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Comment Totally Revolutionize is a remarkable overstatemen (Score 5, Informative) 460

You're overstating. Let's look at the 2014 governor's race -- chosen because turnout is lower then a presidential election, thereby magnifying the impact of the Free State Project on voting.

Democratic Maggie Hassan, the incumbent, won 254,666 votes (52.49%) Republican Walt Havenstein, the challenger, won 229,610 votes (47.32%) Other/blank won 907 votes (0.1%)

New Hampshire has 1.327 million people (2014), 20.1% of which are under 18 (2014). That leaves 1.06 million adults. Not all are eligible, data is tough to put together, let's call it an even 1 million. Now, lets replace 20,000 adults at random with the Free Staters. 48.4% didn't vote, 25.5% voted for the Dem incumbent, 23.0% voted for the GOP challenger. 0.1% voted for another candidate or blanked it. Net change: Hassan loses 5100 voters, Havenstein loses 4592 voters, "other" loses 18 voters, and "free state" gains 20000. Even if all 20,000 free staters voted for the losing candidate (Havenstein), their candidate would still only get 49.5% to Hassan's 50.4%.

Is it possible that, if all 20,000 actually move to New Hampshire and all actually vote in a local election that they'll win some state house seats? You bet. No question. Thing is, the NH state house is so remarkably unstable that it would amount to just a bit more noise (% Dems in NH House of Rep at the end of the last four sessions (today is "end" for the purpose of this study): 55.4%, 26.4%, 55.2%, 40.1%.

Is it possible that their mere presence will result in Republican candidates leaning more libertarian? Sure, but within the state they're still only 4 percent of the electorate, and dispersed throughout the state. Certainly not enough to have a systematic effect on the NH GOP. But what if they all go Libertarian or some other third party candidate? Have at it, but good luck actually winning any representation in a First Past the Post system.

New Hampshire already does have a libertarian streak, as loads of Massholes emigrate to NH to escape taxes but retain their liberal social values. Even if all 20k Free Staters show up (and come on, not a chance), it would be a small nudge to NH politics, at best.

Comment No, no it isn't. (Score 4, Informative) 176

It is election time.

No it isn't, at least not generally. There are six senators that signed on:

  • * Bernie Sanders -- running for President now; up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2018.
  • * Ron Wyden -- up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2016.
  • * Jeff Merkley -- up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2020.
  • * Liz Warren -- up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2018.
  • * Ed Markey -- up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2020.
  • * Al Franken -- up for reelection to the US Senate in November 2020.

Giving Bernie a "0 months until election" that is still an average of three years until these six are up for reelection. It's not election time.

I get that you just don't trust the US elected politicians to do the work of the people. Fine. Feel that way. But don't spew factually inaccurate nonsense because you're either too ignorant of federal elections or too lazy to look it up. Perhaps a bit more civic engagement on your part might help prevent the old business overlords, hm?

Comment That's exactly right (Score 5, Insightful) 645

mdsolar's point isn't that we should build no new nuclear, at least not in this thread. His point is that nuclear can't, in and of itself, decarbonize the electric sector. We simply don't have the capacity to build that many nuclear power plants simultaneously, nor do we have the fuel, nor do we have the money.

The first one might be overcome. After all, if world leaders were able to simultaneously lay out this plan and get political support for it, part of the plan would include training more engineers, trades, and other jobs necessary. We might not be able to build 100 per year in 2016 (or even 2020), but we could ramp up.

The second one might be overcome. After all, with pressure for more fuel, we might go out and find more fuel, develop new techniques to find, recover, and process more fuel, etc. I doubt we could overcome it, but generally speaking if we went "long" on nuclear, at least some more fuel would turn up.

The third one is the toughest. Nuclear power, today, is more expensive than wind and in some places, more expensive than solar. Given that wind and solar don't have the political opposition, don't have 10-15 year lags from "let's build it" to "let's turn it on", and can be built in more places at far smaller increments, it's really tough to argue that we should spend the money on nuclear when there are cheaper options. But -- that could change. Improving the regulatory climate could help lower construction costs, as could improvements in design. Wind and solar $/kW will continue to fall for a while, but perhaps their supply inputs will become scarce and, at least for wind, the locations for the best wind become scarce. At some point in the future it's possible that the $/kWh for nuclear will become cheap enough, but it's not there now.

