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I've been touting the"S" curve at NPI for a decade or two and I was a lonely voice in the forest. Now the "S" curve has finally gained in popularity to explain the exponential growth of successful innovation. The video added some new elements that I was not aware of such as the increased size of markets after innovation takes hold -- it should have been obvious comparing our markets to caveman markets. Another interesting factoid was the 75% inflection point of the "S" curve. In practical terms, the growth phase is steeper than the subsequent decline phase. In investing terms, buy after crossing the chasm and sell while the innovation is still hot.

The talk is about wind, solar, and batteries. One thing Dr. Dorr does not address is that oil is very centralized (The Seven Sisters -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(oil_companies) ) while, specially solar, is distributed and that is a huge shift in economic power to the good.

The main takeaway is that wind and solar should not replace traditional power Kilowatt for Kilowatt (or joule for joule) but in a new cost based equilibrium between generation and storage. I found this to be very interesting, we would need more generation but less storage according to their model. When Dr. Dorr described the constrains placed on the model I lost some faith in the model.

The talk is only 50 minutes. I found the Q&A (another 50 minutes) boring so I skipped most of it.

My investing takeaway -- TSLA is a good stock to buy. ;)

NCCCA "Super Power" Event with Dr. Adam Dorr, RethinkX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUen26JZanY


Denny Schlesinger
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Excellent post.

In addition to wind/solar, Renewables include: hydro, geothermal, biofuels and new synthetic fuels

In addition to batteries, Energy Storage includes: pumped hydro, hydrogen, molten materials, kinetic energy, compressed energy and new technologies such capacitors

In addition to Renewables and Energy Storage, the big gains will come from less need for generation and storage accomplished by reduced energy demand in following areas:
Reductions in energy consumption in all buildings
Reductions in energy consumption by commercial and industry
Distributed energy which eliminates the 6% energy losses in the grid transmission

For example: Palo Verde generates about 3600 MW. If Southern California buys 2000 MW, then Palo Verde needs to generate 2120 MW for Southern California to get 2000 MW. As Southern California has excess energy during daylight hours, they do not buy any expensive daytime nuclear energy. But during the night, Southern California buys cheap nuclear energy.

Jaak

P.S. - Nuclear power will hang on for a few of decades at less than 10% of world power generation until the economics kills it. Nuclear power has already reached its peak and is now on a steady decline.
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Excellent post.

In addition to wind/solar, Renewables include: hydro, geothermal, biofuels and new synthetic fuels


Thanks! Of course there are other renewables but their contention is that wind and solar are the most cost effective for generation and batteries the most cost effective and practical for storage. The real world is always more complex than planning models.

I have a bit of experience in this area, in microcosm, because I rebuilt the electrical system of my boat to add wind and solar and a second set of six volt (golf cart) batteries to the mix. This was 20 years ago. My experience was that solar was the most reliable and unobtrusive, wind noisy and even dangerous, and lead acid batteries PITA. A good learning experience.

Denny Schlesinger
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The report on energy from RethinkX is fascinating: https://www.rethinkx.com/energy
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>> P.S. - Nuclear power will hang on for a few of decades at less than 10% of world power generation until the economics kills it. Nuclear power has already reached its peak and is now on a steady decline. <<

If you are talking about U235 fission pressurized water designs, I agree with you. Although many new reactors are currently being built, the writing is on the wall for them - they are killed by fuel costs, safety concerns, proliferation concerns, storage and disposal of waste - all of this adds a lot to lifecycle costs, far more than the actual reactor.

But do not dismiss next generation nuclear designs.

This includes:
- advanced fission designs. There are quite a few out there. See Terrapower's Travelling Wave Reactor, which leads to 40% conversion of fuel, up from about 5%, and a massive reduction in waste storage and disposal costs. And there are many other clever and innovative designs that promise great improvement in economics.
- advanced thorium fission designs. See the work the Chinese are doing with their molten salt reactor. There are also gas phase concepts, although those are further in the future. The advantages of thorium are vastly underestimated IMO.
- fusion designs. Scoff all you want at ITER, but the enabling technologies - high temp and high mag field superconducting magnets, advanced modelling and computational tools, and more - are quickly making tokamaks plausible. See the Commonwealth Fusion compact tokamak. And look at alternate tokamak geometries, e.g., Tokamak Energy spherical tok. Finally, I am particularly interested in the new geometries enabled by some of the new tools. Look at the stellarator.

