# The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
And yet, the project is moving forwards.
Of course it is. It's an excellent project, from the point of view of those who are building it, because it funnels large amounts of cash into their pockets.

It's impact on the environment isn't even a consideration to these people. They want to get rich, and the public are dumb enough to let them raid the public purse on spurious but pleasant sounding grounds.

Every fraud has a mark who is happy that he's getting a fantastic deal.

#### Jimmy Higgins

##### Contributor
Green hydrogen production is expected to begin by 2026 and it will tap into renewable energy from the Texan electricity grid.
...
That's almost not a complete lie.

It will tap into:

View attachment 37598

"64% fossil fuel, 36% green" energy from the Texan grid.

So, mostly it will be generated from burning fossil gas, or coal.

Of course, over time we can expect coal to largely disappear, and be mostly replaced by more fossil gas.

The plant will be making hydrogen, not as a service provided to humanity out of a sense of duty, but as a profitable saleable commodity; It's unlikely that they will shut down or even throttle back production when the wind drops, because the saving from using only the cheapest electricity in that way will be more than offset by the inefficient use of capital equipment when it's not run 24x7.

This is greenwashing at its finest - a nugget of truth used to persuade fools that making profits by burning fossil fuel is "green".

They will even laud you in public without payment, defend you against people who try to reveal your villainy, and vote for politicians who want to give you fat subsidies from the public purse; All because you were able to pretend that using lots of electricity is "green", if a third of that electricity is generated without trashing the atmosphere.

..
According to its website, GHI has seven projects that are under development with a combined output of one terawatt. The largest and the first one to get off the ground is Hydrogen City in Texas. <b>Using onshore wind and solar energy</b>, the project aims to produce 60 gigawatts of green hydrogen every year.
No, it doesn't do any of that.

They are building an electrolysis plant and say explicitly they are connecting to the electric grid. Then they say they are taking advantage of all that green energy production by others (usurping it without actually doing so), ie "accounting gimmick." That hydrogen is then going into industrial purposes (including ammonia production), not energy production. So either this plant is running on Natural Gas or the energy production in Texas gets a whole less greener. Can't have it both ways. This plant is a "green" fraud.

View attachment 37744

To follow up on another post, Texas current generates 33 GW of wind and about 10 GW of solar. So currently, this "Green" Hydrogen plant wants to use ALL of Texas' green renewable energy... and still require 50% more capacity being added to just get to their 60 GW!

Read again. This project is predicated on developing big offshore wind projects et al.. Not using up all present day wind and solar resources. This will be a long term project.
There is almost nothing to read. It speaks to hooking up a water electrolysis plant to the electric grid. The claim to use green energy that they aren’t developing and in some (to most?) part doesn’t exist yet.

I’m all for green. Owned a hybrid in 2001. But this plant is not green. It is a fraud.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
I believe in free markets tuned so that external costs are afforded.

For example, many nuclear plants produce waste that is costly to dispose of. The disposal cost should be charged to the reactor. Similarly the environmental costs of wind-farms should be charged; and obviously the external costs of CO2 emissions for fossil fuels.

In the sequel assume that such external costs ARE afforded properly. Also assume that electricity is priced correctly: If production is half the cost at 4 AM compared with 4 PM, then the price charged for the electricity should be halved also, or rather fitted properly to supply/demand curves. In such a case, public policy is unnecessary, except for the tax or charge to cover the externalities. IF hypothetically carbon fuels are cheaper than solar with ALL costs afforded, THEN it is in society's interest that carbon, instead of solar, be used for electricity generation. (If taxation to afford external costs is politically impossible, an approximation may be feasible using regulations and subsidies.)

Free Market! Isn't it wonderful!

If a proper free market prices things so that using electricity to produce ammonia is more profitable than using it to keep ice cream refrigerated, then the free market is telling "us" to produce ammonia! Perhaps the ice cream company needs to charge more for its product. Is "perfect" free market pricing very hard to achieve? Sure. But it's a good starting point for addressing economic questions, and a perspective missing in some of the comments here.

The plant will be making hydrogen, not as a service provided to humanity out of a sense of duty, but as a profitable saleable commodity; It's unlikely that they will shut down or even throttle back production when the wind drops, because the saving from using only the cheapest electricity in that way will be more than offset by the inefficient use of capital equipment when it's not run 24x7.

If the ammonia production plant is the high bidder when the electricity at 4 AM is auctioned off, then that IS the best use of the electricity.

BUT, although irrelevant to the above argument, I'd like to see actual numbers supporting the claim that "the saving from using only the cheapest electricity in that way will be more than offset by the inefficient use of capital equipment when it's not run 24x7."

Ammonia production is just one of several uses for electricity which can be timed usefully to cope with intermittent power sources. In this thread we see no acknowledgement of that from those intent on pushing power that runs 24/7 whether wanted or not.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
For example, many nuclear plants produce waste that is costly to dispose of. The disposal cost should be charged to the reactor
I agree. That would be a VAST improvement on the current situation in the US, whereby a hugely inflated disposal cost estimate is charged to the reactor by the federal government, who in return have completely failed to provide the disposal system they are supposed to have established; And the reactors are left paying a second time to actually manage their waste correctly on-site (a solution that renders the non-existent but very expensive deep geological repository, that they are funding but not getting, completely irrelevant).

