Germany: Nuclear power plants to close by 2022

MacGuffin

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over those 10 years to build a nuclear power station a Wind turbine will have been dormant for roughly 7 years when the wind isn't blowing in the right direction or strongly enough, and that is if it hadn't broken down already.

Those things are getting more and more effective. Today we're talking about 7 megawatt mills -- onshore.

People are starting to come up with new solutions along the way, you know. The other day I saw a documentary about innovative engineers, who actually managed to develop a method of storing solar energy in a special kind of salt, which can be used later like a battery for heat, then the sun doesn't shine.

Don't make the mistake of the scientists at the end of the 19th century, who categorically stated, that mankind has now discovered all the secrets of nature and that there will only be marginal progress in the future ;)
 
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jmsprovan

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What????????????


This helps show some of your ignorance on the subject. The windmill will turn itself into the wind. It would be pretty fucking stupid not do so when the wind changes direction on a regular basis.

in conditions where the wind is changing direction regularly the turbine doesn't move quickly enough to keep up with it, so they sit still waiting for the wind direction to even out.

Those things are getting more and more effective. Today we're talking about 7 megawatt mills -- onshore.

People are starting to come up with new solutions along the way, you know. The other day I saw a documentary about innovative engineers, who actually managed to develop a method of storing solar energy in a special kind of salt, which can be used later like a battery for heat, then the sun doesn't shine.

Don't make the mistake of the scientists at the end of the 19th century, who categorically stated, that mankind has now discovered all the secrets of nature and that there will only be marginal progress in the future ;)

I understand this, it even applies to nuclear, but we need to plan ahead based on technologies that we currently possess and nuclear is the only one which ticks all the required boxes.
 

argatoga

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I'm a fan of whatever works best. Nuclear is nice as it isn't dependent on the area it is built. However if there is a cheaper or easier to maintain means go ahead. Out here in WA the Grand Coulee Dam provides the vast majority of our power.
 

WillDAQ

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Those things are getting more and more effective. Today we're talking about 7 megawatt mills

7 megawatt capacity.. will average 21-25% (1.75MW) of that through the year (typical UK numbers) while at times of peak need will be providing on average 4% (0.28MW).

We most need power on still winter days, when wind farms are useless, hence for every 1W of wind you add you can only remove 0.04W of thermal from the grid.

Windfarms are utter nonsense, everyone outside of the environmental lobby knows this.
 

WillDAQ

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No there is a way of storing the energy - not 100% effecient but it can work. You get a Hydro plant and use the water when a period of heavy demand is on (The famous "lets throw water at it") when the demand goes down you use the renewable power which is always generating, provided the conditions are suitable and in Ukania they usually are for wave and wind and can be schedule for tidal easily, to pump the water up the dam ready for the next high level of demand. This should work all night for instance as that is a period of low usage.

There was a study a couple of years ago which showed that were we to move to 80% then every major body of water in the UK would have to be converted into storage to balance the system. The cost would be phenomenal.

(Sorry for the double)
 

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Well, as long as people are argueing about why it can't be done, instead of finding solutions, it surely will be a dead end.

But wind energy is only one part of the future energy production and in my opinion it only makes sense to make use of it at the coast, where we have a steady wind. I happen to live in such an area and you hardly aver see those wind turbines at a standstill here. The latest generation also doesn't need much wind to be efficient.

Same goes for solar energy, which makes only sense in areas with much sunlight. And as I wrote above, they are currently working on a way to store and use solar energy, when the sun isn't shining, e.g. at night.

That's why I said in the future energy production must be diversified and decentralized. Hydropower, geothermal energy, tidal power, every possibility must be considered, depending on local conditions. And what for example speaks against also using the heating of your own house to produce electricity? Modern wood-pellet ovens are on their way to become very popular and burning wood is a renewable energy, too.

450px-Pelletkessel_in_Wohnhaus.JPG


Communities can produce power in joined efforts, maybe using a combination of solar panels and pellet heating in private households and a local cogeneration site. We need to completely rethink the way energy is produced and I don't think the future lies in huge power stations, from where the energy is transported over hundreds of kilometers. Same goes for the industry, which is very power-hungry.

In the same effort houses must get better insulation, electronic devices and kitchen appliances must be made more efficient in their use of energy, etc.

There is actually a lot that can be done immediately or very soon, without having to come up with new technical solutions. That's where the governments come into the game. This whole thing can only work with the right motivations and subsidies, for example offering tax deduction to those, who build energy-efficient houses.
 