My view: don't put any option off the table, but let's spend our money to get the most decarbonization per buck. Right now, that means going long on energy efficiency, retiring the old coal units, building wind and solar where we can, and keeping (most) nuclear units already built up and running, so long as their safety is secure. Simultaneously, we should price carbon appropriately, eliminate subsidies on oil, coal, and gas, and be working to lower the cost of all no-carbon generating options using both technology and regulatory approaches. All of those things, together, will result in a steady least cost decarbonization of our electric sector, and if/when/where nuclear can beat out wind and solar, so be it.

Comment FSPers pale in comparison to ex-Massholes (Score 1) 388

The number of FSPers who have moved to New Hampshire pales in comparison to the number of moderately conservative white middle class suburban folks emigrating from Massachusetts. That voting bloc -- and yes, they do vote -- tend to lean law and order and are anti broad social spending, but are definitely not anti-government or libertarian. They're not after some government philosophy; they just want lower taxes for their single family home and 2 SUVs.

Comment I think its not a savvy play, but (Score 2) 386

To get any good out of that much electrical power, you'd need a huge market to sell it to.

Europe wouldn't be it - too far away, across the Mediterranean. The rest of Africa? Maybe once the political landscape settles down. No bets on that one, though.

All of non-Scandinavian Europe is within 1500 miles of the Sahara. About 200 million Africans live farther away from the Sahara than that.

And 1500 miles isn't that far. For one thing, we've got plenty of under sea cables spanning distances on the order of the width of the Mediteranean, be it the ~10 miles near Gibraltar or the ~100 miles from Tunisia to Sicily, or even the ~350 miles from Egypt to Turkey. For example, NorNed is a 360 mile undersea cable between Norway and the Netherlands. Of course, there will need to be some firming of transmission infrastructure in Europe if you're dropping that much power at one (or even multiple) locations, but the problem isn't one of distance.

The problems are cost, energy security, and reliability. There are still plenty of low-enough cost locations throughout Europe for Europeans to spend that much money in Northern Africa and be encumbered with the reduction in energy security and reliability. As for Africans south of the Sahara, it's really the same story. The additional production per watt of panel in the Sahara isn't enough to overcome the transmission requirements -- cost, security, and and reliability.

Comment Probably not. (Score 2) 386

At least not yet.

The cost of transmission would be significant. The cost of construction would be non-trivial (get the panels form a nearby port to the site, get enough labor locally, supply chain all of their needs, etc). The reliability risk of putting so many eggs in one basket (both at the site and the transmission across the Mediterranean). And, concentrating the solar in one place results in unnecessarily diurnal production.

Instead, put some panels in the Sahara, sure. But before that, keep putting panels in low-cost locations nearer to load. Rooftops. Sites containing waste (capped landfills, etc) or otherwise economically non-productive and ecologically not interesting. Roadsides. The installation cost per kW will be higher, because of a lack of economies of scale, higher labor cost, and additional equipment necessary. But, you get the value of saving on transmission and distribution construction costs and line losses, the smoothing and stretching of production due to geographic diversity, and both the energy security and the economic boost of doing work in your own country,

Comment Storage is part of an efficient gas network (Score 1) 292

The stockpiling is storage for peak.

Natural gas use is seasonal. Depending on climate and electric generators, the peak is either during very cold weather (gas space heating) or very hot weather (high air conditioning load and gas-fired electric generation).

In either case, building large pipelines to supply the gas over a long distance so that they are large enough to meet peak demand means that those pipes are rather empty most days. That's very inefficient from a cost perspective. Instead, the long distance pipelines are medium sized -- slightly bigger than load requires on most days. During the off-season the rest of that pipeline space is used to deliver gas to the storage units. During the peak, the gas is emptied from storage right on the distribution grid, because the long distance pipelines aren't big enough to get all the needed gas to the load.

This, of course, is an overly simplistic explanation, but presents the big idea.

Comment Erm... no (Score 3, Informative) 336

[North Carolina has] installed a massive amount in the state (to the point where they are running into problems with lack of storage during peak sunlight).

