The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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Martin Y
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin Y » Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:28 am

jimbob wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 7:44 am
I assumed that Martin Y was ironically pointing that out
<insert Baldrick joke here about how I had to use irony because we used up all the copper building charging infrastructure.>

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:34 pm

bjn wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:32 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 8:49 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 3:02 pm
They'll need to do something for coal-dependent communities, of course ... but there's no longer any technological or economic argument for not shutting down coal immediately.
... I thought you were going to talk about coal-dependent communities in the sense of Poland...
Most people in the world aren’t in Poland. ... Stop worrying about the hard cases, there is plenty of low hanging fruit to be got at first.
It was BOAF that argued we should also worry about the hard case. I just thought that the hardness of it lay in a different place from him.

Yes, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit. The coal investment programs of China and India have very considerably slowed from what they were talking about only a short time ago. But the global trend for coal power is still expansion, not reduction. Poland is an extreme case. But cases like Britain which could quickly close quite a large coal sector isn't the normal case either.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Wed Aug 11, 2021 6:35 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:48 am
Solving the charger problem by flooding the country with chargers will also solve unemployment by creating an army of people manufacturing, installing, regularly safety testing and repairing a hundred million chargers.

It does make me wonder about the economics of vastly widespread public charging points. Someone has to own and be responsible for the upkeep of each of these devices, getting used by any clumsy untrained idiot in any weather. At least petrol pumps have a responsible person in attendance on site, which these won't. Some will get used many times per day, presumably "subsidising" others which might only be used occasionally. I'm sure the tech exists to direct people not only to a charger but an available charger, but the problem may eventually shift to directing people to a charger which will dependably still be available by the time they get there. I'm sure clever people are years ahead thinking about this but it rather does my head in thinking what the bottlenecks will be.
You could reserve it for the next 5 mins, so all apps will show it as provisionally taken. That already happens with some hire bike companies in the netherlands

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Wed Aug 11, 2021 10:35 pm

IvanV wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:34 pm
bjn wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:32 pm
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 8:49 pm

... I thought you were going to talk about coal-dependent communities in the sense of Poland...
Most people in the world aren’t in Poland. ... Stop worrying about the hard cases, there is plenty of low hanging fruit to be got at first.
It was BOAF that argued we should also worry about the hard case. I just thought that the hardness of it lay in a different place from him.

Yes, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit. The coal investment programs of China and India have very considerably slowed from what they were talking about only a short time ago. But the global trend for coal power is still expansion, not reduction. Poland is an extreme case. But cases like Britain which could quickly close quite a large coal sector isn't the normal case either.
I (internet random that I am) thoroughly expect to see that trend continue to decelerate and do so quite hard over the coming decade, just from the raw economics of it. Renewables and storage are going to get even cheaper, turning most existing and new coal generation into stranded assets.

China is a weird case, they are building coal plants that are completely unnecessary as their existing fleet runs at an average 50% capacity factor, or possibly even less since I last looked. In any sane country a huge chunk of their existing fleet would have been scrapped by now as uneconomic. That would also have been the most inefficient and therefore polluting parts of the fleet as well.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:08 am

bjn wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 10:35 pm
IvanV wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:34 pm
bjn wrote:
Tue Aug 10, 2021 11:32 pm

Most people in the world aren’t in Poland. ... Stop worrying about the hard cases, there is plenty of low hanging fruit to be got at first.
It was BOAF that argued we should also worry about the hard case. I just thought that the hardness of it lay in a different place from him.

Yes, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit. The coal investment programs of China and India have very considerably slowed from what they were talking about only a short time ago. But the global trend for coal power is still expansion, not reduction. Poland is an extreme case. But cases like Britain which could quickly close quite a large coal sector isn't the normal case either.
I (internet random that I am) thoroughly expect to see that trend continue to decelerate and do so quite hard over the coming decade, just from the raw economics of it. Renewables and storage are going to get even cheaper, turning most existing and new coal generation into stranded assets.

