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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:13 PM
Original message
PG&E gets OK for space-based solar project
Source: Sacramento Business Journal

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a space-based renewable energy contract for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in an effort to move the state a step closer to meeting its renewable energy goals.

Under the contract approved Thursday, PG&E is entitled to generate electricity from a first-of-its kind space-based solar project through a power purchase agreement with Manhattan Beach-based startup Solaren Corp.

Solaren anticipates generating 1,700 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year through a 15-year contract with PG&E beginning in 2016. First, a ground-based receiving station must be built in Fresno and a satellite launched into space.

An experimental project is unique for the states Renewable Energy Standard program. However, the solar project is consistent with the states objective of increasing its reliance on a diverse supply of renewable energy resources, the CPUC stated.

<snip>

Read more: http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/20...



This is great news!
California continues to lead the world in science and technology.
:applause:

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Longer article at the NY Times
http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/solar-plan... /

December 3, 2009, 3:36 pm
Solar Plant in Space Gets Go-Ahead
By TODD WOODY

California regulators on Thursday went where no regulators have gone before approving a utility contract for the nations first space-based solar power plant.

The 200-megawatt orbiting solar farm would convert solar energy collected in space into radio frequency waves, which would be beamed to a ground station near Fresno, Calif. The radio waves would then be transformed back into electricity and fed into the power grid.

At the conceptual level, the advantages of space-based systems are significant, said Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, during a hearing on Thursday. This technology would offer around-the-clock access to clean renewable energy, and while theres no doubt this project has many hurdles to overcome, both regulatory and technological, its hard to argue with the audacity of the project.

A Southern California startup called Solaren will loft components for the solar power plant into orbit and sell the electricity it generates to Pacific Gas & Electric, the major utility in Northern California, under a 15-year contract. The project is supposed to be turned on in 2016.

<snip>


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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
19. This guy has had a GREAT PR Agency - been making these announcements for 5 years...
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 05:38 PM by Techn0Girl
...and still nothing to show for it.
He doesn't even have a blueprint for a solar power satellite.
It's like "perpetual motion" machines - but with far better publicity !

He has no plan for a solar power satellite that he has ever shown to anyone publicly.
He used to be some aerospace engineer at Boeing - one of thousands.
He has no track record... for anything.


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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. Getting a Power Purchase Agreement is a major milestone for any project.
It represents a guaranteed cash stream for creditors to evaluate against the proposed costs of a project. If he got the PPA there is strong probability that the negative claims in your post are false, since he would have had to have a very solid proposal before a PPA was issued.

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #23
45. The cash stream is only guaranteed IF he produces power...
There's the little matter of Solaran having no actual solar power satellite, no blueprints for an actual SPS, no means of producing one, no launch capability and no way of maintaining the SPSs since there will be no more space shuttle when he intends to "produce" power.

But aside from those things then ... yeah... I guess it's a go.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. That is exactly right. If and only IF they produce power.
That's the way it always works, unless you want to build a nuclear power plant that is They like to start getting paid more than a decade before they produce anything. But if I want to build a wind farm or a solar project, I can either go to venture capitalists for money at 18%+ or I can get the project approved by a utility who guarantees to purchase my output and then go to a bank and get money as low as 3%.

So after the utility scrutinizes the plan and it will be scrutinized again by the institutional investors even more carefully.

You make claims about Solaran not having any plans etc. and I have to call bullshit on that. Without detailed and advanced project planning there wouldn't be a PPA.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #49
60. That is the key point.
Without a PPA the concept is too risky. The capitalized interest costs during building, launching, testing, and then scaling up to commercial production would be massive.

Anyone done the capitalized interest costs of say $2B at 18% over 5 years?

The PPA removes one element of risk from investors (less risk = lower rate asked on bond).
It removes the "will they buy it risk".
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #60
64. That isn't correct.
IT isn't that without a PPA "the concept is too risky" as if it were the CONCEPT that were risky.

Without a PPA a gas turbine has the same degree of risk as reflected in interest cost.

Without a PPA a wind farm has the same degree of risk as reflected in interest cost.

