Category Archives: Energy

the posts in this category used to be in “Energy in A Nutshell” at my former web site.

Wind turbines hit limits to growth before 50% wind power penetration

Material requirements of 50% wind power in the USA hit limits to growth Wind turbines can’t be made forever because natural gas, coal, oil, uranium (thorium), neodymium, and other energy resources and minerals needed for wind turbines are finite, and … Continue reading

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Wind’s dirty secret: it goes on vacation in the summer

  Figure 1. Summer wind across the USA is nearly all sluggish Class 3 (light blue), Class 2 (orange) or class 1 (blank) (NREL). Someday wind and solar will need to contribute over 50% of power due to declining fossil … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Electrification, Seasonal, Wind | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wind power capacity value — effective load carrying capability (ELCC)

NREL. 2008. Determining the Capacity Value of Wind: An Updated Survey of Methods and Implementation. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Electric systems must have sufficient reserves so that resources are adequate to meet customer demand. Because electricity demand cannot be known … Continue reading

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Is there enough renewable energy to replace fossil fuel electricity generation?

NREL. July 2012. U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This document is a thought experiment that uses GIS mapping to estimate how much renewable power could possibly be generated in each state regardless of … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Photovoltaic Solar, Renewable Integration, Solar Thermal, Wind | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Critiques of Mark Jacobson’s ideas to run the world on renewable energy

Jacobson is a scientist at Stanford telling people what they want to hear.   But there are too many problems with his “solutions” to list – here are a few off the top of my head: He promotes solutions that are … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy | 2 Comments

Drawbacks of a distributed generation electric grid

Gardiner, B. October 8, 2013. Bypassing the Power Grid. New York Times. Small, decentralized generators are mostly inefficient, costing far more per unit of output than conventional power or even utility-scale renewable energy, like big solar farms.  Making haphazard changes … Continue reading

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Peter Dykstra: Last Tango for Nuclear?

Dykstra, Peter.  Feb 4, 2015. Last Tango for Nuclear? energycollective. There is some promise for nuclear: Projects in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee may yield the first new nuclear plants in decades.  But these new nukes are falling behind schedule … Continue reading

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Hydrogen production would use WAAAAAAAAAY too much water

[This is one of many reasons I call hydrogen “not worth the ink”] Webber, M.E. 2007. The Water Intensity of the Transitional Hydrogen Economy. Environmental Research Letters 2.  Conclusions Hydrogen production using thermoelectric powered electrolysis is significantly more water intensive … Continue reading

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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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Smart Grid Challenges

Meier, A. May 2014. Challenges to the integration of renewable resources at high system penetration. California Energy Commission. A challenge to “smart grid” coordination is managing unprecedented amounts of data associated with an unprecedented number of decisions and control actions … Continue reading

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