The actual cost of managing spent nuclear fuel is vastly less than the industry currently pays, and they could instead profit from this material by recycling it, if Jimmy Carter hadn't outlawed doing so from a fear of weapons proliferation (one that is unfounded, as the spent fuel is completely unsuitable for bomb making due to its 240Pu content).

The scenario you describe would massively favour nuclear power.

But a free market in electricity is probably a bad idea, because free markets allow for the possibility of not supplying the product, because end users cannot afford it. But I would rather the local hospital did not turn off my granny's ventilator for half an hour while the spot price of electricity spiked as the sun sets just as the wind drops.

Electricity is infrastructure, and (like roads) should be supplied by a nationalised authority, whose remit is to make the product reliably available when needed. Profit shouldn't be a requirement. Infrastructure should run at a small loss, with the beneficiaries of its existence (the taxpayers) funding the gap in proportion to their ability to afford this - because their ability to pay is a direct consequence of their use of the infrastructure for which their taxes pay.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
YouTube just invited me to watch "Why renewables can’t save the planet" by Michael Shellenberger and I did. It presented little in the way of new facts that haven't already been presented in the thread, but watching it helped something go Click in my brain. I'm more convinced now that nuclear power is the proper way forward. Moreover, future generations may understand the present emphasis on wind and solar power to be a gigantic and costly mistake.

Among the points that Shellenberger makes is one that bilby has made: Natural gas producers are happy to promote "renewables" because replacing nuclear with wind and solar INCREASES the need for natural gas-based electricity.

ETA: On the other hand, I just fact-checked one of Shellenberger's complaints: that wind and solar farms threaten to make the hoary bat extinct — presumably he means Aeorestes cinereus. But Wikipedia shows this species as "LC - of Least Concern." I'm not really concerned about the hoary bat one way or the other, but am curious about this apparent discrepancy.

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
And yet, the project is moving forwards.
Of course it is. It's an excellent project, from the point of view of those who are building it, because it funnels large amounts of cash into their pockets.

It's impact on the environment isn't even a consideration to these people. They want to get rich, and the public are dumb enough to let them raid the public purse on spurious but pleasant sounding grounds.

Every fraud has a mark who is happy that he's getting a fantastic deal.

These companies wish to make money! Heresy! Heresy! Well, so do the coal companies. The oil fracking companies. And the nuclear companies.

The impact of building wind turbines and using that to produce hydrogen is not as negative and impact on the environment as oil and coal. And it is you who champions nuclear while ignoring it is nuclear that needs subsidies.

Meanwhile in Japan and Sweden, plants are being created to make steel using hydrogen from renewable energy sources. A good deal for Texas. Did you know Texas is one of America's biggest creators of steel and steel products?

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
Green hydrogen production is expected to begin by 2026 and it will tap into renewable energy from the Texan electricity grid.
...
That's almost not a complete lie.

It will tap into:

View attachment 37598

"64% fossil fuel, 36% green" energy from the Texan grid.

So, mostly it will be generated from burning fossil gas, or coal.

Of course, over time we can expect coal to largely disappear, and be mostly replaced by more fossil gas.

The plant will be making hydrogen, not as a service provided to humanity out of a sense of duty, but as a profitable saleable commodity; It's unlikely that they will shut down or even throttle back production when the wind drops, because the saving from using only the cheapest electricity in that way will be more than offset by the inefficient use of capital equipment when it's not run 24x7.

This is greenwashing at its finest - a nugget of truth used to persuade fools that making profits by burning fossil fuel is "green".

They will even laud you in public without payment, defend you against people who try to reveal your villainy, and vote for politicians who want to give you fat subsidies from the public purse; All because you were able to pretend that using lots of electricity is "green", if a third of that electricity is generated without trashing the atmosphere.

..
According to its website, GHI has seven projects that are under development with a combined output of one terawatt. The largest and the first one to get off the ground is Hydrogen City in Texas. <b>Using onshore wind and solar energy</b>, the project aims to produce 60 gigawatts of green hydrogen every year.
No, it doesn't do any of that.

They are building an electrolysis plant and say explicitly they are connecting to the electric grid. Then they say they are taking advantage of all that green energy production by others (usurping it without actually doing so), ie "accounting gimmick." That hydrogen is then going into industrial purposes (including ammonia production), not energy production. So either this plant is running on Natural Gas or the energy production in Texas gets a whole less greener. Can't have it both ways. This plant is a "green" fraud.

View attachment 37744

To follow up on another post, Texas current generates 33 GW of wind and about 10 GW of solar. So currently, this "Green" Hydrogen plant wants to use ALL of Texas' green renewable energy... and still require 50% more capacity being added to just get to their 60 GW!

