Another Iron Waste Dam Collapses in Brazil

Brazil’s mining company Vale has had its second iron tailings dam collapse in the last four years. An iron tailing dam burst on Friday. There are forty confirmed dead and about 200 people are missing.

Romeu Zema, the governor of Minas Gerais state, said by now most recovery efforts will entail pulling out bodies.

The flow of waste reached the nearby community of Vila Ferteco and an occupied Vale administrative office. It buried buildings to their rooftops and an extensive field of the mud cut off roads.

Brazil’s Attorney General Raquel Dodge promised to investigate the mining dam collapse, saying “someone is definitely at fault.” Dodge noted there are 600 mines in the state of Minas Gerais alone that are classified as being at risk of rupture.

Tailings, also called mine dumps, culm dumps, slimes, tails, refuse, leach residue or slickens, terra-cone are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore. Tailings are distinct from overburden, which is the waste rock or other material that overlies an ore or mineral body and is displaced during mining without being processed.

On November, 2015, the Bento Rodrigues iron ore tailings dam failed and destroyed the village of Bento Rodrigues and killed 19 people.

The failure of the Bento Rodrigues dam has been described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history. Around 60 million cubic meters of iron waste flowed into the Doce River, causing toxic brown mudflows to pollute the river and beaches near the mouth when they reached the Atlantic Ocean 17 days later. The disaster sparked a humanitarian crisis as hundreds were displaced and cities along the Doce River suffered water shortages.

Huge Amounts of Mined Materials Mean Huge Amounts of Waste

The World mines about 2 billion tons of iron every year and nearly 8 billion tons of coal. There is waste water with toxic metals from the mining process and there is sludge and solid wastes from the mining and from the processing. There are thousands of waste and toxic materials in ponds and landfills.

The world has been using coal, iron and steel for 200 years. Almost none of the waste has been remediated.

Mining for Industry, Energy and Transporation

Six hundreds 5 megawatt offshore wind turbines are needed to equal a single 1-gigawatt nuclear reactor. Wind has less operating load factor 30% versus 90%. The wind is not always blowing, but nuclear reactions are always happening).
Oil platform size: dimensions of the platform are 103 x 99 meters.
Wind rotor diameters are about 90-100 meters for the 4-6 MW turbines. So wind rotor diameters are about the same width as an oil platform.

Nuclear power plants built in the 1970’s used 40 metric tons of steel, and 190 cubic meters of concrete for each megawatt of average capacity.

Modern wind energy systems, with good wind conditions, take 460 metric tons of steel and 870 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt.

Modern central-station coal plants take 98 metric tons of steel and 160 cubic meters of concrete —almost double the material needed to build nuclear power plants.

Solar has a higher carbon footprint with 30-100 grams CO2e/kWh versus 17 grams/kWh for nuclear.. Fossil fuel is at about 800 grams per kWh.

A lot more steel and cement is needed for solar power to generate the same amount of energy as nuclear.

Solar and wind use up 5,000 times more land and 10 – 15 times more concrete, cement, steel, and glass, than are required than for nuclear plants. Solar panels create 200 – 300 times more hazardous waste than nuclear.

Top Iron Producing Countries

1. Australia
Usable ore: 880 million tonnes; iron content: 545 million tonnes

2. Brazil
Usable ore: 440 million tonnes; iron content: 280 million tonnes

The second-largest iron-producing country is Brazil, where usable iron ore production totaled 440 million tonnes in 2017. Vale (NYSE:VALE) achieved record production again in 2017, with 366.5 million tonnes of iron ore produced.

3. China
Usable ore: 340 million tonnes; iron content: 210 million tonnes

China is the world’s largest consumer of iron ore, despite being only the third-largest iron-producing country last year. Its production decreased slightly, dropping from 348 million tonnes in 2016 to 340 million tonnes in 2017. According to Statista, Chinese production has fallen since March of this year.

