Monthly Archives: January 2015

Not enough wind, solar, geothermal to replace fossil and nuclear power in the 11 western states of the WECC

California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington have already developed most (if not all) of their prime-quality in-state resources. You would think that the more wind and solar power is added over a wide area, the more fossil fuel power plants you … Continue reading

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Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth by Keith Veronese

[Someday I will boil this down, meanwhile my notes are here if you’re interested, but it’s a small subset of the book that particularly interests me] Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth … Continue reading

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Smart Grid Challenges

Wald, M. L. December 5, 2014. Power Savings of Smart Meters Prove Slow to Materialize. New York Times.  Meter readers were supposed to be phased out by tens of millions of new “smart” meters that talk directly to the electric … Continue reading

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Doomsday Clock moved closer to midnight

Since 2012 the Doomsday clock has been at 5 minutes to midnight, but on January 22, 2015 the clock moved 2 minutes forward to just 3 minutes short of midnight. This is because prominent scientists (including Nobel laureates) say that … Continue reading

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Spain Wind Integration

2 articles below, Pedro Prieto and National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Jan 14, 2015 Pedro Prieto [energyresources] Digest Number 8957 [altered slightly] In Spain we have this mix, as of the end of 2014: INSTALLED POWER MW     %         GWH     … Continue reading

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German wind and solar integration

Schiermeier, Q. April 10, 2013. Renewable power: Germany’s energy gamble. An ambitious plan to slash greenhouse-gas emissions must clear some high technical and economic hurdles. Nature 496: 156–158 The rapid rise in wind and solar power has created a nightmare … Continue reading

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Electric grid large power transformers take up to 2 years to build

[ This post contains excerpts from the Department of Energy document “Large power transformers and the U.S. electric grid”. Large power transformers are essential critical infrastructure to the electric grid, and are huge, weighing up to 820,000 pounds.  If large … Continue reading

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Homeland Security and Dept of Energy: Dams and Energy Sectors Interdependency Study

[Below are excerpts from this 45 page document. Dams not only provide power but also water for agriculture, drinking water, cooling water for thermal power plants, ecosystem health, fisheries, and so on.  All dams have a finite lifespan of 50 … Continue reading

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Solar Thermal ESOI (Energy Stored on Invested)

Barton, N. April 17, 2013. ESOI for solar thermal. http://sunoba.blogspot.com/2013/04/esoi-for-solar-thermal.html Published information is available to evaluate the ESOI score for the most common solar thermal storage technology – a molten 60-40 mixture of sodium and potassium nitrates, commonly known as … Continue reading

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Generating electricity with biomass at utility-scale in California limited to direct combustion in small 50 MW plants

CEC. 2014. Estimated cost of new renewable and fossil generation in California. California Energy Commission. CEC-200-2014-003-SD. 254 pages. CHAPTER 8: Biomass Technology Biomass technologies are plants that use biological resources, such as forestry waste or farming by-products, to produce electricity … Continue reading

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