Read again. This project is predicated on developing big offshore wind projects et al.. Not using up all present day wind and solar resources. This will be a long term project.
There is almost nothing to read. It speaks to hooking up a water electrolysis plant to the electric grid. The claim to use green energy that they aren’t developing and in some (to most?) part doesn’t exist yet.

I’m all for green. Owned a hybrid in 2001. But this plant is not green. It is a fraud.

Read. Again. Slowly. Think carefully as you read. The project under discussion is to create large off shore wind turbine projects to create hydrogen. NOT to use up current wind generated power.

Texas has just announced it will regulate crypto miners who want to use large amounts of Texas energy from its grid. Crypto miners have to create their own energy projects if the want to operate at a massive scale. Any use of Texas energy seen as abusive will be curbed.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
And it is you who champions nuclear while ignoring it is nuclear that needs subsidies.

Nuclear power generation is not only not subsidised, it has to pay the government for waste disposal services that the government doesn't actually provide - and then pay again to actually manage its waste (which the government prohibits it from recycling). The only subsidies to the nuclear industry are for research, and these have no impact on the profitability of existing facilities or new facilities built to existing designs.

Meanwhile wind and solar power receive massive subsidies, mostly in the form of sale price guarantees for their product.

That so many apparently intelligent people like you are not only being comprehensively lied to by people you trust, but also are repeating their lies without having bothered to do the most basic of fact-checking, demonstrates clearly that renewable energy advocacy is a cult.

#### Cheerful Charlie

....
Key Points
• Illinois legislators agreed to spend up to $694 million over the next five years to keep a handful of nuclear power plants open. • The operator of the plants, Exelon, said they were losing hundreds of millions of dollars and that nuclear can’t compete with cheap natural gas and subsidized wind and solar. • Critics say that Exelon had the state over a barrel and that longer-term solutions are necessary to make clean energy cheaper and more accessible. #### steve_bank ##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ... In the news commercial wind turbine capacity exceeds that of nuclear power. Natural gas is at the top. #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor ... (CNN)The United States set a major renewable energy milestone last Tuesday: wind power was the second-highest source of electricity for the first time since the Energy Information Administration began gathering the data. As E&E reporter Ben Storrow noted and the EIA confirmed, wind turbines last Tuesday generated over 2,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity, edging out electricity generated by nuclear and coal (but still trailing behind natural gas). ... #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum In the news commercial wind turbine capacity exceeds that of nuclear power. Natural gas is at the top. Capacity is meaningless. What matters is actual generation. You have the capacity to work twenty four hours a day, but you only get paid for the hours you actually work. Nuclear power plants routinely generate 90+% of capacity. Wind turbines routinely generate 30% or less. Those seeking to dupe others about the effectiveness of intermittent renewable power generation always love talking about capacity. But 1GW of wind capacity generates no electricity at all on a calm day. 1GW of nuclear capacity generates 1GW, 300+ days a year, with complete control over which days it will be offline - so you can ensure that only one reactor is down at any particular moment, and that this downtime coincides with low demand (eg spring/autumn, not summer/winter). Comparing wind or solar capacity against nuclear capacity is like comparing apples to aircraft carriers. #### steve_bank ##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ... It was reported that Califonia usng offshore wind farms will be producng about 30% of the needs by wind. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum It was reported that Califonia usng offshore wind farms will be producng about 30% of the needs by wind. By whom? Fox News? The Daily Mail? The BBC? Al Jazeera? Bozo the Clown?? And on what evidence? Your vague memories of things you may have heard somewhere once are not useful contributions to discussions. They aren't data, they aren't evidence, and they apparently aren't even your own opinions. They are just pointless noise. #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor It was reported that Califonia usng offshore wind farms will be producng about 30% of the needs by wind. By whom? Fox News? The Daily Mail? The BBC? Al Jazeera? Bozo the Clown?? And on what evidence? Your vague memories of things you may have heard somewhere once are not useful contributions to discussions. They aren't data, they aren't evidence, and they apparently aren't even your own opinions. They are just pointless noise. Energy Information Administration Government agency eia.gov You're welcome. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Wasn't sure where to post this, but here goes: Democrats eye Defense Production Act for clean energy - The Washington Post Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce legislation today to spur domestic production of clean energy technologies through the Defense Production Act, according to details about the legislative push shared exclusively with The Climate 202. The Energy Security and Independence Act would lay the groundwork for President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to shore up domestic supply chains for heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines and other technologies crucial to the nation's transition to clean energy. ... The bill comes after Biden last week invoked the law to boost U.S. output of critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and reduce dependence on foreign supply chains. Climate advocates have pushed Biden to go a step further and use the Defense Production Act to shore up U.S. manufacturing of heat pumps, while moderate Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) wants Biden to invoke the law to rush completion of a stalled natural gas pipeline. #### lpetrich ##### Contributor Cori Bush's House site, https://bush.house.gov/ seems to be absent, so I had to look in the Internet Archive: Energy Security and Independence Act One-Pager H.R.7439 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): To promote United States energy security and independence by bolstering renewable energy supply chains in the United States, and for other purposes. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress - no text or summary available So I have to use that archived one-pager: House co-sponsors (27): Jason Crow*, Adriano Espaillat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andy Levin, Ayanna Pressley, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Jesús “Chuy” García, Mark Takano, Mondaire Jones, Rashida Tlaib, Raul Grijalva, Jared Huffman, Ro Khanna, Yvette D. Clarke, Jerrold Nadler, Marie Newman, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Barbara Lee, Karen Bass, Mikie Sherrill, Sean Casten, Pramila Jayapal, Carolyn B. Maloney, Steve Cohen Senate co-sponsors: Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, Alex Padilla, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy govtrack.us 2020 ideology scores: JC 0.36, AE 0.10, AOC 0.09, AL 0.19, AP 0.05, BWC 0.10, EHN 0.03, IO 0.10, JB -, JCG 0.05, MT 0.14, MJ -, RT 0.08, RG 0.11, JH 0.21, RK 0.14, YC 0.12, JN 0.15, MN -, NDB 0.17, BL 0.00, KB 0.15, MS 0.38, SC 0.26, PJ 0.07, CM 0.30, SC 0.16 --- CB 0.09, JM 0.08, EM 0.10, AP -, EW 0.21, CM 0.24 (0 = lib, 1 = con) -- mostly liberal to moderate by Democratic-Party standards, standards where Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are very conservative at 0.57 and 0.68. It will do: • Invest$100 billion in reinvigorating the domestic clean energy industrial base using the Defense Product Act
• Create a Domestic Renewable Energy Industrial Base Task Force to coordinate an all-of-government approach that engages environmental justice communities, manufacturers, scientists, engineers, planners, and labor unions to plan and implement a transition to 100 percent renewable energy
• Provide $10 billion in loans and grants to bolster the domestic renewable energy system component manufacturing supply chain with strong corporate governance standards and benefits for taxpayers • Provide$30 billion to weatherize and insulate 6.4 million homes over the next 10 years to save working families nearly $2 billion each year on their utility bills • Invest$10 billion to procure and install millions of heat pumps, significantly reducing consumption of imported fossil fuels
• Create good, union jobs by requiring high-road labor standards for all funded projects
• Fulfill EJ40 commitments by investing at least 40 percent of funds in environmental justice communities
"U.S. manufacturing capacity is limited and declining—the ESIA would turn that around."

