A Breath of Fresh Air ?

Dworwood

Well-Known Member
I have talked with many people including engineers who wanted to do their part by going solar. Everyone of them would not recommend it to their friends. Payback never came, parts wear out, maintenance during winter, [clearing snow off] and by the time ROI showed up the systems need to be replaced. I install solar for livestock watering and that works well but for domestic I need someone to show me where it is feasible without government assistance helping to make it worth the money and I don't like that part of it. If it can't pay for itself it is a hoax in my opinion. Our city participated in green energy for several years, when I asked the mayor about it he said their/our involvement cost the city lots of money to do that but it was the only way they could get certain grants and government loans by being "green". We finally got out of the green business as it was too costly. Just my two bits worth.
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Compared to Nuclear or Coal/Natural Gas, Solar just isn’t efficient compared to the acreage required (not to mention the night/inclement weather issues).

NGS @ 1,700 acres was rated at 2,250 MW, better than a MW/acre.

Ivanpah Solar Plant in California near the Nevada Stateline is double the size of NGS @ 3,300 acres but is only rated at 380 MW. It would take nearly SIX Ivanpah solar plants to equate to NGS.

And Ivanpah consumes significant quantities of fossil fuel (Natural Gas) daily to preheat boilers before sunrise so, while ‘cleaner’ technology, it’s not exactly 100% “Green Energy”.

Why not convert NGS to Solar?

While not scientific by any means, using Ivanpah‘s numbers, converting the NGS ’footprint’ into Solar would theoretically result in 190 MW, less than 10% of NGS capacity. Setting numerous hurdles aside, without significant subsidies the conversion to Solar ROI just isn’t there.

There’s no question as population increases and auto makers transition to EV, new efficient electrical power sources will be sorely needed. Closure of coal plants like NGS is adding to the urgency.

To produce the kind of power on a scale needed for future generations, dollars should be diverted now from older less-efficient solar/wind subsidies and invested into research for a new (and yet undiscovered) efficient, sustainable AND cost-effective power-generation technology.

Until then, with acknowledgement of the drawbacks, Nuclear is the best option...currently.
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
Bill or anyone else with large-scale solar experience, do you know why no one was interested in turning the NGS site into a solar field? It seemed like a "no-brainer" to me with the significant expense of constructing the power transmission lines already being in place and connected to the national grid (I've read some satisfactory sites can't be developed because of the cost of connecting to the grid). Possibly politics or other issues were present (i.e. water rights)? I'm genuinely curious why this was not a good site for a solar field and would love to be enlightened. Thx, Doug
Pegasus, you hit the nail right on the head. With the transmission lines and infrastructure already installed, the cost to convert to solar would be reasonable. Before I retired I looked at a huge solar project on the reservation in New Mexico, but I don't think it will ever build due to how far the transmission lines would have to run. If anyone else has some better inputs on the solar cconversion I would appreciate it. It could quite possibly be federally funded, which would offer credits for the investment. A large developer could pay for the installation and sell the power, but the reservation could also collect taxes for the sale of the electricity, which could be substantial.
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
While not scientific by any means, using Ivanpah‘s numbers, converting the NGS ’footprint’ into Solar would theoretically result in 190 MW, less than 10% of NGS capacity. Setting numerous hurdles aside, without significant subsidies the conversion to Solar ROI just isn’t there.
Wow, you answered my question. That's an amazing number if even close to reality - a solar field in place of NGS would only produce about 8.5% (190M/2250MW) of what NGS did. And the ROI for the technology just doesn't make sense. Got it. Thank you.

I've always been a proponent of Nuclear energy and have read a lot about it over many years. It truly is, in my opinion, so far, the holy grail of clean(er) energy production. If the waste could be stored safely, seems this would be a great option for our planet. It sure does have a varied mix of organizations against it though - for many their reasoning doesn't hold water. And the nuclear plant problems over the years haven't helped either.
 

Red Rock Paradise

Well-Known Member
I've always been a proponent of Nuclear energy and have read a lot about it over many years. It truly is, in my opinion, so far, the holy grail of clean(er) energy production. If the waste could be stored safely, seems this would be a great option for our planet. It sure does have a varied mix of organizations against it though - for many their reasoning doesn't hold water. And the nuclear plant problems over the years haven't helped either.
I dont understand why we aren't allowed to recycle spent fuel rods. Several other countries do it safely and it allows for the "spent" fuel to get used again so we get more power from the same amount of waste.
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
I agree, I know France has some technology to do just that, but haven't read about how much more life they get out of the rods. There have to be solutions out there for dealing with spent rods(launch into the sun?).
John, I was thinking the same thing! Why not launch them into deep space or to the moon or Mars, or bury them thousands of feet deep in the earth. I'm nieve on what would be required for such a disposal. And in the near term, recycling them as other countries are doing.

I'll have to look into why the environmental groups are so anti-nuclear.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
John, I was thinking the same thing! Why not launch them into deep space or to the moon or Mars, or bury them thousands of feet deep in the earth. I'm nieve on what would be required for such a disposal. And in the near term, recycling them as other countries are doing.

