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Bob Wallace
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"Do they plan on making replacement batteries for the leaf? " Do you mean a higher capacity drop-in? Nissan has already announced the price of a replacement battery but one based on current technology. It's hard to say whether Nissan would manufacture a new tech battery for 2012 Leafs in 2032. It would depend on how easy it would be to pack current tech into a 2012 Leaf package. Most likely they'd use replacement batteries from their warehouse, which is where factory replacement engines come from. Or there might be enough demand for an aftermarket company to build a replacement.
Tim, as an engineer you might want to read a paper written by other engineers who pulled the data together for the state of Washington and calculated the best mix of renewable inputs needed to keep lights on and toes warm 24/365. http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/WashStateWWS.pdf
e-p, I'm not going to spend my time rebutting your foolishness. You are so blinded by your love of nuclear energy that you are unable to think rationally and problem solve. If anyone else has a question I'll be glad to attempt an answer.
e-p, are you actually an engineer? I would think most engineers would look at what could be built rather than looking at what has been built to date and stopping there. The Pacific and Intermountain Interties are in place. It looks like they will be connected on the north end and a spur will be extended to Wyoming wind. The lines can be upsized is needed, the route is in place which is the hard problem. Before you look at a period of low wind in one part of the Western grid and declare renewables impossible it would be wise to expand your thinking to a modernized grid which can shift larger amounts of power from where it is available to where it is needed. It seems to me that you have an enormous desire to find a role for nuclear energy, in spite of its high cost and associated problems. That desire puts blinders on your imagination and understanding of what is happening around the world.
"I don't expect to see any BEVs bought this year on the road in 15 years, much less 20 years." Tesla has stated that ModS owners should be able to drive 200,000 miles with their initial batteries. I assume that means 200k before the battery drops below 80% capacity. You think ModSs with 150 mile ranges will be sent to the crusher? How about one with a 100 mile range? How about a 20 year old Nissan Leaf with a replacement battery? Ideal vehicle for someone with a modest length commute and 'shallow' pockets.
e-p Pacific Intertie. Western grid.
e-p, you claim that wind and solar go away for weeks at a time and in support you link an example where wind dropped low for 7 days. You fail to demonstrate that wind was absent for the entire Western grid for that period and that there was no solar input. I'm not going to get into a slingfest with you over nuclear. You keep dreaming your nuclear dream. The rest of the world is moving to renewable energy.
"Then you need the always-on electricity to charge those cars," Is there anything more extreme than 180 degrees wrong? There is no need for always-on electricity for EV charging. In fact, EVs should be a massive dispatchable load which will allow much higher wind and solar grid penetration without storage. EVs will need to be charged, on average, about 3 hours per day on a 240 vac line. US cars spend about 90% of their time parked (over 21 hours a day). EVs can be charged when wind and sunshine are more available and drop out when grid supply is stressed. As ranges increase many EVs will be able to go multiple days without charging during those few times a year when both wind and solar inputs are low.
"I don't think it is unrealistic to imagine that in 5 to 10 years batteries will have progressed to the point that EV's will start to take a substantial bite out of oil demand." Batteries are already "good enough". The task at hand is to get their prices down some more. When the Gigafactory comes online it is expected that cells will cost about $130/kWh and turning them into a battery pack will add about 30%. That would put the 50 kWh pack expected in the new GM Bolt and Tesla Mod3 at about $8,500 which is getting close to the cost of an ICE. Based on materials costs the Tesla/Panasonic cells should drop to around $100/kWh which would bring the cost of same-model EVs below ICEVs. Better batteries will certainly be welcomed, but more like icing the cake.
Have you noticed all the market excitement over the Toyota Mirai? It's taking the world by storm, er, actually not....
California is going to have to deal with declining snowpacks. Snowpacks have be CA's water storage system. As the climate warms and snowpacks melt out quicker, or as precipitation falls as rain rather than snow, CA will likely build more reservoirs to replace snowpack storage. These can be dual/triple function reservoirs - water storage, power production and PuHS. PuHS really does not take a lot of water. The initial filling can happen over a few years during rainy seasons and after that there is a need for about 10% replacement for evaporative loss. -- "may eventually" - 'nuff said.
"If small transportable units can be mass produced (by x 1,000 in factory) and installed in every town and city sector, most high voltage transmission lines could be elimnated." The problem with the economics of small modular reactors is that in order to reach economies of scale you have to have enough customers who will pay up front to create manufacturing volume to bring the price down from day one. If you don't have those pre-purchasers then you have to start building and bring the cost down over time. And where do you find a few hundred customers willing to pay very high prices for the early production? Where are the people who bought the $2,000 cell phones and even more expensive first laptops? Plus, few cities will tolerate a reactor of any size close to them. There's no market for 'thousands'.
I wonder about this survey. Where can we see the actual questions? Did they actually pitch their EV items in negative ways? “constantly having to charge electric cars is a pain” “like to own an eco-friendly car but electric-powered cars are too much hassle” Did they ask people if they would purchase a H2 FCEV if they cost significantly more per mile than a very efficient ICEV like a Prius? How about multiple times more than an EV? Who paid for this survey? Hyundai. The manufacturer of the Tucson hydrogen fuel cell car.
DaveM - Tesla is building ModX cars ahead of the release date. They have many hundred finished and ready to ship.
We're making progress. Fusion has gone from "twenty years away and will always be twenty years away" to "ten years away and ?".
Harvey, are you saying that nuclear is necessary for a reliable "baseload"? Let's take a storage technology we know works and is highly reliable - pump-up hydro. We've been using PuHS for 100 years and installed a lot in order to move nuclear from low to high demand times. First we do a historical analysis of wind production, solar production, and demand. With this data in hand we know how much wind and solar generation to install and how much PuHS to install. (And do what engineers do, build some extra for "just in case".) Now we have reliable baseload. And we have adequate and reliable supply for everything above baseload. BTW, baseload is nothing more than the daily/annual minimum demand.
