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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 8:56 am 
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The ‘energy turnaround’, advertised as replacing nuclear with renewables is in reality replacing clean and safe nuclear with dirty and dangerous fossil fuel, with a little bit of renewables for greenwashing. This time they are celebrating the opening of two new lignite (!) fired units at Neurath:

http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.no/2012 ... manys.html
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-1 ... nergy.html
http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/12068/rwe ... h-boa-2-3/

The most disgusting part is that this plant is advertised as an enabler for renewable energy due to its ability to quickly respond to varying demand, while the Germans are destroying their by far biggest source of clean energy.

The picture of the two new units at the Neurath power plant at the RWE site is a perfect illustration of Germany’s broken energy policy. A brand spanking new lignite plant, with some windmills in the background for greenwashing. To make matters worse, the hill the windmills are built on, Vollrather Höhe (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vollrather_H%C3%B6he), is a spoil tip from the nearby Garzweiler open pit lignite mine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garzweiler_open_pit_mine).

I also recommend the video on this plant, but take your blood pressure medicine before you start watching it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8ehJoLd ... e=youtu.be

Note that I’m not directly opposed to wind and solar, they certainly have niches were they are very useful, I just think that the idea of powering an industrial society with diffuse and unreliable power sources is as likely as me riding a unicorn to work every day.


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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 9:59 am 
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Gives us a target capital cost of 2.6B euro/1.1GWe. If our capital costs can be less than $3 billion/GWe or Euro 2.35 billion/GWe then we win the cost competition.

The other thing I'd like to see is as Germany turns off its nuclear how much of the replacement energy (actual delivered and useful MW-hrs not capacity) is provided by the various sources (coal, gas, wind, and solar). When debating it would be most useful to have the real world data from a country that has bet its (and Europe's) economy on the argument that they could replace nuclear with renewables.


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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 10:05 am 
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In Germany, denial is a river in Egypt. But hey, being green means you never have to say you were wrong (not to mention being sorry about all the nonsense claims). Which is clearly very enticing for a lot of people. If things don't work out you can always blame other people and technologies, to help preserve the uncritical faith in "renewable" energy (the very word itself crying delusion of thermodynamics, so it is fitting for its supporters).

As for replacement energy, that's very simple. Replacing nuclear with solar, even if that were possible (importantly it isn't), would only use up solar that would otherwise have replaced fossil elsewhere. In reality, forced 500-900% subsidy rates and a forced must-buy renewables (proper demand-supply signals, uh what's that?), combined with a fundamental unproductiveness and unreliability of wind and solar, are locking Germany in hard in these flexible new coal and gas plants. But fossil fuel lock in isn't in the half page energy dictionary of the Greens.

I don't expect the situation to change much. Germany will keep wading deeper in the mud over the next decades. What is much worse is that the naivety is infectious, as other countries such as Japan are copying the extreme subsidy sink-the-economy renewables program.


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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Speedy wrote:
... as likely as me riding a unicorn to work every day.
Love the "every day" qualifier :lol:

In contrast, the Monticello Steam Electric Station in Texas that uses Lignite is closing two of its three units due to EPA regulations.


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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 7:28 pm 
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"I don't expect the situation to change much. Germany will keep wading deeper in the mud over the next decades. What is much worse is that the naivety is infectious, as other countries such as Japan are copying the extreme subsidy sink-the-economy renewables program."

I suspect that the situation will come into focus for the populations of Germany and Japan when industries that rely on large amounts of electricity, such as metals, close down and relocate to Finland, France, Sweden, and for Japan, to the Philippines, South Korea, and China etc. Such relocation has started to happen in both countries. A trickle might become a flood soon. There is nothing like a cold shower of unemployment and recession to sober up those inclined toward drunken, anti-nuclear hysteria.

I am hoping that the British, perhaps motivated by some schadenfreude toward their German friends, get their nuclear build-out in gear, including building the GE Prism fast reactor. Then Germany can be humiliated by both France and Britain on this key question of modern economics. Similarly, the remnants of superior pretensions of the Japanese toward their former subjects in the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, will soon be even further a subject for ridicule if the Japanese captains of industry are unable to put a stop to the anti-nuclear hysteria there; a hysteria which I suspect has some roots in the semi-feudal small farming land ownership that has been protected there; such backward institutions that, as elsewhere, promote rural idiocy.

Of course, no one would be surprised if in response to such technical and economic humiliation, the Germans discover the merits of 4th Gen. nuclear tech, and then beat their chests and proclaim themselves the world leaders in it.