ALL power projects are risky when the power is going to be marketed on the spot market. Your insinuation that the concept is related to the issue of risk covered by the PPA is false.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #64
69. I guess I wasn't clear.
The PPA removes one form of risk and that risk is exactly the same no matter what form of power.

However a SBPS has other risks (conceptual risk, lifting costs risk, experimental risk).

So SBPS project will be riskier than other powerplants.

What I was trying to say is the PPA lowers the overall risk by elminating that one form of risk (will they buy the power and at what price).

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #69
72. Well put.
But I would still disagree to a point.

"However a SBPS has other risks (conceptual risk, lifting costs risk, experimental risk)."
True.

"So SBPS project will be riskier than other powerplants."

Not necessarily. That is an evaluation that would have to be made on a case by case basis with other proposals.

Is it a riskier investment than a solar or wild facility? Yes, undoubtedly.

Is it riskier investment than a nuclear plant with or without government guarantees and liability assumption? I doubt it.

$10-12 billion nuclear plants traditionally have extremely large risks remaining even after the government mitigates the worst of those risks; massive cost over runs, large percentage of failures well into construction, and potential catastrophic accident losses are all associated with nuclear.

As I said, well put; I just thought that needed a bit of clarification.

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t0dd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. It does :) Proud to live here! k & r. nt
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groundloop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. As much as I'd like for this idea to work, I just don't see how
Talk about pie in the sky. First off, how big of a footprint is this energy "beam" going to have when it reaches the earth? How will they ensure that a few innocent neighbors don't accidently get cooked if the beam wanders a little bit? How much rf/microwave energy will reach the earth outside of the main beam, and how far away? I've read some articles on this concept, buy have yet to see any of these people address any such safety concerns.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. NASA has studied this extensively
even doing tests with birds in wind-tunnels flying in the beam.
It's very safe.
California has the strongest environmental protections in the country.
Wikipedia has a good article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-based_solar_power
The National Space Society has many articles: http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/library /

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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. X Prise Foundation thinks is may be possible
Pie in the sky means nothing to this organization...

http://www.xprize.org/files/downloads/EXP/energy_enviro...
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. Oh It's definetilt possible - just not by Soleron
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #3
61. The idea is to build the rectanna large enough so the watt per square inch is low.
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 10:38 AM by Statistical
Lots of studies on this.

Ground based system have been made for testing by NASA, DOE, and EPA and it is possible to keep watt per square inch low enough that it isn't harmful.

It isn't so much a "beam" like one would imagine a laser but rather a multi km wide "broadcast" of power. The transmitter would be around 1km in diameter and the receiver an oval (10km x 14km). The reason for the oval is due to curve of the earth it "looks" like a circle in space.

Something that size would have a power density of 25mW per cm2. That is slightly more than cellular phone. Of course due to the massive size such an array could handle up to a gigawatt of power (nuclear reactor output). PG&E array will be 200MW but eventually multiple arrays could be built and aimed at same receiver (or in future larger arrays built).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-based_solar_power#Sp...

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. Do a Google on 'Solaren Corp'...
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 04:48 PM by Techn0Girl
It's a sham company with no previous experience in space systems other then one of it's founders having worked in aerospace for a number of years. Their website looks like it was made by a twelve year old.

They have no launch experience.
They have no space systems experience.
They haven't built so much as a windmill previously.

Solar Power Satellite (SPS) power generation is a new and experimental technology that this company has NEVER HAD ANY EXPERIENCE with at all.

Why is PG&E giving away this much money to a company with no track record in space payload of any kind? In fact a company that has never even existed before last year?

Excellent question - kickbacks anyone? That's my first guess. Matching government funds is my second guess and the old investor fraud scam would be my third.

SPS is a GREAT idea in my opinion - but this - this is a fraud.




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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. PG&E isn't giving away any money
They only pay for delivered electricity.
There's no risk to PG&E, ratepayers, taxpayers, or California.
Solaren has to get private investors to pay for it.
Those private investors take the financial risk.
Success or failure, this will advance the technology.

