EPA spokeswonk tries to sell Obama’s power plan with nirvana style graphics

ObamaPower_plan_videoWow, this EPA guy (Joseph Goffman, EPA Associate Assistant Administrator & Senior Counsel) thinks that renewables are going to make up 30% of the power grid by 2030. That may be, but the big hidden gotcha in that is that 30% is not power on demand. It is at the whims of wind and clouds. By replacing that much of the power grid with transient energy, look for brown-outs and black-outs in our future. What happens in a major heat wave (which they predict will be more frequent) and the wind does not blow? Watch the video:

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/embed/AcNTGX_d8mY

See also this report:  Renewable Energy Poses Security Risk, New Paper Warns

The reality today:

fig_if7-1[1]

Source: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/elec_proj.cfm

 

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128 thoughts on “EPA spokeswonk tries to sell Obama’s power plan with nirvana style graphics

  1. I see a market developing for small reliable gensets for household and industrial use. The prototype is already out there as ‘back up’ emergency generators.

  2. It’s not the hot weather that people need worry about – it is the cold. In UK thousands die in energy poverty when it gets cold (5000 deaths in March 2013 alone). If next winter in the USA is as bad as last winter with the fuel costs as they are there will be deaths here too. By 2030 there will be mass migration to the southern states, being hot unable to afford air conditioning is uncomfortable, being cold unable to afford heating is deadly.

    Brought to you courtesy of EPA and in UK DECC. But do not expect EPA to be disturbed by people dying of cold DECC is not at all concerned in the UK.

  3. The only way that renewables could make up 30% of the power grid by 2030 is if Mr. Obama’s incresingly terrible policies are not severely reformed or tossed falt out and the American economy is shrunk to a small fraction of it present size.

  4. I laughed at the end of Cosmos, they showed an idyllic city with plants on every level and green spaces everywhere. Looked beautiful, but I thought; “shouldn’t they be showing Detroit?”

  5. As I read on another website “If a foreign nation had launched an attack on America to destroy its coal-fired plants, to shut down its coal mines, and to thwart its ability to drill for oil and natural gas, we would be at war with it” – Alan Caruba

    Obama really stands for One Big Ass Mistake America

  6. The faces and the graphics may change, but this is just another example of transferring California enviro policy to the rest of the country to keep CA at least half way competitive. That is always part of the their plans by the way.

  7. haha…remember hanging out with radicals in the 70′s and thinking how crazy they were to imagine that the US could be taken down. Not so crazy after all…

  8. How many natural gas shortages where there this last winter? Wont using more natural gas for electricity generation make for more winter shortages?

  9. Since Nat Gas is the cheapest type of peak producing plant, those are the backup generators that will be built.

    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will SKYROCKET!

  10. wws says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Since Nat Gas is the cheapest type of peak producing plant, those are the backup generators that will be built.

    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will SKYROCKET!

    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will necessarily SKYROCKET!

  11. Commenters suggesting Nat Gas prices will skyrocket don’t understand how much resource is sitting out there waiting to be developed, currently not being developed due to lack of demand constraint. Prices might rise slightly but we have huge resources to satisfy power gen if coal is put out of business.
    Message : be long on Nat Gas & Nat gas producers

  12. It is a shame that the American people will only wake up when they see their utility bills go through the roof. Everything else that the need to buy in order to survive will also go up in prices, like food and the cloths they put on there back. All because of higher energy costs across the board. Only then will this country wake up to the fraudsters that are controlling more & more of our lives. But that doesn’t mean that good people should stay quiet on these subjects. Thank you Anthony for having a place like WUWT so real & honest debate is encouraged so that we can get closer to the truth about the climate on this beautiful planet that we all come home.

  13. Lets see we have NERC and we have FERC.

    Where exactly did the EPA get this new found expertise in power generation? I’ve worked in the power industry and it seems like very single bureaucrat. Looking at this guys bio he is a fricking lawyer. He hasn’t taken a single electrical engineer class in his life.

  14. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:10 am
    “Renewables are no longer unreliable.

    Nuts!
    The press release starts: “Offshore wind could . . . ”
    Reminds me of this:
    How much wood
    would a woodchuck chuck,
    if a woodchuck
    could chuck wood?

    As much wood
    As a woodchuck would,
    if a woodchuck
    could chuck wood.

  15. So, from Roger Sewell’s link, it claims “.. 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours…”

    Several hours!! I suppose it’s a start. Roger, come back with another link when they’ve multiplied the storage life by 24.

  16. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:10 am
    Renewables are no longer unreliable. Offshore pumped storage hydro provides unlimited energy storage to be released on demand. From MIT.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Seriously Roger? The last thread you pumped this idea on it got shredded so badly that I actually felt embarrassed for you as your efforts to defend it became increasingly ludicrous. It isn’t feasible from either a capex or an opex perspective. If it is, by all means, stop hyping it. Just invest all of your money in it along with as many like minded souls as you can talk into it, and build it. If you’re right, you’ll make a fortune, and those of us who have pointed out the glaring flaws in the plan will look like complete fools.

    So go for it Roger. Stop hyping it and start building it. Just do it with YOUR money, not the tax payers’. Put you money where your mouth is Roger. I dare you. I double dare you. C’mon. Make a fool of me.

  17. Anyone who uses the words “Unlimited energy” in the context of human built systems is either a loon or a liar.

  18. Quinx says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:44 am
    It’s a tax.
    ============================
    Unless Chief Justice Roberts decides to call it something else.

  19. Roger Sowell – Idiot!
    Are you too addled to understand that renewables must be backed by ‘always on’ 24/7 power?

  20. Natgas is only relatively cheap and abundant. Relative to renewables and thanks to coal. Get rid of coal and they won’t even be able to mine enough sand to frack enough. (With a little help from their environmental friends.) Not to mention that the enviro movement will have to accommodate the shock of erecting 100 times the wind fields we have now.

    If the EPA were an industry association and not a government agency, the SEC would be investigating them for fraudulent advertising.

  21. Remember with election due soon , if the republicans get in its likely one thing getting warm will be the feet of EPA who they have no love for at all.
    In all it’s a ‘grand statesmen like gesture ‘ which translates into ?
    First rule of politics , get elected , second rule of politics stay elected , if these ideas are seen to break those rules they will never come to pass.

  22. Last winter, many Canadian provinces were living through power outages and rotating power outages. On Prince Edward Island, the fluid in the windmills froze so people had to live with rotating black outs in -30 C temperatures. The only thing the people can do is leave for a warmer climate.

  23. There are not enough savings at present in the U.S. itself to move 30% of consumed power to renewables in 16 years. I once figured that getting to 20% in a 12 year span would take all of U.S. savings, leaving not a dime for infrastructure of other sorts. There may be enough savings in Asia to do so if we sell them assets in return. Once they see what we are doing with the money they may balk at buying our assets. I know I would.

  24. So much anger over energy storage offshore!

    If you are too stupid to understand the MIT spheres, as it appears you are, then I cannot help you naysayers.

    It is a well-known and simple solution to grid-scale storage, as much as one wants. Simply using larger spheres, or more spheres, provides any duration one requires.

    It uses abundant materials, concrete and steel. It hides out of sight so the dumbasses who bitch about scenery spoilage can shut the heck up. It can use offshore wind, but need not. It can also store energy from fossil fuel plants onshore, so they do not require throttling back at night. The spheres can be located in various water depths, with power production rated accordingly. There is no pollution. The end result is lower electricity prices.

    All of this is painfully obvious, unless one is terminally stuck on stupid.

    I can advise you to Hide and Watch. Let the engineers save the day, as always.

  25. @Roger Sowell,
    Renewables are no longer unreliable.

    Roger, I loose all respect for you when you write such uselessness.
    You can have reliable renewables.
    You can have affordable renewables.
    You cannot have both!

    Furthermore, I challenge you to show we can have reliable renewables at the quantity our society demands regardless of price in the span of a generation.

    This is akin to the old saw,
    You can have it a) cheap, b) fast, c)good — Pick any two.
    When it comes to government mandates, you are lucky if you get one out of three.

    In the case at hand, what we seek is
    a) Cheep, b) Fast, c) Good, d) Plentiful.
    That is a tall order. Except we already have it — coal fired electricity.
    To replace what we have with a pipe dream is a trillion dollar folly.

  26. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I would recommend you peruse this table

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1

    Pay particular attention to the column for Hydroelectric Pumped Storage. You will perhaps notice that for every year for the last decade its contribution been a negative number. I haven’t looked it up but I doubt that, at the time those systems were being proposed to be built, the engineers promoting them were projecting that that would be the case.

  27. Roger,
    Exactly how long do you think it will be before the enviro-weenies object to littering the continental shelf with these spheres?

    If it takes about 1000 (per the article) capitol dome sized spheres coupled to about 1000 windmills above the surface to equal a single nuke plant, exactly why is that anywhere near a good trade off in either cost, or in utilization of surface area?

    If the estimated cost per sphere is $12 Million (again, per the article), then the array of 1000 is $12 Billion – almost double the cost of the compared-to nuke plant, and not counting the costs of the windmill farm to source power to it.

    I can see several other weaknesses to the idea from the get-go, so other than it being a novel approach I don’t think this is anything other than some grad student’s thesis without a full cost-benefit analysis attached.

  28. Stephen Rasey,

    You can also Hide and Watch.

