Moving The Dial Towards A Survivable Future

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Electric Cars are catching on. Survey says, 14% would by an eV right now if they are going to buy any car at all. See: Americans are coming around on electric cars. An additional 22% say they would seriously consider an eV. That adds up to a lot.

Deadline August 19th!!!!: President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is in place “Clean air advocates are trying to get the word out about the U.S. EPA’s 2022 Clean School Bus Program, which offers rebates to help public schools replace up to 25 diesel buses with electric, propane, or compressed natural gas vehicles.” (source) Call your state legislator and see if they are filling out all the forms to get this free money!

The Department of Energy wants to give money to states and tribes to fix up their grids. From Utility Dive:

The Department of Energy on Wednesday started taking applications from states, Native American tribes and U.S. territories to receive federal funding for projects to bolster grid resilience in the face of increasing power outages driven by extreme weather.

The funding, $2.3 billion over five years, can cover a range of projects including hardening the grid, building distributed energy resources and setting up microgrids.

With applications due by Sept. 30, the DOE said it will put a priority on projects that will generate the greatest community benefit in reducing the likelihood and consequences of power outages because of extreme weather or other disruptive events like cyberattacks.

The EPA is pushing TVA to build non-fossil fuel infrastructure instead of methane burning plants, to bolster its output. “EPA’s statements, filed last week, are the latest in a tug of war between the federal government and TVA over carbon-reduction efforts. They also follow comments by leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which pressed TVA in January to realign its trajectory to match the Biden administration’s goal of a decarbonized U.S. power sector by 2035” (source)

Starved of interest, another coal mine dies. Ironically named “Sunrise Coal” will not dig its Bulldog Mine, the permit to do so having expired. “Sunrise Coal did not break ground or request an extension, and the land reclamation bond has been returned, signaling a permanent end to the proposed mine.” (source)

San Luis Obispo City Council adopted the county’s first mandatory all-electric building code on July 5, following cities like Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles in passing near bans on natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.

“Starting in 2023, all new buildings in San Luis Obispo will have to be all-electric, with few exceptions. The policy—which has been under discussion in SLO for more than two years—is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector caused by natural gas appliances and their infrastructure.” (source)

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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11 thoughts on “Moving The Dial Towards A Survivable Future

  1. We need more nuclear power. Baseload power if required for all the new electric vehicles which will be charging off the grid. To much renewable is a problem, as California and Germany has shown us.

    Looking forward to more progressives and eco types realizing nuclear is the way forward and speaking up.

    1. Doesn’t work that way, RickA. The total amount of energy needed to move vehicles halves at the point of use if they all convert to electric. The total amount of electricity needed nationally goes down somewhere between 10 and 20% when we stop using electricity to make the fuel we burn. The total amount of vehicle-moving energy we need goes down several percent when we stop moving our energy in liquid and solid form and start moving it mostly on the grid. Grid upgrades are needed to reach energy producing sites, but major transmission infrastructure is already designed to handle high loads that tend to be rare, and those peaks will be smoothed out in an electrified economy. There will be places that will actually end up with overbuilt transmission lines once this transition happens.

      The lessons to be learned from prior failures of the system are more about how to better regulate and plan clean energy. Saying we have to use nuclear because of Germany is like saying we have to stick with Zeppelins because Thomas Etholen Selfridge died in a plane crash.

    2. Greg:

      Are you saying that if all of the power plants providing power to the all electric car fleet don’t use any carbon emitting sources AND we stop moving oil and gas to stations that we would cut total power for the electric cars in half?

      Wouldn’t that still be true if ALL the electricity used to charge the all electric car fleet was provided by nuclear? That to would cut the total power needed to move vehicles in half – right?

      And the added benefit is that the power to charge the vehicles would be baseload (always available) – rather than intermittent (at the mercy of wind and sun in the area you are charging your vehicle).

      So nuclear provides all of the benefits you are referring to AND eliminates the intermittency problem. Nuclear is the way to go (in my opinion).

