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  Topic: The Global Warming Thread, Featuring Rep. Sheila Butt (R-TN)< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 11 2012,22:35   

Quote (OgreMkV @ Sep. 11 2012,18:27)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 11 2012,17:28)
What alternatives? I'd like to see some numbers and time lines. There are costs associated with manufacturing the alternatives.

And there are costs with building coal and fossil plants... one of the largest of which is pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Look at the links in my blog.  One of them includes lifetime costs of multiple generation systems.

Here, I've done the research for you... or at least found it.

According to the above, the levelized cost for wind is already better than coal.

In fact, wind and hydro are both better than all fossil fuels except combined cycle natural gas.

No, that isn't what it states at all.  It specifically lists dispatchable and non-dispatchable sources of power separately, because they're not comparable, or at least they are difficult to compare.  One simply cannot compare kwh costs (eta, or capital/megawatthour, which correlates strongly to cost/kwh although not the same) from wind straight up to any dispatchable source, since wind has to be backed up at least 90% by other generating facilities, making capital costs for wind very high indeed.

Here's a source that tries to compare wind as a non-dispatchable source to dispatchable sources, and it claims that nuclear is in fact the cheapest source of power when carbon costs are factored in (Kyoto style?) medium-term, combined cycle gas the cheapest short-term, with wind more costly than both:

This is for the UK, but this should be not so very different from the US.

Here's a source that points out the fact that backup power often has an efficiency penalty that should be factored into the equation, which it typically is not:

I can't vouch for either source, my primary point being that they at least address the problems that a non-dispatchable source such as wind has.  The carbon costs of building both wind generators and backup sources can't be slight, either.

I'm one who tends to think that we probably should increase wind generation in this country.  But the way in which wind "costs" are compared directly to the kwh costs of dispatchable sources so often is one of the reasons nothing gets done, because the economics are totally screwed up when this is done.  Well, just build wind turbines, never mind the carbon and economic costs of having to back up nearly all of that generating capacity.

Glen Davidson


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

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