    I have nothing but pity for those too stupid to understand the MIT spheres.

    Hoover Dam was too expensive in its day. Long transmission lines across a fierce desert were required. Today people are happy to enjoy the low-cost power from it.

    Hoover Dam suffers from periods of drought. MIT spheres are immune to drought.

    Hide and Watch.

  29. I doubt that there are enough suitable locations for wind generation that, even at 100% density and 100% capacity, would provide 30% of our energy needs.

    Suitable building sites would be a limiting constraint. Has anyone considered this?

  30. Roger Sowell;
    I have nothing but pity for those too stupid to understand the MIT spheres.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sir,
    Put your damn money where your damn mouth is or STFU.

  31. Dave Wendt,

    I am thoroughly familiar with pumped storage hydro; are you?

    PSH loses, on average, 20 percent of the energy input. It returns 80 percent when and as needed. Some PSH systems do a bit better, some do worse.

  32. For Mark Wagner,

    The US NREL states that onshore wind has 12,000 GW at 100 meters. Offshore within 50 miles of shore has another 4,150 GW.

    See Wind Resource Assessment and Characterization. at energy.gov

    Total installed US electrical generation of all forms is roughly 1,000 GW.

    Plenty of wind, forever, with storage to make it reliable.

  33. My goodness! Such acrimony! I was rather intrigued by the MIT press release that Roger Sowell linked to. Using large undersea spheres with pumps and turbines to store electrical energy is a neat idea: pump water out, then let the water flow in to drive turbines. But the proof, as with everything, will be in the pudding. What are the net energy benefits after the costs of running and maintaining the pumps and turbines (not counting capital expenses)? How easy will it be to maintain this equipment in a deep salt-water environment? By all means, let the MIT project leader experiment with them, build a prototype, and then see how it works.

    But before pairing it with wind and solar facilities, let’s get rid of the federal government subsidies for those. Then let private industry have a go at whatever makes the most sense. My guess is that good old coal will win out.

    /Mr Lynn

  34. Error, I think: the Renewables are going to increase from 12% to 16% by 2040, not 30% of the total but a 30% increase (see original text). But is this field capacity or market sales?

    If renewables are about 22% effectiveness, by European experience, then 16% of market SALES means 73% of market face-place, i.e. actual demand.

    Doesn’t seem reasonable. So perhaps 16% is face-plate, which means that only 22% of this, 3.5% will actually be SALES or use.

  35. In addition to the table I linked above this one is also quite enlightening in regard to the prospect of expanding renewables to 30% of total generation

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1_a

    Table 1.1.A. Net Generation from Renewable Sources: Total (All Sectors), 2004-March 2014

    You might note that solar PV has grown nearly 1400fold over the decade, which seems impressive except all that growth has brought it too 0.2% of the total supply. That’s right 0.002! We will have to do 500 times what has been done in the last decade to get to 1 percent by 2030.

    For the rest, except for wind, not much is happening. Hydro seems to be struggling to maintain its contribution and in all likelihood will decline in the next decade and a half. The rest also appear to be a wash. So that leaves it down to wind, but if you think those bird choppers have become a ubiquitous blight on the landscape now, imagine what that landscape will look like with 8-10 times as many of them. Of course those multiples neglect the fact that most of the most productive wind sites have already been raped and pillaged for these boondoggles and each additional increment will feature even lamer performance.

    And of course because our wonderfully competent government will shepherding and financing, and therefore picking all the winners in this crony lovefest, you can imagine how compellingly efficient the whole process will be. As the captain of the airliner says at times like these “Fasten your seatbelts, Put your head firmly between your knees. And kiss your A** GOODBYE!”

  36. Roger Sowell,

    If you believe $12 billion for seven hours of electricity is a sum worth spending, when the same sum would purchase two nuclear power stations that would run 24/7 for 30 years, I’ve got a bridge in Old London Town I’d like you to buy from me. BTW, do you like sex and travel?

  37. I work in the energy sector. If anyone here even thinks gas usage will increase, and it will with the Obama regulations. Now, as folks know natural gas would need massive pipeline infrastructure to meet the additional burdens on the system with these regulations. So, in essence greens have basically mandated massive pipeline expansions driving up prices even more. Then the natural gas prices themselves, as any product on the stock exchange does, rise with needs and supply. Power companies will have no choice but pass along the increase costs to consumers and business. Provinces like Alberta, Canada will make a killing, as will other gas and pipelines companies. These are hard, cold facts, period.

  38. Roger Sowell just does not understand basic physics—if he did, he would understand the power density problem with renewables versus coal, gas, atomic, etc. Also, I don’t think he understands concrete construction very well either. He is a good dreamer, like many university profs from MIT and Stanford.

  39. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 10:34 am
    Davidmhoffer,
    As always, you have my endless pity.
    Perhaps you were born stupid? If so, my deepest pity for you.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Unfortunately I cannot find the thread in which you first hyped the MIT concrete spheres. Perhaps someone else can find it, I’m off to a series of meetings. Bottom line is that you were thrashed, and embarrassingly so. Every time the facts were pointed out to you, you just came back for more. If there was ever an indictment of someone’s intelligence, it was that thread. The solution is simply not cost effective, and that was demonstrated to you repeatedly using information that came directly from the MIT paper itself. Yet you persisted in your claims despite massive evidence to the contrary.

    So, I don’t think the problem is that I am stupid. The problem is that you think all you need do is call anyone who disagrees with you too stupid to understand your opinion. That ranks with Michael Mann’s claim that his emails should not be made public because he is the only person smart enough to understand them.

    So having learned from experience that debating the facts with you is pointless, I once again suggest that we simply reduce this argument to a matter of money. If this approach is economical, it will be worth trillions. By all means invest your money in the scheme. Just don’t ask for tax payer help to make it work. If it is economical without tax money, you’ll have proven how smart you are, how stupid I am, and made yourself unimaginably wealthy to boot.

    But you won’t do it because deep down inside you know that you are just a lobbyist for the anti-nuclear industry and will hype any and all alternatives to nuclear no matter how irrational they are.

    The best you can do is call me stupid for not buying into your drivel while keeping your hand firmly planted on your wallet?

  40. knrscg says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:55 am
    Remember with election due soon , if the republicans get in its likely one thing getting warm will be the feet of EPA who they have no love for at all. . .

    Unfortunately, even if the Republicans take over the Senate and keep the House, they will not have veto-proof majorities. So a bill dismantling the EPA (or at least getting it out of the ‘climate’ regulation business), will not get signed by The Puppet President. I’m afraid we have to wait until 2017, and hope we can get a conservative in the White House.

    /Mr Lynn

  41. For Roger Sowell

    Neat idea those spheres – Roger, I can’t quite follow how you are going to pump the water out of the spheres. Please could you expand a little on that aspect. Exactly what is left behind in the spheres after you have emptied them?

    cheers edi

  42. @Roger Sowell at 10:27 am
    I have nothing but pity for those too stupid to understand the MIT spheres.

    Then you pity yourself.
    You obviously understand nothing of such a project that is
    physically possible,
    but environmentally questionable,
    challenging engineering,
    gargantuan manufacturing,
    enormously demanding of materials,
    and near impossibility of maintenance,
    and lunacy in economics.

    May you spend eternity in pro-bono legal Purgatory defending the EIS applications of these domes.

  43. David Ball says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:14 am
    I laughed at the end of Cosmos, they showed an idyllic city with plants on every level and green spaces everywhere. Looked beautiful, but I thought; “shouldn’t they be showing Detroit?”

    David,
    I had a similar reaction to that final segue. Cosmos is propaganda wrapped in apocalyptic science fiction.
    Mac

  44. Friends:

    Analysis I conducted for the UK some years ago is not dated and is pertinent to the US situation being discussed in this thread. Of especial importance are its assessments of why wind and other intermittent power sources cannot provide electricity of use to a grid supply, and its assessment of alternative ‘renewables’ to wind power.

    If any are interested and have not read it then they can read it here

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    Richard

  45. From Roger Sowell on June 2, 2014 at 9:59 am:

    So much anger over energy storage offshore!

    If you are too stupid to understand the MIT spheres, as it appears you are, then I cannot help you naysayers.

    Oh I can understand it well enough, to see it’s completely bass ackwards.

    As practically an aside, it speaks of farms of floating wind turbines. With towers going to “hub heights” of 70 and 80 meters and more, that’d be a dang big floating base to keep them from teetering over in the ordinary winds, let alone storms. And unlike a tall masted ship, the blades cannot be furled and stowed very well. That’s indicative of the sheer lack of practicality of the proposal.

    The plan wants giant concrete spheres dropped onto the ocean floor. They say energy storage is from pumping out the water, but reality says they’d be better off pumping in air to displace water. Sucking water from an unventilated vessel is very difficult, you build a strong vacuum up until you get low temperature boiling and vaporization so the void is filled, which I presume would happen practically explosively and make for a hell of a pressure shock. Pump air and let the weight of the water provide pneumatic energy storage.

    So there would be high air pressures involved. They’re talking 400 meters deep. At 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi, 100kPA) per 10 meters, that’s about 590 psi, 4000 kPa, to displace sea water. Manageable, but it better be some real special concrete to avoid turning into a giant aquarium air stone. Especially with ocean acidification eating away the cement binder, or so I’ve heard.

    Oh wait, in the abstract of the paywalled paper they’re mentioning depths of 1500 meters, 2200 psi, 15000 kPa. Yep, very good concrete.