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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2012 11:42 pm 
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Please do not worry if the Germans (and the Japanese) want to get close to nature for a while. They may learn the right technology for wind and solar, even if they have only niche uses. China is there to carry the nuclear torch. They could be helped along by Russia, India and S. Korea.
Big blunders like wind and solar "farms" and transmissions for them could be executed by 'Advanced' people. Someone may come up with more sensible niche uses for these renewable s. The wind could be used to compress the air in store-able quantities, which could be used in a pneumatic system. Solar energy could be stored in the batteries and used exclusively for high-value electronic systems.
The existing and new nuclear technologies will be there for those who want to change. Fast MSR breeders could come up in the US or France to burn the used fuel. Also in China or India to get over the 'fissile' gap.


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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2012 5:49 am 
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This was to be expected. Germany has generally a good track record on being environmentally responsible, but there is a strong anti-nuclear "cult", unlike anywhere else in the world, since the 1970s. You have many thousands of people who will gather annually to stop the "Castor-Transporte", the nuclear casks that return from La Hague in France. These people will strap themselves to rails and such. This cult has spread to the government and the rest of society (the German public broadcasting system has a very strong anti-nuclear bias). I guess they will even prefer dirty lignite coal (CO2 emission targets be damned), to the "Evil Atom".

The German economy may be doing fine for now, but in the long run, the energy transition (German: Energiewende) is going to fail spectacularly, with very high costs for retail customers and electricity-intensive industries that are going to abandon Germany.


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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2012 8:36 am 
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jagdish wrote:
Please do not worry if the Germans (and the Japanese) want to get close to nature for a while.


Excuse me, what is close to nature about lignite powerplants? Wonderful basking in natural mercury and soot? Yes, perfectly natural volcano's do produce these substances. Snake poison is also perfectly natural.

Quote:
China is there to carry the nuclear torch


China is building >10 coal plants for every nuclear plant they build. It is not carrying the nuclear torch. It is burning a heck of a lot of coal, and growth is exploding. They simply need all the power they can get, which explains the nuclear program, but don't fool yourself they're transitioning away from fossil fuels. They're using more fossil fuels every day.

Quote:
Germany has generally a good track record on being environmentally responsible


Germany is the biggest user of brown coal in the world.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Brown coal is the dirtiest type of coal.

Can you put three together? If you can, you'll be hard pressed to believe that Germany has a "good track record on being environmentally responsible". Now add the wonderful mileage of going 250 kph on the Autobahn in 2000 kg Mercedes/BMW cars. Oh yes very environmentally responsible. The Germans consider themselves environmentally responsible. Which is not the same as actually going the distance. They are a country of self delusion.

Seriously, if the wealthier countries can't show how it's done, China will continue building 2-3 coal plants every week.


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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2012 7:28 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
Germany has generally a good track record on being environmentally responsible

Germany is the biggest user of brown coal in the world.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Brown coal is the dirtiest type of coal.

Can you put three together? If you can, you'll be hard pressed to believe that Germany has a "good track record on being environmentally responsible". Now add the wonderful mileage of going 250 kph on the Autobahn in 2000 kg Mercedes/BMW cars. Oh yes very environmentally responsible. The Germans consider themselves environmentally responsible. Which is not the same as actually going the distance. They are a country of self delusion.

Seriously, if the wealthier countries can't show how it's done, China will continue building 2-3 coal plants every week.



If you look at it purely from that perspective, you're absolutely right. Nevertheless, I would maintain that Germans are generally environmentally conscious, just think of the elaborate recycling and the home insulation schemes in Germany, which have been set up since the 1980s. However, their irrational fear of all things nuclear gets in the way of achieving anything substantial in terms of CO2 emissions.

Looking at the bigger picture, the only country has successfully completed an energy transition ("Energiewende") in recent history, in the space of 20 years, is France. Nuclear generated electricity went from virtually nothing in the early 1970s to approx. 80% in the early 1990s. The CO2 emission per citizen is much lower in France than it is in Germany.


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PostPosted: Aug 30, 2012 4:10 pm 
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... and to think, in Britain, there were huge protests at a proposed new coal plant in Kent!

I have often commented on Germany's reasoning. Great cycle lanes, no school-run (kids walk to school), well insulated homes. And then a 2.5 litre petrol engine to do 250km/hr on the Autobahn!

There is something in using lignite to promote a solar future. You could get a situation where you have 40% renewables and 60% lignite. I suspect though that would be worse than 100% natural gas.


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PostPosted: Sep 08, 2012 2:36 pm 
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"Note that I’m not directly opposed to wind and solar, they certainly have niches were they are very useful, I just think that the idea of powering an industrial society with diffuse and unreliable power sources is as likely as me riding a unicorn to work every day."

It's a wonderful turn of phrase but you aren't really saying anything. Germany is an industrial society and they are powering a non-negligible part of their country with renewables. The use of coal in 2011 is up but not nearly as much as nuclear power use was down. Most of the replacement energy for the lost nuclear power came from renewables. Off the top of my head, 10ish TWh from wind and 7 TWh from solar. The increase in coal use was 4 TWh or so. Natural gas use increased only marginally.

