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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 28,186

Journal Archives

Dominion Estimates $10B Installation Cost for 2.6-GW Virginia Offshore Wind Farm

Dominion Estimates $10B Installation Cost for 2.6-GW Virginia Offshore Wind Farm (by Sonal Patel, Power, November 8, 2021)

Dominion Energy is revving up its efforts to build the 2.6-GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project before 2027 to meet state requirements, it said in a detailed filing for the $9.8 billion project submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) on Nov. 5.

CVOW, which will be sited on a federal lease area spanning 112,800 acres that is located 27 miles offshore Virginia, is slated to begin producing power in late 2026. If Dominion receives a final order from the SCC in the third quarter of 2022, construction on the project could kick off in 2023, documents associated with the company’s 2021 third-quarter earnings results suggest.

The filing with the SCC on Friday lays out in detail how the company plans to build the massive project, as well as parameters for its cost estimates—including contractor selection and terms—project components, transmission routing, capacity factors, and permitting.

The company had previously disclosed that Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) will be Dominion’s preferred turbine supplier for the project’s 176 14.7-MW turbines. If its plans are approved by the SCC, Charybdis will supply an offshore wind installation vessel for the project. That would mean “Virginia will host the first offshore wind turbine blade factory in the U.S. and be the home port for the only Jones Act compliant offshore wind installation vessel,” it said...

The capacity utilization of wind plants is typically below 30%, depending on the weather. This means that the plant will be the equivalent of a 780 MW reliable plant operating at or close to 100% capacity utilization.

However the 30% capacity utilization figure also includes times when the electricity is generated but not actually needed; conversely if electric demand is high and wind speeds low, it is necessary to burn gas and dump the waste CO2 directly into the planetary atmosphere.

Based on the data from the Master Data Register of Wind Turbines put out by the Danish Energy Agency, the average life time of a wind turbine is on the order of 18 years.

The 12,800 acres of disturbed benthic ecosystems amounts to about 20 square miles.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California produces more energy, more reliably and far more cleanly than this plant will on a facility footprint of about 12 acres. It will close owing to public foolishness after doing so for about 40 years. In a less stupid world, it would operate longer.

NERC Issues Grim Outlook for Bulk Power System Winter Reliability

NERC Issues Grim Outlook for Bulk Power System Winter Reliability (by Sonal Patel, Power, November 18, 2021.)

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) is warning that much of the central U.S.—a region that stretches from the Great Lakes into southern Texas—may face critical power deficiencies during extreme winter weather conditions over the next three months. Natural gas supply disruptions and low hydropower conditions could also imperil power reliability in New England and the West, it said.

In its Nov. 18–issued 2021–2022 Winter Reliability Assessment, the nation’s designated Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) urged generators across the U.S. to take proactive steps to prepare for an eventful winter and keep communications open with grid operators.

NERC also called on grid operators to prepare and implement cold weather operating plans, conduct drills, and poll generators for fuel and availability status. Load-serving entities should review critical loads to prevent disruptions, and regulators should support requested environmental waivers, it said.

A Cold, Hard Outlook

The ERO’s dire report echoes its May-issued summer assessment, when it warned of “elevated risks” for energy emergencies in Texas, New England, in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) territory, and parts of the West. In its bulk power system (BPS) reliability assessment for the next three months—December 2021 through February 2022—NERC suggests extreme weather risks, including soaring peak demand or generator outages that exceed forecasts, “can be expected to cause energy emergencies” in regions that have previously suffered cold-weather reliability debacles. These include MISO, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)...

No comment.

The United Nations 2021 Report on Life Cycle Analysis for Electricity Generation.

It's here: Life Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Options

Of course, this topic, life cycle analysis, is covered extensively in the scientific literature, which few people who shout loudly (as if they know something) about energy and the environment actually read.

This report however is nice, because it has all sorts of charts and graphs and summarizes things quite well.