    Of course that’s assuming, despite what the release says, they’ll sensibly keep the inner and outer pressures balanced. If they really are intent on pumping out water, and building a vacuum charge at those depths…

    And when a concrete sphere goes bad, do they creatively haul up the water-filled mass in an operation akin to raising the Titanic? Or blow it up with high explosives and call the remains an artificial reef? GreenWar and WWTF will be quite conflicted once all those dolphin and shark carcasses start floating.

    The practical solution is as obvious and ancient as an anchor and has been around since mechanical clocks. Use a weight. Use a saltwater resistant cable, attach reel to dual-purpose brushless generator-motor.

    To generate power, let the weight sink down. To store power, raise the weight. If you’re worried about it drifting around, use another cable moored on the bottom as a guide.

    You can even get fancy, give the weights “wings” that are hinged near the top, around the lifting eye. Seemingly mimicking the limbs of many sea creatures, when lifting they will naturally fall along the body for a sleek profile. When falling they will fly outward and provide drag, thus controlling descent speed and avoiding overloading the generator-motor.

    Floating wind turbine farms soaring into the skies, and concrete spheres in the crushing depths for storing transient energy. I could only get paid for writing such dreck if I was selling science fiction, perhaps steampunk.

  46. @L. E. Joiner at 11:33 am
    even if the Republicans take over the Senate and keep the House, they will not have veto-proof majorities. …. I’m afraid we have to wait until 2017, and hope we can get a conservative in the White House
    …. and KEEP a Republican Senate.

    That last caveat is a problem few are considering, least of all the Republican National Committee in public.

    [For 2016, ] Currently, Democrats are expected to have 10 seats up for election, and Republicans are expected to have 24 seats up for election (Wikipedia)

    All the talk today in the 2014 election is the probability of a Republican gain of 6 seats to take majority control of the Senate. Republicans need to think, talk, and act BIG. They’ll need to take 11 seats in 2014 to have any margin of safety to hold onto a majority after the 2016 election.

  47. Pat Kelly says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:50 am
    I guess this means we’ll solve the storage problem for wind & solar…

    Pat,
    Sure. Just like we ‘solved the problem’ of using heavy, expensive chemical fuel rockets for the last 50 years to get things and people into outer space….. Right? Your comment is analogous to halting all chemical rocket launches from Earth to ‘solve the rocket problem’ by stimulating the invention of ‘anti-gravity’. “Suddenly, a miracle occurs…..” or not, eh? Fifty years later and we are still working on a viable alternative to chemical fuel rockets. Some times the miracle doesn’t show up on time and, when it comes to not freezing to death on a dead calm -30F winter night in Rhinelander WI, wind and solar ‘energy’ are not viable, reliable options.

    Your ‘guess’ overlooks the fact we already have 3 storage systems for solar energy here on Earth: Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas. They represent the lowest cost forms of readily useable stored solar energy on the planet, bar none! They are available 24 hours a day and in great abundance sufficient to fuel our economies. They use proven technologies to provide clean and highly reliable energy to the entire nation, at costs that make perfect economic sense. Of these 3, coal is the least expensive and US proven reserves are sufficient to meet our national energy needs for more than 100 years.

    Why would anyone want to destroy a system like that?
    Mac

  48. Mac the Knife says:
    June 2, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Scary stuff, if one understands the holes in the science presented. Wtf are they doing? What are they up to? ( I have my suspicions, but would enjoy other viewpoints ).

  49. I have some questions about the MIT spheres. From an engineering perspective, you could simply use a large void at the bottom of a well, or use a deep lake, to try this out. You don’t really need to be out in the ocean to do that, as the sphere, air, and turbine just need the “head” of water pressure to work. So, since it would be fairly simple to set this up for “proof of concept” without even being near the ocean, my question is: Where has this been set up, scaled down? All you would need is a reasonably deep lake, and enough wind to turn the windmill for a few hours at a time. Where is this trial? What were the results? What size of sphere was used, and what depth of water was it in? What size of air pump was used to displace the water? I only ask because I have been unable to find any of this information doing a search.

  50. Have a look at pumped storage:
    Google Earth coordinates: 41.8338, -79.0101
    The reservoir extends northward into NY State. Zoom out until you can see it all and note how small the pumped storage appears by comparison. Co-located with the Kinzua (kin-zoo) Dam, this is called the Seneca Pumped Storage Generating Station. The Senecas are the Natives displaced by the projects.
    –—
    Have a look at green energy:
    . . . find the little green line in this active chart, updated every 5 minutes.

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

    High pressure has settled over the USA’s pacific northwest region – for the next several days – and the wind has stopped. The little green line just fell to zero! Oops.
    { I just posted this last on NoTrickZone, also, as Pierre’s current post is about the Obama-EPA announcement – the latest one!}

  51. One of the issues with energy storage is that the wind farms must generate surplus power. So, they must be sized far larger than the need to supply power at a convenient time when the wind is blowing at sweet spot velocities. That is, you need to build 3X or more the immediate demand capacity or you won’t have any surplus power to use to store for off-peak. The other capital costs and engineering issues are far larger yet, as noted by others above.

    Another major issue for wind is the lifetime of components, meaning that the initial investment must be replicated every 10-20 years. So, the capital costs will be much larger than for nuclear, not even counting energy storage.

    Another factor will be increasing resistance to those who worry about birds. We are losing eagles and other species with 0.2% of energy from renewables. If we get to 10%, the toll on wildlife will be enormous.

  52. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

    So much anger over energy storage offshore!

    If you are too stupid to understand the MIT spheres, as it appears you are, then I cannot help you naysayers.

    ====================================================================
    Anger? No. Just don’t use taxpayer money.
    If it’s such a sure fire solution I’m sure Al Gore or Soros would invest in it.

  53. Rodger I understand the concept easily enough, but I’m sceptical that the water can be pumped out of a 25m concrete sphere 400m below sea-level efficiently enough to make it worth doing. Seems like a Rube Goldberg way to wind a CooCoo Clock, but I await the engineering proof-of-concept prototypes with baited breath. Besides isn’t steel and concrete both materials with significant CO2 foot-prints?

  54. hunter says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

    The only way that renewables could make up 30% of the power grid by 2030 is if Mr. Obama’s incresingly terrible policies are not severely reformed or tossed falt out and the American economy is shrunk to a small fraction of it present size.
    ###

    That is the goal.

  55. Jeff L says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Commenters suggesting Nat Gas prices will skyrocket don’t understand how much resource is sitting out there waiting to be developed, currently not being developed due to lack of demand constraint.

    The problem last winter in the northeast was not production, but pipeline capacity. ISO-NE is concerned because we’re so dependent on natural gas now. Last week the Salem MA coal powerplant was shutdown, possibly to be replaced with a NG plant. Pipelines don’t show up with the stroke of a pen…. What were the peak NG costs in New York City? I think 5-10X normal prices.

    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=14671#tabs_SpotPriceSlider-3

  56. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

    > Renewables are no longer unreliable. Offshore pumped storage hydro provides unlimited energy storage to be released on demand. From MIT.

    MIT is on the coast, they may have neglected to compute the coast to land ratio. I grew up in northeast Ohio. While we had Lake Erie, it’s the shallowest of the great lakes.

    igsy says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

    > So, from Roger Sewell’s link, it claims “.. 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours…”

    Cleveland, we have a problem. And Chicago, and St. Louis, and ….

  57. Ian W says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:42 am
    wws says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Since Nat Gas is the cheapest type of peak producing plant, those are the backup generators that will be built.
    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will SKYROCKET!

    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will necessarily SKYROCKET!

    Just wait until they outlaw fracking!

  58. If you will grant me an hour or so to commute home, I will try to answer the serious inquiries on MIT’s storage system.

    For the terminally stupid, like davidmhoffer, there is truly no hope. He clearly thinks he “thrashed” me, whatever that means in his feeble mind.

  59. wws says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Since Nat Gas is the cheapest type of peak producing plant, those are the backup generators that will be built.

    And when they kick in, spot nat gas prices will SKYROCKET!

    =====================

    They won’t be built. You can’t make any money building a power plant that you only run occasionally. And the more reliable wind generation gets, the worse the finance case gets, because you would need the plant even less.

    Wind generation will be supplemental for the foreseeable future. Making it outrageously expensive.

  60. David Ball says:
    June 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm
    Scary stuff, if one understands the holes in the science presented. Wtf are they doing?

    David,
    To my eye, it looks like the Cosmos series was created and presented to ‘make the non-science case’ for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. It is presented to appeal to about the 8th grade level of comprehension, with extensive embedded pseudo-historical cartoons and flights of CGI science fiction to ‘possible’ worlds and/or ‘future’ states of earthly existence.

    The timing of the series appears to have been directly coordinated with the White House.

    I do not think it coincidental that Our Dear Ruler was scheduled to introduce Neil ‘StayoffdeGrasse’ Tyson and the ‘new ‘ Cosmos series back on Fox March 8th.

    http://time.com/17052/president-obama-to-introduce-reboot-of-cosmos/

    I do not think it coincidental that Our Dear Ruler has just announced his new Rules to ‘limit green house gases’, one night after Neil Tyson made his non-science case for man made global warming on the Cosmos series June 1.