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Actually quite a few million has been promised ...
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 05:07 PM by Techn0Girl
to the fake company.
Someone is paying because the founders do not have any money themselves.

Whether PG&E pays or the State or some Federal agency or some invester... it's still a sham.

No track record.
No public plan as to how they are going to do it.
No previous prototype or proof of concept.

My guess is that PG&E assisted this sham company to start up so that PG&E could claim they are investing in "alternate energy" and eventually get government funding.


If their were any true investigactive reporters left this thing would have been exposed blown away months ago.
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. THE CEO CONTRIBUTED TO THE SWIFT BOAT VETERANS CAMPAIGN....
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 05:16 PM by Techn0Girl
The CEO of this rip-off company, Gary Spirnak, was a contributor to :
"Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth"

http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/527/swift_boat_v...


What you are seeing is his payoff for being a good Right Wing Nutjob

SPS isn't going to happen by a no-name company with no experience and no real plan.

This guy is just a high-tech Madoff.


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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. oh gee $100
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Open you mind. This is not a war between you and I....
You and the rest of the state are being scammed by this guy and PG&E so that PG&E can get off of their green energy mandates.

Your quarrel is not with me.

PG&E COULD invest in more wind energy ...which actually exists and works. But instead they chose to invest in a fiction - because it's cheaper.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. Open your mind
This is only 200MW - a small fraction of what PG&E generates.
PG&E is investing in wind and earth-based solar - and a lot more than 200MW.
This isn't going to help PG&E get off their green energy mandates.
They can't count it until major milestones have been met.
They have to file environmental impact statements,
this whole thing will be closely scrutinized by consumer groups like UCAN and TURN,
as well as all the NIMBY's in Fresno.
IIRC, they also need FAA approval.
This is just one in a long series of hurdles.
But it is a very significant one.
I hope they succeed.
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #26
36. Open your heart...
...to me, darlin'. I'll give you love if you, you turn the keeey...

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
29. Your "evaluation" sucks.
Techn0Girl wrote, "It's a sham company with no previous experience in space systems other then one of it's founders having worked in aerospace for a number of years.
If one of its founders "worked in aerospace for a number of years" then they DO have relevant experience.


Their website looks like it was made by a twelve year old.
You are kidding, right? This reflects on the expertise of the company? Its website doesn't live up to your standards? This goes right there with your observation that "They haven't built so much as a windmill previously".
So effin what?

They have no launch experience.
They have no space systems experience.

This one you answered yourself when you next write: "Solar Power Satellite (SPS) power generation is a new and experimental technology that this company has NEVER HAD ANY EXPERIENCE with at all."

Right, it is a new and experimental technology that no one has experience with. Again, so what?


"Why is PG&E giving away this much money to a company with no track record in space payload of any kind? In fact a company that has never even existed before last year?"
This is a flat out false statement. A PPA pays for power delivered and they are subject to rigorous analysis before being issued.



"Excellent question - kickbacks anyone? That's my first guess. Matching government funds is my second guess and the old investor fraud scam would be my third.

SPS is a GREAT idea in my opinion - but this - this is a fraud."

Actually your "analysis" is clearly a fraud inspired by some persona bias on your part that is unrelated to the facts of the matter.

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #29
44. Ummm... Thanks for your ... informed ... opinion.
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 08:35 PM by Techn0Girl
"You are kidding, right? This reflects on the expertise of the company? Its website doesn't live up to your standards? This goes right there with your observation that"

Yeah , I stand by my assertion that if you can't even create a website that doesn't look like you son did it after school for his MySpace account then you ...ohhhh...i don't know ... probably don't have the technological wherewithall to launch a massive hundreds meter square power grid in orbit, stabilize it , maintain it and beam the power back to earth.

But that's just me. I highly encourage you personally to buy as much stock in this company as you can afford. I'll even sell you shares - email me!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. I'd rather have the discussion in public, but thank you.
It is clear you have a pre-existing bias.

Why not explain the origins of that bias directly and honestly instead of attacking the project while saying nothing of substance. Take your criticism of the webpage. Why should they devote scarce resources to something that is ancillary to their needs? Other than impressing you what is their need for a website? If they did have a nice interface, what does the willingness to spend $500 tell us about their ability to execute their plan?