At what point do you give credit to renewables? 20, 30 50% of the grid? When the energy source is essentially unsubsidized? The increase in solar electricity will be another 8ish TWh in 2012. When I take a look at the stats it appears to me the market is going to keep growing even when they lift the subsidies. That tells me there's something interesting afoot and that I should keep watching.

This new coal plant is rather incredible. Higher efficiency and rampable. I respect this plant for the technological feat it is. We all should... Coal plants, as most should recall, aren't supposed to be this rampable. This plant is different. Note also that they started building it many years ago at a time when we did not expect renewables to take off in Germany nearly as much as they have. So playing the renewables leads to coal plants argument is baseless. The Der Spiegel scenario that had 20+ new coal plants springing up hasn't come to pass nor are there plans for a lot of new coal in the future. RWE et al. are coming out and saying they aren't going to build new plants - they are going to use the existing plants to back up renewables and phase plants out over time.

The storyline you guys have built up over these last many years isn't playing out. At some point in the near term you guys are going to realize how cool solar power is. You're going to turn around the variability problem on it's head and look at it as a wonderful challenge. Fossil energy, nuclear energy and renewables should not be played as cards against each other. It's time to move beyond making enemies of the players. This doesn't mean we should stop trying to phase coal out. It means we should look at the task as a challenge without making a game out of playing the resources against each other in a philosophical loop.


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PostPosted: Sep 08, 2012 2:49 pm 
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Quote:
This new coal plant is rather incredible. Higher efficiency and rampable. I respect this plant for the technological feat it is. We all should...


No, you must, because you realize how uselessly unreliable and unproductive PV in Germany is; therefore you must support the new flexible wonderfully disgusting coal plants, as your PV/wind grid is really a fossil grid junky that is addicted to majority fossil fuels forever to prevent the grid from collapsing.

These new super duper coal plants, they are so efficient, they produce 300 kg of CO2 per second.

China is building lots of these here wonderful disgusting efficient coal plants over the last years. Here's what that great efficiency has done for coal use reduction:

http://gregor.us/wp-content/uploads/201 ... 98-081.jpg

You've forgotten your history, Snollygoster. When James Watt greatly improved the efficiency of the steam engine, the result was a great increase in coal use.

When is a clean energy plan good enough? The climate scientists say we need to cut CO2 emissions to under 20% of 1990 levels. So there's your answer. We need to reduce fossil fuel use >80%. Considering economic growth that has to be 95% in absolute terms, by about 2050-60. In fact we're at substantially more CO2 emissions right now than in 1990, the problem is getting bigger not smaller.

Snollygoster, you are a troll that contstantly ignores all our main arguments. Now I will heed my own advice and stop feeding the troll.


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PostPosted: Sep 08, 2012 3:18 pm 
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A troll with extensive direct hands on experience in power system operations.

My sense of wonder with this Gen X coal plant is the same feeling I got when the turbines at the nuke plant I worked at were replaced with high efficiency designs. It's the same excitement I got when I crawled around a new hydro-electric unit and found out the new design was X% more efficiency than the last. It's the same excitement I get when we implement a new program at work that helps manage the grid better. I recognize progress when I see it.

I've actually read the Coal Question... Have you? The quote you refer to is mis-interpreted. Jevons is talking about economic efficiency and using thermodynamic efficiency as a proxy. You will not increase the uptake of an energy source simply by making it more thermodynamically efficient. The uptake comes from making it more economically efficient. By the conventional misinterpreted logic if the car builders steadily increased fuel economy they'd necessarily increase sales. That's not how it works. The fuel economy of a car is one part of the over-all economy of the car. If you increase fuel economy without increasing overall economy you reduce sales. Same logic goes with power plants. Thermodynamic efficiency isn't the fulcrum - it just happens to be a damn good proxy.

I think we should phase out coal but it needs to be done in a pragmatic way. I'll take this plant if it means phasing out two other plants down the road that produce the same amount of electricity with higher emissions. I'll take this plant because it can ramp up and down to accommodate renewables and fluctuating load. I want to find out what that ramping means to the economics of the plant. That's an interesting question to me. Should be to any energy geek. Go look at the Power Engineering site and see their take on this plant. Those guys aren't renewable idealists. They're engineering geeks who recognize this plant as a technological masterpiece. Give credit where credit is due.


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PostPosted: Sep 08, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Snolly is back!


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PostPosted: Sep 09, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Anything longer than a sentence is wasted on this guy. You do not push a policy without some analysis that the policy will achieve the desired ends, and snolly is completely without such analysis. (If not, go back to the Germany thread and post it, please. I'm still waiting.)


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