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Martin Nicholson (Author - ENERGY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE)'s Comments

May 21, 2014

Fukushima, Japan Rebuilding Communities with Solar, Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2040

If you do the sums, to replace the Fukushima nuclear plants you would need to cover the entire evacuation zone with solar panels. This would guarantee that none of the evacuees could ever return and those that didn't leave would have to. Doesn't sounds like a very solid energy proposal.

August 18, 2013

IBM's HyRef Seeks to Solve Wind's Intermittency Problem

I'm at a bit of a loss as to how a wind forecasting system can reduce intermittency of delivery into the grid.

August 18, 2013

IBM's HyRef Seeks to Solve Wind's Intermittency Problem

I'm at a bit of a loss as to how a wind forecasting system can reduce intermittency of delivery into the grid

November 03, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Uncovers Strength and Simplicity of Renewable Energy Systems

Perhaps Sandy wasn't a big hurricane after all if wind turbines didn't shut down. Turbines typically shut down at wind speeds of 90 km/hr (56 m/hr) to avoid turbine damage. It seems unlikely that any wind farm in the path of a hurricane wouldn't shut down – something the author of this article failed to mention.

May 23, 2012

Apple to Power 3 Data Centers with 100 Percent Renewable Energy

100 Percent? What wonderful spin. Apple runs a 24/7 data center. You can't do that with solar panels. It's a pity companies can't be honest and say they are generating the same total amount of green electricity that they consume. The day they disconnect from the grid, I'll believe 100 percent renewable energy - unless they are keeping a backup diesel genset.

January 31, 2012

Kyocera to Launch Solar With Li-Ion Battery Storage for Homes in Japan

Attempting to save TOU costs with battery storage is non-trivial. For safety reasons the battery backup system can only be used when the house is disconnected from the grid – such as with a blackout. So to avoid TOU tariffs, you would need to turn off the main power supply and then remember to turn it back on when the tariffs dropped. Unless the smart meter can do this automatically, I can't see it being very attractive to many.

January 31, 2012

Kyocera to Launch Solar With Li-Ion Battery Storage for Homes in Japan

Gerald, in NSW Australia where I live to my knowledge you cannot connect a "generator" (like a battery) that puts power into the local grid when the grid voltage at the property is zero for line maintenance safety reasons. This means that solar panels cannot provide power to the home or the grid during blackouts.

I have batteries charged by my solar panels and if the grid voltage drops to zero the battery inverter is automatically (and instantly) connected to the house power circuit and isolated from the grid. So I can certainly use batteries during a blackout. I couldn't use batteries during a high tariff period without disconnecting the house circuit from the grid. Perhaps where you live the regulations are different.

February 10, 2012

Kyocera to Launch Solar With Li-Ion Battery Storage for Homes in Japan

Not sure why this discussion has drifted into nuclear power but I have to agree with DrAlex, much of the anti-nuclear material here is poorly informed or just outright spin. I prefer to believe international bodies like the UN before anti-nuke propaganda vis-à-vis accidents like Chernobyl. Likewise the LNT (linear, no threshold - the lower the dose the safer it is) approach to radiation dose is starting to be seriously questioned by radiation experts. Some even suggest that the kind of doses being experienced around much of Fukushima are actually beneficial for health and certainly no grounds for mass evacuation. I expect the science will progressive move in this direction.

November 02, 2010

The Grid Parity Fallacy

I seriously doubt that the externalities for solar PV are much different than for nuclear on a kWh basis. See

June 03, 2010

Integrating Solar: CSP and Gas Turbine Hybrids

Just for the record and the author's info the Colorado coal plant with CSP is not the first such plant. There is a CSP facility using Fresnel reflectors operating at the Liddell coal plant in New South Wales.

September 08, 2009

Renewables Impact on the Grid? Answers from Telecom History

Distributed generation isn't just a matter of approval and regulation as it was with telecoms.

As Mahesh admits - the analogy between electricity distribution networks and telephone systems can only be taken so far. To the layman they may seem similar. Both use poles and wires to connect end users to a network.

The big difference between the two is the telephone network was designed to be bi-directional. That is messages were sent out to end users and similar volumes of messages were received back. This made it relatively easy to convert it to send packets of data in both directions rather than just analog speech which is what it was originally designed for.

The current electricity distribution network was designed to be uni-directional. Electricity was sent out to the end user and never sent the other way. So the network was built to be progressively "weaker" as it moved towards the end users because less and less power was needed the further out from the generators the network reached.

Fortunately electricity will flow in both directions even through transformers so adding small quatities of distributed generation (like a few roof top PV panels) can be accommodated without upgrading distribution lines or transformers.

As distributed generation grows the distribution network will require stengthening in areas with significant local generation capacity at significant cost - to someone. Should it be shared with all users on the network or just the users who want to install "big" distributed generating systems? If the distributed generation was allowed to proceed without the upgrades then all users on the network in the region of the distributed generator will be negatively impacted.

This a very different problem than the one faced by the telecoms network.

Martin Nicholson (Author - ENERGY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE)

Martin Nicholson (Author - ENERGY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE)

I am also author of "The Power Makers' Challenge" which was released in May 2012

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