Saturday, 2 April 2011

Turton: Can I Haz Calculator?

(I really need a Lolcatz picture for this - ed)

Turton - who had to ban me last year to save himself the embarassment of having his arse kicked up and down his blog every week - pulls up lame in an utterly hilarious attempt to excuse himself from actual debate. What he's come out with is so bad, I almost cannot type the goddamn keys straight...!
"Apparently in the alternate universe inhabited by free marketers, energy conservation, along with Google, have not been discovered. I decided not to reply in the Taipei Times because lots of people are going to have lots of fun with that letter, no doubt why TT published it. For a real world example of utility-scale offshore wind, see the Big London Array now going up. For a large-scale onshore wind project, the same firm built the Roscoe Wind Farm. For information from people who actually know something, try the American Wind Energy Association or the DOE Wind pages. To get an idea of how much could be conserved in Taiwan, try a scholarly paper like this one."
Let those "lots of people" have their "lots of fun" Turton - because I'm going to have mine right now...

The London Array, Turton, will cost over NT$91 billion and require 195 square kilometres of area - at sea. Maintenance costs for that thing will be a nightmare. And once complete it will only have a capacity of 1,000 MW! Assuming it generates electricity at an average of 30% of that capacity, it will produce less than 3 TW hours of electricity per year. In order to replace Taiwan's three currently working nuclear power plants, renewable energy sources must generate over 40 TW hours per year. In Taiwan, the government would have to build an offshore windfarm at least 14 times the size of the London Array! That's 2,730 square kilometres - more than 10 Taipei Cities - at sea! And NT$364 billion in construction costs alone!

As for the Roscoe Windfarm - that cost about NT$30 billion and consumes 404 square kilometres of land. And its power capacity isn't even 1000 MW (a measly 782 MW)! Operating at an average of 30% of that across a year, that thing is only going to generate just over 2 TW hours of energy! In Taiwan we'd have to build 20 Roscoes to replace the three nuclear plants - so that's NT$600 billion at over 8000 square kilometres! That's one fourth the size of the entire island! Or nearly 30 times the size of Taipei City! :)

Really! I mean... I'm literally LOL-ing here: f*ck me sideways with a cricket bat!

And if that's not enough, the "scholarly paper" he pulls up was one I actually read and discarded several days ago: the electricity savings the author identifies are just over 1,000 MW hours (over four years!) - which is less than 0.05% of the total energy generated in one year by Taiwan's nuclear plants alone! Oh, dear me...!

Turton: if anyone takes you seriously on that, I've got a great marine documentary for them...!


  1. Did you tell Chuck Norris jokes in Barrens chat when playing WOW? I would of pegged you for more of an EVE player otherwise.

    One of the things that really bothers me with all this solar/wind energy crap is people don't really ponder the consequences nor are they spoken of till they are in your backyard. I mean it sounds like a great idea to put up a windmill on the ocean off the coast till you realize seawater is highly corrosive and maintenance is really expensive. On land it only gets worse, because people who are pro solar/wind energy are also pretty nonchalant on the forcible appropriation of other people's land for it too. The same guys who hate Justice Thomas and Alito, the justices that ruled in minority against the Kelo decision, are the same guys on the side of the justices that said it was ok for municipal govts to use eminent domain to take land for economic development for private contractors for the benefit of higher property and sales tax revenue. It's not too far of a stretch to say it can be for environmental benefits too.

    Another key point on wind power is that it's often a gimme to govt regulators for something else like a high voltage transport line or a natural gas power plant. Sadly you aren't going to hear any of this on the news.

    As far as academics, they've wrapped themselves up in a cloak of benevolent dominance. How dare you question my beliefs is an often refrain from them. How many scholarly journals do you read that are published by my incestuous brethren? These guys make medieval catholic church practices seem quaint. Another one is: I can't be wrong because someone who thinks like me said this was right and I don't bother to contemplate anything that goes against my views. Other favorite excuses and habits are blaming it on oil money, trying to sue or excommunication of scholars who don't buy in.

    Wind and solar are too expensive and scale poorly. Solar has been a great idea since I was born and I'm only 4 years away from my 4th decade on this planet. In that time, computers have gone from huge mainframes that were used for govt and large corporations to an ubiquitous device in the hands of almost anybody. Phone and TV service have improved so greatly that if I told someone who just graduated from high school about it, they wouldn't understand. Wind Power is a 1000+ year old technology, that somehow never got off the ground despite the industrial revolution. I'm sure there's a very good reason for that. ;)

    I'm not surprised that Turton banned you. The hive mind demands ideological conformity! ;)

  2. "Did you tell Chuck Norris jokes in Barrens chat when playing WOW? I would of pegged you for more of an EVE player otherwise."

    I'm so much not a computer game player (at least since about 1994) that not only did I have to google those things, but I still can't tell whether that's a compliment or an insult... so I'm going to skip over it. I have nothing against games, but I haven't got much to say for them either...

    On the points you make: yes, yes, yes...

    I've been trying to look at the issue in terms of a trade off, i.e. OK the environmentalists get to have renewables, but the price for that is the removal of the State from energy and agriculture (and probably a bunch of other things). Would the economics work then...? I'm still thinking this through and tend toward the conclusion that it might be do-able... but probably not.

    Of course the real answer (i.e. most likely) to Taiwan's energy future is gas: I've got a post coming on this, but basically you can replace Taiwan's three nukes with about 10 combined-cycle power plants on perhaps just over 5km2 for a cost of around NT$200 billion - which knocks the crap out of everything except possibly the most modern nukes (but then they can't even get built). Gas imports will be cheap too, and then there's the possibility of replacing them with home-grown bio-fuels from algae...

  3. I think a little more delving into behavioral psychology would help you see the inherent difficulties of removing the state from anything. People are far more concerned about what they would lose rather than what they would gain even if it is a greater amount. It also doesn't help that politicians crusade as the savior of the little guy in good old-fashioned caudillo style.

    Natural gas is a great choice and I think Taiwan is going to go that way. I'd heard they were even going to destroy one of only 2 known algae reefs to build a natural gas terminal. Fracking has been a Godsend for consumers. 5 years ago LPG was through the roof, now it's one of the cheapest per BTU iirc.

    I'm really down on bio-fuels. I have my reasoning that goes along with my disbelief regarding cellulose-derived ethanol.
    1. It requires sterile conditions
    2. Even your really good wood decomposers only get a small percentage. They actually specialize on how old and how many other decomposers have come before them. Too many cellulose based ethanol plans are looking for a magic bullet because of reason #1.
    3. Algae requires lots of chemicals, skills, and equipment for full on growth. I'd rate it right up there with your most technologically advanced indoor marijuana farms, which would make an agricultural university's controlled grow conditions look like it was done by a kid with a few seeds, a patch of dirt and a holey watering can.
    4. It would take up a lot of land for algae. I think it would work better as a feedstock for animals rather than a source of fuel. Feed costs are huge input for farmers and with more and more people able to afford meat, when need a more efficient way to turn crops into animal protein.

  4. Yes cellulose-ethanol is a long term project if it's going to get off the ground at all.

    I'll have to read up again on the economics for algae - but what you're saying sounds about right.

    And fracking - yes, Tsai will have to go for gas if she wants to replace nukes, no doubt about it. I just worry about the enviromentalists and leaches like Motech and TSMC clamouring for more solar subsidies; that plant down in Lhuju is a disgrace.

  5. Unserious suggestion:

    Considering changing it to

    That's 2,730 square kilometres - you'd need maybe 10 one-megaton nukes to destroy it!


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