Friday, February 6, 2009

David Walters Tempted Me to be a Scapegoat Again

Every now and then David Walters decides that I should play the role of sacrificial skapegoat. Yesterday I innocently posted a discussion of recent (2008) wind costs. My account was based on Data reported before a New Zealand environmental court by a well qualified engineer, Bryan William Leyland. The price of wind installations appears to have increased significantly in 2008, despite the economic slowdown. Much of the cost rise is no doubt due to the rapid expansion of the wind industry, Which has been erecting towers devoted to the worship of Zephyrus everywhere. All of this wind worship is getting expensive, as my essay showed. I looked at the cost of wind as a carbon replacement technology, and I went back to my West Texas example, for an assessment of what it would cost to replace coal with wind. I did not assume a fancy Mark Z Jacobson 17 site base power system. Rather i looked at a very high quality site (.45 capacity factor) with redundant turbines to produce electricity for storage. I wanted to price wind system that would begin to approach nuclear power in capacity factor. I offered 12 hours of battery storage to bring the capacity factor closer to the .90+ associated with nuclear. My choice of batteries was based on practical reasons. Batteries for electrical storage can be ordered out of a catalogue. There are various other proposed options. For example, pump storage, flywheels, and Compressed Air storage. Pump storage is another tested system, but there is not enough recent data to accurately estimate current pump storage costs. My investigation suggested, however, that pump storage cost were similar to nuclear, with pump storage posing significant safety and efficiency issues,. Pump storage is also less flexible than nuclear, and there are very significant location issues to consider. Hence it is far from clear whether pump storage would fit at all with a West Texas Wind Project.

Compressed Air storage is still in its early stage of development. Whether or not it will work, and how much it will cost is an open question. The technology requires the burning of natural gas, and thus is not carbon neutral. Excited renewables advocates talk about how little compressed air storage will cost, but renewables advocates always talk about tremendous cost breakthroughs that are almost here.

Then there are flywheels. another almost here breakthrough technology, that is hovering just beyond the horizon.

Then there is capacitor technology. Again not there in terms of price and practicality for massive electrical storage, and quite possibly never will be. That takes us back to batteries as the only here and now storage option which we can price, and which we can be assured of working in West Texas.

At David's suggestion I posted yesterday's wind essay on Daily Kos. My wind post on Daily Kos, drew over three hundreds responses in less that 24 hours. The commenters might be described as a Daily Kos lynch mob. My source was discredited as a global warming denier, as if this proved that his information on wind costs figures were inaccurate. In fact, I was able this morning to find a number of sources suggested wind cost in a similar range or a little lower. Commenters attacked nuclear power over the nuclear waste issue, even though I offered a nuclear recycling approach. Which had the usual proliferation silliness, together with learned observations about how easy it is to build nuclear weapons with reactor grade plutonium. My choice of battery storage was attacked, with far more shaky technology being the preferred choice.

One of the more interesting trends in the comments, was the repeated notion that fossil fuel back up for wind would be around for a long time. A little coal will not hurt, one commenter wrote, even though the short comings of Texas wind would suggest that a little coal might be tens of millions of tons. Clearly the Daily Kos wind zombie mob is the coal baron's best friends. Recovering alcoholics describe the sort of thinking that leads them back to booze. Stinking thinking they call it. Stinking thinking is teleological rather than logical. Renewables advocates believe that logic and facts do not matter if they disagree with the utopian renewable world view. In order to sustain their world view, renewables advocates ignore both logic and facts. Neither matters as long as wind worship is maintained. As for he who would question this worship, who would point to facts, and argue with reason, woe betide him. He must be sacrificed. So once again i am accused of being a nuclear shill, of being paid for what I write.
I am sure that my status as a nuclear shill would come as a shock to the NEI which I suspect regards me as a pain in the ass.

Anyway After I spent all afternoon answering the comments of the anti-nuclear types, and the wind zombies, I felt driven into the wilderness and sacrificed for the sins of the people. I got thoroughly worn out. Last night I barely had enough energy to chase women who are one third my age.


David Bradish said...

You're not a pain in our ass. You're one of the nuclear industry's biggest supporters online. Keep doing what you're doing!

David Walters said...

Indeed!!!! More Goats!!!! You are the man!

Charles Barton said...

Hay David, there is no goat like an old goat.

MCrab said...

Presumably some of the commenters claiming physics qualifications were asleep during most of their nuclear lectures judging by their woeful misunderstanding of basic nuclear physics.

As for Kos, if you look at the comments in nuclear diaries from even just a few years ago there's been a remarkable shift in attitudes towards the pro-nuclear position. It seems like stubborn old goats like you and NNadir are having an effect. Keep on rutting!

Lynne said...

I have noticed that if you keep hammering away at these sites, eventually you will see a shift. Think of it as a public service. Keep up the good work. Europe is beginning to see the light.


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