China is a weird case, they are building coal plants that are completely unnecessary as their existing fleet runs at an average 50% capacity factor, or possibly even less since I last looked. In any sane country a huge chunk of their existing fleet would have been scrapped by now as uneconomic. That would also have been the most inefficient and therefore polluting parts of the fleet as well.
Parts of China have though been facing electricity shortages.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/economy/ ... index.html

So I guess that national average capacity hides lots of local variation.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:03 am

IvanV wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:11 pm
A typical consumption of an EV that replaces a typical car, (as opposed to "the average EV") is something like 3 miles per kWh. The equivalent modern fossil fuel car might do about 11 miles per litre, as they are a lot more efficient these days, unless you are buying some sporty version. So with petrol at about 135p/l, then electricity becomes more expensive than petrol at about about 37p/kWh for such a car. Maybe your chosen EV does 4 miles/kWh, but then the equivalent fossil fuel car might do 14 miles/litre, so similar figures there.
By the way, on the long motorway cruise from Italy to Slovakia, my 1998-model 2-seater convertible built in 2000 did better than 7l/100km, which is about 9 miles per litre. I didn't really check if there were charging points along my route which would have let me do the trip with a typical electric car, but long distance cruising is where electric vehicles are the least advantageous.

I don't get such good numbers most of the time when I'm at home of course, but then I wasn't doing that much driving before the Event (filling up once every 4-5 weeks) such that in 2019 my total petrol spend was less than €900.

I'll have to try to make it back to Austria without needing petrol in Slovakia though because it's E10 here and apparently my car isn't really compatible with it. (Not that a single tank full would do damage.) Also, it's cheaper in Austria.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:28 pm

bjn wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 1:32 pm
lpm wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 12:53 pm
One forgotten factor for long journeys is you need to be able to recharge at your destination, not just en route.

If you arrive at your B&B for a long weekend in Snowdonia with 20% left, you can't just plug into your host's fast charger because they won't have one. You'll have to find an ultra-fast charger somewhere else before you can go on scenic drives.
We had a week of in the cotswolds at an Airbnb. They had an electric car charger there. This is all going to happen. Especially as more BEVs appear, there will be a demand and BnBs will lose business if they don’t have chargers. There will be the odd kerfuffle as we transition, but nothing to pearl clutch about.
I've been doing my research today and I've concluded this is a key step. I want to recharge during a pub lunch, not waiting at a sh.t services for half an hour. Waiting at services has been putting me and my other half off. And I want to recharge at the B&B or campsite or hotel.

If I was advising pubs, restaurants and hotels right now I'd tell them to get chargers and promote it. Particularly restaurants that advertise on A roads - the ones that put out signs saying "Country pub half a mile, home cooked food, take next left". Pay to advertise on charging apps - must be pretty straightforward to personalise? A person puts in London to Cornwall, the app knows the car will need recharging 180 miles in, up pops an advert for a café at about the right distance. And if the app knows I'm staying at a remote self catering cottage in the Yorkshire Dales I'd be happy to see it advertise pubs with chargers in the region.

I've mapped out every long distance drive I can remember doing. Holidays in Pembrokeshire, Devon, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Lake District etc. Ferrying people to and from university. Assumed a car with 260 mile official range, 200 mile real range. For example on holiday journeys recently I've stopped for lunch on the way at 118, 157, 177 and 181 miles, which not coincidentally is around 2.5 to 3.5 hours driving time. Set off on hols at 9 a.m. and that's where lunch naturally fits. Sometimes a pub lunch, sometimes a takeaway sausage roll, but the recharging distance always falls at a good point to split a journey.

Coming home at the end of holidays tends to be a bit different. Generally check out at 10 in the morning and then spend the day at the beach or sightseeing en route. Typically drive home late on, in long stints with just bathroom breaks. Psychologically I'd find it a bit annoying to have to wait somewhere for 45 minutes. But you can't have everything.

I don't believe I've ever driven more than 333 miles in a day in the UK. Even London to Edinburgh is only 400 miles, which a 260 mile car should be able to do in two stages (in summer anyway). I've done a couple of long continental journeys via ferry/Eurotunnel, 12 hour driving time to Chamonix and the like, but I think that can safely be ignored - I'm not going to buy a burner just for that.

Range anxiety is a dud IMO, invented by journalists with a view towards old-fashioned Ford Mondeo salesmen doing hundreds of pointless miles a day. 95% of people do long distances only a handful of times a year, for holidays and ferrying kids to/from university and visiting family a hundred miles away. I'm getting more into the efficiency detail instead - using Ivan's miles/kWh stats from his website link. Sounds as if winter driving can be a significant bit worse for efficiency than published figures. But Tesla and the Koreans (Hyundai and Kia which are actually the same company with the same batteries/engine) are noticeably the winners on efficiency.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:21 pm

"Blue hydrogen" is worse than coal. The 'blue' H2 being created from steam reformed methane, with the CO2 being captured and stored somehow.

