High-pressure weather systems in the winter bring lots of sun (at a low angle) and little or no wind, just when energy demands are at their highest. The clear skies also let the earth’s heat radiate off into space at night, so it gets real cold. In the summer that same system will also result in little or no wind, and the high angle of the sun and the clear skies will result in lots of heat, and airconditioning demands lots of electricity.
Politicians don’t consult meteorologists or engineers. They consult people like Greta.
January 2, 2022
Comment to We Don’t Need No Stinking Frozen Fans
[The critical component of the article being commented on:
Alberta’s entire fleet of 13 grid-connected solar facilities, rated at 736 megawatts, was contributing 58 megawatts to the grid. The 26 wind farms, with a combined rated capacity of 2,269 megawatts, was feeding the grid 18 megawatts.
Be cautious of the inclination to “let them freeze in the dark” to “learn their lesson”. That may not turn out the way you might hope. We need a better way to show them the light.—Joe]
Have faith. Fusion reactors are coming. Keep an eye on these guys.
No offense but I’ve been hearing about ‘fusion is just around the corner’ for 20 years.
I’ll celebrate when the reactors get built and start generating 1.21 gigawatts.
Fusion power “too cheap to meter” has been “five years off” since the 1960s. Hopeful, but not holding my breath.
Yeah, let’s talk about some birds that are closer to the hand than in a barely visible bush…
NuScale is (reputedly) doing to have its first small modular fission reactors online in 2029. Its reactors are small enough to be delivered by (a very long) truck, dropped into a socket, then operates autonomously. Every few years, a truck comes along, pulls the module out to take back to the factory for refurbishing, and a new module in dropped in the socket.
Remember Joe’s article about living in rural Idaho, and the power going out and melting snow to get water? Just think how that would be different if at least one farm in the area had a NuScale installation in an outbuilding, keeping the power on for at least 100 homesteads. As a bonus, the farm that hosts the plant gets unlimited hot water and heated floors by just pulling heat off the cooling system. Bury the (hot argon?) lines under the long, long driveway, because do you care if lose you heat into the surrounding dirt through poor insulating efficiency? No, that’s the bonus “deep winter snow melt” system.
Get one for every 50 homesteads as a co-op, sell the extra power back to the grid, offer redundancy to the neighboring co-ops, generally decentralize.
Doesn’t matter whether NuScale is real or not, politicians will not permit nuclear fission power of any kind, anywhere, under any condition whatsoever. The shamans have won that battle.
As for fusion, not only is it not anywhere near real, it too produces serious radioactivity. This has long been disguised; the latest wording from fusion bureaucrats is that it “produces no long-lived radioactive waste”. Maybe, maybe not. But as a book from the 1950s points out, very long lived waste isn’t particularly dangerous because by definition its radioactivity level is low. The most dangerous are isotopes with halflives in the years to decades range, i.e., similar to the human lifespan. The other problem with (thermal) fusion is that it produces very high energy neutrons, which cause damage to the structural elements of the reactor, requiring repairs that need to be done by robot.
Anyone can “target” something for 2024. Their chances of delivering are tiny, and even if they do the gap between above-unity gain and a working commercial generator is immense.
I’d expect, best case, 2040; more likely, never.
Seattle could have periods with -30 degrees and snow on the ground most of the winter and the true believers would still be saying “yep, it is global warming” and “we need to deal with the source of the problem” while at the same time screaming for more fossil fuels and demands that the federal government provide help to fix the busted pipes and build more emergency shelters.
As an example, NASA said that the Artic would be ice free by 2012 which in turn caused shipping companies to start planning take advantage of an Artic free of ice year round. Needless to say, I have not seen any recent headline stories about an Artic free of ice today. Of course, Wikipedia still has their page Artic ice decline. Just wait, they say, it will be ice free any year now.
The whole problem is based on profit and control. Since when has anyone, anywhere shown that burning oil is bad? We have an inexhaustible supply of it. And the tech to make it much more efficient.
If you say, well look at LA. I would tell you the problem is concentration. Not the product. LA has a pollution problem because it’s 10 million people in a small basin.
The problem as I see it is that once the world figures out that oil is renewable and good. And quite easy to produce. (It’s actually one of the best stores of solar energy there is.)
They lose the narrative and control. Along with profits that come from market manipulations.
Why go after carbon dioxide so hard? When it’s THE most necessary molecule to life on this planet? Because every third world shithole has oil under it. Which you can’t control. But if you have a lock on the byproduct of burning it?
Is burning oil the only answer? No way. But it would be truly nice to hear an honest discussion on powering the world that isn’t tinted by some assholes profit margin.
Like Pa told me. Want to know how efficient gas is? Put a gallon in your car and drive it till it quits. Then push it back home.
I’ve long thought that the greatest labor saving tool ever invented is a gallon of diesel fuel.
This is reminiscent of a few years ago. All those millions of dollars of wind turbines along I-84 between Vantage and Ellensburg were idle, even in perfect wind. Reason? Hydro from nicely-full reservoirs was so plentiful that the BPA grid couldn’t accept more power from the windmills.
Meanwhile, they keep building the damn things.
And they keep pretending that the richest period of history was built by them with their superior intelligence. They do not seem to realize that behind every unit of GDP is a unit of energy. It was not their superior intelligence, it was the discovery and use of fossil fuels that has has led to the richest period of history.
Exactly. But the problem for this generation is the name. Fossil Fuel. It was made from dinosaurs and we will run out! Remember that lie?
We should rebrand the oil industry by calling it carbon recycling?
I agree, we’re not going to run out of fossil fuels, however, that not to say that it will be available for every use due to increasing cost of recovery, or by the woke via rationing or by making it illegal to purchase.
Then we’ll find out how much work that gallon of diesel does.