Thursday, May 7, 2009

Answering Joe Romm questions

Joe Romm seeks inspiration for his plan to combat Global Warming.

I think that Joe Romm has offered the reductio ad absurdum of green energy policy. What Romm has demonstrated is that the Green approach can only be successful in a neo-Stalinist type economy.
Let me repeat the key point: It is utterly inconceivable that you could stabilize atmospheric concentrations anywhere near 350 ppm by using a carbon price as your primary mechanism […] A price isn’t what is needed to stop building any new coal plants and shut down every existing one in 10 years in rich countries and 20 years everywhere else — and replace all that power (plus growth) with carbon-free generation and efficiency. Plus you have to build all the necessary transmission […] How are you going to site and build all the alternative plants that fast? How are you going to site and build all the power lines that quickly? How are you going to allocate the steel, cement, turbines, etc? How are you going to train all the people needed to do all this? There is only one way. That is a WWII-style and WWII-scale government-led mobilization […] Well, we didn’t accomplish the WWII mobilization through a pricing mechanism.
The "Air High" plan and Nuclear Green have offered answers to Romm's questions. Romm offers an unreachable time frame, even with the socialist means he proposes, however if the time frame is to 2050, the task becomes doable, and doable without socialism.
How are you going to site and build all the alternative plants that fast?
Develop a factory built, transportable, modular LFTR and the factory to build it by 2020.
How are you going to site and build all the power lines that quickly?
By using existing power lines and existing access at coal and gas fired power plants that are to be recycled as LFTR sites.
How are you going to allocate the steel, cement, turbines, etc?
By making maximum use of existing power plant sites and facilities, and by housing LFTRs in underground homes rather than above ground structures, we will minimize structural steel and cement requirements. Closed cycle gas turbines will be mass produced at Jet engine factories.
How are you going to train all the people needed to do all this?
Through expansion of university and military training programs for nuclear scientists, engineers, managers, and workers. And by designing self controlling reactors that do not require on site operations staff. It is clear that within a doable time frame, all of our carbon containment goals can be meet without
a WWII-style and WWII-scale government-led mobilization.
The Aim High plan is explained in this video of Dr. Robert Hargraves "Aim High" presentation.

6 comments:

donb said...

The example of WWII is often brought up to demonstrate what can be done. However, WWII was a broad existential threat to the country, requiring extraordinary measures. It was generally understood that these extraordinary measures would last only "for the duration". I have a strong sense that those who propose WWII-style mobilization do it for the power it might give them, which they would hope to keep.

The threat of energy shortages is indeed serious and have wide-ranging consequences. However, solutions to the threat are more focused, not requiring broad, mass response. During WWII, the production of automobiles and consumer electronics was completely halted. Certainly measures like these are not required.

I think the better analogy is the effort to put a man on the moon. It was only a dozen years from when we were barely able to loft small satellites into orbit until a man put his footprints in the lunar dust.

I grew up during this time and have memories of these two points in the space program, and how we got from the start to the finish. I remember the emphasis on science and math during the time. I participated in the Secondary Science Training Program. I saw President Kennedy's request for congress to fund the program. I remember his call for industry to participate, both as patriotic duty and as a method to advance their technological strength. All this was done without going to a wartime command and control economy. We lived our lives as usual.

The space program was widely portrayed in a positive light. It was good for our security, good for our country, good for the advance of technology from which we would all benefit. Even "the dean of American journalists" Walter Cronkite stood in awe of its accomplishments.

This is the model for the shift to advanced nuclear sources for our energy needs.

David Walters said...

I would concur. If you take Solar Joe's method and apply it to nuclear, especially Gen IV/LFTR technology, it's a *model* for what we need.

The use of the "s-word" doesn't really apply here, IMHO.

David

Warren Heath said...

..."I have a strong sense that those who propose WWII-style mobilization do it for the power it might give them, which they would hope to keep."...There is the argument, that the extraordinary lack of action of our governments on the coming global catastrophe, resulting from the almost simultaneous convergence of the Oil Crash, Peak NG, and runaway Global Warming crisis, as well as gross Financial Mismanagement and runaway Government Debt, is being encouraged and financed by some New World Order type organizations, such as the Bilderberg group, Trilateral Commission and the Club of Rome. The resulting chaos resulting from the drastic effects of Climate, Financial Collapse and Energy Shortages, would be a good excuse for an abdication of any public control over government, and the formation of some kind of unelected World Super-Government.

Even Mr. “yes we can” Obama has become Mr. “no we can’t” when it comes to effective action on Energy and Climate Change issues. I just can’t believe that between Mr. “I love British Petroleum” Chu & Obama, they can’t see the writing on the wall. Of course, the various fossil fuel interests also have a big stake in preserving the status quo.

Charles Barton said...

David and Warren, I would agree with you if we had no choice. The really nice thing about the AIM High Program is that i does not require a World War II style mobilization to accomplish. Look at we have to do:
LFTR R&D $2.5 to $10 Billion - A trivial ammount when compared to the amout of subsidy going to renewables.

LFTR factor: $10 Billion

LFTR Manufacture: $50 Billion gets you between 25 and 50 GWs of generating capacity. If you are not producing enough to meet program goals build a second factory.

Are there any materials shortages? I doubt it, remember we have the potential to replace higher performance materials with commodity grade materials if we desire. Some lowering of performance but this does not compromise our ability to replace fissil fuel generation and energy use with nuclear generated electricity.

We save money on fuel costs of replaced fossil fuel power plants, and lower health care costs. Much of the cost would be ordinary replacement costs for worn out power plants. The whole replacement effort ends up not being hugely expensive because of all of the savings it produces.

The savings more than pay for upgrades to the grid. Ground transportation gets 100% electrified. Industrial process heat comes 100% from LFTR cogenerators. LFTR exports return the national economy to a sound footing. And the planet is saved from extinction.

Statues to Krik Sorensen, David Walters and my father are erected in shopping malls all over the country. The state withers away. A reign of universal peace and prosperity ensues. It only rains at night, and it only rains prescribed amounts. Children behave themselves without being told. Crime ceases, and prisons close. Capitalists stop exploiting the masses. Unions meeting only to hold checkers contests. But then people get board because there is nothing left to fight about. Chaos follows.

Greg Barton said...

Cats and dogs...living together?

George Carty said...

There is the argument, that the extraordinary lack of action of our governments on the coming global catastrophe, resulting from the almost simultaneous convergence of the Oil Crash, Peak NG, and runaway Global Warming crisis, as well as gross Financial Mismanagement and runaway Government Debt, is being encouraged and financed by some New World Order type organizations, such as the Bilderberg group, Trilateral Commission and the Club of Rome.How do we defeat these despicable organizations?

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