Talk about new paradigms. They're busting out all over the nuclear energy field.

All of this will be competing with falling costs for wind, solar, and batteries. I do not know what the final economics of these designs will be, nor does anyone else, but dismissing them at this point is shortsighted in my view.

Further, people overlook a new power demand center that is coming in the next couple decades. Space power. As SpaceX and competitors bring down access costs to space, we'll need compact and portable power sources. Solar power is very limited. Even SPS with power beaming won't be able to supply everything required. Nuclear power will be demanded, and developments for space will feed into earthly power gen.

Keep an eye on new nuclear paradigms.

Brian
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Keep an eye on new nuclear paradigms.

Do you know any that are public that are worth looking at?
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All of this will be competing with falling costs for wind, solar, and batteries. I do not know what the final economics of these designs will be, nor does anyone else, but dismissing them at this point is shortsighted in my view.

Keep an eye on new nuclear paradigms.


The Stone Age ended a very long time ago but New Paradigm Stone is with us as in silicon wafers, diamond drills, cinderblocks, glass. It's all stone.

Denny Schlesinger
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If you are talking about U235 fission pressurized water designs, I agree with you. Although many new reactors are currently being built, the writing is on the wall for them - they are killed by fuel costs, safety concerns, proliferation concerns, storage and disposal of waste - all of this adds a lot to lifecycle costs, far more than the actual reactor.

But do not dismiss next generation nuclear designs.

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

Yes I was talking about large fission reactors (pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactors) currently operating and some currently being built.

As for next gen reactors there is niche market for small nuclear plants in the future. But these next gen reactors will never reach even 1% of world power generation. Why:
1. They still have many of the issues of the current large fission reactors.
2. The concepts and designs have been in the design stage for over a decade.
3. Some have gotten preliminary NRC approval while others are still working on this approval.
4. They have not been built and operated - so cost and schedule is still unknown.
5. They will not be available for utility level operations until 2030s at the earliest
6. Many countries have turned their back on nuclear power

Jaak (retired nuclear engineer)
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It really does not matter how good nuclear power is if the public, authorities and regulators do not want it. Dead on arrival. Whatever the benefits.
Rationality is not always a strong point of political systems.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
It really does not matter how good nuclear power is if the public, authorities and regulators do not want it. Dead on arrival. Whatever the benefits.
Rationality is not always a strong point of political systems.

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

Well here is politics at work to blow your opinion out of the water:

9/13/2021

The Illinois Senate has approved an overhaul of the state’s energy policy with an eye toward a carbon-free future, with a key part of the package keeping the Byron nuclear power plant operating just hours before Exelon Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), said it would begin shutting down the facility.

Senators voted 37-17 on Sept. 13 to approve the package. The legislation is supported by Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, and at least for now provides a reprieve for Byron and the state’s other nuclear power plants. ComEd on Monday said it was now preparing to refuel its 2,300-MW Byron and 1,800-MW Dresden nuclear facilities; it had submitted decommissioning plans for the two plants with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year. The utility said it also will “move to immediately fill hundreds of vacant positions and resume capital projects required for long-term operation.”

The bill passed Monday contains almost $700 million over five years in carbon mitigation credits for three ComEd plants, each built more than 40 years ago. Exelon had said it was prepared to begin closing Byron as early as Monday. The company said it was ready to shut down the Dresden plant in November, and had said its 2,350-MW Braidwood plant also was at risk of closure.

At least five states, including Illinois, have set clean energy targets and have implemented credit programs to reward nuclear plants for providing zero-carbon electricity. Illinois in 2016 passed a law setting up 10 years of zero-emissions credits to Exelon’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants.

The bill in its current form goes beyond a bailout for the three nuclear plants, putting an emphasis on moving Illinois toward 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 as coal-, oil-, and gas-fired power plants close in the coming years. Supporters of the legislation have said it is key in the effort to combat climate change.

https://www.powermag.com/illinois-nuclear-plants-saved-by-la...

Jaak

P.S. - Of course the rate payers in Illinois will be paying higher electricity bills to pay for the subsidy to nuclear power plants.
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