In 2017, the country’s iron ore imports increased by roughly 5 percent compared with the previous year, reaching 1.08 billion tonnes

4. India
Usable ore: 190 million tonnes; iron content: 120 million tonnes

5. Russia
Usable ore: 100 million tonnes; iron content: 60 million tonnes

6. South Africa
Usable ore: 68 million tonnes; iron content: 39 million tonnes

7. Ukraine
Usable ore: 63 million tonnes; iron content: 39 million tonnes

8. Canada
Usable ore: 47 million tonnes; iron content: 29 million tonnes

9. United States
Usable ore: 46 million tonnes; iron content: 29 million tonnes

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. In 2017, total world crude steel production was 1,691.2 million tonnes (Mt). The biggest steel producing country is currently China, which accounted for 49.2% of world steel production in 2017.

There is 150 tonnes of metallurgical coal via steel in an onshore windmill – and 250 tonnes of coal in an offshore one.

The world is using about 7.5 billion tons of coal per year.

Oilsand Tailing Ponds in Canada

The sheer size and scope of Alberta’s some 20 oil sands tailings ponds is unprecedented for any industry in the world. One of these ponds — the Mildred Lake Settling Basin — is the world’s largest dam by volume of construction material. Since oilsands mining operations started in 1967, 1.3 trillion liters of fluid tailings has accumulated in these open ponds on the Northern Alberta landscape. This is enough toxic waste to fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Unlike tailings produced from conventional hard rock mining, the solids in oilsands tailings will take centuries to settle to the bottom of the ponds. As a result, it is impossible to dewater the waste for timely reclamation without significant intervention.

Coal Ash Dumps and Sludge Dams

Duke Energy has had several dam breaches and coal ash spills in recent years.

Coal ash is a toxic waste formed from burning coal in power plants to make electricity. It is the second largest industrial waste stream in the USA,.coal ash is linked to the country’s four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke.

Hundreds of contaminated sites and spills have been documented among the 1,400+ coal ash waste dumps across the country. In 2012, the EPA reported that at least 535 coal ash ponds currently operate without a liner to prevent hazardous chemicals from reaching drinking water sources.

There have been 208 known contaminations and spills. Coal combustion waste sites have contaminated groundwater, wetlands, and rivers.

There are 82 high risk and 250 significant risk coal ash ponds. The hazard ratings refer to the potential for loss of life or damage if there is a dam failure.

Coal waste dumps contain billions of gallons of fly ash and other coal waste containing toxic heavy metals, which the EPA considers a threat to water supplies and human health. However, they are not subject to federal regulation, and there is little monitoring of their impacts on the local environment.

The EPA reclassified fly ash from waste to a reusable material in the 1980s. The agency exempted ash from regulations for hazardous waste beginning in 1993. In 2001, the EPA said it wanted to set a national standard for ponds or landfills used for the disposal of coal waste. However, the agency has yet to act, and coal ash ponds are currently subject to less regulation than landfills accepting household trash, despite the tens of thousands of pounds of toxic heavy metals stored in ash ponds across the U.S. State regulations vary, but most ash ponds are unlined and unmonitored.

42 thoughts on “Another Iron Waste Dam Collapses in Brazil”

  1. Millions of people visiting World Cup didn’t look disappointed to me. As for Putin, he is closer to a true liberal than people calling themselves liberals in the West. This mantra about freedom and religion around it is getting old.

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  2. Now you are just making stuff up to fill your fantasy and to poorly support your weird racist position. If anyone were to postulate that Africa was sparsely populated there is no scientific way to prove that theory, which is all that you are doing – speculating.

    Is that an excuse btw???