    I do not think it coincidental at all that Cosmos was/is the advance propaganda series needed to bolster the Obama administrations new EPA ‘rules’. This was well crafted political propaganda, dressed up as pseudo-science, coordinated to provide mass audience advance marketing of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, and timed to justify Obama’s new economy crippling EPA rules now.

    Mac
    PS: I particularly liked the “Halls Of Extinction”, and the repeated implications that CO2 emissions are taking us ‘there’. Now THAT’S science!

  61. Mods: Delete my 3:58 post; got there too late to be effective. And this one also.

  62. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

    No mention of costs or how soon this magical storage will be mass deployed. So far the largest implementation is a sphere about 3 ft (1m) in diameter.

  63. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

    And Roger. How much will storage cost to deliver power in those cases where there is insufficient wind for a few days? How much more does off shore wind cost than onshore?

  64. Offshore pumped storage hydro provides unlimited energy storage

    That means we can get trillions of GW days of storage? At what cost? BTW how many of these devices are currently delivering power to the grid? What is their long term record for reliability? What is their long term cost?

  65. Stephen Rasey says:
    June 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

    You HAD to bring up logistics and materials science. Dang. ;-)

    Let me remind you that Roger has a degree in Chemistry. What more proof do you need?

    BTW 2000psi? That is nuclear plant pressure. And I can assure you that they don’t use concrete pipes. BTW if the spheres are built by the lowest bidder a slump test needs to be performed on every load of concrete made or delivered. Some people will cheat.

    Since concrete will not be used for pipes (concrete is near useless in tension) how will the air be delivered 1000ft or more below the surface?

  66. First, a quote (or paraphrase) from Confucius: “I show a dull man one corner of a room, and he sits in the corner grinning. I show a wise man one corner of a room, and he shows me the other corners, plus the entire house.” There are quite a number of people grinning in the corner, based on some of the comments above.

    Now, as to the basics of how PSH (pumped storage hydroelectric) works, and then how the MIT spheres work. There are numerous PSH sites in the US (more than 22,000 MW at last count by EIA – Energy Information Agency). One of the largest sites is on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, the Ludington Plant. Like all PSH plants, there is an upper reservoir and a lower reservoir. The lower reservoir is Lake Michigan. The upper reservoir is man-made, about 360 feet above the lake, and on a sandy cliff-like edge of the lake. At night, six turbine/pumps run in pump mode by drawing power from the grid to pump water from Lake Michigan into the upper lake. The next day, the flow is reversed so that water flows from the upper lake through the turbine/pumps into Lake Michigan, this time generating power as needed. The upper reservoir and land occupy 1,000 acres. The generators produce 1,872 MW of power at maximum flow. The penstocks (six of them) or pipes, are 1,300 feet long and 28 feet diameter. These connect the upper and lower reservoirs. The plant was built between 1969 and 1973. As PSH plants go, it is large but has a low elevation change.

    In contrast, the Castaic PSH in Southern California, near Los Angeles, has an elevation change of 1,060 feet and produces 1,247 MW for up to 10 hours in generating mode. Castaic PSH also draws power from the grid at night to pump water uphill from Castaic Lake into Pyramid Lake, the upper reservoir. The tunnel connecting the two lakes is 7.2 miles long and is 30 feet in diameter. Castaic PSH has six pump/turbines and one standard turbine generator. Because the elevation difference is greater, Castaic has much lower water flow than does Ludington.

    These two examples show a low-head and a high-head PSH plant (Ludington is low-head, and Castaic is high-head). In this context, head is the elevation difference in feet between the upper and lower reservoirs.

    The MIT spheres will do exactly the same function: draw power from the grid at night to pump water out of the spheres. The spheres are not closed as one commenter above assumes. Instead, they are vented by a pipe to the atmosphere. The sphere acts exactly like the lower reservoir. It is at atmospheric pressure at all times. A turbine/pump connected to a motor/generator draws power at night (or whenever the wind blows) and runs in pumping mode to send water out of the sphere into the surrounding ocean. Air flows from the atmosphere through the vent pipe into the sphere. The ocean, at that depth, has considerable pressure. One can estimate the water pressure by dividing the water depth by two. Thus, 1,000 feet of water will exert approximately 500 pounds of pressure. (Engineers will know that the exact relationship is 32.2 divided by 14.696, but for estimating purposes, two will suffice.)

    During the day, when peak power is required, seawater is allowed to flow by natural pressure from the ocean through the turbine/pump into the sphere, turning the generator and producing power to the grid. Water flowing in forces air out of the sphere through the vent line into the atmosphere. With proper design, about 80 MW will be produced into the grid for each 100 MW consumed from the grid.

    As to the servicing and maintenance issues someone asked above, this is trivial. Proper design will have the entire turbine/pump and generator/motor equipment in the atmospheric pressure zone above the sphere. Simply put, that building will also be vented to the atmosphere. Likely, an elevator will convey workers and materials to the submerged sphere, much like in a mine shaft on land. There is no need to contemplate high-pressure underwater activities. Purists will say, at this point, yes but what about screens to keep fish and other marine life out of the turbines? Those screens or similar devices may require periodic cleaning, but that can be done remotely with ROVs. (remote operated vehicles, think unmanned submarines).

    As to the MIT paper indicating 6 hours of storage, and the naysayers objecting that this is far too little. It should be pointed out that Castaic PSH has only 10 hours of generating capacity, and about 11 hours for Ludington. However, these spheres would be storing offshore wind-energy and could require operation for several days. There are three salient points about PSH generating time: one need only change the generating time by 1) increasing the diameter, 2) adding more spheres, or 3) increasing the head. Put simply, if the sphere volume is the same and only one sphere is used, one can obtain double the generating time by setting the sphere twice as deep into the water – this increases the head. Similarly, if one maintains the head constant, one can obtain 8 times the generating time by doubling the sphere’s radius. Or, one could maintain the head constant and add more spheres of constant radius to obtain the increased generating time.

    Note that it is not required to have a turbine/pump with motor/generator on each sphere. The spheres can be connected one to another by suitable high-pressure pipes. Very likely, the most economic choice for increased generating time is simply to increase the spheres’ size. Spheres have a nice property for that, as materials required go up with the square of the radius, but volume increases with the cube of the radius. One may also excavate out a hollow in the ocean floor and set the larger sphere in place, if water depth is an issue with a larger sphere.

    Now, as to the testing and prototyping as asked above: yes, the MIT publications state the system has been built, has been tested, and measurements taken on an actual sphere.

    The economics are much criticized in the comments above. It was overlooked, apparently, by the naysayers that MIT stated the cost per sphere will decrease as more are deployed. This is the economy of mass production. Henry Ford recognized this with automobiles; it still applies today. Another cost-reduction will occur as spheres are made larger, this is the economy of scale for unit production. Yet another cost reduction will occur as spheres are installed along trunk power lines laid on the ocean floor. It will not be necessary to build the electrical infrastructure again for each sphere.

    Another word about economics: with a suitable number of spheres in place, there will be no need for land-based fossil-fuel power plants to be built in excessive numbers. Instead of the 1,000 GW currently installed, the US could have only 600 GW installed, and let the spheres do the peak load work. The savings from not installing 400 GW of on-shore fossil-fuel power is indeed large. That will offset much of the cost of installing the spheres.

    As to the land-locked cities, spheres can be installed in the larger Great Lakes, with a power grid designed to send power from wind-farms in the Great Plains to those storage systems, then back out the next day. Even shallow Lake Erie can have storage spheres, they would simply be buried in a suitable hole in the lake bottom.

    This wraps up the MIT sphere grid-scale storage technology. It works. It has zero energy cost. It has very low environmental impact. It can be constructed now, without waiting for offshore wind-turbines. It reduces the cost of on-shore generating plants – fewer plants will be required. Power from the spheres is almost instantaneous and can be at full power in less than 30 minutes. It quite easily follows the load. Economy of scale and mass production will decrease the costs. There is a huge coastline with shallow continental shelf along most of the Eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, so placing numerous spheres is quite possible. It makes intermittent wind energy very reliable, available on demand.

  67. M Simon

    “Let me remind you that Roger has a degree in Chemistry.”

    Wrong. My B.S is in Chemical Engineering – a big difference between that and Chemistry.

    If you are going to snipe with snarc, at least get your facts straight.

    Go sit in the corner and commence grinning.

  68. Where’s the video link? I couldn’t find it. One second…Found this online that I assume is the video link referenced:

    Please update post to include it.

    [Done ..Thank you! .mod]

  69. Roger Sowell says:
    For the terminally stupid, like davidmhoffer, there is truly no hope. He clearly thinks he “thrashed” me, whatever that means in his feeble mind.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Oh I made some good points, but it wasn’t me that thrashed you it was others. And they did so soundly. But never mind that:

    Are you going to invest your personal money in this technology or aren’t you?

  70. davidmhoffer,

    You are indeed a dullard. And have no manners, either. My investment portfolio is none of your damn-d business. An educated man would know not to ask such personal questions. You, however, are a boor and a Neanderthal.

    If you can refute anything, anything at all I write, please give it your best shot. I’m sure it will be quite entertaining for all to observe.

    Go back to your corner and continue grinning.