I'll have to look into why the environmental groups are so anti-nuclear.
Chicken Little.
 

GregC

Well-Known Member
I dont understand why we aren't allowed to recycle spent fuel rods. Several other countries do it safely and it allows for the "spent" fuel to get used again so we get more power from the same amount of waste.
If they can be recycled/reused to extinction that's a whole nother ball game!

GregC
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
Compared to Nuclear or Coal/Natural Gas, Solar just isn’t efficient compared to the acreage required (not to mention the night/inclement weather issues).

NGS @ 1,700 acres was rated at 2,250 MW, better than a MW/acre.

Ivanpah Solar Plant in California near the Nevada Stateline is double the size of NGS @ 3,300 acres but is only rated at 380 MW. It would take nearly SIX Ivanpah solar plants to equate to NGS.

And Ivanpah consumes significant quantities of fossil fuel (Natural Gas) daily to preheat boilers before sunrise so, while ‘cleaner’ technology, it’s not exactly 100% “Green Energy”.

Why not convert NGS to Solar?

While not scientific by any means, using Ivanpah‘s numbers, converting the NGS ’footprint’ into Solar would theoretically result in 190 MW, less than 10% of NGS capacity. Setting numerous hurdles aside, without significant subsidies the conversion to Solar ROI just isn’t there.

There’s no question as population increases and auto makers transition to EV, new efficient electrical power sources will be sorely needed. Closure of coal plants like NGS is adding to the urgency.

To produce the kind of power on a scale needed for future generations, dollars should be diverted now from older less-efficient solar/wind subsidies and invested into research for a new (and yet undiscovered) efficient, sustainable AND cost-effective power-generation technology.

Until then, with acknowledgement of the drawbacks, Nuclear is the best option...currently.
Rivergoer, thanks for doing the math on this. I was unaware how much power NGS actually produced.
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
I have been watching the mini-series on HBO titled Chernobyl, and if the "assumptions" are true, if they had not found a way to put out the fire, it would have burned to the earth's core. Is that true, I have no idea?
 

PBR

Active Member
I am most certainly not against nuclear power but I cannot imagine that plant would ever be converted to nuclear. I think it is a little too close to the biggest source of drinking water the Western United States has. There are a heck of a lot of natural gas wells in relatively close proximity. I would think that if they wanted to keep the plant operational it would be feasible to get gas out there.
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
A natural gas conversion sounds interesting. I wonder what the costs would be for that.
As a sidenote to this, the Ivanpah generating station at Stateline Nevada has not met its predicted energy output yet. By design it uses heated natural gas to turn turbines, thus generating electricity. Normally water is used for this, but that is scarce out there. Since there are liquidated damages involved in the construction contract for lower power generation, they requested a second natural gas line to be installed to the location. I am not sure if that has been approved or installed yet.
 
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Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Rivergoer, thanks for doing the math on this. I was unaware how much power NGS actually produced.
Yep, another eye-opener is how rated capacity of GC Dam compares(d) to NGS...1,320 MW (GC Dam) vs 2,250 MW (NGS). Amazing to think the coal plant produced about 70% MORE power than the dam.

Solar and Wind just can’t compete with numbers on that scale, not to mention 24/7 operation and the ability to scale output up/down to meet demand.
 

Trix

Well-Known Member
I agree, I know France has some technology to do just that, but haven't read about how much more life they get out of the rods. There have to be solutions out there for dealing with spent rods(launch into the sun?).
A close friend (and fellow Powell boater for over 40 years) is a nuclear engineer and served on the Palo Verde NGS executive operating committee. He still reminds me that all the nuclear waste ever produced from all civilian and military projects could be stored in a space no larger than two high school gymnasiums. Thus, a permanent storage facility like Yucca Mountain, which Harry Reid personally killed, could accommodate all nuclear waste, albeit dangerously radio active for eternity. It's a political (safety, environmental NIMBY) issue, not an engineering issue. Absent a central storage facility, rods are in casks at each facility, so we have a volume problem. No easy solutions.
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
The problem with tuning our plant into solar? Where are you going to get the land to do it?
Its all Navajo land out there. What price will they charge to allow it on their land?
Secondly, can anyone show any solar field anywhere that has an ROI going right now?

All the green stuff is fun to talk about but its the electrical storage problem that is at the crux of the issue. Until that is solved its all just one big experiment that the tax payers are funding.
 

John P Funk

Well-Known Member
All the green stuff is fun to talk about but its the electrical storage problem that is at the crux of the issue. Until that is solved its all just one big experiment that the tax payers are funding.
Exactly, If it were truly economically feasible/marketable it would be far more popular. The low hanging fruit has been plucked with the incentive of a 30% Federal income tax refund. If only a few are interested at 70% actual price it's probably not going to survive.
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
When I worked for a solar company over a year ago, we would always recommend clearing the solar panels every 3 to 4 months depending on location, to keep power output maximized. It is seldom ever done, as that is an expense.
 
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