Three years ago this weekend, during a rigorous run up a steep hill with a fit son, I started having symptoms of a condition presaging a stroke. Time wasted = brain lost. The dark spots are dead brain tissue. Make sure you know the signs: http://stroke.nih.gov My lucky story: http://j.mp/dotstroke I discussed my learning curve with Carol Alt on “A Healthy You.” One good result of this midlife jolt was that it prompted me to take my songwriting side seriously.
Key point in new @yaleclimatecomm paper on US climate activism: “The threat posed by climate change should continue to be a component of climate change messaging, but should be accompanied – and perhaps even preceded – by messages on effective actions individuals can take.”
Odds up to 70% for El Niño developing this year, says @NOAA (June 5).
D. Victor on @atomicrod question: Does wind/solar growth in last 5 yrs exceed loss from nuclear shutdowns? >
I haven’t done the numbers independently, but here’s a rough calculation:
The short answer: the rise in non-hydro renewables has been about 3x the lost output from the 6 large nuclear plants that have recently announced shutdowns.
These reactors have announced shutdowns: Crystal River (unit 3), Kewaunee (one unit), Oyster Creek (one unit), San Onofre (units 2&3) and Vermont Yankee (one unit). They add up to 4.2GW of capacity. Predicting just how much power they would deliver is tricky, but if you assume a capacity factor for nukes of 90% (a number that has varied from 86.4% to 91.8% in the last 7 years) then that’s 33.9 thousand gigawatt hours per year of lost power output. In the real world the capacity factor for these plants might have been a bit lower, but on the other hand had these units not run into trouble during major overhauls then they might have actually seen higher output—Crystal River, for example, shut due to containment damage during construction that would have uprated the plant by 20%. So treat my 90% of rated capacity as an illustrative magnitude, not the exact gospel truth of exact power output that will be lost. Other caveats include that I haven’t carefully checked net and gross outputs of each of these closed plants—I pulled the data from NEI and EIA. But to put this into context, this lost output from these units is around 4% of US nuclear output in 2012.
From 2007 to 2012 (five years) non-hydro renewables have risen from 105 to 218 thousand gigawatt hours—a net increase in output of 113 thousand gigawatt hours per year. Nearly all of that rise has been wind (105 thousand gigawatt hours). People seem particularly excited about solar—witness a column by Paul Krugman presaging the new CAA rules that has a special shout out to solar—but wind is doing essentially all the work right now.
Solar PV and Solar Thermal together are 4.3 thousand gigawatt hours in 2012, which is a grand total of 0.11% of US net electricity generation. Hardly a revolution—yet.
Wind is 3.5% of US net power generation in 2012, up from just 0.8% in 2007. It has exploded. Whether that is sustainable remains to be seen. I worry a lot about the sustainability of the subsidy regime and grid operations with such large amounts of variable and intermittent supply, but that’s another topic.
I use 2012 data above because that’s the latest data set from EIA—where possible, I have relied on EIA data. See table 3.1.A in particular of the Electricity annual along with table 3.1.B
In @newyorker, @nijhuism points to studies showing story beats data in conveying climate change calamity. But African example problematic. Enormous implicit variability and clashing models mean local narratives of change/hardship are not valid reflection of greenhouse-driven climate change. See here, here and here. Sub-Saharan Africa response to greenhouse forcing still unclear:
(see @dotearth post)
#DivestHarvard blockades president’s office over fossil fuel investments. I like the divestment discussion because of the way it forces new examinations of terms - what is scope of a board’s “fiduciary responsibility” if your definition of “endowment” goes beyond stocks/bonds/ real estate…? A discussion of this here.