It is interesting to compare the carbon cost of the options. One of the conceits of the so called "renewable energy" option is that the costs of intermittency are never included, for instance, the LCA of solar should include the cost of dangerous natural gas burned at night, because every damned night episodes of darkness occur.

This report excludes that, but it does have a nice evaluation of the cost of the big "let's mine all the world's cobalt using poor people to dig it for low or no pay" battery fantasy. It's ugly.

Another thing that's interesting is the comparison between solar PV and nuclear energy on toxicity. The toxicity risk (expressed as a unit "CTUh," "comparative toxicity units" ) associated with solar PV is between a factor of 3 to 6 more toxic than nuclear. Nuclear is roughly comparable to wind, and slightly worse than hydro, although we are fresh out of fresh water rivers to destroy. Of course, toxicity is only one issue, neither solar, nor wind, nor hydro can compare to nuclear on land use, an important component of climate change, and none of these match nuclear's carbon cost. (cf. Figure 41 in the report.)

I would note that much of the carbon cost attributed to nuclear energy - which is even without energy storage, which it actually doesn't need and is, in any case, lower than all other forms of energy - is attributed to mining and enrichment. I argue that neither are necessary, at least for several centuries, in "breed and burn" systems, given the uranium and thorium already mined, and in the latter case dumped from ores used to provide neodymium and dysprosium for redundant generators for wind turbines and gas plants. I will discuss this topic with my son over Thanksgiving Dinner, as he applies to Ph.D. programs in nuclear engineering. It will certainly be more useful to talk to him than it is to post long discussions of scientific punctilios on DU.

Nuclear energy is already better than everything else, but it can be even better, via heat networks and the recovery of valuable materials from used nuclear fuels. These are the topics I wish to discuss with my son, and about which I will write him, getting as much in as possible before I die.

Anyone who reads this report seriously, or even looks at the pictures seriously, would be compelled to agree, in my view, that opposing nuclear energy is insane, the climate change equivalent of being an antivaxxer in the time of Covid.

Of course, many people are insane; it's fashionable in these times to be so, in one way or another, but an undercurrent of popular insanity has always been there. We are paying for it, not only with a destroyed environment, but in many other ways.

As I approach the end of my life the thing that stuns me the most is the realization of how much we want to lie to ourselves.

Enjoy the holidays.

Salt Creek II

Salt Creek.

The COP-26 organizers stopped researchers from accessing the negotiations in Glasgow, UK.

This is from a Nature editorial: COP26 didn’t solve everything — but researchers must stay engaged.


The climate summit’s organizers stopped researchers accessing the negotiations in Glasgow, UK. A zero-carbon world needs science and social science to bridge divides.

I believe the text should be open sourced.

An excerpt:

Many researchers are frustrated at the lack of more meaningful measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. They have every right to be angry. But it would be a tragedy if that led them to disengage with the COP process and with humanity’s fight to stop catastrophic climate change.

With due respect to the editors of Nature, one of the world's premier scientific journals, the conditional word "would" is not appropriate when discussing whether this will be a "tragedy." It is a tragedy, and the scientists were not disengaged because they were refusing to participate, they weren't allowed to participate.

An earlier excerpt:

But a study for the Climate Action Tracker website, by Niklas Höhne at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and his colleagues, showed that, if pledges announced at the COP meeting are implemented, temperatures are still projected to rise 2.4 °C by 2100, well above the 1.5 °C target agreed at the 2015 Paris climate summit. The effects of this are likely to be catastrophic.

Nature's happy. People committed to stopping to burn coal, unless I would guess based on events, as is happening in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, the wind stops blowing.

The editorial also states that no one could agree on what "net zero" means. I know what it means now: When the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, a country, state, or organization counts all the dangerous natural gas and coal it would have burned if the wind wasn't blowing and the sun wasn't shining. If that sum is more than the dangerous coal and dangerous natural gas it does burn, dumping the waste CO2 directly into the planetary atmosphere, when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining, they give themselves a big pat on the back and declare themselves "net zero."