Apart from CCS not being an actual thing, so FSM knows what you do with the CO2, fugitive CH4 liberated during extraction and processing kills it as a thing.
Ars Technica wrote:In the new study, Robert Howarth and Mark Jacobson, the paper’s authors and two well-known climate scientists, assume a leakage rate of 3.5 percent of consumption. They arrived at that number by scouring 21 studies that surveyed the emissions of gas fields, pipelines, and storage facilities using satellites or airplanes. To see how their 3.5 percent rate affected the results, Howarth and Jacobson also ran their models assuming 1.54 percent, 2.54 percent, and 4.3 percent leakage. Those rates are based on EPA estimates at the low end and, at the high end, stable carbon isotope analysis that isolated emissions from shale gas production.

No matter which leakage rate they used, blue hydrogen production created more greenhouse gas equivalents than simply burning natural gas. And at the 3.5 percent leakage rate, blue hydrogen was worse for the climate than burning coal.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:28 pm

The hardest sell on EVs in the US right now is probably Texas, following the electricity outages due to ice, and then brownouts due to heat, in rapid succession. And people there also don't think that much of driving 10 hours in a day. And then there's the politics of Texas.

Back in April, people were having to drive tens of miles to find cooked food, as so many places were without power for most of a week. And people were without heat at the same time. Ford is advertising the F-150 Lightning as a battery backup for your house, but while the grid has a reasonable chance of going out for a week, that doesn't work anymore. Even up here in the much more reliable NE, gasoline powered home generators are fairly common.

(my colleague had to power his gas heating system and fridge off of his Prius for 3 weeks after Sandy hit New Jersey)

Plugin hybrid's with a daily commutes worth of EV range might be a better solution in chunks of the US, at least for one generation of cars.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:28 am

lpm wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:28 pm
Range anxiety is a dud IMO, invented by journalists with a view towards old-fashioned Ford Mondeo salesmen doing hundreds of pointless miles a day. 95% of people do long distances only a handful of times a year, for holidays and ferrying kids to/from university and visiting family a hundred miles away. I'm getting more into the efficiency detail instead - using Ivan's miles/kWh stats from his website link. Sounds as if winter driving can be a significant bit worse for efficiency than published figures. But Tesla and the Koreans (Hyundai and Kia which are actually the same company with the same batteries/engine) are noticeably the winners on efficiency.
95% of people might be low mileage drivers, but that leaves 5% of people who are high mileage drivers and these "old-fashioned Ford Mondeo salesmen doing hundreds of pointless miles a day" may cover closer to 50% of the total vehicle miles than you think.

I once bought a Peugeot 405 off a sales rep at 3 years old with 150,000 miles on the clock. Assuming a 200 day working year (not working weekends, public holidays, annual leave and some office-based work) that's 250 miles a day, or right at the maximum range for the better EVs today; so for these type of people range anxiety would be a real thing. And if you are a salesman driving ~5 hours a day and seeing customers for short periods, re-charging during the day might not be an easy option.

You can claim that this salesman's job should change and he works from home, but sometimes a face-to-face meeting is required, especially when trying to encourage a customer not to buy a competitor's version, and if all sales are done on-line the company will streamline the process and so the salesman is probably out of a job anyway.

Until we make more fundamental changes to our living, working and commercial practices some form of hybrid vehicles are probably required. They save fuel (I reckon my petrol consumption has gone down by ~1/3 since I bought one) and buy some time so we can organise the roll-out of wide-spread charging more effectively.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Aug 14, 2021 11:30 pm

Biden's team seems to have some fairly good ideas:

Democrats outline plan to cut emissions in half by 2030 without GOP votes
The climate measures are part of the Democratic $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, which is not legislation but would unlock a process, called budget reconciliation, that would allow Democrats to pass bills with a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans cannot filibuster the reconciliation legislation.

The centerpiece component of the climate part of the plan calls for the Senate Energy Committee to create a “clean electricity payment” program that would essentially pay utilities to generate a growing percentage of power from carbon-free sources. It would require the electric utility sector as a whole to generate 80% of its power from clean energy sources by 2030. That would keep pace with Biden’s goal, submitted as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, to cut U.S. emissions across the economy by 50% by the end of the decade.

Party leaders included other climate policies as part of the agreement that they are counting on to meet Biden’s goals, including clean energy tax credits and funding to create a Civilian Climate Corps, modeled off a New Deal-era program, to put people to work weatherizing homes, restoring coastlines, managing forests, and other climate-related projects.

Other measures would provide consumers rebates for electrifying homes, electrify the federal vehicle fleet, and impose fees on carbon-intensive products imported from abroad.
This is in addition to the $1trillion infrastructure bill that's going to build a bunch of public transport infrastructure (inter alia).

It's providing certainty for industry with clear targets, and both sticks and carrots. The US is becoming a world leader in tackling climate change, overtaking the EU (and the UK of course), though I hope the EU gets its act together soon.

So, well done Bernie Sanders.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Sun Aug 15, 2021 1:48 am

It'll probably get watered down in Congress/Senate to get the last few votes needed.

Joe Manchin (D, WV) needs to be able to say that he prevented Biden's extremist left wing socialist plan and protected the right of West Virginians to work themselves to death in coal mines to get reelected.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Sun Aug 15, 2021 10:30 am

nezumi wrote:
Sun Aug 15, 2021 10:10 am
I'd like to see more regulation of the type of vehicle people are able to buy before EVs become the only thing you can have. Too many Chelsea tractors nobbing about. Do these youngish women own a farm? No? No landrover for you Mrs. I do hope banning internal combustionn engines will lead to more people driving sensible vehicles!
I saw something the other day which suggested that half of new cars sold in Switzerland at the moment were SUVs.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Opti » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:23 pm

They're essential to get to Waitrose, dontcha know. Or the Swiss equivalent.
Time for a big fat one.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:48 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sun Aug 15, 2021 10:30 am
nezumi wrote:
Sun Aug 15, 2021 10:10 am
I'd like to see more regulation of the type of vehicle people are able to buy before EVs become the only thing you can have. Too many Chelsea tractors nobbing about. Do these youngish women own a farm? No? No landrover for you Mrs. I do hope banning internal combustionn engines will lead to more people driving sensible vehicles!
I saw something the other day which suggested that half of new cars sold in Switzerland at the moment were SUVs.
If you want an AWD car (and there's good reasons for having one in much of Switzerland) with some luggage capacity, there's a couple of VWs, Audis, Volvos and Mercs etc. estates at the expensive end of the market, or SUVs.

Most estates/hatchbacks with AWD now are sold as SUVs or crossovers. Over here in the US, I'd love to buy an AWD station wagon, but the only ones on the market are Mercs, BMWs, Audis and Volvos, at twice the price of a Subaru, Honda, Toyota or Ford SUV or crossover.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun Aug 15, 2021 6:26 pm

I thought crossovers aren’t as bad, being puffed up station wagons rather than inefficient trucks.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sun Aug 15, 2021 6:26 pm

Gah. Deleted my double posted.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Sun Aug 15, 2021 11:56 pm

bjn wrote:
Sun Aug 15, 2021 6:26 pm
I thought crossovers aren’t as bad, being puffed up station wagons rather than inefficient trucks.
Correct. And plugin SUVs beat plain hybrid hatchbacks and station wagons in average usage.

The Tesla Model Y is an SUV, btw.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Tue Aug 17, 2021 6:20 pm

https://twitter.com/simonwakter/status/ ... 6538150915
Austria (a major investor in the Nord Stream 2) warns of "overambitious climate targets" which could result in "countries investing in nuclear energy"

Meanwhile, Austria will be dependent on those countries because it lacks sufficient power production to meet climate goals.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:41 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:41 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:17 am
Yes yes, obviously batteries/storage (and a mix of generation technologies) are necessary, not just a solar panel plugged directly into the telly. Everybody knows this already.
What everbody doesn't always get is the inadequacy of batteries/storage to solve this issue, even in combination with a mix of low carbon generation technologies. The scale of the issue is beyond us.

The largest storage device (rated total capacity in MWh, ie quantity of energy stored, not instantaneous output as is usually quote for batteries) in Britain is Dinorwig which is about 9100MWh. Cruachan is about 7000MWh. Ffestiniog and Foyers are the other two main examples, and a fair bit smaller. I haven't got their capacity, but probably the total of the four is in the vicinity of 20,000MWh or 20 GWh of pumped storage. Germany has something like about 5 times as much as us, because run-of-river hydro is relatively easy to convert to pumped storage. But they have several large rivers such as you can find on continents (Rhine, Danube, Elbe, Oder, Weser, etc) suitable for large run-of-river hydro stations, which in our case we have not got.

The largest battery in Europe recently started operation near Swindon. As usual with batteries, they are rather keener to tell you its maximum output, 100MW, and rather less keen to tell you its capacity. I think someone on this forum suggested its capacity is about 100MWh.

So the largest battery in Europe has about the capacity of 1% of a Dinorwig. But, recognising that a low carbon Britain will at least double its electricity consumption, we would need about 500 Dinorwigs, to store power for when people wanted it, if all our electricity was renewable. Or 50,000 of those largest-batteries-in-Europe.

The National Grid therefore sees getting to net zero to require substantial amounts of:
gas power stations with CCS, and
hydrogen storage, to feed hydrogen power stations.

This relies on two technologies not yet demonstrated at the scale required: CCS, and renewable hydrogen production. They are currently only demonstrated at small scale and implmenting them at anything like the scale required, not to mention an acceptable cost, remains a big problem

So far we have been able to build lots of wind and solar. It's "cheap". And if it fails to deliver the service you'd be willing to pay more money for, ie, electricity when you want it, we can get away with that because for the moment we have plenty of despatchable power (gas) and neighbours who can turn up their depatchable power (coal) when we need it.

Some, not Germans, would say that nuclear can be a valuable part of the solution, but falls a long way short of solving it.
Quoting this here on this thread, as it's more about tech than legal/judicial instruments, and others here know more than me.

Let's imagine the UK wants to double it's renewable energy capacity, from 33% to 66%, by 2030. How best to go about this, in terms of energy mix and batteries?

Looking down this list, it's clear that a lot of the countries with high percentages use lots of hydro or solar. I don't think covering Scotland in dams would be super popular, and the UK isn't the sunniest place. (That said, Germany gets twice the % of its total from solar, and isn't twice as sunny).

Obviously the UK's greatest asset is its windy coast. Denmark gets 40% of its energy from wind, compared with 17% in the UK. Even Portugal relies much more heavily on wind (20%) than solar, I guess because it's so much more dependable? (Quite why Portugal is languishing at 1.5% solar I don't fully understand - seems pathetic for Europe's sunniest country).

What's the worst case scenario with wind - say, what's the week where it was performing at the lowest % of capacity?
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:42 pm

Should also quote this here, which I think was Ivan's source for much of that:
IvanV wrote:
Tue Aug 24, 2021 12:46 am
I strongly recommend National Grid Future Energy Scenarios as a very serious attempt to try and grapple with these problems from an engineering, not political, point of view. It is not the point of them, but you will see how inadequate is the political attempt to achieve these things when you read it. You can also download the data if you want to play with it.
I haven't had time to read it yet, but looks interesting.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:04 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:41 pm
Let's imagine the UK wants to double it's renewable energy capacity, from 33% to 66%, by 2030. How best to go about this, in terms of energy mix and batteries?
Don't.
Don't lose sight of the goal - to reduce emissions, not to increase renewables. Build more nuclear. But any solution is probably impossible because everything takes too long due to planning and wrangling.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:44 am

Nuclear definitely takes too long. Which leaves renewables. Obviously the point is to reduce carbon emissions (without having to halve the electricity used by people and industry, which is unlikely in a world of increasing electrification).
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:10 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:04 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:41 pm
Let's imagine the UK wants to double it's renewable energy capacity, from 33% to 66%, by 2030. How best to go about this, in terms of energy mix and batteries?
Don't.
Don't lose sight of the goal - to reduce emissions, not to increase renewables. Build more nuclear. But any solution is probably impossible because everything takes too long due to planning and wrangling.
Nuclear is not the answer. Nuclear power plants have a lower availability than fossil fuel plants, are more expensive to build, and more expensive to decommission. In order to use nuclear for base load you need a lot of nuclear plants, which increases the cost as you lose any potential benefits and efficiencies from large scale operation.

And as the French found (who do use a lot of nuclear power from lots of small power plants) there is a potential even then a loss of availability due to common mode failure; a hot, dry summer meant a lot of rivers (where the nuclear sites are to get their cooling water) ran low and the nuclear sites had to shut down due to a lack of cooling resulting in brown-outs - just when people wanted a high load to turn on air-conditioning.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:51 am

The report from the Climate Change Committee is very depressing. https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-uk-will ... w-policies
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