North Carolina has on the order of 1,100 MW of PV installed (source. Duke Energy Progress (NC + SC) has a peak summer load of 13,232 MW for planning purposes. Duke Energy Carolina (NC + SC) has a peak summer load of 18,691 MW. The combined load -- because Duke Energy and Duke Progress (in North and South Carolina) are now a single jointly operated system -- is 31,923 MW. See 2013 DEP IRP Table 3-A and 2013 DEC IRP Table 3-A (pdfs). Duke has roughly 36,000 MW of generating capacity (Tables 8-D, row 5), of which ~15% is combustion turbines (Charts 8-E). CTs are fast ramp, and Duke has roughly 5,400 MW of CTs -- far more than enough to easily integrate 1,100 MW of PV distributed across its system. Duke Energy operating in North Carolina should have absolutely no trouble integrating the 1,100 MW of solar PV operating in the territory, on time scales of sub-second, 15 second, 5 minute, 15 minute, hourly, and daily operations. As Duke continues to retire coal units and build CTs and combined cycle (CC) gas plants, its ability to integrate PV will only increase.

Comment Responding to a below average AC post (Score 1) 109

Are modern coal plants really all that harmful to the environment?

Yes. Perhaps you've heard of climate change?

I thought they were able to capture the emissions at these big plants.

The cost of carbon capture for coal plants makes the operation far more expensive (per MWh and per MW) than nuclear or renewables. As a result, a tiny fraction of one percent of coal-fired generators in first world nations are capturing the carbon emissions and sequestering them.

As for your second paragraph -- it's one thing to be ignorant of a specific industry and its technologies and economics. That's your first paragraph, and that's fine. That's how we learn. But the ignorance exhibited in your second paragraph indicates a different kind of ignorance altogether. Please go back to the kiddie table.

Comment Re:Hipsters fight over "free stuff" (Score 1) 554

What is interesting is that most EV drivers probably don't need the charge to get home and carry out their daily errands. If they do then they probably made the wrong vehicle choice. They just want to charge up on someone else's dime.

TFA actually addresses this very issue. There seems to be an assumed, implied pecking order. If you've got an all electric car that gets less than 100 miles/charge, you're at the top. Below that are gas-elec hybrids. Below that are the 250+ miles/charge Teslas.

I do think (as it seems you do) that making the folks pay for the charge would help sort this quickly. Tesla owners might be less inclined as they don't need it to get home, whereas folks with smaller battery packs might be willing to pay a premium. Etc.

Comment Re:Flawed research, garbage in garbage out (Score 1) 188

There has not been much change in coal plant output since 2010/2012

"Some in the know" -- like the Energy Information Administration -- disagree. Have a look at Electricity Generation by Fuel Type, 2000-2013, and know that coal generation has fallen since then -- in April 2015, natural gas fired plants generated more electricity than coal fired plants since, well, since ever.

or at least not enough to significantly change the conclusions

Nonsense. The decline in coal-fired generation comes in two ways. In the first way, all plants reduce their output some. For "average" coal plants, that's what's happened everywhere in the country, and it might not be enough to significantly change the conclusions. For a number of coal plants, however, they were generating electricity in 2010 and they have since retired. For the region in which those particular plants operated, the conclusions may be very different now.

The trend will continue for a while. Another 20 percent of coal-fired electric generating capacity is scheduled to retire in the next few years, to be replaced by renewables, natural gas, energy efficiency, and in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, nuclear power (in the early 2020s).

Comment Donate to your university (Score 1) 268

You're a recent college grad. Donate to your university.

Could be to its general fund. Could be to a specific scholarship. Could be to a department. Could be to a specific professor chair. Could be to benefit smart kids, poor kids, kids from a particular place, whatever.

Help your alma mater become a better school for the next kid. Help humanity too -- education lifts individual people out of poverty, and advancements in knowledge lift humanity out of poverty -- financial or otherwise.

Comment Article 1, Section 8, sentence 1. (Score 1) 235

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

In addition to the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, pay the debts, and provide for the common defense, the Congress shall have the power to provide for the general Welfare of the United States.

Yes, Virginia, the United States government has the Constitutional power to tax and to spend for general welfare, and no amount of libtarded "taxes are theft" nonsense changes that.

Comment Re:So what's news about this? (Score 4, Insightful) 356

And the interesting thing, while junior teachers might make $10 an hour (which is barely livable), senior teachers will be salaried at $150k+ per year.

Oh cut the crap. High level school administrators in wealthy communities in the Northeast, Chicagoland, or West Coast might get $150k/yr. Teachers don't. You state that your eyes were opened with the help of a friend and google? Put up or shut up. Link to some teachers making $150k/yr. Open our eyes. Until then, I'll just know that you're just making things up -- I review my own (rather wealthy) town's budget every year; our teachers don't sniff that kind of wage.

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