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Comment Re:From TFA (Score 1) 400

It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. As more renewables are installed, coal and natural gas plants are used less. As coal and gas are used less, the cost of using them to generate electricity goes up. As the cost of coal and gas power rises, more renewables will be installed. "

All true. But there's an upper bound to the capacity factor for wind and solar that has nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with physics, which was the point of the post you are responding to: you are going to need something capable of providing base load in addition to wind and solar. That will be either from fossil fuels, or something else like hydro or nuclear.


Comment Re:From TFA (Score 1) 400

The capacity factor of a load following coal plant in Germany is also only 40% or less (hint: it is only running between 6:00 and 21:00)

Same for a french load following nuclear plant, as France has a higher base load than Germany their load following plants are perhaps at 60% CF.

As long as you don't knwo what a CF actually expresses it is pretty pointless to use it in arguments.

In the U.S., coal-fired power plants operate at around 60% capacity factor, and nuclear plants at nearly 90% (Source.) The capacity factor of the coal plants you mention in Germany is because they are load-following plants: they turn them off half the time, because they don't need them. The capacity factor for wind and solar is low because of source intermittency: the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun only shines during the daytime. You can't use something to follow load if it is physically incapable of producing energy.

Comment Re:From TFA (Score 1) 400

As the wind capacity factor increase make the natural gaz capacity factor decrease, then there should cross in the future. Actually the natural gaz is at 62% and wind at 37%, so the cross could be somewhere around 50% capacity factor.

Even if you make the (rather dubious) assumption that capacity factor for wind and solar will increase at a linear rate indefinitely, what makes you think the capacity factor for natural gas is declining? According the U.S. Energy Information Agency, it isn't.

Furthermore, the capacity factor for natural gas is relatively low precisely because you can turn on a natural gas turbine any time you want, so they are used to compensate for demand peaks, and left off the rest of the time. You can't do that with wind and solar: the low capacity factor isn't because you leave them off most of the time, it's because of intermittency in the source. Which has to be compensated for by something else.

Comment Re: Time to drop the prices? (Score 1) 400

Where I'm all for using solar where the sun shines and wind where it's blowing, we all need to realize that these two power sources will NEVER replace our current generation capacity and we will need fossil fuels well into the future. Wind and Solar suffer from not being available at irregular times and batteries are not a viable solution for the problem on the industrial scales necessary.

Well, it's not quite as bad as all that. The wind tends to blow more at night, so the intermittencies of wind and solar tend to offset each other.

Comment Re:From TFA (Score 1, Insightful) 400

wind's capacity factor has risen from 32% to 37%. Even more interns of percentage gains, solar's capacity factor has risen from 16 to 20% in that same time frame.

Which is still pretty low, and is why you need to couple expansion of wind and solar with a non-carbon-generating power source with a high capacity factor, such as hydroelectric or nuclear. And nuclear is a lot safer and more environmentally friendly than hydro.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 2) 1163

Yes, it's well known that most anti-gun statistics (such as this one) throw suicides and accidents in for effect.

"For effect"? Suicides and accidents are by far the largest cause of death by firearms, so concentrating only on homicides is utterly misleading. And in the U.S., death rate from firearms huge.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 0) 1163

Comment But Star Trek! (Score 4, Insightful) 41

As depicted in the upcoming Matt Damon movie, "The Martian," Mark Watney (Damon) is thrown into an unexpected, life-threatening situation, requiring him to use his general skill set to survive on the barren landscape until he's rescued.

Yeah, but Star Trek suggests that a team of highly skilled specialists working together is the way to go.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't be basing mission planning on a bunch of cheezy fucking sci-fi movies. Just a thought.

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard