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Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:01 PM

Another Great Day For Renewable Energy in California.

This data comes from the CAISO website, Accessed 19:30 PST 09/09/20:

Big "Percents" today around noon, despite all the smoke:

Fabulous work "by 2020." They certainly addressed climate change by 2020:

Weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

Week beginning on August 30, 2020: 411.59 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 408.82 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 387.59 ppm
Last updated: September 9, 2020

Thank goodness they'll be closing their last nuclear plant "by 2024."

One never knows what could have happened at that nuclear plant, which has "only" been producing 2,246 MW of electricity all day long, constantly, in a single building. That sucks.

Heckuva job! Heckuva job!

So green, or, um, brown, or well, it's "by 2020," in any case.

We're doing great!!!

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:03 PM

1. Fire causing the largest disaster in the history of my county.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:04 PM

2. I'm very sorry. Really. I am. It didn't have to happen. n/t,.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:07 PM

3. It's so sad. Places so many grew up visiting. Camping and trips to lakes.

Its all gone. Three counties wide. Tripled in size over the course of 2 days.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:14 PM

4. I lived in California for a long time.

I certainly feel it.

In fact, I'm quite angry, seething.

The reality is however, for all the noise over the last 50 years, California's energy policies are atrocious.

My point, and the source of my anger, is that the big hoopla about so called "renewable energy" didn't work, isn't working, and won't work.

This didn't have to happen, but it did.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:19 PM

5. Is so tragic...

This is what it looks like in my county. I am down the mountain. The air is thick with smoke and ash on everything outside.


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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 9, 2020, 11:34 PM

6. Again. I'm very sorry. I wish I could tell you it will get better...

...but I can't, because it won't.

I've been following climate change for a long time, most of my adult life. Regrettably, I'm seeing what I expected.

We are not doing anything practical about climate change; nothing at all. Oh, we are lying to ourselves, but that is all.

California is proud of closing Diablo Canyon, and it will not be replaced, and people are cheering for that. From my perspective, they're cheering for fire.

Six or seven new nuclear plants, six or seven relatively small buildings, running at high efficiency, and there would be no natural gas being burned tonight in California.

I've been following CAISO for the last 5 days, and it's looked pretty much like this every day, including the days where the temperatures were over 40C.

At this moment, the emissions link at CAISO shows 11,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide being dumped in the atmosphere each hour, just to generate electricity in the State, and much of the power is being imported at this moment. God knows from whence that comes.

I'm sorry. I'm sure anything I try to say to be comforting will ring hollow.

I hope you will be safe.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 01:58 AM

7. We're in the middle of this...

...nice timing for this heartless post.

Welcome to my very small ignore list.

You've truly earned it.

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Response to orwell (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 07:32 AM

8. The entire world, well beyond California, is involved in climate change.

For nearly 20 years, I've been remarking pretty much continuously, about the thousands of deaths that take place every damned day from air pollution, tens of thousands actually.

Every damned day on this planet is an energy tragedy.

From my perspective, this is always dramatic.


Every damned day.

The world is going through climate change. The whole damned world. Always. Continuously.

I regret that California is burning. I regret that 19,000 people will die today from air pollution, perhaps more because of these fires.

When I lived through hurricane Sandy, over at Kos, a person there, Tim Lange, "Meteor Blades," remarked to me that I had solar cells on my roof, I would have had power. I was without it for two weeks. (I oppose solar energy.) There was no consideration of the fact that some people lost their roofs. It was a great time, I think, to remark on how wonderful distributed energy was, wasn't it? Every man and woman for himself or herself. The irony is that there was solar panel lying on my street after being ripped off poles. PSEG installed them to be "green." (No one picked it up for nearly a year.)

The reality is that nothing gets through...no amount of drama. This particular day is maybe a little more dramatic than when 19,000 people died from air pollution on September 10, 2019, but the cause of those deaths that day is the same as the cause of fires on September 10, 2020.

When, exactly, would there be a day of no drama to remark on reality?

Sometimes reality is cold; at other times it is hot.

It's well established that closing nuclear power plants "to be safe" kills people.

Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Pushker A. Kharecha* and James E. Hansen Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 48894895)

Since I know that, and I remark on it regularly - and it doesn't get through - I find every damned day to be fairly tragic.

This post may be "cold and cruel," but from my perspective the California energy policies - shutting nuclear plants before banning fossil fuels - are "cold and cruel." They're popular, but they're cruel.

They are not working. It may sound like "cold and cruel" schadenfreude, but whether anyone cares or not, believes me or not, I know in my heart it is accompanied by weeping.

I lived in California for a long time. I knew great love there, some of the most beautiful days in my life. I was, in fact, reborn there in a sense.

None of this had to be this way, but in California, as many other places around the world, the ignorance associated with selective attention triumphed and there will be no sober time to remark upon it. With climate change, every day is a tragedy.

I'm sorry for the losses in fires, heat, what have you, but I'm very sorry for the whole world, not a particular province.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 05:16 PM

9. Natural gas keeps the solar and wind power fantasy alive.

The vast majority of solar and wind power enthusiasts don't live in a world where the lights go out whenever the wind isn't blowing, the sun isn't shining, and the batteries are dead.

Suddenly natural gas, 34% of my home energy supply under dark orange skies as I type this, becomes acceptable.

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Response to hunter (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 05:43 PM

10. The California CAISO data makes this pretty clear in a dark sky day.

It's fascinating to watch, since California is wind and solar nirvana...and one can thus see clearly and graphically that this implies dependence on gas.