Nothing.

What is your beef really about?
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #47
59. Why Is The Possibility That This Might Be A Scam So Hard To Believe?
:shrug:

I would love for this to be true and frankly I'm not as convinced as TG that it definitely IS a scam, but it's not like these types of schemes don't happen, and on even more massive scales.

TG's not attacking the IDEA or the tech, which is in fact very promising, she's claiming this particular company is shady and could be a scam. That's not a far fetched idea.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #59
63. It is a smear campaign, not substantive criticism.
Name calling and baseless accusations littered with demonstrably wrong statements are all that were offered. Not one substantive reason was given to support her screed.

On the flip side, the announcement is solid evidence that independent experts have reviewed the company and their plan and have deemed it credible.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #63
65. I Don't See Her Accusations As Baseless
Are they thoroughly convincing? No, but not necessarily baseless.

"the announcement is solid evidence that independent experts have reviewed the company and their plan and have deemed it credible."

Oh, you mean kinda like how Enron was reviewed by experts before their associations? I mean, it's not like they were a bunch of charlatans or anything. :shrug:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #65
67. Totally baseless.
Just as your Enron jab is complete misinformation since the processes being discussed are totally different.

In the case of Enron you had an UNREGULATED market manipulation scheme in the private sector that had been enabled by legislators writing poor laws.

The review of proposals for new generation is a long standing process BY REGULATORS that involves a number of independent analysts.


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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #67
70. Meh, Not That Impressed W/ This
"The review of proposals for new generation is a long standing process BY REGULATORS that involves a number of independent analysts."

I imagine the process is thoroughly uncorruptable. Especially after 8 years of Bushco. :eyes:

Maybe you're right. I dunno, but it doesn't seem so far fetched to me that this could be a scam.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #70
74. It could be a scam, any investment COULD be a scam. But Technogirl's claims are baseless.
They are illogical, emotional smears; nothing more.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #74
77. Your Claims Are Just As Baseless
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 12:06 PM by Beetwasher
:shrug:

I mean gee, it's just so hard to believe that a large power conglomerate would try to pull a fast one.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #77
80. What "large power conglomerate"?
I've made no claims that cannot be supported. go to wiki and read about PPAs. Go to wiki and read about the regulatory process for authorizing new generation. It is open and public.

TG's claims are baseless smears; a tactic commonly referred to as a rumor campaign.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #80
83. You Claim TG Has Some Personal Agenda
Because she's skeptical about this company.

I dunno. Maybe she does, but I just see evidence of healthy skepticism about a large power company (conglomerate?) that may be trying to pull a fast one. I mean gee, that's never happened before.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #83
85. It isn't "healthy skepticism" it is a smear campaign.
There is a difference and you are proving it.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #85
89. LOL! Thank You Mr. Webster!
For providing your personal definitions for things! :rofl:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #89
93. Some things are self evident.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #93
96. Oh, Indeed They Are, You're Taking This Very Personally
That's very evident.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #96
99. I don't like liars.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #99
101. Oh, You Are So Noble!
I bow before your high ethical standards and trust in process. :rofl:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #101
105. I do have high ethical standards and an excellent education
that prepares me to deal with misinformation on energy issues.

Thank you for recognizing that.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #105
108. And You're Very Humble
And your mom says you're cool.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #108
111. Not particularly.
But I am honest and well educated in the relevant subjects.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #111
123. Don't Forget Handsome
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #29
118. "Their website looks like it was made by a twelve year old."?
That's insulting to twelve year olds.

It's clear from their website that they know very, very, little about technology.

Certainly less than most twelve year olds know now....

They're trying to make a system that costs more, and produces less, and requires more land, than a conventional solar photovoltaic or wind system. 'Nuf said.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #118
127. Those are totally false claims. "nuff said".
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
8. Sounds like it's for proof of concept.
That's got to be a very expensive way to produce electricity.

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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. Wow!
I'm impressed, California. :thumbsup:
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
13. Aha! Here's the Scam - PG&E Gets to count this as it's "Renewable Energy Quota"
Check it out - this fake company has been making these announcements since '05.