  71. Ah, link found, here’s the thread:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/01/renewable-energy-in-decline/

    If anyone doubts that Mr Sowell got thoroughly trashed in this thread, I invite them to read through the thread and make their own judgment. You can search for comments by me to Mr Sowell, or you can look through some comments by A. Scott and others. I’ve reproduced a couple from A. Scott below. Not carefully that the pattern is identical. When confronted with facts that he cannot refute, when challenged on his assertions, he stoops to ad hominem attacks. Long after rational people have abandoned the thread, he continues to throw spin after spin at the thread. He’s just not worth debating on the facts. Which is why I renew my question to him.

    Mr Sowell, are you going to invest your own money in this technology?

    A. Scott says:
    March 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm
    Roger has stooped to ad hominem attack and a complete refusal to address detailed, sourced comments from me and others … a sure mark that he is unable to substantiate his positions (which are exceeding short on documentation and sources) nor able to defend against the claims I and otherz have made.

    Ridicule and denigration are the marks of someone who is unable to intelligently discuss and support their positions Roger.

    It makes you look juvenile and ignorant in your response:

    “futile arguments”
    “low-information commenters”
    “religious-style belief”
    “bleating sheep”
    “religious-style”

    Then, you make broad, specious statements, mostly devoid of ANY sources or supporting proof – claiming them as fact – that are anything but, as I have repeatedly shown. A single example is your statements about the Mass/RI Offshore wind lease – that YOU brought up:

    To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win. Wind power will be installed offshore… Storage will be provided either as MIT described, or possibly by more economic means. Operating experience will drive down the costs. The benefits to all will be enormous. I posted a link earlier to the Maryland offshore wind program. Other coastal states (MA and RI) have similar programs.

    I posted the details of the wind lease you noted …. that the winner of that lease, Deep Wind, will someday install appx 200 turbines with 1,000 MW name plate capacity. In the entire 165,000 acre lease area they will only install 1,000 MW – not the 3,400 MW claimed available. And theirs was the BEST of 8 bidders.

    I also noted your claim about “MIT storage” being installed were ridiculous – 100% completely unsupported by the facts. The MIT storage spheres operate at depths of 400-750 meters, 1200 to 2,300 feet. The waters across the entire lease area are from 90 to 130 FEET, 30 to 40 meters. Not only WON’T the MIT spheres work in this shallow water, they would stick OUT of the water in many areas.

    You lecture about engineering, and looking at facts … yet despite all your self proclaimed expertise, in your rush to denigrate others you show you are literally clueless about your own claims. I understand the engineering very well. And I actually researched the real facts Roger, including reading the MIT paper on the sphere technology. I went and obtained the Nautical charts along with copies of the leases and maps of lease areas.

    Clearly you did NONE of this simple basic research – you read an MIT April 2013 press release which says:

    The concept is detailed in a paper published in IEEE Transactions and co-authored by Alexander Slocum, the Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; Brian Hodder, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative; and three MIT alumni and a former high school student who worked on the project.

    This was not even their work. They basically stole it from graduate student Gregory Fennel’s Master’s thesis dated May 2011. Slocum was the Thesis Supervisor – who certified Fennel’s highly detailed thesis paper.

    This “sphere storage” is in no way proven – its a mere pipe dream idea at present – nothing more. Yet you have it providing the solution to wind power intermittency problems – despite that even the appear notes it can at best provide “several” hours of back up despite its huge costs. And that is assuming it actually works.

    Just like you ignored the depth issue in the lease area (a lack of necessary depth) … so too did you completely ignore the fact that any wind turbine installed in an area where the MIT sphere storage would work (1200-2300 feet deep) would require a floating platform … and that I showed there a total of TWO deep water floating platforms (in 45-100 meter depths only) in the WORLD … 0.1% of all off shore wind is on a floating platform.

    And finally, wind turbines are claimed to be too unreliable. I first entered this thread with an account of proven energy storage that overcomes the unreliability issue.

    So neither the sphere or any other storage technology exists today at all, And floating deep water turbine platforms are all but non-existent as well. A floating platform for the massive 5 MW turbines Deep Wind plans for the MA/RI lease area is a huge technological challenge.

    So much for your “proven storage technology” and your claims the Mass/RI leases were some massive savior.

    A. Scott says:
    March 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    Then there is your denigrating juvenile and completely unsourced attack on my comments regarding Germany’s actual emissions experience.

    You posted a link to an NREL “study” that attempted to model different scenarios in Iowa. I posted a link to the Bloomberg story with direct quotes from officials in Germany’s Environmental Ministry – those responsible for energy in Germany, and their shift to solar.

    Germany emitted the equivalent of 931 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents last year, which was up from 917 million tons the year before, the Environment Ministry said in February. “We’re tracking this development with great concern,” Juergen Maass, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry, said July 26 by phone, declining to comment further.
    Merkel in 2011 ordered the country’s eight oldest atomic reactors that provided near CO2-free power to be unplugged. She wants to shut the remaining nine by 2022.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html

    And 2012 saw similar increases according to the Environmental Administrator:

    Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) …said … in 2012 there was an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.5 percentage the German Press Agency reported, citing experts. [Total] carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 may be increased by up to two percent – final figures are [not available yet] because of the complexity of the acquisition …just under a year ago.

    http://www.focus.de/wissen/klima/erfuellung-der-klimaziele-gefaehrdet-co2-emissionen-in-deutschland-steigen-wieder_aid_923133.html

    Hard quotes and facts … not a “study”.

    Same thing with my levelized construction costs data. I presented data directly from the US Energy Information Agency. I included a direct link to the documents from them. I aslo provided a seprate link to an earlier WUWT article than looked at Maryland offshore wind which confirmed the EIA costs numbers.

    Roger blathers about some alleged California “CEC” numbers yet never posts a link to the data. All too typical.

    I hate people who refuse to engage and support their claims. I hate people like that even more, who denigrate and demean anyone who disagrees with them, and who ignore documented research and facts when they don’t conform to their position or world view.

    I do detailed research on my positions and claims. I support everything with documented sources and references so people can confirm for themselves. I expect those like Roger to at least make a minimal effort to support their claims. And to engage in the discussion when rebutted – and support their claims.

  72. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm
    davidmhoffer,

    You are indeed a dullard. And have no manners, either. My investment portfolio is none of your damn-d business. An educated man would know not to ask such personal questions. You, however, are a boor and a Neanderthal.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I shall take that as a resounding “No”.

    You lecture me about bad manners? ROFLMAO.

  73. Shut down all Coal power plants tomorrow morning and shut the lights off in America and you will see America throw the bums and environmental wackos out by the weekend. We must declare war on them today, not tomorrow as they want to destroy America and you know it.
    TURN OUT THE LIGHTS………………………. We are done talking, the war has started…………………….

  74. “Now, as to the testing and prototyping as asked above: yes, the MIT publications state the system has been built, has been tested, and measurements taken on an actual sphere.”
    Perhaps I was not clear with my request before. Yes, I have look at the MIT publications. There is some hand-waving in the air about MIT Spheres for energy storage, and a very brief statement that something was built, somewhere, sometime, and it worked out well. Very good, I will simply accept that on faith. But where is the data from that? Where was it tested, at what depth, and how much energy was created, and how much energy was expended to create that energy? What difference of psi had to be used to force the water out of the sphere, compared to the psi at whatever depth this was done at? What type and size of air pump was used to push the water out? This is all simple laboratory notebook information, and should be readily available somewhere on the web, or available in a published paper. I have also noted that grid power was going to be used to pump air into the sphere, displacing the water. If this is to be hooked to a windmill, why would grid power be used?
    This is not a project that is ready to be deployed, as the prototypes have never even been built (except for possibly one), and nothing has been published (along with data) so that the engineering calculations can be checked. At this point it appears to be hand-waving and salesmanship.

  75. Each pumped storage design I have analyzed and checked has had the power immediately available. On the east coast of the US, the continental shelf – the basic depth you have to go out to get get to 1000 meters deeps is 100 km out (up near Boston and off of Maine), then as far as 400 km further south. that is a very, very long way to run wires underwater to get power out, and power back.

    true, a spherical pumped storage system is the best theoretical energy storage design so far. that does not mean it will work as expected!

    i am pumping the stored water out up, not 50 feet as at Niagara against air pressure. I am pumping it against sea water 5000 feet underwater.

    Now, let’s see one operate for a few years.
    Windmills too are a wonderful idea. In theory. But they are only 16% efficient, while requiring 100% money be paid to the political backers of the required scheme, who are being paid by taxpayer subsidies and tax credits to the net price of 500.00/Mwatt-hr..

  76. OK, read back through. Is the water being removed from the sphere by pumping it up to the surface of the ocean? I had been thinking that air was pumped to force the water out, down at the level of the sphere. If indeed you are pumping the water out of the sphere, up to the surface of the ocean, why don’t you just take all of that concrete and build a bunch of concrete water tanks on top of hills overlooking the ocean. Especially on the west coast, there are bluffs that drop directly down to the ocean, and are probably several hundred of meters, or more, tall. And if you are using windmills, the wind on those bluffs is going to be better than what you get out away from the shore. Why put anything other than a hose with a pump attached into the water (and fairly shallow water), and just pump the water up to the top of the bluff, and then let it flow down, with the turbines down at the bottom of the cliff? As romantic a notion as huge concrete spheres are, that is just silly to do it that way. Everything needs maintenance of some sort, and the last thing anyone wants is to do it in deep water where there is no heat or light. The sea water is going to corrode everything eventually, too.

