Saturday, September 3, 2011

Comment from Eric

Hi Craig; thank you for the update on the quarry, and I agree with the battle to stop this mega-quarry. It is in the wrong place, too big, and nothing in it for the people of Ontario.

We need to better crystallize our thoughts in few other areas; and therefore, we need to discuss your comment below and the Green Party position wrt Darlington nuclear, the phase out of nuclear, that GPO proposes, and the whole sustainability issue of low density energy from wind turbines that I am against. Solar does get my vote because electrical energy from the sun matches the air-conditioning demand. But since the air conditioning demand is in the cities, therefore the solar panels need to be installed on rooftops in the cities, not farmers fields.

I am in favour of nuclear. In spite of all risks, the direction is better more robust build. Nuclear is the only source of energy due to its energy density coming from the atom that could sustain a greater population on planet earth than especially wind energy, that does not have density and economy of scale, ie the many small wind turbine machines that need maintenance, and will wear out eventually. Countries that use up every square km for wind turbines today may in 20 years time start removing turbines to make room for people to live and work, and move to a more concentrated form of energy.

Maybe in 50 to 100 years nuclear could be phase, but I don't see Ontario being a viable economy by an 'overnight' shift to solar. Electricity is far too important a commodity. We rely on electricity for our life support system. Changes, if any need to be carefully thought out and gradual using the principle of precaution. Eg. the energy storage requirement is not there or even a stepping stone away in order to make an orderly transition as you propose.

Electricity from wind and solar are not the same quality as electricity from a steam turbine generator, because solar and wind lack storage capacity. Electricity from steam turbines has the storage capacity of the flywheel effect of hundreds of tons of inertia in the machine. Electricity source has to be matched to demand exactly second by second 24/7/365, and it is this flywheel effect that makes up for the very small mismatches when you plug in your kettle for example. Wind and solar need a battery in the loop in order to keep the system from collapsing like it did in the 2003 blackout. Storage and capacitance needs to be addressed before even thinking about mucking around with the power system the way that the liberals are doing that today, and what the NDP are also proposing in their platform.

The FIT program has proven itself very disruptive and is fast becoming unsustainable. Solar panels can now be manufactured for around one dollar per peak Watt, yet we have salesmen selling installations based on 7 to 8 dollars per peak Watt. The profit margin for solar salesmen has doubled since the beginning of FIT. If anybody is looking for gravy like Mayor Rob Ford was, the FIT program is a good place to start.

The FIT program needs to be turned into a community power program and can still be managed by the OPA. We need to have all projects tendered to get the best technical and most economic proposals, that would make Ontario much more sustainable.

Community power by my definition is: Power at cost. Right now there is too much profit in the Power at cost plus profit model. The GPO should reconsider its position on nuclear that I feel is out of synch with what the Green Party is overall trying to accomplish in Ontario.

Eric Jelinski M. Eng. P. Eng.

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