Here's the thing - PG&E gets to count this pie-in-the-sky non-existent project as part of it's mandated green energy quota.

http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?catid=28

Fake company - Fake energy - and PG&E if off the hook for mandated green energy production. The CEO gets a few million - everyone's happy.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Nope
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 05:30 PM by bananas
PG&E only gets to count it after major milestones are met.

edit to add: and it's only 200MW - a small fraction of PG&E's generation capacity.

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. It's a scam - pure and simple
Unless you can shoe me a track record and a plan (hint:they don't have one) for a solar power satellite - it's just fiction.

Show me the plan.
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. It is a very workable idea...
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #24
37. I agree on both counts!
The idea is entirely workable - just saying that this particular company appears to be a scam.
They have neither the infrastructure of the experience to pull it off.
And as an added bonus it gets PG&E out form under mandated green energy production.
Scam.
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #37
55. Oh, the company....
well I do not know anything about them.. I thought you were talking about the Tech..
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #18
27. There's a link to their patent in the NYT article upthread. nt
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #27
38. Have you looked at it?
Patents are notorious for being bogus .
You don't need an actual working prototype for a patent - merely a drawing. Just a drawing of one.

This guy has published nothing in any journals nor has he put out a prototype or even a basic plan for operation. No engineering schematics - nothing.
And he has been doing this since 2005.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #38
50. Yes, I looked at it earlier this year
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. Well he's had 5 years now... Has he answered...
Who is going to build the satellite?
Who will design the navigation, and satellite propulsion systems to keep it oriented?
How he will maintain the satellites?
How he will launch the satellites?
How he will build and link up the hundreds of meters of solar cells required - in space?
Who will build the ground station collector array ?

Aside from those little nits I suppose he has a plan.

I strongly suggest that you personally put all your money into this investment.
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
32. Only if it actually generates energy.
If it does not, then it cannot be claimed.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
57. Damn, You May Be On To Something
I saw this story and was excited because the tech is very promising, but you may be right about this. You should send your findings to Josh Marshall or something. Seriously. This could be good story if it pans out.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #13
122. Regulators are allowing PG&E to BUY POWER from the solar station
and have that count as renewable portfolio (despite the fact that it is not PG&E generation).

No solar station = no power = no counting toward renewable portfolio = PG&E is not "off the hook".
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Piewhacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
17. ? What are they going to do? Microwave everyone in fresno?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
20. I do wonder why they feel the need to invest in space based solar when the U.S.
has such an abundance of sunshine in the Southwestern deserts?

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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Because it's cheaper to throw away a few million into a PR campaign ...
with a fake company then it is to invest in the infrastructure for real wind or solar energy production.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. there's investment out there too:
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Because there is ZERO infrastructure to transmit that energy to the rest of the country.
They've tried planning a three-way interconnect in Texas, but those dicks down there keep blocking it. As it stands, the country is divided into 3 separate power grids, Texas being one, and then the Western states and Eastern states being the other two. Not that any of this matters, the current grids couldn't handle national transmission. They can just barely handle regional transmission on good days.

Then there are environmentalists to contend with. Some camps are staunchly opposed to solar farms in the desert due to the disruption. I don't think the local fauna would mind the additional shade in the daytime. :shrug:
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. We do need a smart grid, but the more I think about it, space based solar could have one advantage
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 06:25 PM by Uncle Joe
and that's if the following scenario on this thread were to take place.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I don't know how the southwest would be affected by a potential global warming or Earth Precession induced Ice Age, should Greenland's Glaciers melt shutting down the Earth's heat distributing "Conveyor Belt"?

This is not to say we shouldn't build a smart grid with earth based solar and wind energy, taking advantage of our current climate conditions.

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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. Well, not really gonna help in that regard for now. You don't use a matchstick to heat a house.
This is just a baby 200MW project. You'd need to pump many terrawatts of infrared (heat) energy aimed diffusely over a wide area (Use terrawatts of microwave energy and you're just going to kill things. Cook them, actually.) to make any kind of dent in an ice age. It would have to be wide areas because focused terrawatt beams are just going to instantly vaporize anything they touch (not cook them, vaporize them, leaving no tasty critters to eat). Though, we'd finally have the death rays we were promised decades ago. There are different mega-scale proposals for combating an ice age or a hot house, but I'm not going to get into that. It's all conjecture with insufficient understanding of how terran climate works. Better to simply adjust to whatever Earth throws at us than trying to twist her knobs. She might not be that kind of girl and we're liable to get slapped. Hard. If we want to tinker, Venus and Mars are good, extreme planetary climates to earn our terraforming chops with.

As for the Southwest, assuming the North Atlantic current (which warms North America and to a much larger degree Europe) doesn't shut down or at least is only weakened and not enough to overcome the effects of global warming in the northern hemisphere, then the hot and dry Southwest will get hotter and drier. In an ice age scenario, we'd probably see more rainfall here. There used to be a ginormous lake, an inland sea almost, that covered Northern Nevada and parts of Northern California, Southern Idaho, and Western Utah. It is believed to have been formed from glacial melt at the end of the last ice age or from just increased rainfall patterns in the area due to the global climate at the time. A few centuries of that and I could sail all the way from my house in Reno to visit a friend of mine in Ogden, Utah, outside Salt Lake City.

As for Procession, again we're talking about time scales that exceed the length of Human lifespans, whole nations, or in this case the age of written Human history. It takes about 13,000 years for the northern rotational axis to go from (almost) pointing at the star Vega to (almost) pointing at the not-ironically-named star Polaris, and another 13,000 years to rotate back totaling a ~26,000 year cycle. Really not something we need to worry about, unless you're an astronomer in which case every 50 years they have to adjust their starcharts to account for the drift. Earth has done fine regardless of this so you shouldn't let that bother you. Same goes for any MAGNETIC pole switch, which has happened a gazillion times over the ~4 billion years Earth has had a spinning, molten iron core. And no, the crust will NOT be pulled along by chaotic magnetic fields. All the huffing and puffing over it is just so much wiffle and woo.

Wind, solar, tidal and geothermal are certainly the best options (on Earth) for power generation in terms of their impact on the environment, but in terms of our power needs the future almost certainly belongs to nuclear fusion technologies (that's FUSION, not fission; two very different animals). Wind is meaningless in space and on most bodies with atmospheres (Mars has very high wind speeds, but a very thin atmosphere; atmospheres heavier than Earth's will destroy turbines in seconds) and the sun's energy gets weaker and weaker the further out you go because it is more spread out (less of the energy hits the panel). This is why probes we send out are often nuclear-powered (not in the same way as your friendly neighborhood nuclear power plant, mind you ;) ) because solar is just utterly worthless that far out. Fusion is a much safer and more efficient nuclear process and there are several proof-of-concept projects being planned or built right now, different technologies competing for bragging rights to being the first to produce a viable model for commercial production.

"Smart grids" will be needed regardless of what we do in the near-term. Spaced-based solar is years from, erm, "taking off" and fusion plants are likewise a ways off. We're stuck with fossil fuel-based plants and nuclear FISSION plants will also see an uptick in construction. The good thing about that is that while the industry has fortunately had a hell of a time being allowed to build new plants based on decades-old technologies and designs, the development of newer technologies and designs hasn't stopped. Hopefully the newer plants that get built won't screw us over as much as older plants have. Like it or not, They. Will. Be. Built. I live in Nevada and we're not fans of nuclear (fission) power because of how we got railroaded by all the other states and the federal government until recently (Obama essentially killed funding to the development of the Yucca Mountain project) so yeah, the reality that They. Will. Be. Built. isn't something we're particularly comfortable with. Fusion power can't get here soon enough.
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #34
48. Edit period has passed, so I'll post my edit as a reply:
Edit: Two hours on, I'm not sure where the 200MW figure came from. I thought I read that that was the initial target before ramping up to 1,700GW/yr but now I'm not sure. Meh, my point still stands.
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #34
53. That's really an amazing analysis...
Have you considered duplicating it and posting it on telephone poles around town so everyone can see it yet? If you do I suggest that you hand write each copy for maximum effect.
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. What the hell is that supposed to mean and why are you attacking me?
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 11:38 PM by DRoseDARs
That comes off as a really nasty little post you have there. I haven't come down on you as others have because you've made clear you're not opposed to the idea nor are just spouting neo-ludditian nonsense, you're just against this particular company being associated with it because you sense they're full of it.

