"green energy" feasibility and investment opportunities

ESG funds underperforming



By now you’ve probably heard the hype about the fusion experiment results at Lawrence Livermore.

If you have any kind of physics or engineering background you can see the hole in the so-called breakthrough. Here’s the key part of a good article about it

For the first time, albeit briefly, they induced a fusion reaction that produced “net energy,” i.e., the reaction yielded more energy than contained in the laser beams used to fry the fuel pellet.

While the “net energy” achievement is big for scientists, it’s not a “massive step” for power engineers. Why? We need to account for the grid energy required for powering those lasers. Doing so more than wipes out the net gain of 20%. Each unit of laser energy put into the fuel pellet gobbled 200 units of grid energy. A lot of work needs to be done.

Not least, materials scientists and manufacturing engineers will have to come up with breakthroughs for fabricating the fusion fuel pellets, millions of which will be needed per year per reactor. Right now, each single jewel-like fuel pellet is hand-crafted and costs about $1 million.

Another problem with fusion energy is that the excess energy of the most common reaction (deuterium-tritium) is carried away by high energy neutrons. These have the capability to transmute the materials in the surrounding structures to become radioactive and special measures have to be made to reduce this problem. Here’s what Wikipedia says

Multiple approaches have been proposed to capture the energy that fusion produces. The simplest is to heat a fluid. The commonly targeted D-T reaction releases much of its energy as fast-moving neutrons. Electrically neutral, the neutron is unaffected by the confinement scheme. In most designs, it is captured in a thick “blanket” of lithium surrounding the reactor core. When struck by a high-energy neutron, the blanket heats up. It is then actively cooled with a working fluid that drives a turbine to produce power.

Another design proposed to use the neutrons to breed fission fuel in a blanket of nuclear waste, a concept known as a fission-fusion hybrid. In these systems, the power output is enhanced by the fission events, and power is extracted using systems like those in conventional fission reactors.[9]

Though my physics and engineering knowledge doesn’t qualify as “a background”, my understanding is that it’s a breakthrough in a sense that fusion researchers have been trying to achieve this net energy result for a few decades, not in a sense that it can immediately be put into commercial use. Prior to this it was only theoretical.

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I haven’t seen any technical discussion of what they claim to have achieved now but the same group claimed a breakthrough last year. See this article from August 2021

We know that fusion releases a tremendous amount of energy. The question is how to harness it in practical system. The New York Post article I quoted above has a good discussion of the many problems that have to be solved.

More from Wikipedia about the lithium “blanket” mentioned. It shows the radiation problem of the high energy neutrons. The lithium blanket tries to use this for a practical positive result.

The arrival of the cold snap has already sent UK electricity prices to record highs.

In a separate report, Bloomberg outlined three reasons why Europe’s addiction to NatGas persists:

  • First, nuclear outages in France have resulted in the loss of a sizable chunk of electricity generation.
  • Second, the region is also experiencing low wind output as the technology proves its fickleness during cold weather.
  • Finally, EU policymakers are discovering the limits of their demand reduction measures.

The arrival of the cold blast is Europe’s first real test of the power grid and NatGas supplies. All eyes will be on the rate of drawdown of NatGas storage.

= spider webs with spiders. :smiling_face:

Some of my friends at German companies (not Nazis, for all you haters), tell me that their company thermostats are being set to 17°. That’s ~63° for those of us with American brains. Oh, and these aren’t mom and pop companies. They are (or would be) Fortune 500 companies. I’m not sure if these settings are by government edict, or to save a buck, but that is pretty darned cold.

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Late but you have to start somewhere. Apparently even the Labour party signed on. It seems to be an old technology power plant so it will take decades and billions of pounds.

A new £20bn nuclear power plant would help Britain move towards “greater energy independence”, the business secretary said as he backed the plans.

Grant Shapps visited the Suffolk coast to mark the signing of contracts with French energy firm EDF for £700m of government investment in Sizewell C.

He said ministers were also committed to developing other new nuclear projects and the Energy Security Bill.

Critics said there was a “huge amount” of money still to find for the project.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said Labour supported the announcement on Sizewell C, new nuclear plants and the return of the “delayed energy bill which should have never been paused”.

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Well great/sarcasm. The United States relies on Russia for enriched uranium for new generation nuclear power plants!

A high-tech nuclear energy project in Wyoming, backed by the U.S. Department of Energy and Bill Gates, is delayed by at least two years and a U.S. senator said it showed that the United States needs to reduce reliance on Russia for a special fuel for such reactors.

U.S. companies are trying to develop a new generation of small nuclear plants to help cut carbon emissions but only one firm sells the fuel it needs, and it’s Russian. The fuel, called high assay low enriched uranium, or HALEU, is enriched up to 20%, much higher than the up to 5% level today’s reactors use.

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It is interesting that the article leads with the summer afternoon solar power drop problem for the grid

California utility regulators on Thursday approved major changes to the state’s booming rooftop solar market that they say will more evenly spread the cost of energy and help reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels in the evening.

The state has long led the nation in adoption of rooftop solar panels, and today more than 1.5 million California homes and other buildings have them. Under a decades-old program, people with solar panels can get paid by their power companies by sharing excess solar energy they don’t need, leading some solar homes to pay minimal electric bills.

That’s led to criticism that rooftop solar customers aren’t paying their fair share into the rest of the energy grid, which many still rely on for power when the sun goes down Power rates also include things like transmission equipment and wildfire prevention work, and regulators approve a set amount of money that utilities can recover from customers.


How’s this gonna work out in the Democrat states that mandate all electric vehicles in the near future? You need trucks to construct windmills and solar power plants.

It was nearly too good while it lasted. The original base price assigned to the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro was eye-popping for its size, or lack thereof: Here was an all-electric full-size pickup truck listed at just over $41,000(!). To help keep that price so low, Ford used a ton of carryover parts from the regular, gas-fed F-150—and also charged a lot more for bigger batteries and higher trim levels, ensuring those pricey models helped its bottom line. Now, it seems like the entry-level F-150 Lightning’s ride as a standout value is over, as following price increases in August and again in October, Ford is charging up the price of its least-expensive F-150 Lightning Pro model yet again , with the latest changes appearing on its website just days after we named the Lightning our 2023 Truck of the Year

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You don’t need NEW trucks to do that.


That’s right. You only need SCE (superior combustion engine) vehicles to do the hard work. :slight_smile:


How long will that last? The Democrats flat out ban the sale of gasoline and diesel trucks.

Time to go all in on electric.


Forever if this law is not universal. Plus exceptions or extensions could always be made when necessary.

I doubt that. The Democrats believe in what is to them the huge danger of catastrophic “climate change” with a religious fervor. They are not going to let a few practical details stand in the way.

They (or at least the governor, who is a Democrat) postponed the shutdown of the last nuclear plant, didn’t they? Doubt all you want, but when push comes to shove everyone does what has to be done.

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