“You continue to rely on wishful thinking, and false statements. The capacity factor adjustments absolutely were figured and stated in the referenced article.”
Here is the referenced article:
I defy you to find any mention of capacity factor anywhere in that article. It is exclusively talking about raw added capacity. Maybe it would have been a good idea for you to read the referenced article before “correcting” me.
Now, in the article you mentioned, the author gave both raw capacity and capacity factor, but as anyone with adequate reading comprehension can see, in reference to that article, I clearly wrote about the addition of “renewables production” where I was using figures the author cited for actual production (the unit of real interest), rather than raw capacity.
“The rational for renewables goes far beyond carbon loads. The ability to run for generations with no fuel input”
No wind turbine or solar panel is going to run for generations, so routine replacement is at least as much of an operational burden in terms of cost and energy as supplying fuel for reactors, and again, huge improvements in nuclear efficiency are possible.
“the ability to run without contamination of toxic emissions,”
The fact that toxins associated with wind and solar are released far from where they are used does not justify the willful disregard of those toxins. And calling the operational emissions of nuclear power toxic seems excessive where they don’t reach levels of concentration high enough to represent a significant health risk. And other kinds of nuclear power than what we have could have even lower emissions.
“the ability to run without large fresh water uses,”
That’s definitely not the case for hydroelectric power. And even solar fields can use a lot of water for cleaning (which can result in water contamination from all the herbicides used on site). And water cooling would also improve the efficiency of molten salt solar and geothermal. And nuclear doesn’t necessarily have to use pristine fresh water for cooling. And smaller, hotter reactors could reduce or eliminate the need for water cooling. Maybe even produce fresh water.
“the ability to produce power without producing excess heating”
Geothermal has more waste heat heat per unit of electricity than existing nuclear because it operates at lower temperatures, and thus has less efficiency. Hotter reactors would have even better efficiency, and the “waste” heat would still be hot enough for a number of useful processes. Otherwise, the only consideration for waste heat is that it not be dumped in such a way that it adversely affects local life. (Waste heat is a non-issue outside of local effects.)
“the ability to democratize electric production by the use of small generation facilities that can be within the range of an individual home or business,”
Homes will be able to use solar PV and straight solar thermal, but the overwhelming majority of wind power, PV solar, solar thermal, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, biogas and municipal waste energy will be generated by utility scale corporations. Existing nuclear is comparable to hydroelectric in terms of utility scale, but smaller and cheaper nukes could expand access to smaller companies and co-ops.
“Backup generation has been addressed. The loss of output of one turbine or solar array does not require separate facilities”
Here’s the wind generation profile for Texas during a particularly windy month.
See those deep troughs? Those represent loss of output across the entire state.
Here’s the generation profile for all of Germany backed out to the scale of a full year:
The red line at the top is the rated wind capacity, the dark blue is actual generation. Across the whole country, peak output never approaches full capacity, so I would agree that the whole capacity doesn’t need backup, but looking at that graph, even if you throw away the peaks, you are still looking at something like one quarter of gross capacity to smooth out those troughs.
“but the loss of a large central plant like nuclear power must have equal backup of similar size”
Renewables advocates call for much greater grid integration to make renewables work, but they consistently underestimate the amount grid integration that we already have when it comes to covering for large plant or reactor down times. And again, other forms of nuclear wouldn’t require lengthy refueling operations, and smaller reactors could cover for each other more easily within a given region.
“where solar and wind can continue to operate as all of the generators will not fail at the same time.
[cleantechnica article: intermittency-of-wind-and-solar-is-it-only-intermittently-a-problem/”
From that article: “Solar PV is able to generate power 98% of the time (in the Nordic summer when the sun does not set); onshore wind is able to generate power 98% of the time; and offshore wind, 95% of the time.”
Really? You link to that article after you accuse me of wishful thinking and false statements? That takes some gall.
“The use of wood and biomass may have a carbon footprint, but unlike nuclear or coal, the replanting of trees sequesters carbon and returns it to the ground,”
Classic. One of the big arguments anti-nukes have against present-tech nuclear is that the build times are too slow, so that even though a large amount of power comes online after a few years, wind can start generating (in smaller amounts) after only a few months. And they claim the need to reduce carbon is so urgent that we cannot afford the few years delay while nuclear power catches up. But as the NRDC has observed, burning wood is worse than burning coal in terms of its CO2 emissions per kwh.
