Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July at 10:38AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • edited 26 July 2019 at 2:48PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 26 July 2019 at 2:48PM
    I worked in Saudi and it was 105F at midnight in Summer. The hottest I saw was 120C/52C in August. The AC in the buildings and cars coped OK with those temperatures.

    Are those shaded air temps, or temps in the sun, as on reading A/C advice, they all seem to say that the technology will start to struggle at air temps of 100F+, and also that expecting more than a 20d differential is putting a high load on the equipment, so 105F+ might mean equipment struggling to maintain 85F indoors.

    Obviously, anything (almost anything) is possible, but at what price and efficiency.

    Edit - To clear up some confusion:-

    Short answer - what Ed said.

    Long answer - The report talks about the 'heat index', which is actually a combination of heat and humidity (explained in the pages prior to the pics I mentioned). As humidity rises, we are less able to cool ourselves.

    Also the report refers to heat index figures 'over 48hrs', which I'm not 100% clear on, but suggests (to me) an average temperature, rather than a peak temp during the day. The report explains the impacts on humans at the various heat index levels, and also adds that direct exposure to the sun adds another 15F to the relevant heat index.

    Basically, it's hot, damn hot!
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    so 105F+ might mean equipment struggling to maintain 85F indoors.


    Ive posted in another thread about spending the last month driving through the US. Most of it in 100F plus.
    We arent the problem.


    In 2000 miles of driving 4 bugs hit my windshield.
    For the first 300 miles I saw flooded fields (Illinois/Indiana)

    For the next 300 miles I saw crops which were at a lower growth rate than should have been.(southern indiana/kentucky)
    A peach farm I stopped at had been wiped out in Georgia because they had frosts in April which killed all the early flowers.
    Southern Georgia was still under FEMA control in places for flooding (before the hurricane hit texas/louisiana)
    Southern Georgia/Northern Florida was under heat advisory the 2 weeks I was there both were running 10F higher than normal.



    Ive no doubt people can cope, cars auto starting with aircon and people running to/from buildings etc etc. It is remarkable how people have adapted and are living in places they shouldnt really be living... Ive visited the rainforest, the sahara, the high arctic and antarctic and it is amazing how people have engineered solutions to live clung on to snow bound rocks or near deserts or in oppressive heat and humidity...

    ...problem is, nothing else around us is adapting as quickly. Problem is people tend to concentrate on how people working in agriculture will be affected when really it wont be a problem as there will be little or no agriculture to work on in those regions.


    I remember reading about the hole in the ozone layer, what it was doing and what we all could do etc etc. I also remember standing on the top deck of a ship in antarctica and one of the crew came out and gave me factor 60 sunscreen. I showed him the factor 15 I was using and he just said 'do you know about the hole in the ozone layer?'. I said of course I did. He just pointed directly up and handed me the factor 60. I knew all about it but had never actually experienced it or never considered what real affect it would have or what affect it would have on me personally.
    People/governments really dont act until it affects them personally and usually by then its too late.
    Pretty much everything I saw on my trip scared the bejesus out of me but I guess most people dont join up the dots or indeed are even looking.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    RR's sales pitch is that with enough subsidy support, they could eventually (2030+) get down to as low as £65/MWh. At first the generation will cost even more than HPC.

    So more nuclear subsidies to eventually, maybe, perhaps, get down to a price that PV, on-shore and off-shore wind are already beating.

    RR also estimate the worldwide market for SMR's at around 65-85GW, so smaller than the generation the existing 500GWp of PV already supplies and will probably be deployed every 3yrs or so, going forward.

    District heating from SMR's seems unlikely too, after all, it's 'just' thermal generation, like coal and gas, so bio-mass and bio-gas could do the same thing, and demand follow too in the summer. Obviously there are issues/concerns about transporting N. American bio-mass to the UK, but is it 'worse' than local nuclear, and it's pretty much unlimited*, can be stockpiled, and again, demand follow economically.

    *US and Canadian forestry is actually growing, and when demand for wood or wood products increase, so does the value and therefore the effort and money spent on replanting and expansion.

    Regarding export, yes, that's the sales pitch to HMG, but with tumbling RE costs and storage options, who exactly is going to buy these in 10+yrs time?


    Biomass isn't clean and combustion of organic matter causes all sorts of actual pollutants while nuclear does not emmit any combustion pollution

    Also the size scale and scope is hugely different
    A dual reactor power station can output 10GW of thermal heat
    Once you run your reactor for about 3 winters you remove the fuel rods and place them in the heating ponds where they contribute to the district heating grid for years decades so the waste is no longer a waste but active long term fuel. Even if you store it for 500 years it's not waste as it's giving you 500 years of district heating

    The biomass 'solution' requires you to burn 100,000 tons of biomass...per day

    It is no solution even if it is carbon neutral it is not clean nor is it particularly low impact producing 100,000 tons per day of plants to burn them half way around the world

