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On How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

@Roger Arnold

 

Similar concepts have been used in installations like the one I saw at the Pentagon Parking lot when I worked nearby. Numerous tracking panels were installed on light poles.

 

When first installed, there was a lighted billboard erected to display the output information to the people traveling (or semi-parked) on I-395, which passes adjacent to the parking lot. Within months, the billboard was turned off and taken down; it generated too many questioning phone calls about the low numbers.

 

 This link includes some photos and some information with an optimistic 2005 perspective http://www.geotimes.org/aug05/feature_renewables.html

June 30, 2015    View Comment    

On How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

@Jesse As you stated, mileage may vary with respect to land use for nuclear, especially when using a data source that contains a number of unstated complications.

For example, I'm familiar with two of the nuclear plant sites listed on the table, Turkey Point and Crystal River. What the table does not indicate is that both of those sites are actually large power plant sites with more fossil fuel generation capacity than nuclear capacity.

Crystal River hosts five plants - four large coal plants and one relatively small nuclear plant.

Turkey Point's 24,000 acres hosts two nuclear units, but also 2 oil fired steam plants and four combined cycle gas turbine plants with two additional nuclear plants planned for the same site. One of the reasons the site is so large is that Turkey Point uses a system of canals for cooling. That canal system looks like a giant radiator on a satellite photo.

http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2015/03/03/turkey-point-power-station-and-its-ecosystem/

To get a better idea for how energy dense a nuclear plant CAN be, I like to think of the submarine reactors I used to operate. Tiny footprint, lots of power.

June 28, 2015    View Comment    

On Hero Worship of a Corporate Welfare King - Elon Musk

@Bob Meinetz

You wrote:

Rod, by your standard every CEO in America is a "corporate welfare king".


That's a bit of an exaggeration, since there are plenty of CEOs running businesses that have no available subsidy programs. 

That said, I agree that nearly every employed CEO probably believes it is his fiduciary duty to take advantage of every available government handout that will increase his bottom line. That is exactly the same behavior exhibited by the people often pummelled in the press as "welfare queens" that do everything they can think of to take advantage of all available government programs.

I'm a bit of a throwback. I think there is something admirable in not asking for assistance when it's not needed. There was once a time -- probably before the Great Depression -- when people in America were proud of not being on the dole. They did not take more than their share and proudly made their own way.

Rod Adams, Publisher, Atomic Insights

June 3, 2015    View Comment    

On Hero Worship of a Corporate Welfare King - Elon Musk

@Bob Meinetz

We don't disagree. Please reread my post and notice that I said I admired much of what Musk has done. I also mentioned that he has spoken in favor of nuclear energy.

It is "hero worship," though, when people elevate other human beings to a pedestal and react emotionally when someone dares to point out ways that person could improve or, god forbid, criticizes some of the methods that he has used to achieve success.

Some here have stated that Musk did not create the subsidy programs, he just took advantage of them.

I spent nine years in Washington on a large, government enterprise staff (US Navy). I've been involved in the budget planning cycle -- we correctly referred to the process as "sausage making."

I'd be willing to bet that Musk and his employees have lobbied in favor of creating new subsidies or extending/enhancing existing ones.

It is absolutely true that major technological advances build upon prior successes and failures. Often the very best advances come by combining old approaches and seeing opportunities with a new lens based on accumulating experience. 

Since Musk has a podium and an audience, wouldn't it be terrific if he discussed the well-known physical limitations of chemical rockets in terms of producing specific thrust and fuel carrying capacity that limits mission range? It'd be even better if he began talking about repurposing decades old knowledge about the way that nuclear fission powered rockets offer a way to overcome those limitations.

Due to the deadline set for a moon landing by President Kennedy, NASA logically turned away from the Rover program. It would not have produced a capable space transport system in time. However, there is little doubt that nuclear thermal rockets could have caught up to the Saturn V within a decade or so.

That technology would have then left chemical combustion rocket engines in the dust if the already tested advances had been pursued with any kind of vigor.