"We could always try to mix $0.20+/kWh nuke with under $0.10/kWh REs." (I'd say 11c to 15c nuclear to <5c REs.) Why should we mix expensive with less expensive? When you fill up your gas tank do you get part of a tank at Costco (cheapest around here) and then finish filling up at the full service place that charges 20c/gallon more?
"Major part of nuclear energy price (80%) are generation facility price (investment) and major part of investment (70%) is spent on certification (for NRC procedures)." Yes, the operating costs for nuclear is not high. But give me some documentation for "(70%) is spent on certification (for NRC procedures)". Since we know that is costs a great deal to finance a reactor build I suspect you're claiming that the overnight cost without regulation would be approximately zero. And I've got a couple of questions for you. 1) Which regulations do you think we could safely eliminate and how much would be saved with each? 2) Why is the cost of nuclear so high in countries which have very nuclear-friendly governments such as the UK (15c/kWh) and Turkey (12.5c/kWh)? Remember, the NRC does not control nuclear builds in any country other than the US.
Spending modest amounts on nuclear research makes sense. Perhaps a way will be found to make nuclear energy significantly less expensive. None of the currently used technology is affordable. If you look at all the built/being built/bid nuclear in Europe and the US the lowest price is a subsidized 13c/kWh. (Vogtle's 11c LCOE by Citigroup plus 2c to cover the subsequent two year delay at $2 million per day.) The current cost of unsubsidized wind + solar + storage to make them 24/365 electricity sources is about 8 cents. By the time a new reactor could be built the unsubsidized cost of wind + solar + storage could be 5 c/kWh or lower. We'd need some real breakthrough developments. Not just trimming fuel costs (which are already low) or eliminating backup generation for safe shutdowns. Something that would cut the cost 50% or more.
Self-driving and insurance - "Allstate, Geico, State Farm, and others are grappling with innovations that could put a huge dent in their revenue. As carmakers automate more aspects of driving, accidents will likely plunge and car owners will need less coverage. Premiums consumers pay could drop as much as 60 percent in 15 years as self-driving cars hit the roads, says Donald Light, head of the North America property and casualty practice for Celent, a research firm. His message for insurers: “You have to be prepared to see that part of your business shrink, probably considerably.”" " a system introduced on the 2013 Honda Accord beeps when cars get too close to traffic ahead or leave their lane without signaling. It has had a measurable effect on the frequency of some types of claims: Bodily injury liability losses dropped 40 percent and medical payments decreased 27 percent, according to a 2014 study of insurance claims data" http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-30/can-the-insurance-industry-survive-driverless-cars-
"It does not matter much if it cost 5000 USD or 20000 USD to add self driving technology to a car." I doubt it will take anything like that to add self-driving. Digital sensors and lenses are inexpensive. Radar modules are inexpensive. Processing is not all that expensive. Most likely the system will use a series of stills rather than video and do some simple object/distance processing frame to frame to calculate impending problems. Cars will likely be 'drive by wire'. They somewhat already are. We don't have a lever system operating the carburetor, the computer controls fuel and air flow. We're already driving partially run by wire brakes with our ABS systems. Steering - we might leave the mechanical link in for a generation or two for driver assurance and just stick in a servo motor at the most appropriate point. Our cars already have basic navigation systems. Maps come with a GPS system that sells for not much more than $50. The car would just need more detail and likely wouldn't store all the maps for the entire country/continent but would download what it needs once we enter the destination. No sense storing details for North Dakota if you're driving from New York to North Carolina. Black box data? How much would really be needed? At the end of a trip store summary data and any shot sequence during which the car had to perform an out of the ordinary operation (dodge a dog). Compress the heck out of the files and storage required gets very small. Perhaps give the owner of offloading data more than a few months old and then dump it. Just keep the statistical summaries.
"The transition to BEVs is also going to be fairly slow. Problem is you need to build 200, 50GWh battery factories to make 100 million long-range BEVs per year and for Tesla to build just one takes 6 years. So we are talking decades for sure before we see a full transition to BEVs." I believe you need to rethink this. A battery factory is a) a building with b) machines in it. It's not the case that there is only one crew in the world that can build building or one factory that can build industrial machines. Spread them around the world a bit and we could build 200 large buildings in a couple of years. And it probably wouldn't take much longer to pump out the machines to make the batteries. Tesla is likely taking 6 years because they are looking at expected rate of sales growth and assuming that's about right to meet demand.
"Recharging BEVs overnight would soon increase electricity cost and is more likely to overwhelm grid capacity during those hours." A study by the NREL found that the current US grid has adequate generation capacity and transmission to charge about 70% of all US cars if they were all electric. The grid will stay ahead of EV charging needs. More EVs charging is likely to decrease the cost of electricity. EV charging can be a huge dispatchable load. That means that when supply is struggling to meet demand EVs can drop out and we can avoid using expensive gas peakers. EVs will also be able to suck up wind, solar and other supply spikes. That means that we won't toss away generation or need to install storage to capture it. EVs will likely cause more wind and solar to be installed. Wind is now our cheapest source of new capacity and solar is about to become the second cheapest. Both are expected to fall below 3c/kWh over the next few years. And that's for new capacity. Paid off wind and solar produce for 1c/kWh or less. We should be enjoying decreasing electricity prices starting in a few years. And that does not include the massive savings we will enjoy as the external costs of coal disappear.
"Hydrogen is the Obvious answer to seasonal intermittency.' Hydrogen is a very lossy storage technology. Pump-up hydro and flow batteries are much more efficient. With wind and solar dropping in price overbuilding is another solution.