    Also the cost of nuclear heat will be much lower than nuclear electricity
    If nuclear electricity costs £100/MWH then nuclear heat only costs £33/MWh seeing as you need about 3 units of heat to generate one unit of net electricity. But you are just generating low temp low pressure heat not high temp heat to spin turbines and dissapate that heat 2km out to the Ocean. A heat only station is about 1/3rd the size so will be about 1/3rd the cost. Overall you are looking at likely below £10/MWh perhaps even a fraction of that if you build them in large numbers and got experience

    That is a good price it's cheaper than natural gas (about £15/MWh)

    Nuclear heat is a solution to a huge piece of the energy problem
    It makes no sense to use new nuclear for electricity in the UK as by 2024 we are already going to be 80+90% non fossil fuel there simply isn't the need for nuclear electricity in the UK

    But there is a huge market, roughly 500TWh annually of low temp heating needs which is more than 90% met by fossil fuels. That market would be a good market to address with nuclear power.
    Something like 50 X 2GWt reactors could meet 90% of our heating needs. It would be cheap for consumers (no need to pay for boilers or heat pumps or to fix and maintain them. Just pay 4p a unit for heat

    Could be done in 10 years
    Build out the district heating grids power them with natural gas until the heat only reactors come online. An electricity nuke takes 10 years, a heat only plant might take closer to 3-4 years since it's 30-40% of the bits and bobs of a full electricity plant
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Piddles wrote: »
    Floating wind could best bottom-fixed by 2026 in market ‘in flux’

    So, fixed offshore might overtake onshore around 2030. Floating offshore might overtake fixed offshore around 2026. Oh dear, what to bet on? Considering the urgency, everything I guess. But then the best bet will lead to the lowest priced electricity that will displace fossil fuels the fastest. It's a really important bet....


    The best bet was to build 5.4GW of additional Interconnectors to France in the 1980s rather than in 2020-2024 but better late than never.....

    Regarding electricity it's solved there isn't much to bet on. 53% non fossil in 2018 and by 2024 we will be 80-90% non fossil. Bridging that last 10-20% will be difficult because you can't just build wind farms or PV panels because 80% of the time their output will be during a a period that would be 0% fossil anyway

    More useful would be 2 additional links to Norway so we have 5.6GW to Norway rather than 2.8GW

    Heating is the next big domestic challenge
    Nuclear heat reactors would solve that close to 100%
    Or heat pumps powered 70% by offshore wind and 30% by dirty biomass and CCGTs
  • edited 27 July 2019 at 6:49AM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 27 July 2019 at 6:49AM
    joefizz wrote: »
    Pretty much everything I saw on my trip scared the bejesus out of me but I guess most people dont join up the dots or indeed are even looking.

    In fairness, a lot of people in the US are really scared already, but not enough, and the hold that Trump and his supporters (shall we say - the less open to change and differing opinion) have is truly frightening. The stripping of science and scientists from the major agencies, and the appointment of lobbyists to the heads of major departments is a level of 'swampiness' never seen before.

    Hopefully 2020 will see a backlash, but that still means four lost years when Federal Government direction was needed. Still, many States, towns, cities, Mayors etc are acting, but overall, a slow speed disaster. And next time it snows in Washington (D.C.) I expect another Republican Senator will take a snowball into the Senate and cry 'global warming, what global warming?' :cry:

    Edit - What a difference the Electoral College system makes. Not only did Trump 'lose' by 3m votes, but Al Gore also beat out George W Bush in 2000, but lost the Electoral College (or did he, remember the pregnant chads in Florida). What if the US had gone down an environmental route in 2000 under Gore, things might have been a lot different.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    In fairness, a lot of people in the US are really scared already, but not enough, and the hold that Trump and his supporters (shall we say - the less open to change and differing opinion) have is truly frightening. The stripping of science and scientists from the major agencies, and the appointment of lobbyists to the heads of major departments is a level of 'swampiness' never seen before.

    Hopefully 2020 will see a backlash, but that still means four lost years when Federal Government direction was needed. Still, many States, towns, cities, Mayors etc are acting, but overall, a slow speed disaster. And next time it snows in Washington (D.C.) I expect another Republican Senator will take a snowball into the Senate and cry 'global warming, what global warming?' :cry:

    Edit - What a difference the Electoral College system makes. Not only did Trump 'lose' by 3m votes, but Al Gore also beat out George W Bush in 2000, but lost the Electoral College (or did he, remember the pregnant chads in Florida). What if the US had gone down an environmental route in 2000 under Gore, things might have been a lot different.

    4 lost years? Try Germany which will be losing 10 years due to the anti scientific early retirement of her nukes

    USA today produces about 50% more non fossil electricity than does Germany
    Production kWh/capita USA Vs Germany

    Wind 840 Vs 1,360
    Solar. 210 Vs 560
    Nuclear. 2470 Vs 880 (this will soon fall to zero in 2022)
    Hydro 890 Vs 240
    Total 4400 Vs 3040

    Germany is also going to go backwards. 2023 will likely be less non fossil fuel generation in Germany than 2018 five years of effort investment & costs to go backwards


    Germany should have kept and updated her nuclear stations and gone towards 180TWh annual nuclear output. That would have taken her towards 95-100% non fossil electricity in 2030

    From 2030 she could have converted her 17 reactors to heat reactors (say 1.5 conversions per year) while deploying more wind power so as not to fall below 95% non fossil.