Rod Adams, Publisher, Atomic Insights

June 3, 2015    View Comment    

On Hero Worship of a Corporate Welfare King - Elon Musk

Bob

I didn't even discuss SpaceX. I referred specifically to Tesla automobiles, Solar City and the new Tesla storage battery.

It's a little disingenuous, though, for people to believe that SpaceX is doing something totally revolutionary.

June 2, 2015    View Comment    

On "Greens" fighting Pebble mine are helping Rio Tinto, Anglo-American and BHP Billiton

@Bob

You're not missing anything. This is only an analog tale that has features that share similarities with other stories I am working on that are much more directly elated to energy supplies.

May 23, 2015    View Comment    

On "Greens" fighting Pebble mine are helping Rio Tinto, Anglo-American and BHP Billiton

@Hops

I'm also opposed to greed. My point in telling this story is to illustrate that greed can be the real driving force behind efforts to halt development. People who already HAVE developed resources gain a great deal of wealth by taking action to prevent others from developing a new source of the same necessary or useful resource.

have you been to the area where the deposit is located? Do you know for certain that it is a pristine, valuable piece of land, or are you basing your statement on something someone else has written or said?

 The best information I can find is that the land is more than a hundred miles from the Bristol Bay and it does not have any significant streams or rivers nearby. Even native villages are more than 20 miles away, presumably because the land had insufficient wildlife, fertile soil and fresh water to support a human settlement.

 

May 23, 2015    View Comment    

On The 100% Renewable Energy Nuclear Option, Part 1

Nathan:

Interesting. Does Darius Bentvels = Bas Gresnigt?

They sure have similar styles and arguments.

March 26, 2015    View Comment    

On The 100% Renewable Energy Nuclear Option, Part 1

Bruce:

I love to engage antinuclear activists on the "sustainable" battle ground. My trump card is to challenge them to find a single wind turbine factory or solar panel manufacturing facility that is powered by wind or solar energy without a massive input from the electrical power grid.

Wind and solar are only sustainable in the same sense that most "non-profit" organizations are sustainable. They can only exist as long as there are external donations provided. They cannot sustain themselves through retained earnings.

March 25, 2015    View Comment    

On The 100% Renewable Energy Nuclear Option, Part 1

David:

Everytime someone makes the logical suggestion of classifying nuclear energy as part of the brand known as "renewables" I am reminded of this rant by Michael Eckhart, the head of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

According to Michael, a former marketing guy for General Electric, ACORE and its associates have worked too hard to establish "renewable" as a brand and nuclear energy is not invited to participate in the associated goodwill and financial bounties associated with that brand.

http://atomicinsights.com/is-nuclear-renewable-michael-eckhart-president-of-american-council-on-renewable-energy-says-no/

March 23, 2015    View Comment    

On The 100% Renewable Energy Nuclear Option, Part 1

David goofed up the link. Here is the one that works:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_proposed_as_renewable_energy

March 23, 2015    View Comment    

On Power Can Be Both Clean and Reliable

@Doug Vine

Your article is another example of messages from those who support weather dependent systems that end up confusing me.

Many people tout wind and solar as distributed resources that reduce dependence on "the grid" and can even result in the nirvana -- for some -- of living "off the grid."

However, any assertion that sources of power like the wind and sun can be forced to part of a reliable electricity supply presupposes extensive levels of action and support from the grid operator to ensure that the natural variations in wind velocity and solar energy delivery do not stop the power from flowing.

It is not possible to truthfully assert that weather dependent sources of power are anything but "unreliable" if they are operating without support from the grid. Even in the case of some moderate, on site storage, there will be numerous periods during any given year in which there is no way to maintain charged batteries without an external charging source or a complete shutdown of all electrical devices.

Curtailment is often included as an option in studies asserting the viability of a grid with a high portion of wind and solar energy sources. That is not an option that most customers want to hear about so it is buried deep within the studies and never mentioned in the executive summaries.

Rod Adams, Publisher, Atomic Insights

March 22, 2015    View Comment