Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Kirk had some thoughts when touring the Delta IV factory in Alabama.

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Assume a glacier that provides summer water for a billion people. What is its value, if it is destroyed by global warming? Since it currently provides services for free, it could be calculated as zero, according to some. Hence, a hypothetical economic activity by those people that gave them one dollar in total while destroying the glacier completely, would be worth doing? That’s suicide economics.

The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called “value in use”; the other, “value in exchange.” The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce any thing; scarce any thing can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.

Who’s the radical greenie who wrote the above? Mark Sagoff wrote an essay on stupid valuation of nature’s services back somewhen, where he made the above quote. Find out there, who said it…

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A quick way to get up to speed on Thorium and LFTR, aimed at lay people.

I seriously doubt their cost and schedule stuff. One needs to do material science tests with this, so it’s going to take longer.

But otherwise. It is the industrial solution for the world. It is perhaps not the best electricity solution for everyone, only perhaps 90% of the population, weighed by current CO2 production.

Swap your yearly tonnes of carbon to grams of Thorium.

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Posting about it again. The Energy From Thorium forum has more on what’s going on.  Some bogus weapons reasons are presented to the press for why it will be downblended. It could be the startup fuel of new LFTRs instead.

Quoting DV82XL:

This is the equivalent to the move to have streetcar tracks ripped up in so many cities – it’s destruction of a competitive threat by driving the price of market entry too high to overcome.

It has zero to do with weapons potential that’s just a bone tossed to the press.

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Tamino examines a certain paper:

It’s certainly not true that their analysis shows “natural climate forcing associated with ENSO is a major contributor to variability and perhaps recent trends in global temperature.” It shows no such thing; their analysis removes all the effect of trends.

A thing to remember when you encounter McLean, de Freitas and Carter, being used as evidence that CO2 has no effect on temperature trends.


Bob Carter presents a press release:

The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions.


The next natural question is, why on Earth did they write such crap? I have a hunch that it is also analyzed thoroughly on some blog somewhere, but I’ll leave finding that to the reader.


James Haughton commenting at Deltoid:

I think we should consider this paper not as a scientific publication but as part of a debating strategy. Certainly Carter (don’t know about the others) is smart enough to know that “Global warming stopped in 1998” is going to stop working as an excuse as soon as the next El Nino hits; which is likely to be this year. So he needs a fallback position. Therefore, he’s going to go from denying El Nino exists to claiming that all Global Warming is solely due to El Nino, which will enable him to get past the “hotter than 1998” problem.


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Coal is Bad

And there could have been much less of its use – but the alternatives of the past lay in half finished ruins. Kirk Sorensen explores them and their history concisely.

Grand total: 85,000 tons of coal each day that TVA wouldn’t be burning.

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Adventures Inside the Atom, a great way to learn how the nuclear reactions work – for both adults and kids. Click on the picture to go to the site.

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Finland is enacting laws that lead to building some more wind power. Like some professionals in the Finnish wind power association, Suomen tuulivoimayhdistys, have told me, perhaps the most important thing about wind power is that you have to be smart about what and where you build.

The wastelands of dead windmills in the California deserts are a result of subsidizing the building of very immature technology, with little concern for actual electricity production.

Wind power can be useful for energy production and CO2 emissions reduction, but it must be built with operation in mind. Finland and the whole Nordpool market operates with a power generation mix that includes possibilities of reducing CO2 emissions by just injecting wind power to the market when there is wind.

If Finland is serious about deploying large amounts of wind power, offshore is the way. The winter sea ice is a hard problem. Lighthouses have washed away in the fifties because of moving thick sea ice. It is even possible that  wind power in icy sea conditions is simply not profitable in the near term, even with high subsidies. It also might be that because of the very high cost of the foundations per mill, the optimal unit size is far bigger than in warmer waters. This all would require a methodical approach with multi-year testing programs of different foundations and possibly different turbine paradigms. (Sort of how the current wind turbines enjoy the methodical research programs and various large prototypes of the nineties.) So a decade perhaps from start to deployment, at rapid pace, starting immediately.

The other thing, like the major parties have been saying, is nuclear power. In an energy mix, this can push out the fossils out, approaching from the bottom instead of the top like wind power. If current trends continue, there will be a few more nukes soon. If I recall correctly Mauri Pekkarinen, the trade and industry minister from the center party commented how the next nuclear power plants would replace, roughly one each, electricity imports (from Russia), old nukes (that have to be retired in the future decades), and fossil fuel plants. Perhaps that is not entirely correct and gives little possibility for energy conservation or renewables, but I actually view it as a rough and dim picture of a not worst possible future.

So, in summary: be careful about how you encourage and where you build big wind – otherwise it’s just a nuisance – and also, build some nukes (keep the regulatory body in good control of them).

I am a fan of wind power – correctly built wind power. And so are the people at Tuulivoimayhdistys – they are professionals after all. Lawmakers should listen to them very carefully, when deciding what kind of subsidies to make.

I’ve seen some talk how in USA the Democrats that currently hold power are proposing methods of CO2 cuts completely based on renewables. This seems unrealistic to me. Too bad the Republicans, when they were in power, did nothing to make CO2 cuts. Now they can just complain about the methods.

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At Fingrid. EDIT: same in English.

Usage, Imports and Exports of Electricity in Finland at one moment in timeUsage, Imports and Exports of Electricity in Finland at one moment in time

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