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narf

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in conditions where the wind is changing direction regularly the turbine doesn't move quickly enough to keep up with it, so they sit still waiting for the wind direction to even out.

Any meaningful wind speed does not change direction several times a minute.
 

MacGuffin

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Living at the North Sea coast, I can confirm that. When there is wind here, it is a steady stream of air from one direction, mostly very strong.
 

narf

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Our wind direction and speed over the past week:

http://pic.armedcats.net/n/na/narf/2011/06/01/see-ifm1-woche.gif
http://pic.armedcats.net/n/na/narf/2011/06/01/see-ifm2-woche.gif

As you can see, there was a meaningful change in direction N -> E on the 26th and one S -> E on the 30th.

No indication of wind changing direction merrily every minute, the graph would be all over the place.
 

WillDAQ

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Well, as long as people are argueing about why it can't be done, instead of finding solutions, it surely will be a dead end.

It's not a 'try harder' problem, it's a 'the laws of physics say this is impossible to significantly improve' sort of problem. They are absolutely a dead end.

That's why I said in the future energy production must be diversified and decentralized.
This is another falsehood, there's no scientific reason to think that. The actual cost of transmitting power around the country is tiny so why exactly does it need to be produced locally? All you're doing is throwing away efficiencies of scale while driving up infrastructure costs. Over the past 50 years grids have moved to fewer larger generating components because it's a more effective way of running a grid.
 

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Don't make the mistake of the scientists at the end of the 19th century, who categorically stated, that mankind has now discovered all the secrets of nature and that there will only be marginal progress in the future ;)

That made me think of this.....

andrew-steam-plane.jpg


I think everyone here is making valid points. If renewables work within a local context such as the North Sea coast and work reliably enough then use them but they don't work everywhere.

As has already been stated as a race we have been sitting on our hands for far too long not doing enough to address the issues of energy. Sure we are doing a great deal now, but we haven't been doing enough for far too long and we don't, as yet, have the viable, large scale, long-term alternatives to the existing infrastructure. I would be surprised if we actually achieve that within a generation and suspect it may take considerably longer.

If we accept that nuclear was/is a stop gap until suitable alternatives are available and that we have wasted a generation in not putting enough effort into making those alternatives a viable reality then we have to face up to the fact that we need to rely on that stop gap for longer that we ideally would have wanted. That means not only persisting with the existing nuclear infrastructure it means replacing it with a new generation of nuclear facilities as well as ploughing the investment into its ultimate replacements. At a time when the world's economies, relatively speaking, don't have a pot to piss in.

The issue therefore isn't about being pro- or anti-nuclear but in fact about what sacrifices and changes will have to be made in order to fund what is needed now and what we need to do now for the future.
 

MacGuffin

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It's not a 'try harder' problem, it's a 'the laws of physics say this is impossible to significantly improve' sort of problem. They are absolutely a dead end.

Personally I consider nuclear the absolute dead end. I consider every way of generating energy by using up unrenewable resources a dead end. One way or another we have to deal with this problem one day.

If you say it's foolish for me to believe in alternatives to nuclear energy, then it is at least as foolish to waste the resources of our planet and wait for a technical breakthrough in nuclear fusion, which might never come. Wasting time is a luxury, we don't have. We don't have a choice anymore.

Make no mistake: To fullfill the power hunger of our Western civilizations and those in Asia on the rise, too, we have to use any means. Building hundreds of new nuclear power plants to replace the old ones (that's what we'd have to do, when we stick to it), is a horror scenario to me. And that won't be enough.

This is not a matter of trying to beat the laws of physics but to be creative and find clever solutions. Pushing the envelope for the sake of the future of our race and our planet.

Like the molten salt storage to store heat for example, as I have written above. One of the main problems of electricity is, that it is so elusive and so very hard to store. That's the main reason why wind energy is still quite inefficient.

But don't think that engineers and scientists aren't aware if that. There is an army of clever people working on the problem and I'm quite sure they'll find solutions in the future. Saying something is impossible, is contraproductive. With that kind of thinking we wouldn't have electricity today in the first place.

There is so much talk pro and contra but truth is also, that while people still argue, other people are already on their way to find solutions. The technical problems won't be solved in TV chat shows with always the same politicians and lobbyists taking part. That much is for sure.