    Those reactors without uprates could have provided 60GW of thermal heat to district heating grids with some upgrades perhaps 90GW of heat , more or less 85% of her heating needs (the other 15% from electricity for more remote homes/buildings)

    That would have been a pathway towards 0 fossil fuels by 2040 for electricity and heating.

    In fact with nuclear heat her electricity demand would fall considerably. France German UK alone use some 500TWh of electricity annually for heating. Replace that with nuclear heat and non fossil generation jumps big time as total electricity demand falls the percentage of renewables in the grid booms.

    With nuclear heat displacing electricity heating the UK Germany and France would be 100% non fossil in their grids in 2018......with France able to export an additional 200TWh as her own domestic electricity demand would fall 200TWh
  • HexaneHexane Forumite
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    GreatApe wrote: »
    ... nuclear does not emmit any combustion pollution
    Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, and Chernobyl all emitted combustion pollution. Three Mile Island very nearly did.
    GreatApe wrote: »
    Something like 50 X 2GWt reactors could meet 90% of our heating needs. It would be cheap for consumers (no need to pay for boilers or heat pumps or to fix and maintain them.
    Fifty new nuclear reactors?!? Just for this country? Just for heating?!? :eek: I don't like those odds.

    As for the cost, you're just moving it around. A boiler or a heat pump is a moderately expensive piece of machinery that needs a qualified technician to install it, and yearly servicing. A nuclear reactor is an extremely expensive piece of machinery that requires god knows what to install it, and highly qualified personnel to monitor and maintain it around the clock. You then also need installation and maintenance of the many miles of pipes and pumps and controls between your reactor plant and each individual dwelling.
    GreatApe wrote: »
    An electricity nuke takes 10 years, a heat only plant might take closer to 3-4 years since it's 30-40% of the bits and bobs of a full electricity plant
    Funny how at Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, it was precisely that little 30-40% of bits and bobs that had the problem...
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Climate more pressing than Brexit, say 71% of Britons – poll

    That has to be a strong signal to the government doesn't it?

    Or from the survey company: Young people UK-wide aged 18 to 34 were significantly more likely (60%) to say they care more about climate change than Brexit, compared to over-55s (43%)..

    Since the latter has already eaten the former's pie, perhaps the latter should pipe down a bit.
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    Hexane wrote: »
    Fifty new nuclear reactors?!? Just for this country? Just for heating?!? :eek: I don't like those odds.


    I was in Oak Ridge a couple of weeks ago. It was a surprise to me that for the last 20 years or so american nuclear reactors have been powered by decommissioned soviet nuclear warheads.
    Apparently theres a global shortage of enriched uranium and has been for a while....
    Difficult to magic 50 nuclear reactors out of thin air.


    Oh good luck with the non russian breeder reactors which dont really exist, moon dust etc etc etc.


    5 years ago I stayed in a really good really cheap hotel in Nebraska during a flood. I was really surprised even with the river nearby flooding that the hotel was so cheap and almost empty (couple of national guard humvees in the parking lot).
    I asked at reception why it was and they said they were within the minimum safe distance from the cooling pools containing the spent nuclear fuel, just in case the river went over the levees surrounding the plants. I really should pay more attention to local radio news whilst travelling...
    They were 10cm of flood water away from any one of the list up above.

    Its not an isolated case either.


    Theres a good documentary on windscale on youtube, the 70s/80s one not the later one. At some point someone in the British government thought an air cooled nuclear reactor was a good idea....
    ..to be fair to them at the time probably nobody knew it wasnt a good idea...
    ...everything is a good idea, right up until the time it isnt...
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    joefizz wrote: »
    ...everything is a good idea, right up until the time it isnt...

    Kinda how I feel about nuclear, it is incredibly safe (no sarcasm) right up till it isn't.

    When I discuss (argue unpleasantly) with those who are extremely pro-nuclear*, they often explain (having no escape route on costs now) that nuclear is only really expensive because of the amount of health and safety red tape that now exists ......... coz that's proved unnecessary?

    *Need to distinguish between the rational supporters (who I hope to belong to) who see nuclear as a low carbon technology, cleaner than coal (even including the problems), that should be included in thoughts, discussions and options.

    But, having considered it, I feel the rational supporters, now need to accept that the safety and cost issues now make it an unnecessary and unacceptable part of the solution, simply because RE and RE & storage is a better, cheaper, safer and cleaner option.

    I tend to refer to the remaining supporters as the NAACB (nuclear at any cost brigade), since the alternatives are cheaper (and safer).


    Just saw this article, and thought I'd tag it in, as it relates to recent comments.

    Perhaps the Republican side of the US is starting to crack?

    Republican Politicians May Start Accepting Climate Change
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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