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As usual, I follow you largely in the defense of nuclear, but not in the silly attacks on renewable that follow.


Renewable advocates have promised a future powered by sun and wind since 1970, using the exact same retoric, the same images and the same arguments. This has given us 40 years of dominance by coal, and global warming.

Renewables (along with energy efficiency and savings) were on the right path until they were killed in the 80s by the combination of the oil price collapse and the neolib revolution (remember Reagan tearing down the solar panels on the White House?). I don't think there have been a lot of coal plants built in the Western worlds in the past 25 years - but gas-fired plants have indeed been built, and they are the logical consequence of energy deregulation and investment driven by short term returns rather than long term considerations - a policy issue unrelated to renewables or their advocates.


You can loadbalance a wind grid with sufficient HVDC interconnections on a continental scale, or with gas turbines. Pay attention to which of those utilities are actually building....

Can you make the difference between a lot of gas-fired MWs, and a lot of gas-fired MWh? Balancing requires a lot of gas-fired plants but not a lot of gas to be burnt? Gas peakers are profitable with a utilization rate of 2-10%. I don't see anything wrong with having lots of little-used gas-fired power plants.

As to utilities building gas-fired plants, see my comment above about deregulation, and my various posts about how it is so much easier to be profitable with a price-making technology (high magical costs) than with a price taking technology (high fixed costs)...


BTW, can anyone explain to me why HVDC lines are not being laid more than they are? Because just looking at electricty prices in various markets, investors are passing up serious arbritage possibilities.

It's mainly a NIMBY issue, unfortunately.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 11:41:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
should read "marginal cost" of course...

The wonders of OSX Lion auto-correct... maybe not so inappropriate here!

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 11:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This does need its own diary, give me a few hours. But basically: In order for wind to be a high fraction of the total kwh produced, you need either vast ability to shift electricity consumption in time, (not hours. Days, weeks) or a really large geograpical area interconnected. Without one of those - and either one will do - you end up with 2/3s of actual kwh being gas.
by Thomas on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 01:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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