    3. We need more nuclear power. Baseload power if…

      Not so baseload when things warm up:

      Electricite de France SA’s nuclear-output cuts are expected to stretch into next week as a heat wave sweeping across Europe pushes up river temperatures, restricting EDF’s ability to cool its plants.

      The French utility said that two power stations on the Rhone River will produce less electricity in the coming days, adding to cutbacks at another plant caused by rising temperatures on the Garonne.

      Germany Solar Sets New Record, While French Nuclear Gasps in Heat

      More solar and wind, although as climate changes atmospheric conditions may disrupt those too.

      Eggs and baskets.

    4. We need more nuclear power

      Probably not, again.

      The French energy supplier EDF is temporarily reducing output at its nuclear power stations on the Rhône and Garonne rivers as heatwaves push up river temperatures, restricting its ability to use river water to cool the plants.

      EDF temporarily reduces nuclear power output as French rivers get too warm

      Now where are most nuclear power plant located? On or near bodies of water. With these rising temperatures and also sea levels renewables look more stable.

    5. Lionel:

      The existing French nuclear reactors are all pretty old (built in the 60’s and 70’s. Any new plants (France is planning on building six more nuclear power plants) will use passive cooling, which uses convection to move the water circulating around the plant, the heat causing the hotter water to rise and radiate the heat away via the metal wall and then sinking as it cools, to repeat the cycle. This should use a lot less water from rivers and lakes and the ocean, because it is a (mostly) closed system.

      Of course any country can build more renewable – but if the percentage of renewable gets to high you get brown outs and black outs when it is dark and not windy. The more baseload (less intermittent) the better. Any more than 30-35% renewable is a problem, until we can figure out how to store power at the grid level scale.

      As Germany and California have shown us, having a lot of renewable which is backed up with coal and gas doesn’t really cut your CO2 emissions down. It is better to build a bunch of nuclear baseload and less renewable (say 70% nuclear and 30% renewable, for example).

      It will be interesting to see what each country chooses to do with nuclear going forward. I hope we see a lot more nuclear power plants being built.

  2. And the added benefit is that the power to charge the vehicles would be baseload (always available) – rather than intermittent (at the mercy of wind and sun in the area you are charging your vehicle).

    Do your nuclear power plants move around the country to keep with electrically powered vehicles when in us?. Of course not, that would be silly besides a terrific waste of energy moving such large masses about. This demonstrates how idiotically simplistic your argument is.

    Your construct of baseload is founded upon false premises and thus worthless.

    I recall being involved in the production of an educational computer simulation programme that included the then known (in early 1990s) methods of electrical power generation; hydro, gas fired, coal fired and nuclear power stations. The user was expected to control all the variables, including management of the nuclear power plant (controlling levels of reactions) and the transmission network to cope with capricious fluctuations in demand brought on by such mundane, but deleterious to performance, events as the blowing of the half time whistle in a cup-finals soccer match — all those kettles suddenly switched n for a brew.

    Although the simulation was necessarily simplified the programming was quite complex in order to work within the confines of an 8-bit microprocessor based system. It was a UK based system and it is unfortunate that RickA was not able to avail himself of a period immersed in its use.

  3. People aren’t trustworthy enough to go big on nuclear power. They tend to cheat on tests of their knowledge, cheat on fulfilling their duties, cheat on filling out needed records, etc. And, as far as I know, we as a species have yet to find a reliable way to get rid of nuclear waste and keep it away from the ecosystem that supports us all for the required thousands of years.

  4. It is interesting that nuclear power plants around the world are facing this new design problem. Cooling is key for this technology, and the parameters have shifted enough that they can’t operate for several weeks, or at least several days. Also storms. Our local plants here go to a lower output status when tornados threaten, I think both because of concerns about damage to the plant, and also, damage to the grid near the plant.

    1. The only solution I can see for that is small modular reactors, spread out so that those that happen to be in a hot spot can shut down while others take up the slack.

      But that might not work if we keep getting these heat domes covering the whole Midwest that stick in place for a week or more.

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