  77. Roger scribbles:
    The MIT spheres will do exactly the same function: draw power from the grid at night to pump water out of the spheres. The spheres are not closed as one commenter above assumes. Instead, they are vented by a pipe to the atmosphere. The sphere acts exactly like the lower reservoir. It is at atmospheric pressure at all times.

    False.

    The sphere is below sea level, it is at the ambient water pressure at all times.
    If left open at the surface, the column will fill with water to equal the local sea level.
    If you want to replace the seawater with air, you have to compress the air in the entire column of pipe and the sphere volume, and as you add pressure the level drops to where the external pressure is equalized.

    Oil rigs get around this by having metal walled pipes – as was stated earlier, this must be some really special concrete to avoid outgassing from overpressure, requiring additional energy to keep the pressure up until it’s time to run the turbines in power output mode.

    This scheme is nowhere near ready to deploy today as you stated – otherwise why is this a recent patent filing?

  78. If the sphere were at -1500 meters (5000 feet) below the water, then the backpressure IS 5000 feet of water. Even if the pump were to just discharge 20 feet sideways, it is discharging against the full head of seawater pressing down that 5000 feet. Shallower water is possible, but then the stated benefits also go down.

    I don’t accept the “ease” and reliability of running a multiple pump and generator system a mile below the sea generating that much power unmanned.

    Bottom line, NO ENERGY SYSTEM IS FREE.

    The inescapable Second and Third Law of Thermodynamics forces us to put in 1000 Megawatts of energy to get (less than 800 Megawatts back.) Add in the energy to build, pour, cast, and ship those spheres out 400 km (or less in some places0 anchor them to the seafloor successfully, and keep them there hooked up with that much energy flowing. Add in the power lost udnerwater thorugh current losses and heat losses. 10-14%.

    the ONLY reason pumped storage works above ground is the immediate availability of CONTINUOUSLY and UNNEEDED EXCESS electricity in MASSIVE amounts at VERY, VERY cheap rates. The “cheap”power is used to pump up the storage lakes, then gravity drains those lakes downhill when the power is needed. You MUST ALWAYS put more power INTO the pumped storage unit than you get back out. At best, it moves the power cost to a different rate base.

    Wind power is a known waste of resources and availability that delivers limited power only 1/6 of the time. Anchoring hundreds of those wind turbines offshore in 5000 feet water depths 250 – 300 miles at sea? To provide the source power back underwater a mile deep to an unmanned power plant 4 times the size of a big gas turbine unit? To then ship that power back to shore 250 – 300 miles away?

    Even the simple “dumb” low voltage trans-Atlantic telegraph cables busted, wore out insulation, and were destroyed by undersea mud slides, tsunami’s and continental shelf movement. (Admittedly, some of these failures were in the mid-Atlantic and mid-pacific where they crossed the mid-ocean drifts, but still …. try running 48,000 volts at 1200 amperes current for years with no leaks and no faults … Then try to find that fault and bring it up the the surface to fix that pinprick of a flaw. Nasty problem.

  79. I would suppose (and I have to suppose since there isn’t any information on how this really works) that there is a valve or flap which closes from the ocean side of the sphere, so that the water in the sphere can be pumped up to the surface and released. Then, supposedly, this flap or valve is opened at some point, allowing sea water to flow in and make contact with the turbine. The most sensible valve would be a gate valve. But, whatever is used is going to have to content with some pretty good pressure to open against, as well as being able to seal tightly so that the sea water only comes in when it is wanted. I would guess that the valve will need to be replaced every few months, along with the turbine. Sea water is rather reactive with most substances. And since the sphere is open to atmosphere part of the time, there will be plenty of oxygen embedded on surfaces, which will enhance the corrosion from the sea water.

  80. PlainBill says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Well, you are sort of right.

    A vented, even partially empty sphere underwater IS under pressure. Idea appears to be: You start with an empty concrete sphere, and pump the water out against the 5000 foot water head. The pump and motor are underwater at that 5000 foot depth, the replacement air is coming down the BIG vent tube that is somehow connected to a float back on the water surface. Hurricane and storm conditions topside to maintain the pipe free and clear and all of the other connections as the system and floats move are not yet known! Couple of billion for off-shore island platforms like oil rigs? The new Englanders, Virginians, North Carolina’s South Carolina’s, Florida, and New Jersey and New York and RI and CT voters have already rejected those!

    So, you now have an empty sphere underwater that is resisting the compression force of the seawater at 5000 foot depth – about 2100 psig. You then flood the sphere through a pipe. The incoming flooding water drives a turbine (the original pump itself may, or may NOT work at those differential pressures and water speeds!!!!) which drives a generator which sends the AC power up to the floating vent tube to be somehow connected to a power lines running back to shore. Hopefully, you can figure out a way not to have go from 5000 feet down up to the top then back to the ocean floor -> copper is very, very expensive. On the other hand, putting a transformer under 2100 psi of salt water pressure is …. unlikely to work for long.

    So, a few hours later, the sphere is now full. the power has been used up and sent elsewhere. You then but 120 – 130% of the power you just sold to send back to the pump to empty the sphere. i do want to see the pump impeller that can move water across a 2100 psig head. Both ways. Uphill. In the snow. 8<) In bare feet. Doesn't mean it is impossible.

    But the pump vanes that work one direction CANNOT be equally efficient the other way at high pressures AND high flows. So I think they will need to end up with a turbine + pump + motor + generator combination. Slowing pumping out at high delta pressure and lower flow, fast turbine flowing in at high dp and greater control. But then you need many hours of pumping out to get only a few hours of flowing back in.

    if yo ever loose control or power, the whole thing floods and you hope you have NOT flooded the pump+ motor+turbine+generator+controller+transformer room below. Or you have a flooded and very expensive basement of burned copper and melted bearings.

  81. From the thread I linked to earlier, another comment from A. Scott:

    No Roger, you left out the most important part – MIT tells us the spheres are $12 million each – and they tell us it would take 1,000 of them to provide the equivalent of 2 hours of energy from a typical conventional power plant. That comes out to $12 BILLION dollars in initial capital costs to provide the equivalent of 2 hours of power from a typical SINGLE conventional power plant.

    Now to be fair, the MIT paper doesn’t say “two” hours, it says a “few” hours. But that hardly changes the point. When the capital cost of the system can provide power for only a “few” hours, while the same money buys a conventional plant that can operate continuously for years, it should be patently obvious that the capex expenditure for the storage capacity is simply uneconomical.

    Of course, capex is only part of the equation. One has operating expenditures to consider also. The conventional plant needs a constant supply of fuel, plus maintenance to operate. For a wind farm coupled with this type of storage, the fuel is in theory free (provided that the wind does indeed blow). But what of maintenance?

    As the MIT article says, the spheres have to be sunk in water ranging from 1200 to 2500 feet. The logistics of pouring them, transporting them, sinking them, and then hooking up all the plumbing to allow water to be pumped out and air to fill the void are daunting to say the least. Putting the pumps and generators and valves at depth would be a maintenance nightmare, every single adjustment and failed part requiring deep see divers and/or remote controlled robots to perform maintenance or repair tasks. It would be far more cost effective to simply run the plumbing to a floating platform where all the pumps and turbines and valves could be easily accessed.

    Of course that doesn’t solve the problem of cracked or broken spheres or cracked or broken plumbing at depth. But it still wouldn’t be inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination. First of all, the floating platform will move up and down with everything from tides to storm surges, so your plumbing had best take that into account. Of course any plumbing with that kind of flexibility in it will be prone to cracking and breaking from constant mechanical stress. Then there is the cost of just getting to all the platforms (1000 of them!) at all. Since they need to be in 1200+ feet of water, they won’t be close to shore. Plus you are trying to maintain, even if several spheres are ganged together to serve a single platform, hundreds of pumps, turbines, and valves.

    But worse than all of that is the distributed nature of the system. A conventional plant is basically central power generation that can be transmitted cost effectively to a distributed load, but the distribution network itself represents considerable cost and line losses . Wind mills represent a far less efficient means of generation. They are, essentially, a distributed generation system trying to serve distributed load. This means that there is considerably more network to build up front to gather the energy for distribution, and considerably more line losses as a consequence. Add a storage facility to the picture that is also distributed, and you’ve doubled the cost and line losses of the up front structure.

    For me, the argument is over on the strength of the capex alone. It just makes no sense to build something that can provide power for a “few” hours when the same money builds a plant that can produce the same for years. But while the idea itself is pretty interesting, it fails also I believe on opex. The maintenance would be horrendous, and the efficiency losses associated with pumping water out (nothing is 100% efficient) plus lines losses and maintenance of the front end generation network itself, combine to far outweigh the price of fuel in a conventional plant.

  82. From Roger Sowell on June 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm:

    >The MIT spheres will do exactly the same function: draw power from the grid at night to pump water out of the spheres.

    The proposal was storage of potential energy (not power) from the floating wind turbine farms, on site, not energy off the grid. The surging variable wind-derived energy might not be desirable during the day to maintain grid stability, especially when combining with photo-voltaic sources that are varying on a partly cloudy day. So it might be smoothed out by storage now and tapping later.

    >Instead, they are vented by a pipe to the atmosphere. The sphere acts exactly like the lower reservoir. It is at atmospheric pressure at all times.

