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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 02:38 PM

Backfilling Nuclear Shutdowns With Efficiency And Renewables In Japan, Germany And California?

Backfilling Nuclear Shutdowns With Efficiency And Renewables In Japan, Germany And California?
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 29, 2012 at 10:41 am
by James Newcomb, via the Rocky Mountain Institute

Electric utilities and policymakers in Japan and Germany have been scrambling for months to find ways to compensate for nuclear power plants shut down in the aftermath of Fukushima.

In both instances, fossil fuels are part of the stopgap solution to offset the declines in nuclear generation in the short term, but longer-term energy policies are shifting definitively toward efficiency and renewables. Now, the unexpected and indefinite shutdown of both units at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California has raised questions about California’s short-term electricity supply options and long-term contingency plans.

Not surprisingly, efficiency, demand response, and renewables could play a key role in helping to diversify and mitigate risks for Southern California’s electricity supply future. The solutions being pioneered in these three markets, while driven by different circumstances, all take advantage new smart grid technologies to manage and integrate distributed resources.

In Japan, only one of the 54 commercial nuclear reactors that supplied 30 percent of the nation’s electric power prior to the Fukushima disaster is currently operating. It, too, is scheduled to shut down for scheduled maintenance on May 5, leaving the country with no power supplies from nuclear plants for the first time in more than four decades....


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/04/29/470589/backfilling-nuclear-shutdowns-with-efficiency-and-renewables-in-japan-germany-and-california/


See also: Germany: Fighting Climate Change And Phasing Out Nuclear Power Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin
http://www.democraticunderground.com/112713310

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Reply Backfilling Nuclear Shutdowns With Efficiency And Renewables In Japan, Germany And California? (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
madokie Apr 2012 #1
2on2u Apr 2012 #2
kristopher Apr 2012 #3
2on2u Apr 2012 #4
kristopher Apr 2012 #5
2on2u Apr 2012 #6
kristopher Apr 2012 #7

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 02:58 PM

1. Efficiency will go a long ways in making up the difference

For instance we just got home from picking up some plants and seeds for the garden and while we were out it starting raining and here it is in the middle of the day and the street lights are on. Why don't they have a clock in them that won't let them come on during daylight hours. They're not doing anyone except the power companies any good by coming on in the day. Well I guess the bulb manufacturers are getting their cut too. I'm reminded of that little piece of the waste problem and when I think about it that is pretty much the way it is in all the towns and cities around these parts. They use 1000 watt bulbs in most of those lights. Just think of the wasted energy.

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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 02:58 PM

2. My prediction: Plugpower, Ballard, and Fuel Cell Energy

 

are poised to go full steam ahead. Megawatt fuel cell facilities will be rolled out like doughnuts soon enough. Fuel perchance could be supplied by process such as the ones employed by Rentech. This was the straw that broke the back of resistance and complacency. Sad that it took this to get the ball rolling.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 03:11 PM

3. Where, specifically, do you see a role for fuel cells?

And how is that role one which is carbon free?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 03:18 PM

4. I see a role for distributed generation which is far more

 

efficient than other methods of utilising our precious fuels. Also I see powerplants that can be almost 85% efficient when fuel cells and turbines work together.


http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/benefits-fuel-cell-technology.php
Efficiency: Facilities managers are drawn to DFC fuel cell power plants primarily due to their highly efficient use of natural gas and inherent Low Heating Value (LHV) efficiency. DFC's offer clear efficiency advantages in comparison to other forms of distributed power generation. DFC power plants are 47% efficient in the generation of electrical power and, depending on the application, up to 90% efficient overall in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) applications when the byproduct heat is used. Typical fossil fuel-powered plants operate at about 35% electrical power generation efficiency.

Environmental Impact: Amid the increasing energy demand and cost, and growing public awareness for energy conservation, fuel cell power plants are becoming the choice for on-site power. With low emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter as well as dramatically lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), fuel cell power plants qualify under several environmental certifications established by the government, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and Renewable Energy Standards (RES). DFC power plants also have been designated as "Ultra-Clean" by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and exceed all 2007 CARB standards. FuelCell Energy's power plants eliminate emissions generated by fossil-fuel-based backup generators.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 03:48 PM

5. I wasn't asking for a sales brochure

I'm well acquainted with their benefits (and their limitations), so the sales pitch isn't really helpful to the discussion in the thread without knowing specifically where and how you see these being rolled out as you wrote in post #2. What role in the energy system do you see them filling that couldn't be done with a different, more cost effective, lower-carbon-footprint approach?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 04:04 PM

6. I did not know that they had a large carbon footprint.

 

I'll have to do some more research, meanwhile the thousands of installed units continue to produce much cleaner power than coal fired plants at a much higher efficiency.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 04:26 PM

7. They don't necessarily.

Fuel cells are not a source of energy, they are a device to recover stored energy from the chemical bond between two hydrogen atoms in the H2 molecule.

Where that energy comes from is what determines their carbon footprint.

As a system of storage from clean energy sources hydrogen isn't particularly efficient; meaning that, in general, it requires the building of more renewable infrastructure than other storage alternatives.

There are areas where HFCs are poised to make a significant contribution, however, the near horizon application is probably going to be more related to improvements in heavy transportation efficiency where the fuel input will not be carbon free or carbon neutral. Improving efficiency of a carbon fuel cycle helps slow the rate of growth in CO2 concentrations, but we really need to be aiming for more in the bigger picture.



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