View Single Post
Old 02-28-2013, 07:29 PM   #502 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 5,209
Thanks: 225
Thanked 807 Times in 591 Posts
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
Our power generation is 1st world and is private, has been for 20 years - keep up at the back
Then why do you need peaking plants that sit around burning fuel but not producing electricity?

Most lines in the UK are underground - ever wonder why we dig up the roads so much - guess where the lines went
So you're claiming that your mostly fossil-fueled electric grid is 100% reliable? Sorry, but the facts don't back you up.

What if you want to run your power tool and it is dark and the wind is not blowing, then what ?
Don't you folks have cordless power tools over there?

Also think about this carefully - you are in charge of the grid - how do you plan for when all those people need their fridge or phone or lights ? And how many ? And what about if they all want Microwaves ?
What exactly do you think happens now when one of those (statistically rare) events happen? How does the current system smooth out all those peaks & valleys? You have what is called "spinning reserve" on the grid. This is essentially inertia - the rotational inertia of spinning generators (you may or may not have noticed that wind turbines spin), and the electromagnetic equivalent in inductance & capacitance. This supports system frequency & voltage long enough for that gas turbine to come up to speed, or the gates on the hydro dam to be opened a little more.

But note that when we're talking about supplying power to 3rd world areas, where there isn't an existing grid, this simply isn't an issue. Everyone has their own system, and knows (or should know) what they have in reserve, just as you know how much fuel you have in your tank.

And how the hell do you run a fridge on interrupted power anyway - I mean cheaply.
Actually this is almost trivially simple. You put several plastic jugs of water in the freezer. This serves as thermal mass: if the power is interrupted for more than a few hours, you move the jugs to the refrigerator compartment. Or you might look up the original "icebox" Icebox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that people used before mechanical refrigeration was invented. Ice was harvested from lakes and stored year round.

A more interesting problem is how you support a major intermittent draw, for instance an electric arc furnace used for steel recycling. This is a problem I actually worked on, back when I worked for the local power company. The answer turned out to be "We can't, unless you want to pay for building a couple hundred miles of high voltage transmission line." But that's why you put those such things near reliable electric generation - which as I pointed out earlier, is usually renewable hydro.

You forgot the bit where you transport the ore to the plant, in trucks (which are not hybrids) or trains (which are not hybrids or cannot be built by hybrid machinery) and that transporting the stuff away again is also not on renewables.
Humm... You live in Britain, and claim that trains can't be made to run on electricity?

What makes those gas turbines turn ?
Methane from your local sewage plant :-)


And on a related point, remember all those "skeptics" claiming that CO2 can't cause warming, because in the past the warming always came before the rise in CO2? Well, turns out that might not be the case after all: CO2 Warmed Antarctica In the Past | Climate Change | LiveScience

Last edited by jamesqf; 03-01-2013 at 01:37 PM..
The Following User Says Thank You to jamesqf For This Useful Post:
Occasionally6 (07-11-2013)