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
That would be a stretch, analogous to Obama Care being justified by calling medical insurance interstate commerce

IMO getting rid of nuclear is not a good idea.

How many nuclear power plants can power California?

IMO not a good idea to get rid of nuclear.

Diablo Canyon is the state's only operating nuclear power plant; three others are in various stages of being decommissioned.Oct 2, 2021

Wind energy projects totaling at least 5,787 megawatts (MW) of capacity are operating in California today,1 providing enough electricity to power about 2.3 million California households.2

In 2020, California wind projects generated 13,703 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity – 7.2% of all power generated within California.3 In 2020, out-of-state wind projects generated 16,635 GWh of electricity for California, representing 20% of total power imports.3 Combined, wind projects supplied 11% of California’s total system power,3 more than enough to power all homes in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Counties combined.2

Wind energy accounted for 27% of California’s renewable energy production for the RPS as of 2019.4 (See figure below.)

Ca wind energy has been steadily increasing

### Nissan, NASA aim to ditch rare, pricey metals in solid-state batteries​

....
Nissan is partnering with NASA on a computational approach to developing all-solid-state batteries that don’t rely on rare or expensive metals, the AP has reported.
...
The company hopes that its in-house solid-state batteries will debut in passenger vehicles by 2028.

Nissan announces halfhearted EV strategy after fumbling its lead
To get there, the company said it’s opening a pilot solid-state battery plant in 2024. The small-scale factory will be a key step in rolling out solid-state technology; many of the concepts that underpin the batteries have been demonstrated in laboratories time and again, but making the leap to manufacturing often reveals unexpected problems that can take years to solve.
Building a pilot plant shows that Nissan is confident enough in its current solid-state battery tech that it believes it’s worth investing money to work out any manufacturing kinks.
....

Finally! Non-flammible, cheap, and fast charging.

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
Finally! Non-flammible, cheap, and fast charging.
Considering that Nissan hasn't yet figured out how to manufacture these batteries, I think the celebrations are premature.

However, if any one of these these manufacturers delivers on their promise of a cheap, no-lithium battery, it could be a huge step toward scalable storage for renewables.

Hell, even if it isn't suitable for grid-scale storage, it gets us all a lot closer to reducing our dependence on oil simply by replacing combustion engines in vehicles.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Finally! Non-flammible, cheap, and fast charging.
Considering that Nissan hasn't yet figured out how to manufacture these batteries, I think the celebrations are premature.

However, if any one of these these manufacturers delivers on their promise of a cheap, no-lithium battery, it could be a huge step toward scalable storage for renewables.

Hell, even if it isn't suitable for grid-scale storage, it gets us all a lot closer to reducing our dependence on oil simply by replacing combustion engines in vehicles.
I don't think many people truly grasp the scale that 'grid scale storage' implies.