COP26 would have been as effective at addressing climate change if, instead of the meetings they did have, they held a modern dance competition under klieg lights.

Speaking only for myself, I'm almost done.

The US Energy Information Agency Expects US Energy Consumption to Rise 27 to 38 EJ by 2050.

Source: Distillation Columns with Multiple Phase Divisions: How They Improve Thermodynamic Efficiency and Decrease Energy Consumption (Lilian C. K. Biasi, Ana L. R. Romano, Roger J. Zemp, Matthias Heinkenschloss, Fabio R. M. Batista, and Antonio J. A. Meirelles Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2021 60 (43), 15690-15705.) (Subscription required.)

They obviously didn't get the memo composed by Amory Lovins in 1976 at EIA, that energy efficiency and so called "renewable energy" would save the world.

Of course, the EIA tracks data, not wishful thinking.

Don't worry, be happy, Amory is still proud of what he wrote; data doesn't matter.

Lovins and his fellow anti-nukes sure owned the nukes like me. We spent trillions more dollars on this planet on wind and solar than we did on nukes in this century.

We hit 420 ppm concentrations of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere in April of 2021, and are racing to 422 or more in April or May of 2022. In this, the century of worshipping the sun and worshipping the wind, the concentrations of this dangerous waste rose from 370.06 ppm (week beginning 12/31/2000) to 415.15 (Week beginning 01/03/2021).

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Life in the Age of the Lie: California passes a law stating that methane is carbon free.

It was always more painful for me when my sons displayed a flaw that I know myself to have.

With respect to Republicans and to us:

It hurts me less when they embrace lies than it does when we embrace a lie.

The structure of methane is a scientific fact; no one can pass a low level organic chemistry class without knowing its structure and its composition.

The laws of science are not subject to repeal by legislatures. Period.

As a lifelong Democrat, I wish I could say that this isn't true, but it is:

California governor Gavin-Newsom Proclaims Natural Gas to be Zero Carbon.

I'm very glad I don't live in California anymore. If I still lived there, voting for Governor would be extremely painful, as painful as when I had to vote for Michael Dukakis. I did it, but I hated that I had to do so.

I'm really in pain.

I'm pretty much done trying to reason with rote anti-nukes. The age of antivaxxers led me...

...finally to understand the power, as well as the more obvious danger, of deliberate ignorance which no amount of information, no compilation of facts, can change.

To what end would one succeed at arguing with an anti-vax that Bill Gates is not really putting microchips in vaccines?

This report, Practical handling of allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines (Klimek, L., Bergmann, KC., Brehler, R. et al. Allergo J Int 30, 79–95 (2021)) published April just past, reports this:

From December 14 to December 23, 2020, a total of 4393 (0.2%) adverse events were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following administration of 1,893,360 initial doses of BNT162b2 vaccine. Among these, 175 case reports were identified for further review as possible cases of severe allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis, based on description of signs and symptoms. The report notes that 21 of these cases met the case definition criteria for anaphylaxis, representing an estimated rate of 11.1 cases per 1 million doses administered.

One can only imagine what an anti-vax Trumper could do with the use of the internet and the details of just one of the 21 cases described that met the criterion of anaphylaxis.

Nevertheless, vaccines save lives on a scale of tens of millions, ultimately hundreds of millions.

Because air pollution kills people - more people in fact than Covid has ever come close to killing - nuclear power saves lives.



I will have been writing at DU 19 years as of this month. I know I have convinced a few people to change their minds about nuclear energy, but what's left is, to my mind, beyond hope.

I spent too much time writing here. The up side is that doing the background research for my posts was a mechanism for learning new things. For example, confronting a fool who carried on about a collapsed tunnel at Hanford led me to look into the geochemistry of plutonium and technetium. Of course, I already knew a lot about these subjects, but I learned more in the process of looking into this silly event, on which vast sums of money were spent to save zero lives. The money was spent to assuage ignorance, and nothing else.