    The Nile valley in and of itself had more population than all of the Artic, Antartica, and Gobi desert combined by orders of magnitude. Before the iron age the whole Sahara region was green. You are incredibly lacking in knowledge yet you keep spewing out junk nonsense, the type of person that can not admit when they are totally, completely wrong. Perhaps you need a confirmation bias for your thinking.https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-really-turned-sahara-desert-green-oasis-wasteland-180962668/

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  3. Prior to the use of iron tools the population density of Africa was less than that of the Gobi desert and the frozen waste land of the North.
    The Gobi and the Frozen North are paradise compared to the Sahara and the Namibia deserts. Until the vast jungle of Africa was cleared only the pygmies lived there and at very low population density. Weird racism.

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  4. Sure it does, Africa is a paradise compared to them, IT IS more livable by far, not sure why you are arguing against the self evident reality of population density. Your original point is invalid, and so is it’s correspondingly false deduction.

    Weird reverse racism.

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  5. More than enough places that are hell other than Africa. Stating that there are other places does not make Africa more livable.

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  6. Siberia??? Gobi desert??? Where exactly is the paradise???

    Absence of statements of ‘facts’ does indeed make your comments really f’d up weird reverse racism.

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  7. What about healthcare savings too? I did this blog post just over a year ago with the average 2014 rate, for cutting coal-fired generation, was at $0.33/kWh; it would now be $0.35/kWh. In a year that would save $280 billion if it displaced coal-fired generation, and even for gas it would be $13 billion.

    Can anybody think why fossil-fuelled generation doesn’t get ‘punished’ to this tune, to help low-carbon generation?

    https://prismsuk.blogspot.com/2018/01/cost-of-nuclear-power-accidents-versus.html

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  8. I do agree with you that the Arctic Circle and Antartica are tough places to live. But both region has very few people so they don’t really count in the comparison I was making. Europe and Asia are paradises compared to Africa. Until Africans started using iron tools most of Africa was a jungle unsuitable for herding or farming. Statement of facts should never be considered weird reverse racism.

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  9. Nuclear is the solution for intellectually lazy people IMO. Because it’s perfect in every way except for the one that actually matters – cost. Intellectually lazy people say “perfect – that’s only one problem to fix!”. That’s a false equivalence – not all problems are as easy to fix as others.

    The economics of nuclear are bad. Even in China they require feed in tariffs to compete with coal – while wind and solar are slated to not need any in China starting next year.

    And I’m not sure why you think you have to decentralize the grid for urban regions? Most nuclear power plants are located 80 miles away from the consumer of the energy anyways.

    One hectare gets you about 1MW nameplate. A hectare of of land (roughly 2.5 acres) only runs about $30,000. So $0.03 per watt for land.

    Here’s 18 acres in Los Banos CA near Highway 5 (80 miles from Bay Area) for $40,000
    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9999-I-5-Los-Banos-CA-93635/2103532958_zpid/ So 1/6 the price for this land. Half a cent per watt.

    Even if you insisted on building within the city limits (at the edge land) of Bay Area cities you’re at $120,00 per acre. So 10x that (300k per hectare) at $0.30 per nameplate watt. Not a showstopper even at that price.

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  10. Just going by the numbers and reality.

    I would consider the Artic Circle to be an infinitely more tough place to survive. Conversely the lack of numbers prove that reality as well. A whole continent that is unable to naturally support one person. THAT still is a tough place to survive. Live in Africa for twenty years, then live in Antartica for 20 years to experimentally verify that life is so, so, so tough in Africa.

    No disrespect, but I do not see any logic in anything previously stated, but appears to be a kind of a weird reverse racism.

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  11. May have been once, but not now.

    The Africans always had a great capacity for having children since Africa was and still is a tough place to survive.

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  12. What I’m really looking for here is your estimate on what overnight nuke capital costs would be in the absence of unnecessary regulatory and legal impediments, and with construction occurring at scale.

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  13. The amount of lives saved is highly speculative.

    A lot of areas have an air pollution limit – so in many cases the nuclear led to vastly less actual improvement in actually experienced air quality, because the authorities simply eased up on everything else. So in that case it saved money for others (say by potentially having automobiles with less strict emissions equipment), and the owners of the nuclear power plants received no personal benefit for that public good made.