Hydroelectric dams are not currently anywhere close to sufficient in numbers to meet the requirements of a fully intermittent renewables grid, and they are by far our most efficient storage option, and already consist of VAST volumes of material - fortunately, that material is mostly water, which is abundantly available and requires little or no effort to accumulate or purify for the purpose.

Advanced batteries are a generally good thing; But basic physical chemistry tells us that they will never play a major role at grid scale. There's only so much you can do with the electrons in the 91 stable elements we have to work with.

Batteries to provide grid stability services? Sure.

Batteries to provide grid scale storage? As plausible as mining the Moon for it's cheese.

And batteries - whether made from lead, lithium, or anything else - imply a LOT of mining. They are far from being an environmentally benign solution to the problems caused by the already environmentally harmful mass manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels.

Energy density is everything, if you want to run an advanced society with minimal environmental impact. That means, as much as possible, abandoning gravity and electromagnetism, in favour of the strong force.

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
Finally! Non-flammible, cheap, and fast charging.
Considering that Nissan hasn't yet figured out how to manufacture these batteries, I think the celebrations are premature.

However, if any one of these these manufacturers delivers on their promise of a cheap, no-lithium battery, it could be a huge step toward scalable storage for renewables.

Hell, even if it isn't suitable for grid-scale storage, it gets us all a lot closer to reducing our dependence on oil simply by replacing combustion engines in vehicles.

"Building a pilot plant shows that Nissan is confident enough in its current solid-state battery tech that it believes it’s worth investing money to work out any manufacturing kinks."

It is now time to move from the lab to manufacturing. There has been a lot of work on solid state batteries for some years now. Now it is on to phase 2.

From CBS news:
...
The all-solid-state battery will replace the lithium-ion battery now in use for a 2028 product launch and a pilot plant launch in 2024, according to Nissan.

The battery would be stable enough to be used in pacemakers, Nissan said. When finished, it will be about half the size of the current battery and fully charge in 15 minutes instead of a few hours.
...

Nissan, if successful has a future as a battery maker and supplier, not just cars.

##### Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member
I posted about solid state battery technology maybe a year and a half ago.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
Energy density is everything, if you want to run an advanced society with minimal environmental impact. That means, as much as possible, abandoning gravity and electromagnetism, in favour of the strong force.

I like this. "Use the (strong) force, Luke!"

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
I posted about solid state battery technology maybe a year and a half ago.
There's a few companies working on it, but none have made a solid state battery ready for manufacture.

Neither has Nissan, but they seem to think they will have one in a couple of years, and then ready for mass production four years after that.

Let's hope they figure it out, because without a replacement for Li-ion we probably won't get cheap EV's.

#### Cheerful Charlie

##### Contributor
I posted about solid state battery technology maybe a year and a half ago.

Nissan is apparently not the only manufacturer that is moving towards solid state batteries.

From CBS News:
...
Other automakers, including Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., as well as Volkswagen of Germany and U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., are working on all-solid-state batteries.
...

I suspect that in ten years, old fashioned lithium batteries will be buggy whip technology.

##### Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member
Toyota and VW were mentioned in my post that they were onboard back then, iirc. I thought about investing in the company they are all working with but someone mentioned they have a sketchy past. Now I can't find the post.

#### Tharmas

##### Veteran Member
An interesting recent article in The New Yorker (may be behind a paywall) discusses current developments in renewable energy storage. There are some good ideas in the proof-of-concept and prototype stages but the devil will be scaling up. The article concludes that we may always need gas and nuclear back-ups to handle peak or emergency power needs, or even cloudy or wind-less days, but still, renewable storage could become a reality. My question is, how soon?

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
An interesting recent article in The New Yorker (may be behind a paywall) discusses current developments in renewable energy storage. There are some good ideas in the proof-of-concept and prototype stages but the devil will be scaling up. The article concludes that we may always need gas and nuclear back-ups to handle peak or emergency power needs, or even cloudy or wind-less days, but still, renewable storage could become a reality. My question is, how soon?
There's a physical limit to energy density from chemistry, that sets a minimum amount of material required to store a given amount of power.

Even if we could do it, the resource extraction needed to go 100% renewables plus storage would be devastating to the environment.

The only way to get out of this physical constraint is to replace dependence on electromagnetic force with dependence on the Strong force - that is, replacing chemical energy with nuclear energy.

#### Tharmas

##### Veteran Member
An interesting recent article in The New Yorker (may be behind a paywall) discusses current developments in renewable energy storage. There are some good ideas in the proof-of-concept and prototype stages but the devil will be scaling up. The article concludes that we may always need gas and nuclear back-ups to handle peak or emergency power needs, or even cloudy or wind-less days, but still, renewable storage could become a reality. My question is, how soon?
There's a physical limit to energy density from chemistry, that sets a minimum amount of material required to store a given amount of power.

Even if we could do it, the resource extraction needed to go 100% renewables plus storage would be devastating to the environment.