One can always learn more about any subject, with the caveat that what one learns is often depressing.

I have a 22 year old son whose academic career in Materials Science Engineering has been close to spectacular thus far. He announced recently - I am deeply honored - his intention to pursue his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering. As I've spent more than 30 years deeply invested in the subject, even though I am not a nuclear professional, I am aware of many excellent ideas that were lost, and have had many ideas that I believe may have been missed.

If the world is to be saved, and it may not be, nuclear engineers will save it. Fathers are always proud of their sons, but my pride may be far deeper. How is my time better spent to fulfill my responsibility to the world, writing here or writing to my son?

I will probably write a valedictory post on DU in which I will discuss the disturbing data from California's very detailed CAISO website in which I will compare the output of Diablo Canyon with all the wind turbines in California, commenting perhaps on the very important issue in climate change of land and mass intensity. But it will go nowhere here.

Of course, anyone who actually gave a shit could look at the CAISO website themselves, and do as I did, download the data files over a period of time to understand the trends, and count the number of periods that Diablo Canyon was producing more electricity than all the wind turbines in California. These figures are readily available at high resolution, nearly continuous, the resolution being five minutes over a period of months.

But people don't give a shit. They just shout through their ignorance with the same tired rhetoric that was stupid when I was shouting it (before Chernobyl), was stupid in 2011 and is stupid now.

Mostly we are old people here, and what we have done with the world is obvious. While crowing about how solar and wind are great and - as bourgeois materialists have claimed in a fit of delusion that they are "cheap" - we have left a world where as of April 2021, the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide, which is literally killing people and in fact killing the planet, broke 420 ppm.

When I started writing here, the week beginning Nov. 24, 2002, that concentration was 372.68 ppm. There is no value in any conversation I may hold here. I keep track of data.

The anti-nukes have won. Diablo Canyon will close, with California having written into to law that methane is carbon free.

420 ppm, and now the laws of chemistry are being changed by legislation. Galileo should roll in his grave.

Congrats to all the anti-nukes, they have triumphed...420 ppm.

Life is absurd, and then you die.

Have a nice day.

Vestas and Orsted warn of tough times for renewable energy; Sector hit by low wind speeds, supply...


From here: Vestas and Orsted warn of tough times for renewable energy.

Sub title: Sector hit by low wind speeds, supply chain blockages and higher raw material prices.

Danish power group Orsted and wind turbine maker Vestas have warned of challenging conditions in renewable energy after projects in Europe suffered low wind speeds and as supply chain hold-ups and rising costs hit manufacturers.

Vestas warned on Wednesday of an “increasingly challenging global business environment for renewables” as it cut its full-year operating profit margin forecast for the second time this year.

Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind farm developer, said it had taken a DKr2.5bn ($389m) hit from lower wind speeds in the first nine months of this year compared with 2020 as it reiterated expectations its 2021 profits would come in at the lower end of a guided range. Its third-quarter operating profits were also slightly below analysts’ estimates.

The relatively downbeat assessments came a day after global leaders at COP26 in Glasgow cited clean energy technologies as critical to meeting goals to curb global warming.

The intermittency of renewables such as wind power has come into focus in Europe in recent months as some of the slowest wind speeds in decades have exacerbated a reliance on gas and coal for electricity — including in the UK, the world’s biggest offshore wind market...

...and this...

US and European benchmark prices for steel, which makes up more than 70 per cent of a wind turbine by weight, have surged 86 per cent and 53 per cent respectively this year.

Steel, of course, is made by heating iron ore with coke. Coke is made by heating anthracite coal with coal heat.

The average lifetime of a wind turbine, based on calculations one can make by downloading *CSV files of the Danish Energy Agency's Master Data Register of Wind Turbines is well under 20 years.

Have a pleasant work week.

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