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View Diary: Wind power is kicking nuclear's ass; meanwhile solar is hitting it out of the ballpark (312 comments)

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  •  Westinghouse Speaks (9+ / 0-)

    Back in October 2007 on CSPAN, I saw Edward Cummings, VP of Westinghouse Nuclear, say that nuclear power would not contribute greatly to reducing greenhouse gases in the near-term future. That's the business view and, so far, it's held true.  I suspect it will continue to be the realistic projection for the next decade, for good or ill.

    Another interesting reality I was reminded of recently is that a nuclear power plant, like all centralized power plants, delivers about a third of the energy it produces due to losses all throughout the transmission and distribution process.  A solar panel on the roof delivers the vast majority of the energy it produces to the household it serves because the transmission and distribution losses are very, very low.

    On the other hand, virtually no one counts the light through a south-facing window which heats and daylights a home, office, or factory in economic terms.  Nor do we count the sunlight that powers photosynthesis and produces the food we eat.  Fact is, the planet is solar-powered and we are solar-powered.  Always has been, always will be.  We can build nukes till doomsday and the amount of energy we get and use from sunlight will dwarf that produced by nuclear power.  We just don't count the solar income because it's generally free.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:48:44 PM PDT

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    •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plan9

      "Another interesting reality I was reminded of recently is that a nuclear power plant, like all centralized power plants, delivers about a third of the energy it produces due to losses all throughout the transmission and distribution process."

      This is not a correct statement, analysis and/or characterization.   Transmission and distribution losses, which depend on the distance from the load to the generation source....are frequently nominally indicated in the 10% range for common situations.   The 1/3rd factor you are referring to addresses the magnitude of electricity generation as 'megawatts-electrical' compared to the heat input necessary to achieve that electrical generation as 'megawatts - heat input.'   In a coal or nuclear steam electric power plant, the rate of electrical energy generation will typically be on the order of about 35% of the heat input rate necessary to generate a given level of electrical energy generation.

      Finally, solar panels (and wind turbines) are not thermodynamic heat engines, so having a discussion of energy transfer without making the distinction between devices which are and are not heat engines is not very illuminating.

      •  Awesome! (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you, LS. From what I've read, you are making a truly substantial addition to the conversation. Not sure how I've missed your contributions over the past eight years we've been at dKos together, but glad I've found you.

        Thirteen men can't tell The People what is Constitutional and what isn't

        Conservative "constitutional scholar" referring to SCOTUS

        by jam on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 06:33:58 AM PDT

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