The only way to get out of this physical constraint is to replace dependence on electromagnetic force with dependence on the Strong force - that is, replacing chemical energy with nuclear energy.
The article discusses gravity mechanisms and geothermal. I would think the second law of thermodynamics would be more involved, but I'm not chemist/physicist.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
The article concludes that we may always need gas and nuclear back-ups to handle peak or emergency power needs, or even cloudy or wind-less days,
If you have gas backup, you aren't solving the carbon emissions problem.

If you have nuclear backup, you can use the nuclear all the time, and not waste money on wind turbines, solar panels, and the vast majority of the storage those sources imply.

Indeed, the majority of the (tiny) carbon emissions due to nuclear power generation are not dependent on the amount of power generation; As a nuclear power plant has the same emissions profile in hot standby as it does while producing power, using it as much as possible minimises the carbon emissions per kWh.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
An interesting recent article in The New Yorker (may be behind a paywall) discusses current developments in renewable energy storage. There are some good ideas in the proof-of-concept and prototype stages but the devil will be scaling up. The article concludes that we may always need gas and nuclear back-ups to handle peak or emergency power needs, or even cloudy or wind-less days, but still, renewable storage could become a reality. My question is, how soon?
There's a physical limit to energy density from chemistry, that sets a minimum amount of material required to store a given amount of power.

Even if we could do it, the resource extraction needed to go 100% renewables plus storage would be devastating to the environment.

The only way to get out of this physical constraint is to replace dependence on electromagnetic force with dependence on the Strong force - that is, replacing chemical energy with nuclear energy.
The article discusses gravity mechanisms and geothermal. I would think the second law of thermodynamics would be more involved, but I'm not chemist/physicist.
Gravity is another low power density option. It's even worse than electromagnetic in that regard.

I doubt that geothermal storage can be done more cheaply than geothermal generation, which has never been viable in most locations. Again, you're up against energy density constraints.

And of course, at their absolute best, these systems are only as good as nuclear in terms of emissions and other environmental impacts, while total cost, safety, and system reliability is far worse.

Tying ourselves in knots to avoid implementing the obviously best solution is just ridiculous. We need to stop fucking around with windmills and build a LOT of new nuclear power plants. And we need to do it NOW.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
Maria Gallucci on Twitter: "Rooftop solar is booming in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, offering many households an escape from frequent power outages & rising bills. For @CanaryMediaInc I met people leading solar initiatives there despite headwinds from the gov't and utility (link)" / Twitter
noting
Puerto Ricans are powering their own rooftop solar boom | Canary Media - "Residents and shop owners are installing solar-plus-battery systems in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Will the government get on board?"

Solar panels and batteries are powering a community kitchen & food pantry in Caguas; are running communications equipment at a fire station in sunbaked Guánica; are keeping the lights on in a San Juan neighborhood where homeowners negotiated for more affordable solar costs

One of Puerto Rico's most ambitious solar initiatives is in the town of Adjuntas, where local businesses are banding together to create a microgrid: groups of interconnected solar systems and batteries that can, as a unit, keep providing power when the grid goes down (again)

Some 42,000 rooftop solar systems were operating in January — more than 8x the # at the end of 2016, the year before Maria battered PR's grid, according to a recent @casapuebloorg-led analysis. Thousands more systems have been installed in recent months La insurrección energética: Análisis de medición neta en Puerto Rico – Casa Pueblo • Puerto Rico

Yet solar experts in Puerto Rico emphasize that the current grassroots approach isn’t enough to meet the island's energy challenges. For renewable, resilient power to reach more of PR’s 3.2M residents, the gov't and utility will need to fully get on board

(from the article)
"Right now, only well-off people and industries can get their own localized generation, and the majority of people can't," says Ruth Santiago, an environmental attorney who lives in the south coast city of Guayama and serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. "This is very much a social justice and equity issue."

In the meantime, groups like the Adjuntas businesses, the San Juan homeowners & the Caguas mutual aid center are finding ways to share resources with their neighbors, with an eye toward sweeping blackouts and future climate disasters

#### thebeave

##### Veteran Member
Germany needs to be held up as an example of how NOT to construct an energy policy. That is, killing your nuclear power plants, going "green" (solar and wind) and relying on a neighboring despot for natural gas. Now that the natural gas supplies are getting short, coal plants are being fired up!

Germany will fire up coal plants again in an effort to save natural gas.

BERLIN — Germany will restart coal-fired power plants in order to conserve natural gas, the country’s economy minister announced on Sunday, amid concerns about a looming supply shortage after Russia cut gas deliveries to Europe this week.

The move was part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas, announced by Germany as Europe takes steps to deal with reduced energy supplies from Russia.

### Germany sticks to 2030 coal exit target amid energy worries​

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Germany needs to be held up as an example of how NOT to construct an energy policy. That is, killing your nuclear power plants, going "green" (solar and wind) and relying on a neighboring despot for natural gas. Now that the natural gas supplies are getting short, coal plants are being fired up!

Germany will fire up coal plants again in an effort to save natural gas.