    Thus will be needed extra-strong piping all the way down to 400 meters, or perhaps 1500 meters, thus many joints that cannot be permitted the slightest leakage lest the incoming high pressure water spray promptly erodes all material around the breach causing the sphere to flood. And over those lengths, you would not have absolute rigidity, but a pipe that would sway with the ocean currents, flexing joints.

    >During the day, when peak power is required, seawater is allowed to flow by natural pressure from the ocean through the turbine/pump into the sphere, turning the generator and producing power to the grid. Water flowing in forces air out of the sphere through the vent line into the atmosphere.

    Flow by gravity, from the surface. Which requires filtered water inlets to avoid sucking in debris, seaweed, and all the fish, aquatic mammals, and sea snakes that will have the Sierra Leone Club camping out at the UN and every environmental impact public input meeting the backers will ever have.

    Let alone the incalculable amounts of sludge that will accumulate, from precipitating sediments, and during the growth and from the death of the myriad organisms of the rich organic soup called seawater.

    >As to the servicing and maintenance issues someone asked above, this is trivial.

    No comment needed.

    >Likely, an elevator will convey workers and materials to the submerged sphere, much like in a mine shaft on land. There is no need to contemplate high-pressure underwater activities.

    Tell OSHA you will not be providing reinforced emergency shelters in case of a pressure breach throughout the shaft length (as it could need servicing), that the elevator cab itself will not be one, and you’re not even drawing up a plan to ensure the workers can reach shelter before they are inundated and crushed during a catastrophic containment failure. You’ll likely end up with everyone encased in a personal armored submarine “suit” once they leave the surface.

    >Purists will say, at this point, yes but what about screens to keep fish and other marine life out of the turbines? Those screens or similar devices may require periodic cleaning, but that can be done remotely with ROVs. (remote operated vehicles, think unmanned submarines).

    If all such cleanings can be so easily done, why do they still dry dock ships for barnacle scraping? The inlets would be near the surface, so why use expensive ROV’s? The inlets would not be in use during maintenance, send over a guy in a wet suit.

    >Spheres have a nice property for that, as materials required go up with the square of the radius, but volume increases with the cube of the radius.

    Sphere volume is (4/3)*pi*r^3, r = radius. The concrete (with embedded reinforcements) has fixed pressure per area requirements, so a fixed wall thickness is a suitable approximation, thickness = T. Concrete used is outside volume minus inside volume.

    So concrete used is
    (4/3)*pi*r^3 – (4/3)*pi*(r-T)^3
    = (4/3)*pi*[r^3 - (r-T)^3]
    = (4/3)*pi*[r^3 - (r^2 - 2rT + T^2)(r - T)]
    = (4/3)*pi*[r^3 - (r^3 - r^2T - 2r^2T + 2rT^2 + rT^2 - T^3)]
    = (4/3)*pi*[r^3 - (r^3 - 3r^2T + 3rT^2 - T^3)]
    = (4/3)*pi*(3r^2T – 3rT^2 + T^3)

    Material required, at least the concrete for a uniform sphere of uniform wall thickness, does not go up by the square of the radius.

    But to address a basic problem, it would be reasonable to project a material failure rate per unit of surface area. Larger spheres would thus have larger failure rates. Spheres can be automatically isolated from the system in case of failure. So why use harder-to-deploy giant spheres instead of nesting smaller ones?

    >It was overlooked, apparently, by the naysayers that MIT stated the cost per sphere will decrease as more are deployed. This is the economy of mass production. Henry Ford recognized this with automobiles; it still applies today.

    This is not cranking out 10,000 assemblages of 2000+ discrete parts every day of the year. This is the assembling of inside molds, wrapping around them multiple layers of reinforcements like stainless steel mesh and fabricating welded bent rebar frames in place, assembling the outside molds, then mixing up and pouring as many batches of concrete as each requires, being careful to avoid air bubbles. Then comes drying time. And as they are pressure vessels, testing, possible repair and retesting, and certification.

    That’s not an assembly line. That’s simultaneously making multiple identical one-offs. All you’re really saving is some set-up time, and perhaps some bulk quantity material discounts.

    >This wraps up the MIT sphere grid-scale storage technology. It works. It has zero energy cost.

    So the making of raw materials, manufacturing, transport, installation, etc, used no energy? There are zero operational energy losses?

    Or are you offsetting those costs with FREE wind energy, of which the offsetting amount would not be available for sale thus is a loss of revenue?

    >Yet another cost reduction will occur as spheres are installed along trunk power lines laid on the ocean floor. It will not be necessary to build the electrical infrastructure again for each sphere.
    and previously
    >Proper design will have the entire turbine/pump and generator/motor equipment in the atmospheric pressure zone above the sphere. Simply put, that building will also be vented to the atmosphere.

    Way too much complexity. If you pumped air instead, that equipment is on the surface, minimizing maintenance costs. You can use surface electrical cables, strung between buoys. And no intake water filtering, no great maintenance inside the shaft or sphere.

    Of course just using a weight gives you those benefits and more.

    The more I look at this, it seems MIT built a carbon-fiber frame and body, added low-profile low-mass wheels supported on liquid nitrogen cooled superconducting magnetic bearings mounted on polished chromed shafts cushioned by Kevlar composite leaf springs, included drive-by-wire electronic steering, and utilized a high performance bucket seat with integral heating and cooling, with GPS and a “Beats by Dr. Dre” satellite radio system thrown in, for a soap box derby.

  83. Kadaka (quoting Sowell)
    >Yet another cost reduction will occur as spheres are installed along trunk power lines laid on the ocean floor. It will not be necessary to build the electrical infrastructure again for each sphere.

    The challenges with maintaining 1,000 connections into the trunk power lines on the ocean floor would be staggering. They are sealed and laid in a continuous fashion for a reason. Just installing the connections on the ocean floor would be cost prohibitive, not to mention that the failure of a single connection would allow water intrusion and the whole trunk line would fail. Plus, in order to take advantage of this supposed cost saving, you’d have to build the spheres in a long line following the trunk power line instead of in a given area. It is highly unlikely that the trunk power line would even follow a path through water that is the appropriate depth for the spheres.

    No matter how you slice it, this would be an outrageously expensive thing to build, and outrageously expensive to operate, all for just a few hours of capacity.

  84. I have experience with large scale application of seawater as a cooling agent. The system we designed and built pumps approx. 28000 liters per second (of seawater (once-through) through massive heat exchangers and condenser to cool a 1000MW power station. The debris load in seawater is huge. In order for our system to work reliable we apply multiple filter steps in which we filter the seawater to prevent ingress of fish, jellyfish, mussels, seaweed, plastic, wood, etc. etc. First we have a floating debris barrier with underwater openings, next a coarse filter consisting of vertical bars with 2 inches gree space between them. This screen is continuously raked clean by redundant automatic raking systems. Next are travelling band screens which filters to 1/4″ inch, continuously rotated and sprayed clean by high pressure water. It also ewuipped with a special (very expensive) fish return system, allowing fish to escape. Then comes another self-cleaning (backwash) filter system to get the last debris out.
    Additionally we dose a small amount of hypochlorite is the water to prevent bio-fouling inside the very large seawater system. If we do not do this within one season the pressure drop due to growing musselbanks is so large we have to shut down.
    If any one of these systems fail, the power plant has to shut down.
    Good luck with the long term operation of the seawater filled concrete domes…

  85. Friends:

    We are at 99 comments in this thread which has been so successfully trolled by Roger Sowell that more than half the posts have been about his nonsense instead of the thread’s subject.

    Perhaps when Sowell makes a post to any future threads pertaining to ‘renewables’ then someone could note his record of trolling such threads and his ‘contribution’ be left at that?

    Richard

  86. The “power spheres” are no different in function than water reservoirs on land. Except that they are significantly more complex to build and maintain as compared to the amount of energy they can store. Concrete does not like to flow in spheres, it like to lie flat during forming, making curved surfaces difficult at best. There are also issues with the pumping efficiency of air (compressible) as compared to water.

    All and all, the power sphere are very much in line with the EPA’s politically correct message that you can raise the cost of energy production and somehow this structural inefficiency will benefit the economy. Russia (the former Soviet Union) was big on just such projects. Perhaps the United States will also get a new name when it too goes bankrupt.

  87. Richard, you are right. However, I would point out that it was not a wasted exercise, dealing with Roger’s fantasy energy project. Just puzzling out the nature of his fantasy project was a good intellectual exercise, especially since he gave out just small bits and pieces of it at a time, and it appears there was never a serious effort by MIT to verify the validity of the concept. Those of us who are engineers, or have done technical work with this type of concept, are always eager to jump into the deep end of the pool and start wrestling with some of the thin bits of reality that were dangled in front of us. I have often done that with science fiction movies (which are normally much more fiction than science), arguing whether a particular planet could support a particular monster, or whether there could be suspended animation, and often laughing at Hollywood’s ideas about nuclear material or power. I do pledge to ignore Mr. Sowell’s rather ignorant posts in the future, though.

  88. a 25 meter power sphere would weigh about 10,000 tonnes since it does not float on water. While there are a couple of heavy lift cranes that could manage this, they are few and far between. 10,000 tonnes of concrete is about 4000 cubic meters of concrete. Since a 25 meter sphere is 8200 cubic meters, the sphere will be about 50% concrete, with a wall thickness of 2.5 meters. The interior volume remaining will only be about 4200 cubic meters.