This is another falsehood, there's no scientific reason to think that. The actual cost of transmitting power around the country is tiny so why exactly does it need to be produced locally? All you're doing is throwing away efficiencies of scale while driving up infrastructure costs. Over the past 50 years grids have moved to fewer larger generating components because it's a more effective way of running a grid.

Who said something about a scientific reason? I was talking about common sense and efficiency. Besides, it works already on a small scale:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Sams? (Anglicized: "Samso" or "Samsoe") is a Danish island in the Kattegat 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the Jutland Peninsula. Sams? is located in Sams? municipality. The community has 4,300 inhabitants (2009) called Samsingers and is 114 km? in area. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking Age as a meeting place. The etymology of the island's name is unknown.

In 1997, Sams? won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. At the time Sams? was entirely dependent on oil and coal, both of which it imported from the mainland.

An offshore wind farm comprising 10 turbines (making a total of 21 altogether including land-based windmills), was completed, funded by the islanders. The people of Sams? heat their homes with straw burned in a central heating system and they power some vehicles on biofuel which they also grow. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and 75% of its heat comes from solar power and biomass energy. An Energy Academy has opened in Ballen, with a visitor education center.

If households and/or communities would use cogeneration on a national level and feed their excess energy into a nationwide grid, there wouldn't be the need for centralized power production at all.

All you'd have to come up with then, is a way to regulate the whole thing effectively and let those, who cannot produce their own electricity (e.g. old houses, historic city centers), participate.

Again: We're wasting our time, when we think about reasons to NOT try or do something. That is why I said, that what we need most, is a new thinking.

There is power all around us. It's in the air, in the sun, in the soil, in the water... All we have to do, is come up with effective ways to make use of it. And frankly I consider the human intelligence and creativity powerful enough to be able to do that.
 
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Cobol74

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As I outlined there is more than one way to store energy and convert it from Electricity to something else when quiet (HEP for instance) and when heavy demand convert it back - the solution does not have to be electronic.

I agree about the co-generation as outlined, could be a way to go - small scale windmills and possibly Solar for suitable countries. Some of the more way out methods - er no not in the short to mid term but may be a bit of seed money may be a good idea.

How about looking at taking out greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere too, anyone looking at that?
 

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pepitko

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I accidentally deleted my previous post, so this one will be a bit more brief than I intended. For me, the maths of replacing nuclear so quickly (11 years) doesn't work, closing down nuclear completely might be possible in the next 30-40 years, but definitely not in the next 10.

Nuclear energy in Germany has an installed capacity of 20,300 MW and produced 127.7 bil kWh of electricity in 2009. Let's assume a theoretical calculation of replacing all nuclear capacity with wind energy. Wind energy has a capacity factor (efficiency) of 20-30% on average (source, source) compared to a capacity factor of anywhere from 0 to 100% of nuclear energy. Let's assume it's 85% on average for nuclear, and that the average peak capacity of a new turbine is 2 MW. Therefore you need (20,300 x 0.85) / (2 x 0.25) = 34,510 new wind turbines to replace all nuclear capacity in Germany. To put it into perspective, a single small two reactor nuclear plant with 1,000 MW of installed capacity would need to be replaced by some 1,700 wind turbines to achieve the same amount of electricity generated.

Solar energy, or photovoltaic if you like, is even more pathetic. In Southern Germany, photovoltaic panels can generate roughly 1,000 kWh per year for every m2. To replace the electricity generated by nuclear you need 127,700,000,000 kWh / (1,000 kWh/m2) = 127.7 km2 of space, that's 2.1x the size of Manhattan Island and doesn't account for any space left between the panels, which in practice is impossible. Not to mention that the fact that you can't control at which time this will be generated.

On top of all this, you need to add heavy investments into electricity distribution infrastructure, because unlike in the case of nuclear/coal/gas/oil/hydro energy, wind/solar load generation is volatile due to unpredictable changes in wind/clouds and so on.

Nuclear is a relatively clean and stable energy source, if anything, let's start closing down the CO2 and sulphur spewing coal plants.
 

WillDAQ

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Building hundreds of new nuclear power plants to replace the old ones (that's what we'd have to do, when we stick to it), is a horror scenario to me.
Lets destroy every tidal estuary, every mountain side, every large lake and half the Sahara creating a fully renewable energy supply... because the alternative is an environmental horror story.

