from old and expensive designs. The same is true of wind and solar generation. And massively more true of storage - we haven't got an effective and affordable storage option at anything CLOSE to the scale required to compete with nuclear power, and we may NEVER have such a thing. The big problem is as Westinghouse demonstrated, it is easy to botch up new ways of doing nuclear reactors. So as it stands, experts are telling us we are a decade away from new designs, and then another decade to implement those designs. If possible. And yet we have perfectly good existing designs to fill the gap. Unlike the intermittent generatoirs, who have no solution at all for the storage problem other than hope (and burning natural gas) Meanwhile, in that time, a couple of more of our current reactors will reach their designated end of life. and will have to be decommissioned or rebuilt at huge costs. Yes. But not at unknown or unexpected cost, and not at commercially unreasonable cost. So who cares? The only reason costs are so high is political - it could be changed overnight at the stroke of a pen. In other words, it's expensive because and only because religious zealots like yourself want it to be. Meanwhile, wind power will continue to grow and solar, but at a lessor rate for solar. Leading to the consumption of vasts amounts of natural gas, with the inherent environmental problems of fracking and climate change. These 'solutions' don't solve the underlying problem. From a real life perspective, nuclear is not an attractive prospect for the near future. And nuclear is needing subsidies to survive as it is. That's simply not true, for the reasons given above (which you ignored because they contradict your faith) Will future plants need subsidies? Will states allow building of plants that will need such large subsidies to build, maintain and operate? Probably not in wind rich states. As long as nobody gets subsidized nor unreasonably penalized, it won't matter. Nuclear power is the only solution to the problem of providing continuous power in the quantities needed for modern civilization without carbon emissions. If people don't give a shit about the environment then they can play around with gas backed wind and gas backed solar; If we do give a shit, then we have to build nuclear plants. 10 years to new designs, 10 years to build. Texas gets 17% of it's electrical power from wind and in 20 years that will be 50% - 60% at this rate. Can nuclear compete in Texas? Coal, long term, cannot. The gas companies are going to LOVE Texas. The people who suffer blackouts, not so much, but you don't care about them, or the environment, as long as that nasty nuclear power, which you have NO basis to oppose (other, apparently than the high costs THAT YOU MADE HAPPEN) doesn't get used. It's fucking ridiculous. For sixty years, the "environmentalists" have opposed nuclear power on any grounds they could think of, using lies, disinformation and irrational fear, because they were terrified that it was so cheap that abundant power would become available and would lead to a population boom (particularly in the Third World, where energy poverty meant that only nuclear power could be cheap enough to make a difference). Slowly the lies and fear have been stripped back, and now the only opposing argument you can rely in is that it is 'too expensive' - Which is rather pathetic, given that the initial fear was due to it being too cheap. The early anti-nuke protesters were horrified by the prospect of cheap electricity. They were terrified by population growth. And now they have fucked themselves and the world over, because of their (it turns out baseless) terror and evil anti-humanism. What a bunch of cunts. They fucked the people, and they fucked the environment, because they worried that billions of Africans and Indians would overwhelm the world. If you are not outraged about this, then you haven't understood it. Nuclear power is going to happen, because it is the only option that doesn't fuck up the environment, or civilization, or both. The only question is how much pain we much go through before deciding that we have to do this. As you point out, it can take 15 to 20 years to bring a nuclear power plant online. The best time to start was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor As of now, nuclear isn't really going much anywhere. The old way of making them, each designed from scratch and built from scratch is not an economically viable procedure. Again, attempts by Westinghouse to get away from that became an engineering fiasco. Sorry if that fact offends you. It is a fact that Nuclear plants NOW in operation need large subsidies. And there are no guarantees that will change in the future. If and when the nuclear energy sector can create a new design, and actually manufacture them without Westinghouse type basic fuck ups, remains to be seen. I suspect that there will have to be a lot of proof they won't botch it this time to get anybody who wants to build one. Sorry, but that is the way it's going to be. Down at the bottom of it all, it's an engineering problem. For us states blessed with wind resources, wind is the better future. And gas is a mature, cheap and trouble free technology for us states with lots of gas. Storage of energy is something a lot of well heeled people are working on, and I suspect that it will be solved long before the new nuclear designs can be created and built. Solar? Next week I have a doctor's appointment. Out the office window, I can see the local VA hospital. All that hospital's large parking lots are now covered with steel structures where a vast array of shiny new solar cells has been installed. Solar works on a local level well enough. They are not waiting on nuclear. That VA hospital will save$350,000 a year on their electrical bill.