On the "emissions" tape they have real time data on CO2 per hour. At this particular moment it's 8,383 metric tons per hour. It goes much higher.

It's very tragic, but I have to say, it may be a case of living by the sword and dying by the sword.

I've been interpreted as expressing glee at this, but that's not it at all.

I'm merely pointing out that decisions have consequences, including California's decision to phase out nuclear power and decisions like it around the world are having consequences, and all of the Trumpian scale lies in the world will not change that fact.

Diablo Canyon has a thermal efficiency of around 33%, but there is no reason that we couldn't go very much higher than that, given material science improvements over that employed first carbon dioxide working fluid reactors that were built in Britain in the mid 20th century. 60% seems reasonable and even higher is not that much of a stretch, particularly if some energy is captured as chemical energy.

Doubling Diablo Canyon's efficiency in new plants, would bring each plant up to around 4400 MWe for the same thermal output. California demand seems to peak on hot days like those a few days ago at around 48,000 MW. That means the whole damn state could be powered in 11 or 12 small buildings, essentially no carbon dioxide, ever, at any time of the day, no gas wells, no wind farms, just 11 or 12 relatively small industrial buildings.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 11, 2020, 04:28 PM

11. Off-peak power would likely move fresh water about.

California is already fairly flexible in this way.

Fresh water gets pumped uphill when electricity is cheap, it generates electricity going downhill when electricity is dear.

That's an efficient match for nuclear power, not so much for wind and solar where shortfalls can last many days or weeks.

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Response to hunter (Reply #11)

Fri Sep 11, 2020, 09:02 PM

12. The realization I had relatively recently - I don't know why it never occurred to me - is...

...that a significant portion of sea level rise actually involves draining fresh water off land. Big examples in North America are the mining of the water of the Ogallala aquifer in the Central US, but groundwater mining in California is nothing to sneeze out.

There is the destruction of Lake Owens by LA, the depletion of Mono Lake, and the murder of the Colorado Delta.

I have spent a considerable amount of time looking into what the great minds in the early days of nuclear power were thinking; they had a huge expansive view that is forgotten now.

It wasn't all about electricity; it was about heat.

The very first commercial nuclear reactor built in the Western World was Calder Hall, in Britain. Its working fluid was not steam; it was carbon dioxide. It turned out that the materials science aspects resulted in the necessity of operating it at lower temperatures than were planned, but the coolant was chosen because it could easily be adapted to provide process heat.

In recent years, the world has become infatuated with membrane based desalination, but, as you and I discussed in the science section, another path to desalination is supercritical water separations. A stream of supercritical water will move great distances at great speeds because it is under great pressure.

Building on this idea, one can cool supercritical water streams any time when wants to do so with carbon dioxide Brayton type cycles, or if one wants to do a reverse Allam cycle, convert any carbon source, from waste plastic to nutshells, into a chemical fuel. If one designs systems carefully, one can actually do reverse combustion, reduce carbon dioxide in two steps to one or more of the many allotropes of carbon that are showing up in materials science over the last twenty years.

California is drying up; the situation with respect to waster is of huge concern.

Fuels synthesis from carbon dioxide requires hydrogen, and hydrogen requires water.

In my dreams, perhaps at public expense, we drain a little of the ocean, refill the aquifer in the San Joaquin valley, restore Owens lake, unshackle the Colorado and set it free, breathe life into Mono Lake, restore John Muir's vision of the Hetch Hetchy. All this water restored to land as fresh water would drain at least a little of the ocean.

For amusement, I've been downloading graphics from the CAISO site I referenced here, at different hours of the day.

One of the cutest things is to see how often the wind disappears, at random, and how those billion, trillion solar roofs produce power during relatively low demand periods. This actually works to destroy the economics of electricity. People think that negative prices are a good idea, and then they complain when the power lines are poorly maintained, and the use of an essential resource causes fires because it cannot be maintained.

People look for blame, not answers.

It seems that California right now - on a bad day - will require instantaneous peak loads between 45,000 - 50,000 MWe, more typically, perhaps 5000 to 10000 MW lower.

At a readily achievable thermal efficiency of 50 to 60% - compared to around 33% for most Rankine type heat engines - this would put the thermal demand at somewhere around 100,000 MWth to cover all of California's electricity needs, with lots of waste heat to do other useful things.

A kg of plutonium, fully fissioned produces about 80 trillion joules (neutrino free) of thermal energy, particularly if one down converts gamma radiation (preferably while doing useful things). That means it would require a little more than 1 gram per second to power all of California, a little over 100 kg per day.

Somehow - it boggles the imagination - people believe that it's OK to dump 10,000 metric tons, ten million kg, of carbon dioxide into the air every hour - numbers one can see at the CAISO site along with self congratulations about how "wonderful" California is doing in innumerate "percent talk" - but impossible to handle 100 kg per day of anything involved in used nuclear fuel.

Go figure.

No, these fires didn't have to be. The driver behind them is endless appeals to fear and ignorance, and as we've seen here over the years, although we often congratulate ourselves on being less ignorant than people on the right, our own emotional responses and our inability to think clearly, to thinking critically are just as responsible as is anything else from the racist dunderheads on the right.

I've come to see this forum as something of a tragicomedy, which is why I mostly write in Science now.

These fires didn't have to happen, but they are here.

At the end of my life, these fires break my heart. They didn't have to be in California (or anywhere else), in California, the place in which I knew so much love and saw such beautiful things.

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