Yes, even with the loss of carbon sequester provided by the trees cut down, burning trees will eventually be carbon neutral in the long run–about 40 years after we stop burning trees for fuel. So we could be looking at a century or more before we reach carbon breakeven going that route, and in the meantime, we are carrying an extra load of CO2 pushing us through tipping points and feedback loops amplifying the CO2 effect. It is sheer lunacy to suggest a few years lag for nuclear (about the same as for hydro) is a critical delay that we cannot afford, but a century or more recovery from carbon output worse than coal is no big deal because it all evens out in the long run.
“unlike coal or nuclear which uses a finite source of fuel that does not get replaced,”
With breeder reactors, the fuel that is burned is continuously replaced. Yes, the ultimate supply of nuclear and proto-nuclear fuels is finite, but that’s like saying solar power uses a finite source of fuel that does not get replaced. Both are technically true, but in any practical terms, the size of the ultimate supply is too vast for such limitations to be of any relevance to us.
“and does not return it’s carbon to the ground.”
We have likely overshot the point where reducing carbon output will be sufficient to avoid climate and oceanic catastrophe. We are going to need large scale carbon removal and sequestration programs. At least some of those projects (eg. pumping ocean water through large peridotite deposits and mass olivine grinding and distribution) could be easier if we had large amounts of cheap energy to work with. So nuclear power actually could help with locking carbon away.
“Don’t blame renewable energy for the continued use of fossil fuels in Texas or elsewhere.”
This isn’t about blame. This is about making a assessment that recognizes economic realities and potential limitations and pitfalls. If corn ethanol is promoted as an alternative to petroleum, but a program evaluation shows that nearly as much petroleum was burned producing the ethanol as it displaces, that isn’t pointing the finger of blame at the corn or the petroleum. That is just a recognition that this approach will have very poor effectiveness in meeting its intended objectives. Wind power can easily and directly replace fossil carbon generation in, for example, a country like Norway, where the most abundant baseload resource is hydropower, and where wind is used to reduce reservoir drawdown. But that solution isn’t going to work in a place like Texas, where hydro resources are minimal and fracked gas is abundant and cheap, and where the intermittency of wind is serious enough to create a demand for backup generation.
“We have frequently seen articles in Bloomberg and Forbes that misstate the facts to support the status quo of large utilities”
Both of those host articles covering a diverse range of views. the Bloomberg article I cited was written by an enthusiastic renewables advocate (and the graph he posted projects a shrinking share of new generation going to nuclear–based on reactors planned at this point).
“Their prediction for coal use is also unlikely to unfold, as the true costs of using coal is increasingly being recognized around the world.”
Projections can change when new factors are included, but most mainstream projections at this time have coal use increasing well past 2030 on our current business-as-usual trajectory. And it’s going to remain business as usual until something disrupts it–be it Klein’s social revolution, or some new technology.
“Even China, which is building more nuclear power than any others, is installing much more wind and solar than nuclear.”
China has multiple nuclear research and development programs, with molten salt reactors taking particularly high priority. Their objective is to have a design for a dramatically better reactor in about 10 years (or less if they move the timetable up again). To invest heavily in technology which has a long payback period while you are working hard to make that technology obsolete as soon as possible would make little sense. China is buying an assortment of foreign reactors partly because they need the non-polluting power, but also to have a range of designs to study and learn from, even though they recognize that the financial return from these reactors will be poor if they succeed with their competing technologies. But obviously, they have little incentive to invest any more than necessary in what they view as a dead-end technology.
“While they waste time and money with nuclear, renewable energy is rapidly coming online at increasingly better prices.”
China’s wind and solar investments represent their near term strategies. Their nuclear investments pertain to their long-view strategies. You wouldn’t be the first to call their long range planning and investments a waste, but I would say China has had the last laugh on their naysayers more often than not.
“China is behind on transmission lines as well,”
Texas has had the same problem. And California. And Germany.
“Solar energy is within a couple of years of becoming the lowest cost option in all states and is already at grid parity in most states.”
Which is fine, so long as the grid can supply the backup service for when solar isn’t producing.
“Utilities will not be able to prevent the rapid movement off grid for much longer. [article: revolutionary-tesla-battery-heralds-end-of-fossil-fuels,”
The Tesla battery packs haven’t been shown to be revolutionary yet. So far as anyone seems able to tell, they haven’t made any notable improvements in the lithium ion technology itself. The article you cite seems to be calculating amortized cost on the basis of more than 10,000 discharge cycles which seems highly optimistic. This isn’t even cost competitive against a natural gas generator. This is not going to be the tech which fuels a rapid movement off grid.