BERLIN — Germany will restart coal-fired power plants in order to conserve natural gas, the country’s economy minister announced on Sunday, amid concerns about a looming supply shortage after Russia cut gas deliveries to Europe this week.

The move was part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas, announced by Germany as Europe takes steps to deal with reduced energy supplies from Russia.
France has lower Carbon Dioxide emissions from electricity generation than Germany; Has no dependence on Russian gas; And has no problem keeping every electricity customer reliably supplied with power.

Everyone needs an energy policy more like France’s and less like Germany’s.

#### thebeave

##### Veteran Member
Germany needs to be held up as an example of how NOT to construct an energy policy. That is, killing your nuclear power plants, going "green" (solar and wind) and relying on a neighboring despot for natural gas. Now that the natural gas supplies are getting short, coal plants are being fired up!

Germany will fire up coal plants again in an effort to save natural gas.

BERLIN — Germany will restart coal-fired power plants in order to conserve natural gas, the country’s economy minister announced on Sunday, amid concerns about a looming supply shortage after Russia cut gas deliveries to Europe this week.

The move was part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas, announced by Germany as Europe takes steps to deal with reduced energy supplies from Russia.
France has lower Carbon Dioxide emissions from electricity generation than Germany; Has no dependence on Russian gas; And has no problem keeping every electricity customer reliably supplied with power.

Everyone needs an energy policy more like France’s and less like Germany’s.
Yep. It's odd. Germany has a reputation for pursuing excellence in engineering and France...eh, not so much. Yet France has clearly outperformed Germany when it comes to developing a viable energy infrastructure. How did Germany get it so wrong, while France got it so right?

#### No Robots

##### Maykkerz
France chose nukes, Germany chose renewables. Germany has it right. Short term pain for long term gain.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
France chose nukes, Germany chose renewables. Germany has it right. Short term pain for long term gain.
Germany has it wrong. Nuclear power is the only way to avoid both energy poverty and climate change.

Thermodynamics trumps ideology. You cannot power a modern society from diffuse power sources.

Germany has proven this beyond any reasonable doubt. They have put vast effort in time and money into making renewables work. If it were possible, they would have done it by now.

France achieved a low carbon electricity grid in a decade, using 1970s and ‘80s materials and technology, at a far lower cost than has been spent by Germany on Energiewende. Germany have thrown higher technology, twice the time, and well in excess of twice the money at their attempt, and have failed (while simultaneously making their country Putin’s bitch).

Anyone who cares about the environment should, at this stage, be lobbying hard for nuclear power. That they aren’t is yet another example (if one were needed) of how humans prefer comforting myths over uncomfortable realities.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
France chose nukes, Germany chose renewables. Germany has it right. Short term pain for long term gain.
Germany chose a path that doesn't work. Without sufficient storage renewables mean gas plants. Renewables reduce fuel use, they don't remove it.

#### skepticalbip

##### Contributor
France chose nukes, Germany chose renewables. Germany has it right. Short term pain for long term gain.
Germany deactivated its clean nuclear plants and Germany's renewable energy will not support the grid so they are reactivating their dirtiest power plants, coal.

How is moving from clean nuclear to dirty coal the right direction?

#### No Robots

##### Maykkerz
France’s bet on nuclear energy, however, is an egregious miscalculation that will severely inhibit its decarbonization efforts. At a critical juncture in the battle against climate change, diverting any finances and losing time with nuclear power, which has been in decline worldwide for decades, will only set back the country’s climate efforts, perhaps dooming its chances to go carbon neutral by 2050. Indeed, this Hail Mary pass, taken out of desperation as France has fallen woefully behind on its climate targets, will most probably come to naught anyway as the era of nuclear power wanes further no matter France’s declarations. The simple explanation: Fully fledged renewables are faster, cheaper, and lower risk than nuclear power.--Emmanuel Macron Gets Nuclear Energy All Wrong: Nuclear power won’t help France meet its climate goals on budget or on time

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
Pretty sure no-one has a 100% renewables plan that doesn't require miraculous progress in energy storage technology.

I hope the necessary storage technology emerges in time but it was a stupid gamble to have made.

In 2050 Germany may still be burning Russian gas while touting their 2080 plan for 100% renewables.

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
Think tank Agora Energiewende provides a pretty simple data dashboard that lets you visualise the result of increased renewable capacity on the grid:

I did a comparison between current generation and projected generation with 86% renewables:

The dashboard doesn't go higher than 86%. I think that's because it is projecting increases in wind and solar generation, which combined tend to leave huge gaps in generation at night time. You simply cannot get to 100% renewables with those technologies.

The question now is, what's going to fill the gaps left by wind and solar, if not gas?

Perhaps synthetic fuels that can be burned in gas-fired plants? I don't know much about the technology but I would like to know why gas-fired turbines haven't already been converted to use synthetic fuels. What's stopping that from happening?

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Think tank Agora Energiewende provides a pretty simple data dashboard that lets you visualise the result of increased renewable capacity on the grid:

I did a comparison between current generation and projected generation with 86% renewables:

View attachment 39163

The dashboard doesn't go higher than 86%. I think that's because it is projecting increases in wind and solar generation, which combined tend to leave huge gaps in generation at night time. You simply cannot get to 100% renewables with those technologies.