    Also, lives saved going forward isn’t as impressive when compared to a modern supercritical coal plant with all emissions equipment running (like they built in Japan or are building in Egypt). They’re no worse than natural gas plants (except with slightly worse thermodynamic efficiency) for air quality. Deaths per TWh are about 6 as opposed to the statement “The deaths from coal are about 20-100 deaths per Terawatt hour.” Sure, for a very old coal plant with antiquated or no emissions equipment.

    The statement “The solar on my roof that generates power from 10am to 4pm on sunny days sends power to the grid and burns off as heat at the nearest distribution node.” shows an ignorance of how a distribution transformer works. That is not what happens, the other 40 homes on your transformer use the power sent back to the grid, and ONLY if all solar output of those 40 homes exceed usage does that happen. But even in that case, the power company would just install a step-up transformer.

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  14. A steam rankine turbine island run on magic still costs $1200/kW. Put in redundancy and safety you’d want in nuclear, that is $2000/kw just for the turbine island.

    And no, you can’t just reduce the cost on that part of a power plant easily. Wright scaling (the learning curve) reduces costs 22% when you double the amount built. That’s the number built ever. So once you build 2x the amount of rankine steam turbine islands the world has ever currently ever seen, the price drops 22%.

    And its actually harder for nuclear to use improved high temperature technologies like supercritical rankine or supercritical CO2 because the competitors can actually handle the higher temperatures more easily from an engineering design perspective.

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  15. So here are some questions:

    1) If all of the political FUD surrounding nuclear were to suddenly evaporate, and we had a government policy that was willing to build out as much nuclear as possible, so that economies of scale predominated, what would the overnight capital cost of a Gen III+ nuke (e.g. AP-1000, VVER-1200, or EPR) be?

    Note that I’m not looking for a “no regulation” cost. Instead, I’m looking for a reformed, optimized regulatory cost, where things are carefully overseen, but the ninety different layers of hand-wringing that have been added over the years are examined and collapsed to employ all the lessons learned, with none of the political nonsense. In other words, assume that the NIMBYs and the BANANAs have been de-fanged, but that we’re not returning to the wild west.

    Could we get to $1000/kW?

    2) What would the time from application submission to a plant going online be?

    Could we get to 3 years?

    3) In the same regulatory/political environment as above, how soon could we see a deployable Gen IV design (pick your favorite)?

    Could we get there in 10 years?

    4) What would the overnight cost and time to deploy be for your favorite Gen IV design?

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  16. That’s a problem with trying to boil this environmental health effect stuff down into numbers; we always reach for the LNT-style statistics and there is no alternative that makes more sense. Suffocating yourself with car exhaust in the garage is acute; kills you, but you can still live to be 80 in (pick your) Mexico City/Lagos/Manila/Beijing (air pollution)… I understand the desire to quantify the harm from air pollution, but it cannot be done; it simply doesn’t work the way of the math (x deaths for y particulates). Not denying that it makes people sick – heavens no, but the math it is utter garbage and there is no substitute. The math isn’t even good for talking point – it just confuses.

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  17. Because they don’t deliver capacity all the time, the things backing PV and wind have to be built out to provide the same capacity (power) as the renewables themselves. That’s because, when you get some combination of cloudy and calm weather that’s 2- or 3-sigma away from the mean, you can lose ~100% of your renewable capacity. Even if it’s for a couple of hours, your backing capacity has to handle the whole load.

    The nice thing about gas peakers is that their generation (energy, not power) is limited by how much gas you can deliver to them, which is effectively infinite. But the downside is that the capital costs of the capacity (power) needed are quite high.

    Conversely, batteries, because they’re easy to distribute, can meet the capacity requirements pretty easily. But their cost per generation is high.

