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View Diary: Nearly Zero-Carbon Grid: An Example (20 comments)

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  •  Unfortunately, neither is any of the other (0+ / 0-)

    sustainable (and survivable options).  In the end, we will need to make choices that are not easy to survive.  Nuclear will need to be a part of this, as will solar and wind - they are the only proven and low-carbon options we have.

    •  I'd like your comment on... (1+ / 0-)
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      The point of the study is that renewable energy is the most cost effective way to go. They considered "28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms" as a basis for their conclusions. I'd like to know the basis for your conclusion.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:22:10 PM PDT

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      •  I certainly agree that a grid can be run (0+ / 0-)

        exclusively on wind and solar - however, my opinion is that 2030 will be too late.

        Every coal fired plant that can be retired MUST be removed from service as quickly as possible.  Using nuclear power plants to do this is beneficial even with the realization that they have issues as well - those issues do not involve the release of large amounts of CO2 which must be our primary concern right now IMO.

        Basically, I think that we need to have a nuclear component to any decarbonization plan to make it as rapid as possible.

        •  What do you suppose the lead time is on (1+ / 0-)
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          building nuclear power plants?


          All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives.
          Dr. Jaczko made his remarks at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington in a session about the Fukushima accident. Dr. Jaczko said that many American reactors that had received permission from the nuclear commission to operate for 20 years beyond their initial 40-year licenses probably would not last that long. He also rejected as unfeasible changes proposed by the commission that would allow reactor owners to apply for a second 20-year extension, meaning that some reactors would run for a total of 80 years.
          Admiral Hyman George Rickover's final congressional testimony 1982
          “In this broad, philosophical sense, I do not believe that nuclear power is worth the present benefits, since it creates radiation. You might ask, why do I design nuclear-powered ships? Because it is a necessary evil. I would sink them all.”
          “From a long-range standpoint–I am talking about humanity–the most important thing we could do at present is to have an international meeting where first we outlaw nuclear weapons. Eventually, we could outlaw reactors too”
          There has been much effort to spin the Admiral's words. During my 10+ years in the navy, I never had any reason to think Rickover's words needed any translation. Here's an example of his plain talk as presented by President Carter in White House Diary
          "His long and distinguished career ended abruptly: in late 1981 Rickover's wife heard on the radio that President Reagan had retired the admiral, who was on a new submarine conducting sea trials, and she had to give him the news. Several weeks later, he was invited to the Oval Office and decided to don his full dress uniform. He told me that he refused to take a seat, listened to the president ask him to be his special nuclear advisor, replied 'Mr. President that is bullshit,' and then walked out."

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 02:16:54 PM PDT

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    •  Nonsense. Humans managed (1+ / 0-)
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      Just Bob

      to survive for at least 200,000 years without any electricity at all. Our modern way of life is certainly ostentatiously wasteful and decidedly dumb (for all that we so highly value our supposed smarts), but we can do quite a few things to have both life and electricity if we put ourselves honestly to the task. First thing is to stop wasting it. That would cut demand by 40-50% right there. Site-based generation for homes, buildings, smaller factories, metal churches, strip malls, etc. saves on the 30% of central-generated 'trons that is lost just from going through the wires. Installing solar to shade irrigation canals (lowers evaporation losses of water as well) and parking lots could generate a great deal. Better storage capacities and technologies are being developed as we speak, those can continue to improve as far into the future as we care to look.

      There's no excuse for nukes. You'd think people who are so enthralled by the superior brilliance of the money class .01% would also believe them when they say nukes are a waste of wealth. That is what they are saying, you know. And doing - they are not putting money into nukes. The rest of us don't have any money to put into nukes, so it's a fool's errand.

      Best to get used to it.

      •  You are correct - humans survived just fine (1+ / 0-)
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        without electricity for a long time.  You're also correct that conservation is the best and quickest way to reduce carbon emissions now.

        I'm not sure I agree with your numbers regarding possible savings from conservation, though.

        I also would point out that when we were surviving without electricity, our standard of living was much lower than it is now, and also that there weren't 7 billion of us running around on this planet.  In light of these two facts, it is unfortunately the case that we DO need electricity.  We also need other aspects of modern civilization that I would be happy to do without, such as GM plants, pesticides, and large-scale global movement of material.

        •  Actually, I lived for more than (0+ / 0-)

          a couple of years without electricity or running water. Which, when I was in my late 20s and early 30s, was quite the nifty adventure in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Had a 2-seater outhouse I 'papered' with burlap coffee sacks from the deli where I worked, put sheepskin (fur side up) on the bench and even had a magazine rack and lantern. Then I met someone down on the mesa who had bead curtains in her 2-seater, we lost the prize...

          When we retired officially from city life, we found a place with all the finer qualities of those mountains without the definite harshness (like -30º nights and cougars that ate collies). Better yet, it DOES have electricity and running water! Things I definitely appreciate enough to have engineered ways to enjoy the benefits even during those times when the grid goes down. If I can do that, so can you or anyone else who has a mind to, plus the cash to do so and the will to make it work.

          I am a big believer in biofuels. Live right in the middle of the Norfolk-Southern grade over the eastern continental divide. I've also lived on a seaport, seen the cargo ships come and go. Drive a 'classic' (heh) Merc, it can run on biodiesel as well. Doing so would require big changes to our ag policies, but the distribution infrastructure's already there.

          There are many things we can do to salvage our 'way of life' if we're willing to forego the laziness and conspicuous consumption. If we're not willing, it'll go away because it's patently unsustainable - meaning it has to go away because it can't keep going. But humans will survive. Remember, only a small portion of humans enjoy your 'way of life'. The rest live just like their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

          •  Basically you are putting forward a highly (0+ / 0-)

            reactionary stance. Human being did NOT do "just fine" and the natural human social evolution is not live with with a life span under 40 years old (Joeaua ideal, it seems) or live hiding from animals in caves and exterminating all the worlds megafauna. What a reactionary line of crap!

            Our social evolutionary advance is to go forward, not backward. Humans cannot as a species do without the modern technology that has advanced us to the levels we see today...unless you think the fantasy of live in the Hobbit's shire is doable. Tell it the people of every major city in the world.

            The fact is we need a lot more energy than we use now, not less. Fantasies about an "all wind/solar grid" are just that. I prefer this diaryists perspective of an all nuclear grid supplemented by renewables. Much better and despite the lies told by the commenter above, it's very doable but recourse wise and financially.

            Those who falsely believe it's 1980 and it takes "10 to 20" years to build a nuke ought to wake up. The technology has not sat there. We use standardized designs everywhere in the world. The last 20 plants that have come line were, from first concrete to commercial ontime delivery were under 7 years and the time is dropping still further.

            If the French can eliminate their oil from electrical generation in 15 years, so can the rest of the world do so with coal, then with gas.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:35:10 AM PDT

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