The question now is, what's going to fill the gaps left by wind and solar, if not gas?

Perhaps synthetic fuels that can be burned in gas-fired plants? I don't know much about the technology but I would like to know why gas-fired turbines haven't already been converted to use synthetic fuels. What's stopping that from happening?
Efficiency of conversion in both directions is poor, so it’s FAR cheaper to use fossil fuels than synthetics.

The only serious forays into synthetic fuels were by Nazi Germany and later Apartheid South Africa, in both cases because they had plenty of coal, but no access to oil.

In both cases they skipped the very expensive step of trying to concentrate atmospheric carbon dioxide as a feedstock, and just extracted it from cheap coal, which still left them with a product that was hugely expensive compared to mineral oil, and that was essentially a fossil fuel.

The benefit is that you can’t practically use coal for fuel in light vehicles (particularly aircraft), and certainly not as a lubricant. So it’s worth doing if you are a regime that has limited access to oil and needs cars, trucks and aircraft; But it’s not worth doing if you want to generate electricity, and even less so if you want to generate electricity without burning fossil fuel.

If you have enough reliable, cheap, and consistent low-carbon electricity to make synfuels from atmospheric carbon, and you have a means to concentrate atmospheric carbon dioxide for your feedstock at low cost, then synfuels for vehicles are a neat idea; But you need the cheap and reliable electricity as an input, if you are going to keep costs comparable with use of fossil oil, and burning synfuels to get that electricity is like trying to lift yourself up by your shoelaces.

As it happens, power plant cooling towers can be fairly easily and cheaply used to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for making synfuels. But of course, you only get that kind of facility at coal or nuclear plants.

The best option for ground vehicle fuels is probably to just use electricity; That way the amount of synthetic oil needed for lubricants and aviation fuels becomes far less, and producing enough from the sparse carbon supply available in air stops being such a mammoth problem. As long as you have plenty of power plants with cooling towers. You can probably see where this is headed…

#### bigfield

##### the baby-eater
Think tank Agora Energiewende provides a pretty simple data dashboard that lets you visualise the result of increased renewable capacity on the grid:

I did a comparison between current generation and projected generation with 86% renewables:

View attachment 39163

The dashboard doesn't go higher than 86%. I think that's because it is projecting increases in wind and solar generation, which combined tend to leave huge gaps in generation at night time. You simply cannot get to 100% renewables with those technologies.

The question now is, what's going to fill the gaps left by wind and solar, if not gas?

Perhaps synthetic fuels that can be burned in gas-fired plants? I don't know much about the technology but I would like to know why gas-fired turbines haven't already been converted to use synthetic fuels. What's stopping that from happening?
Efficiency of conversion in both directions is poor, so it’s FAR cheaper to use fossil fuels than synthetics.

The only serious forays into synthetic fuels were by Nazi Germany and later Apartheid South Africa, in both cases because they had plenty of coal, but no access to oil.

In both cases they skipped the very expensive step of trying to concentrate atmospheric carbon dioxide as a feedstock, and just extracted it from cheap coal, which still left them with a product that was hugely expensive compared to mineral oil, and that was essentially a fossil fuel.

The benefit is that you can’t practically use coal for fuel in light vehicles (particularly aircraft), and certainly not as a lubricant. So it’s worth doing if you are a regime that has limited access to oil and needs cars, trucks and aircraft; But it’s not worth doing if you want to generate electricity, and even less so if you want to generate electricity without burning fossil fuel.

If you have enough reliable, cheap, and consistent low-carbon electricity to make synfuels from atmospheric carbon, and you have a means to concentrate atmospheric carbon dioxide for your feedstock at low cost, then synfuels for vehicles are a neat idea; But you need the cheap and reliable electricity as an input, if you are going to keep costs comparable with use of fossil oil, and burning synfuels to get that electricity is like trying to lift yourself up by your shoelaces.

As it happens, power plant cooling towers can be fairly easily and cheaply used to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for making synfuels. But of course, you only get that kind of facility at coal or nuclear plants.

The best option for ground vehicle fuels is probably to just use electricity; That way the amount of synthetic oil needed for lubricants and aviation fuels becomes far less, and producing enough from the sparse carbon supply available in air stops being such a mammoth problem. As long as you have plenty of power plants with cooling towers. You can probably see where this is headed…
I wondered why energy companies were interested in hydrogen instead of making other synthetic fuels that are easier to store, and this provides some explanation: making carbon-based fuels is expensive, even more expensive than making hydrogen.

#### lpetrich

##### Contributor
I wondered why energy companies were interested in hydrogen instead of making other synthetic fuels that are easier to store, and this provides some explanation: making carbon-based fuels is expensive, even more expensive than making hydrogen.
However, hydrogen is (1) necessary as a feedstock for other synfuels, and (2) usable much like natural gas, so getting hydrogen going is a step on the way to more easily stored synfuels.

Staff member