    Pumped hydro and compressed air have both problems: Their capacity is limited, because turbines are expensive per capacity, and generation is limited by the size or your reservoir or air compression space.

    I’ve been fooling with a hypothetical all-renewable grid, with enough battery storage to handle an outage. The key metric here is how many joules of storage per watt of renewable capacity you need here. Based on recent Lazard numbers for wind and Li-ion batteries, I get the following LCOEs:

    J/W LCOE
    4  $57.75
    8  $105.37
    10  $137.15
    12 $177.00
    16 $297.10

    Figuring out what your joules/watt value is is crucial.

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  18. “The deaths from coal are about 20-100 deaths per Terawatt hour.”

    Brian, I wish you’d re-work this statistic into either “years of potential life lost” (YPLL) or “disability-adjusted life years” (DALY). The problem with doing what you’re doing, in death rates, is that it tells us nothing about the nature of the people dying. If somebody with COPD from other causes (e.g. smoking) dies three months earlier from the consequences of coal pollution, that’s not nearly as big a deal as if a 4-month-old baby does. The former generates 0.25 YPLLs, while the latter generates 80 YPLLs or so.

    If you can transform the raw death rate (and I’m not sure how that number is derived, BTW), into YPLLs, then divide by 80, you can get a much more accurate accounting of how many full-term lives are lost.

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  19. Putin on a horse was funny. Despot? Ok, but historically we (USA) like some despots, like Marcos and even Saddam for a decade or so, now the crown prince of SA. We retired Marcos in Hawaii FFS. I don’t care for Putin like I dont care for Dick Cheney. We’ve had CIA chief for POTUS (Bush Sr.), Putin ex KGB. Evidently ‘intelligence services experience’ is a decent background for leaders. If Russian chess nerds have poor hygiene, I’m not surprised. Lots of incels do. I do have a feeling, as a nuclear engineer, that I would have a profoundly more productive career if I spoke Russian or Mandarin. Good thing that I’ve all but given up on the idealistic pursuit of being a part of ‘something’ as an engineer in the USA. This year, I will become one of the many ‘rent seekers’ in the stagnant first world. I am literally investing in rental property. Maybe I’ll eventually be able to walk away from this career choice. Democracy killed my industry; can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Become a rent seeker. That’s the mature plan.

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  20. People may not realise how rapidly energy demand is growing. Currently most of it is in Asia, India and china especially. These two countries have put a lot of investment into renewables. But India still has over 100 million people who live without electricity.
    I do not think renewables will keep up with growing demand. Statistics show we still have increased fossil fuel are predicted for another 30 years. Renewables are not enough. I have high hopes for next generation nuclear power development. Radically improving safety, and reducing waste and cost. There are numerous next generation reactors being developed. Hopefully some will meet expectations.

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  21. What you are talking about is cultural, nothing to do with nature.

    Guns
    being loud…motorcycles, boom cars, explosives
    Being careless
    Being reckless
    Being crude/inconsiderate
    Being forceful
    Being violent
    Binging (alcohol, food, other appetites)

    None of that is biologic to adult male humans.

    The out of control stuff is not a male thing, it is a damaged/underdeveloped/childish brain thing. A moron thing.

    Competitive? Sure.
    Exploring physical limits? Sure.
    Interest in the opposite sex? Well duh!

    But I would add things that do not fit culture’s idea of masculinity but are more male:

    Being ingenious
    Being strategic
    Being funny
    Being mathematical
    Being precise with movement (racing, video games, aiming, juggling, magic, martial arts, surgery, flying)
    Being objective…big picture…abstract
    Being profound (philosophy, religion, poetry)

    You haven’t had to play chess with these people who are so “masculine” that they don’t believe in deodorant. “Pah! That is perfume!” They smell so awful, my eyes burn.

    Putan topless on a horse? Very female, if you ask me.

    Nah, that version of masculinity you can keep.