  89. in comparison. a pool 100 meters by 100 meters by 10 meters deep has the same effective volume as 25 power spheres. All that would be required to contain this in an earthen pool on land is a vinyl sheet. If the water was lead down a hill thru a pipe to a similar pool 1500 meters below and you are done.

  90. As rule of thumb, 1 cubic meter of water, failing 1 meter per second can generate 1 Kw. So, with a 1500 meter head, a 100,000 cubic meter pool (100x100x10) will generate 1 Mw for 150 seconds. After that you need to refill the pool.

  91. The reason that Obama has been so successful at tearing down the nation’s economy and is continuing to do so through the EPA is because of the insulation he has with Harry Reid and his party controlling the Senate. He is beyond impeachment, even if the House could muster the berries to attempt it, since Reid would merely block it ever coming to the floor. Clinton was “impeachable” on the grounds that the “opposition party” controlled the Senate. Same for Nixon. If there ever was a good reason for the citizens of the US to adopt a 3rd party, the fact that a president can destroy the nation through executive power with absolute impunity because his party controls the Senate, should be it. If there ever was a good reason to ditch the two parties that exist at this time, what is happening is reason enough. Since this relates to the proposed EPA actions, I don’t consider the comment off topic.

  92. ferdberple says:
    June 3, 2014 at 5:10 am
    The “power spheres” are no different in function than water reservoirs on land. Except that they are significantly more complex to build and maintain as compared to the amount of energy they can store. Concrete does not like to flow in spheres, it like to lie flat during forming, making curved surfaces difficult at best. There are also issues with the pumping efficiency of air (compressible) as compared to water.

    I think to the solution to the construction project is slipform construction….

    But alas more junk science from MIT.

    What a crappy institution it has become.

  93. The ONLY way to create a truly accurate computer model of any complex system:

    The methodology used by the soft sciences of economics and climatology cannot do this and, as a result, innumerable unknowns can easily cause huge prediction errors even if the models appear to follow observations temporarily with current economic and climate models not even managing to accomplish even that.

    The emperor has no clothes…

  94. The idea that hundreds, even thousands, of arrays of 1000 windmills each per sphere is an answer to our energy challenges is absurd. We are talking hundreds of thousands of windmills in an aggressive, corrosive environment. Pressure vessels that can withstand the marine environment. And are not only seawater and offshore weather resistant, but airtight as well. The water has to be either pumped up and out or pushed out by air pressure push down. Either way, the energy required for that is a *lot*. The you need require dependable marine environment rated turbines to drive the generators. The more I consider this, I think it is in a way even worse than our current windmill fiasco. The MIT plan requires hundreds of thousands, if not millions of giant offshore windmills. Each of which will need regular and prompt maintenance on a timely basis. Think of a hurricane knocking out thousands of windmills and their infrastructure in a few hours. Think of big slow winter Nor’easters inching up the Atlantic coast. Significant areas of the seafloor devoted to giant concrete spheres, displacing sea floor habitat in thousands of places.
    The article is clever. Fun even. But for an idea that moves this country forward, it is a cure that is worse than the alleged problem it is claimed to be designed to fix.

  95. Distributed generation (by for example powered by natural gas, diesel, or even biomass) will cause many more (smaller) points of emissions with short stacks much closer to where people actually live. The current infrastructure still has centralized power plants, with very high stacks (300-500ft tall), often far away from urban areas (where most people live) emitting therefore into back ground/regional air, and not directly into the air people breath.

    Natgas is projected to peak at $8-10 over the next few years: http://stockcharts.com/public/1269446/chartbook/174021131. IF this is the case, then renewables will become economically more attractive (that’s not that same as cheaper btw…) and become an even larger share of the overall total energy portfolio (still small though). This will, however, further undermine grid-reliability due to renewables’ intermittent nature.

  96. What is frightening is that they have created a singular word for migrating birds that catch fire flying over solar farms: streamers.
    What is frightening is that they intentional ignore the high energy expense to create solar panel grade silicon along with all the hazmat the process produces.
    What is frightening is they refuse to acknowledge cost, available science and impact to the economy as required by law under the Clean Air Act.
    What is frightening is they claim lives saved yet are unable to measure any lives saved since c02 output has dropped.
    What is frightening is people actually believe what a lawyer and make believe ‘scientists’ tell them.

  97. Where will we get carbon fiber for wind generation from once our energy gets cut? The carbon production from oil is being shut down, carbon from coal is being shut down, and carbon fiber from chemical (oil) is also being shut down.
    Where will we get high temperature energy to create our carbon/carbon materials and solar panel quality panels?
    Where will we mine the materials needed for both items when all mining is being shut down?
    Did EPA ever consider the cost and impact of the materials used in each items? I don’t think so. IN fact, I am very sure they did not.

  98. Obama is from Chicago: From above link:
    pic 16/30 Inside an abandoned police station in Chicago, Ill. (Seph Lawless)
    pic 28/30 An abandoned apartment in Chicago, Ill. (Seph Lawless)

  99. Something that always intrigued me was the distribution network instability in Germany caused when the renewable portion of the supply reached 3% of the total.

    A DOE insider told me last year a study had found that the US network/grid couple tolerate an 80% renewable level AS IS. Mark me incredulous.

    It reminds me of the reports that John Perkins concocted out of thin air when he was hired as an Economic Hitman (see his book by the same name for details). It is stuff just made up to convince people to spend vast sums of money for putative benefits that will never manifest, all the while creating hopeless debt servitude to giant banking institutions.

  100. Shamelessly fraudulent! ‘Carbon pollution’. 25% less soot? This is simply trying to hoodwink the uninformed.

    I don’t know how you stop this lunacy, but you should.

  101. The narrator has effective hand gestures – not quite arm waving, or is it? – as he smoothly sequed from one thing to the other without offering any specifics, but including the obligatory, ominous possibility:

    …global climate change could threaten our very way of life
    (repeat elevated salt shaker hand-gesture for effect)…
    [...]
    …in the coming months, we’ll be listening to feedback on the proposal, and we want you to be part of the conversation. Learn more at our website:

    http://www.epa.gov

  102. Bobby Davis says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:09 am
    It is a shame that the American people will only wake up when they see their utility bills go through the roof. Everything else that the need to buy in order to survive will also go up in prices, like food and the cloths they put on there back. All because of higher energy costs across the board. Only then will this country wake up to the fraudsters that are controlling more & more of our lives.

    Just went to the grocery store that is already a reality today!

  103. Alexander Slocum, the Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; Brian Hodder, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative; and three MIT alumni and a former high school student who worked on the project.

    Roger, Roger, Roger….. How, how, just answer me please. How and where are you going to construct these “spheres” and how do you do that under water so no-one can “bitch” about seeing them or “polluting” our views , Where oh Where?? And just add to that how much renewable energy is that going to require just to built one?? OH and let’s leave alone the requirements to first of all built the initial renewable energy sources you need?? (I am getting a headache). You actually start to sound like the a fore mentioned high school student

  104. Roger Sowell says:
    June 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm
    If you will grant me an hour or so to commute home, I will try to answer the serious inquiries on MIT’s storage system.

    Biking?

  105. The MIT spheres will do exactly the same function: draw power from the grid at night to pump water out of the spheres.

    I guess for free?

  106. Perhaps when Sowell makes a post to any future threads pertaining to ‘renewables’ then someone could note his record of trolling such threads and his ‘contribution’ be left at that?

    bingo and thanks although Janice makes a point as well, I liked the back and forth. (well at least the forth).

  107. Roger Sowell, so and so man posts…
    I am a researcher and I like the idea of pumped storage. I have often put up this idea myself when discussing renewables. And I must say that the idea of the submerged spheres is interesting and intriguing. From a research point of view.
    Btw, I am Norwegian. We have lot of hydropower, we are world champions in renewables for electricity generation. Noone comes close.
    And, my field of research is maintenance…offshore maintenance….subsea to be specific. I can tell you that maintenance of anything under water, regardless of whether it is in the water or in a compartment under water, is in no way trivial. It is difficult, dangerous and expensive. We know, because we do these things every day on the Norwegian continental shelf.
    Technically, the spheres are feasible. Practically? With the kind of attitude you display….No.

  108. Well I apologize for getting Roger’s degree wrong. He is a Chemical Engineer not a mere chemist. Now my daughter has just finished a degree in Chemical Engineering. I like to discuss thermodynamics with her as it is part of her degree rqmt. I enjoy the discussions greatly. And yet Roger’s posts are as far as I can tell devoid of thermodynamic considerations (such as pumping losses). It is a wonder. They also seem devoid of corrosion issues. One might think that such issues were CRITICAL to chemical engineers. My daughter is currently doing some European travel. I’ll have to ask her about corrosion when she gets home.

    Any way – the short version is that the storage problem has not been solved in an economical way by the magic concrete spheres.

  109. psi says:
    June 4, 2014 at 10:08 am
    I wonder how this would change the calculus: http://www.ecatnews.net/

    I says:
    If it can ever be independently verified, it’s a possibility.
    Otherwise it’s simply another attempt at purported cold fusion.

    For short/long term energy storage, I’ve always thought that separating hydrogen from atmosphere then running it back through fuel cells might be an option – at least on land, for large generators. So far I haven’t see a hydrogen separation process efficient enough to make it worthwhile, though.

  110. Are they joking? What is an “Associate Assistant Administrator”, prey tell. Is that something like a “Third Assistant Best Boy” listed in movie credits?

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