One of the biggest problems in Houston with solar is the the local home owner's associations refuse to allow home owners to install "unsightly" solar arrays. Dumb asses.

The problem with nuclear is that it isn't ready to move forward quickly and economically at this point. And they do not seem to be solving their issues any time soon. Here in the wind rich states, nobody is waiting on nuclear.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
As of now, nuclear isn't really going much anywhere. The old way of making them, each designed from scratch and built from scratch is not an economically viable procedure. Again, attempts by Westinghouse to get away from that became an engineering fiasco. Sorry if that fact offends you.
I am never offended by facts. And it seems very likely that Small Modular Reactors made on a 'build to order' rather than 'design to order' basis are the future. See https://www.power-eng.com/articles/2018/04/nuscale-smr-becomes-first-to-complete-nrc-phase-one-review.html. Nuclear is going places you may be unaware of; Including SMR designs going into Utah, and various Gen III and IV designs into India, China, and South East Asia.

It is a fact that Nuclear plants NOW in operation need large subsidies.
That's not a fact.
And there are no guarantees that will change in the future. If and when the nuclear energy sector can create a new design, and actually manufacture them without Westinghouse type basic fuck ups, remains to be seen.
Your obsession with Westinghouse is noted, but not actually important. All industries have successes and failures.
I suspect that there will have to be a lot of proof they won't botch it this time to get anybody who wants to build one. Sorry, but that is the way it's going to be. Down at the bottom of it all, it's an engineering problem.
Well, while you are bitching about it, engineers are solving it.
For us states blessed with wind resources, wind is the better future. And gas is a mature, cheap and trouble free technology for us states with lots of gas.
Sure, as long as you don't pretend to care about the environment.
Storage of energy is something a lot of well heeled people are working on, and I suspect that it will be solved long before the new nuclear designs can be created and built.
I suspect that you are very badly mistaken.
Solar? Next week I have a doctor's appointment. Out the office window, I can see the local VA hospital. All that hospital's large parking lots are now covered with steel structures where a vast array of shiny new solar cells has been installed. Solar works on a local level well enough. They are not waiting on nuclear. That VA hospital will save \$350,000 a year on their electrical bill.
Small amounts of wind and solar in niche applications (particularly solar for refrigeration and air conditioning) are an excellent idea. But not a large scale solution for a modern civilization. I can foresee a future with about 80% nuclear and the rest wind and solar. But more than about 20% intermittent power I cannot see being practical without incredibly inexpensive and massive storage options that are sci-fi right now.
One of the biggest problems in Houston with solar is the the local home owner's associations refuse to allow home owners to install "unsightly" solar arrays. Dumb asses.
American HOAs are completely nuts. But they are a cultural artefact, not a law of nature - the rest of the world doesn't have them or want them. We prefer freedom.
The problem with nuclear is that it isn't ready to move forward quickly and economically at this point.
It's a lot more ready than intermittent renewables. Unless you like burning gas.
And they do not seem to be solving their issues any time soon. Here in the wind rich states, nobody is waiting on nuclear.

No, you are burning fossil fuels instead, and pretending that this is not a disaster in the making. Good luck with that.

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
I am quite aware plants are being made overseas. Good luck to India, Taiwan, Russia, et al.

But here in good ol' Texas, wind is king for the while. It is going to take years for nuclear to get into the game here. We have 2 new plants being built in Georgia. A wind resource poor state. I would like gas to be replaced by solar and wind, but that is decades away.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
I am quite aware plants are being made overseas. Good luck to India, Taiwan, Russia, et al.

But here in good ol' Texas, wind is king for the while. It is going to take years for nuclear to get into the game here. We have 2 new plants being built in Georgia. A wind resource poor state. I would like gas to be replaced by solar and wind, but that is decades away.

Solar and wind not only fail to replace gas; They cause more gas to be burned. Frackers love wind power. Educated environmentalists should hate it. But they appear to be few and far between.

Here's a video showing real time CO2 emissions from Europe by country. Green represents low emissions.

This is what matters - the actual emissions being generated. Not effort, not sanctimony, not attitude nor smugness; Results. The only way to save the environment is to emilate the consistently green nations on this map. Germany and Denmark show what happens when your nation is fully committed to massive investments in wind power. France and Sweden rely instead on nuclear and hydro.