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  22. Just because it’s poor you say I’d be disappointed. I’m sure I would have been quite pleased with the quality of higher education there. I’m not someone that has pet causes, or gets riled up by perceived injustice. For instance: Ukraine =Russian Monroe Doctrine. The old ways of injustice are tried and true tools for assimilation and nation building. I’ve visited many countries, some of them quite poor. I would like to visit Moscow someday. Shoot, I’d like to visit Tehran, but I’m not that stupid. Sorry if I don’t trust my country’s character assessments of other nations. I look at the arrangement with Saudi Arabia and it deflates much of US foreign policy ambassadors of global freedom BS. The Russian counterbalance is healthy for humanity.

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  23. Of course they piss off both left and right because Putin is no freedom lover, he is a despot. Well, I recommend to visit Russia. I´m sure you would be disappointed.

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  24. Gas is just getting started, no?

    Invisible hand likes to keep people poor buying expensive electricity? Maybe. The greens are invisible hand minions? Maybe. Nice theory.

    Solar, wind, and storage will make energy scarce, expensive and keep people poor. Keeps people from opening energy intensive businesses, industry.

    My undergrad scholarship was from an industrialist who introduced improved induction furnaces for metallurgy. Henry Rowan, founder of Inductotherm. The thought of his furnaces running PV or wind power…. what a joke.

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  25. The renewability of ‘renewables’ is an unproven hypothesis, like so much of Green ideology. What could go wrong? Google “new Little Ice Age”.

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  26. The free market already kicked coal and nukes out. Now it’s kicking out natural gas.

    The invisible hand likes renewable energy, it doesn’t care about your feelings or what you ‘think’ is right.

    Oh dang, I’m starting to sound like a conservative.

    The only thing keeping anything but renewables online is the legislatosaurus and you know exactly what that is.

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  27. Is not masculinity , is respect for Science, for hard data results based in sound experiments and results.

    we have the “ nuclear is evil” and millions of histeric zombies repeating “ three mile island”.

    new technologies bases in natural uranium, nuclear batteries etc. are environmentally sound and cheaper and cleaner but …the zombies are there and our politicians has no guts.

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  28. Most of the justifying logic makes little sense when not addressed to how economic decisions are actually made and by who. In that world capital cost, ROR, CF, DCF, payback period, etc are the ballgame, not CO2 or theoretical lives, or build time, or efficiency, or risk factors alone.

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  29. Given we accept Nuclear power has saved about 3 to 4 million lives, that would be 3.5E6lives/95000TWh or 0.037 lives/GWh. 
    Small Investor economics may be more significant than most alternate motives. For instance, at the 100GWh investment level does cheap cost of money(say 3%/yr Renewable vs say 7%/Yr Nuclear) beat theoretical lives saved 100GWh x 0.037 = 3.7 Theoretical lives saved vs coal and much less vs Wind or solar? Who the investor is and what their cost of money is matters greatly.

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  30. Actually sir Shigster, I’d say that the “near-perfect” renewable approach consists of 

    • PV & Wind … backed by
    • Hydro & Nuclear … backed by
    • Natural Gas “toppers”

    Possibly everything backed by…

    • Reverse (or air-in-salt-mine) pumping for kinetic energy storage.

    Thing is, I’ve got NO PROBLEM at all with deploying PV & Wind like the dickens. If we — the peeps doing it — are right-minded about utilizing our available “moving mass” storage opportunities IN ADDITION TO having a solid backdrop of nuclear and hydroelectric resources that can be spinning continuously, well … then that’s good. 

    If we also recognize that there are modestly frequent, modest excursions of overly high electric energy use, then having natural gas toppers to enhance the drain-down of kinetic stored energy isn’t a bad idea.  A good one. 

    And lastly, that “kinetic” energy storage (compressed air, uplifted water, even “concrete freight trains”…) is available to most countries, but not all of them.  So, the challenge is to find a way to do it that is “mostly” renewable.  