This is not a matter of trying to beat the laws of physics but to be creative and find clever solutions.

Saying something is impossible, is contraproductive. With that kind of thinking we wouldn't have electricity today in the first place.
We're not writing a novel here, we're creating an engineering system. What is an isn't possible depends entirely on the laws of physics... which is what makes it all the more frustrating that so many 'brilliant creative solutions' touted by the green movement are physically impossible to implement.

Who said something about a scientific reason? I was talking about common sense and efficiency.
Oh i'm sorry, lets not bother analyzing scientifically what methods of distribution are more efficient, it's OK everyone, MacGuffin's opinion is Common Sense? and therefore correct.

We're wasting our time, when we think about reasons to NOT try or do something.
Wow, what a stupid philosophy, for example: i'm sure there are reasons not to invade Poland, but lets just get on with it.
 

MacGuffin

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Lets destroy every tidal estuary, every mountain side, every large lake and half the Sahara creating a fully renewable energy supply... because the alternative is an environmental horror story.

We're not writing a novel here, we're creating an engineering system. What is an isn't possible depends entirely on the laws of physics... which is what makes it all the more frustrating that so many 'brilliant creative solutions' touted by the green movement are physically impossible to implement.

Oh i'm sorry, lets not bother analyzing scientifically what methods of distribution are more efficient, it's OK everyone, MacGuffin's opinion is Common Sense? and therefore correct.

Wow, what a stupid philosophy, for example: i'm sure there are reasons not to invade Poland, but lets just get on with it.

Well, when you have to resort to such kinds of polemic, I seem to have made a point ;)

But forgive me, that I won't reply in the same way.

I accidentally deleted my previous post, so this one will be a bit more brief than I intended. For me, the maths of replacing nuclear so quickly (11 years) doesn't work, closing down nuclear completely might be possible in the next 30-40 years, but definitely not in the next 10.

Nuclear energy in Germany has an installed capacity of 20,300 MW and produced 127.7 bil kWh of electricity in 2009. Let's assume a theoretical calculation of replacing all nuclear capacity with wind energy. Wind energy has a capacity factor (efficiency) of 20-30% on average (source, source) compared to a capacity factor of anywhere from 0 to 100% of nuclear energy. Let's assume it's 85% on average for nuclear, and that the average peak capacity of a new turbine is 2 MW. Therefore you need (20,300 x 0.85) / (2 x 0.25) = 34,510 new wind turbines to replace all nuclear capacity in Germany. To put it into perspective, a single small two reactor nuclear plant with 1,000 MW of installed capacity would need to be replaced by some 1,700 wind turbines to achieve the same amount of electricity generated.

Solar energy, or photovoltaic if you like, is even more pathetic. In Southern Germany, photovoltaic panels can generate roughly 1,000 kWh per year for every m2. To replace the electricity generated by nuclear you need 127,700,000,000 kWh / (1,000 kWh/m2) = 127.7 km2 of space, that's 2.1x the size of Manhattan Island and doesn't account for any space left between the panels, which in practice is impossible. Not to mention that the fact that you can't control at which time this will be generated.

On top of all this, you need to add heavy investments into electricity distribution infrastructure, because unlike in the case of nuclear/coal/gas/oil/hydro energy, wind/solar load generation is volatile due to unpredictable changes in wind/clouds and so on.

Nuclear is a relatively clean and stable energy source, if anything, let's start closing down the CO2 and sulphur spewing coal plants.

That's all fine but reality is already on the way of overcoming the obstacles. Maybe you didn't read what I wrote, so here's a brief summary: What we don't need, is people coming up with reason why NOT to do something but people who spit in their hands, get to work and come up with solutions instead of saying "Wow that's a big problem, let's choose the easy way and leave everything, as it is."
 
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WillDAQ

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Well, when you have to resort to such kinds of polemic, I seem to have made a point ;)
Such polemic is required for someone who doesn't want fact to interfere with his opinion.

Pepitko very neatly sums up the problems with renewables, on a purely factual basis, they are fundamental problems which stem from the huge energy density of power stations when compared to renewables, heck even if they were 100% efficient the numbers still don't add up for them to be able to replace conventional generation sources.

It isn't a problem of people being lazy, it's a problem of physics, people rolling their sleeves up will not solve it.
 

MacGuffin

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Well, then I guess we don't have much of a choice but wait 11 years and see what's what :)

Hope there will still be a FG forum then, though...
 
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