Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Reason #37 Why I Love To Blog -- July 15, 2015

Back on June 14, 2015, I had a long, long piece on the inefficiency of solar. Among many, many points brought up in that link, this was one of the most interesting:
Why is Ivanpah underpeforming. Get ready for obfuscation. First:
One big miscalculation was that the power plant requires far more steam to run smoothly and efficiently than originally thought, according to a document filed with the California Energy Commission. Instead of ramping up the plant each day before sunrise by burning one hour’s worth of natural gas to generate steam, Ivanpah needs more than four times that much help from fossil fuels to get the plant humming every morning.  
You, you read that correctly. This solar farm relies on natural gas to get it up and running each day; and it takes much longer than expected.

How was this missed? Either the engineers mis-calculated this (hard to believe; engineers are pretty smart folks) or the top floor brass refused to believe them. Or the top floor brass knew that including that fact in the original plans would have made it more difficult to sell the program, but I don't for a minute think the engineers missed this by this wide a margin. If so, some engineer needs to be held accountable. Don't hold your breath.
Now, look at this article posted today, the link sent to me by Don. From a GE Press Release:
GE announced today that it has secured 10 orders of its LMS100* aeroderivative gas turbine with two customers in North America in 2Q 2015. These recent successes have resulted in the backlog for LMS100 technology to be in excess of $450 million for GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business.
The 10 units—five LMS100-PA gas turbine units and five LMS100-PA+ gas turbine units—have been ordered by two American customers. With up to 116 megawatts (MW) of total power output, the LMS100-PA+ is the latest model to be offered for customers. It provides more than 10 percent increased power output without any increase in emissions. In addition, the LMS100 turbine achieves simple-cycle efficiency of 44 percent, greater than any other gas turbine available today.
The units will be installed in the southwestern U.S. to support grid stability as new renewable energy is added, and they will replace older gas-fired steam turbine generator systems. The LMS100 was designed to provide flexible and reliable distributed power, in part to help offset grid fluctuations; it can ramp from zero to 50 MW of power in one minute and zero to full power in less than 10 minutes.
If the sun is unavailable about 12 hours/day (night, cloud, dust) and solar needs another four hours to ramp up in the morning, the natural gas back-up will be running up to 16 hours/day to support solar. Something tells me solar advocates don't include the cost of natural gas back-up in the price of solar.

Solar ain't free, even after the panels are installed.

By the way, there's another story out there today, that someone thinks they've found a better battery, a lithium-sulfur. When my son-in-law was in the battery technology business, he told me what they were looking for with regard to a better battery. He never mentioned sulfur, but it makes sense, the extra electrons in the outer shell.

Speaking of batteries, that solar-powered airplane that was to be the first to circle the earth was grounded in Hawaii yesterday, at least until April, 2016, and probably longer, because the batteries (needed for nocturnal flying) were destroyed by the heat. I wonder if these batteries were the Icarus-branded branded batteries, the ones that over-heat when flying too close to the sun.

Worse Negotiator Ever

Everyone agrees that the president is perhaps the worse negotiator ever to hold public office. Five terrorists for a deserter. So many "red lines" with regard to Syria, we all lost count. Now, with the biggest foreign policy prize in his presidency, he fails to get four American hostages back from Iran.

I can't make this stuff up.

When Congress goes to debate this deal with Iran, Congress would be wise to start with: without the release of the four hostages, the deal is DOA. That would be supported by 99% of the US population. Even Hillary might agree.

Extreme Weather Benign Beautiful Weather 

NOAA: record 117-month hurricane "drought" continues."

I'm In

While driving cross-country, I caught this little gem: Apple's new iPod.

I'm in. I will be buying one, perhaps the top-of-the-line model. Plug it into the minivan's speaker system.

With wi-fi and Bluetooth, it will be incredible. I haven't updated my iPod in ten years, or whenever the first or second version came out.

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