    As always.
    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

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  31. If I install more MW of renewable this year than last year then it is exponential growth. And that is what is going on. And of course exponential growth will cease when it reaches near 100%.

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  32. You do know that there is no “intermittent” issue because power system are build to happen failure of generation and transmission components. Generators trip and so do transmission lines.

    There is energy stored in the system itself. When a unit fails, voltage will start falling. The system operators or the system itself will increase the output of power plants to restore the balance. If there isn’t enough warm reserve then they will bring GT online. And maybe even start up a couple of cold units. You may have a brown out for a short while. But the system rarely fails. Once every twenty years or so.

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  33. It isn’t one or the other. It isn’t a binary choice. It isn’t 100% nuclear against 100% renewable.

    The reality is that nuclear power plants in the US will take 10 to 20 years to build at a cost of about $10 billion per 1GW. And there is a lot of head wind against it so it ain’t going to happen. A carbon tax would help make the nuclear power plant more competitive against fossil fuel power plant but most of the pro nuclear people are also anti-renewable so they are against carbon tax.

    Renewable in the US still have a lot of room to expand before reliability becomes a real issue. Renewable are about 17% now. It can expand to about 50% before storage and reliability becomes an issue. We got about another 10 years of renewable built out. Then we may have to decide if we will build nuclear to replace natural gas power plants or overbuild wind towers.

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  34. Time of installation is king now. Solar pv and batteries are the speed champions.

    We wouldn’t really be talking about this if you could build a nuclear power plant in 18 months, but you cannot.

    Renewable energy will save billions of lives.

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  35. These countries I have mentioned and others don’t have much of hydro plants chemical factories or even central water facilities. 20% use of renewable now include use of biomass prevalent in the underdeveloped world.

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  36. Renewables are not growing exponentially anywhere where they produce more than a few percent of just the electricity of a country, let alone total energy. Just as bacteria grow enthusiastically in a jar, but are competed down to only a fraction of the mix in the real world, so solar and wind thrive under must-take renewable quotas and feed-in tariffs, until they get big enough to actually make a difference. At that point their seasonal, diurnal, and regional unavailability make them a drag on the economy.
    ‘..what is 20% now, will be 50% in a couple of decades..’ The only country where wind or solar has got to 20% is Denmark, which in terms of the electrical grid is not even a unified country – half of it is more closely linked to Germany ( 20 times bigger ) and half to Norway and Sweden ( 10 times bigger ), than the two halves are linked to each other. German figures for renewables include ‘biomass’, which is limited in scope, and nearly as dirty as gas.
    Countries with nuclear power have undergone war and civil strife in the past – Yugoslavia, Ukraine, South Africa. There is no evidence that military or terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities would cause any more deaths or suffering than, for example, those on hydro dams, water supplies, or chemical factories. Plenty of countries benefit from nuclear power without having their own enrichment plants, and noone has ever made a bomb without either those, or much higher grade plutonium than you get from a power reactor.

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  37. Nuclear is even less attainable than renewables. Yes, there are several countries that can handle well nuclear power with current technology but if nuclear power will become the standard every country will need to have the right to use it, and I mean every country, I am not talking anymore about Iran and N Korea, but countries like Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan Yemen and Venezuela. I don’t need to explain what is the potential of a disaster is here do I? So I say keep the the status Quo with Nuclear till the much safer molten salt reactors emerge commercially, and until than push a bit harder on renewables, they are still growing exponentially, people do not understand enough the miracle of exponentiallity, what is 20% now, will be 50% in a couple of decades… continue o course with increasing energy efficiency… on top of that map the undoubtedly safe geoengineering methods and start implementing them, I would think that reforestation comes first here, moving from a deficit of 4 billions of trees a year to adding 2 billion trees can make a huge difference and it is easier than it sounds since there are trillions of trees in this planet, it is more about forest management than tree planting. There are other potentially safe geo engineering methods of course but I have other things to do than write here.

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