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Comment Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (Score 1) 488

The utility can't give them back the power generated ten hours earlier, because there is no effective way to store power at utility scale.

As usual, there's a grain of truth in here, but, since realtime peak solar output is still not within TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE of demand, this is still a bullshit argument.

Comment It's borderline disingenuous... (Score 1) 343

...to put those big scary "$4.4 billion" numbers in there without context. It sounds like a lot of money (especially to people unfamiliar with the industry) but that number is the retail value of approximately 18 months of electrical generation for units 2 & 3 at San Onofre.

Comment Re:First.... (Score 1) 288

$608 million decommissioning seem less ridiculous, this still seems much more expensive then it ought to be.

For perspective, that plant likely produced on the order of a quarter-million dollars worth of electricity EVERY HOUR, round the clock, for decades, so $608 million is not a very exciting figure, even if true.

This is actually great news. It means that decommissioning only costs the equivalent of 3 months worth of full-production output--a bargain.

Comment posterity (Score 2) 127

it will lose or gain only one second every 300 million years

Can't they just leave a note to the future people to click it forward/back at the right time?

If the clock in question supports 9-digit years, they could even set an alarm...

Comment Re: Add a range-extender engine, perhaps PV too (Score 1) 94

Unless you want to take kids on a field trip...

It doesn't make any sense to optimize for outlier trips like that, unless you have money to burn. Rather, you keep a few diesel buses around.

PV is better (economically, for efficiency, and for the grid) when it's stationary and grid-connected, and range extenders negate the benefits of the simple electric powertrain (bringing back ICE maintenance). A "range extended" EV embodies the complexity of both a full-power EV and a convention internal combustion powetrain.

Comment Re:Add a range-extender engine, perhaps PV too (Score 1) 94

PV could be installed, to also help with range

It doesn't need any "help with range". Fleet vehicles (like school buses) are already a near-ideal case for electrification; they follow well established routes and schedules. Range is either sufficient or not, and once sufficient, the marginal value of additional range is zero.

Comment Re:Economic problems with hydrogen power (Score 1) 551

Basically you have to get charging time down below about 10 minutes for at least 200 miles of range.

That's only required to make electrics practical for the last 3-4% of transportation needs. Several standard deviations of our driving can be met with existing technology. Overnight charging at 6-12 kW is ideal because it's cheapest, and it happens while you do other things (like sleep), and it's when the grid is the cleanest.

Comment Re:Report validates the "dead man walking" assessm (Score 1) 207

The report makes it pretty clear that saving the Columbia was about as realistic as saving the Titanic.

I'm glad you weren't in charge of Apollo 13. : ) Seriously, I think your interpretation is unusual (or maybe we're talking about different documents). The CAIB pretty clearly says the scenarious were plausible. Obviously risky, with no guarantee of success, but not impossible. I can't see how you got from that to "certain doom".

Comment Re:PHB's strike again (Score 4, Interesting) 207

The Columbia crew were dead men walking the moment the foam damaged the tiles. Columba was a wreck the moment the foam caused the damage. She would never reach earth's surface whole once she entered space.

This claim was solidly refuted in the official accident investigation report, which explores parallel scenarios--one for rescue, and another for improvised repair while on orbit.

The report is a fascinating read, by the way, and highly recommended. It manages to be satisfyingly technical without going over the head of a typical engineer or even lay person.

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