Edit: changed "TWhat the hell..." to "What the hell..."
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #34
66. Your understanding of the energy resource potential is flawed
http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c
Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #66
115. Your understanding of what I posted is flawed
"Wind, solar, tidal and geothermal are certainly the best options (on Earth) for power generation in terms of their impact on the environment"



>>>You seem to have ignored this part of my post. Difficult to respond to you if you just copy/paste a repetition of what I already said without adding any of your own words.



"but in terms of our power needs the future almost certainly belongs to nuclear fusion technologies (that's FUSION, not fission; two very different animals)"



>>>I rightly make a distinction between FISSION and FUSION here and later, your subscription/pay-to-read report appears not to (I don't know if it does or not, I'm not a subscriber nor am I paying for a copy of the report) and the freely available supplementary data does not. It's the most frustration thing when talking about nuclear technologies: People hear the word "nuclear" and tune everything else out. Fusion is NOT fission. Hell, even some fission technologies are not what most people typically think of as fission technologies. People hear "nuclear" and think "Three Mile Island and Chernobyl" and that's the end of their thought process.



"Wind is meaningless in space and on most bodies with atmospheres (Mars has very high wind speeds, but a very thin atmosphere; atmospheres heavier than Earth's will destroy turbines in seconds) and the sun's energy gets weaker and weaker the further out you go because it is more spread out (less of the energy hits the panel). This is why probes we send out are often nuclear-powered (not in the same way as your friendly neighborhood nuclear power plant, mind you ;) ) because solar is just utterly worthless that far out. Fusion is a much safer and more efficient nuclear process and there are several proof-of-concept projects being planned or built right now, different technologies competing for bragging rights to being the first to produce a viable model for commercial production."



>>>As fusion power generation takes root, it can produce far greater amounts of electricity on smaller footprints than any given solar/wind/tidal plant could ever hope to produce, on Earth or off. Barring exotic forms of energy (matter/antimatter, zero-point energies, micro black holes, magic), utilizing fusion is in the cards as our main source of large-scale electricity production.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #115
116. Not really.
i was looking at this ""Smart grids" will be needed regardless of what we do in the near-term. Spaced-based solar is years from, erm, "taking off" and fusion plants are likewise a ways off. We're stuck with fossil fuel-based plants and nuclear FISSION plants will also see an uptick in construction. The good thing about that is that while the industry has fortunately had a hell of a time being allowed to build new plants based on decades-old technologies and designs, the development of newer technologies and designs hasn't stopped. Hopefully the newer plants that get built won't screw us over as much as older plants have. Like it or not, They. Will. Be. Built. I live in Nevada and we're not fans of nuclear (fission) power because of how we got railroaded by all the other states and the federal government until recently (Obama essentially killed funding to the development of the Yucca Mountain project) so yeah, the reality that They. Will. Be. Built. isn't something we're particularly comfortable with. Fusion power can't get here soon enough."

There is very little support for building new nuclear plants. The evaluation by Jacobson includes a full resource evaluation (including ability of present technology to be deployed and do the job. One of nuclear power's weaknesses is the fact that wind and solar can deploy more rapidly and have an earlier and larger effect than nuclear power can.

Separate analysis are virtually universal in concluding that nuclear is also prohibitively expensive. While the nuclear industry makes a lot of promises that they can contain costs, there is very little objective evidence to accept their assertions as more than sales pitch.

We could, with political will inspired by an informed public, largely eliminate the use of fossil fuel in this country within 10-15 years and restore the economy doing it.

The obstacle isn't technical, it is political. The current energy infrastructure largely drives the process, but they are losing power rapidly.

Please write a real letter to all of your reps and tell them you want Gore's plan implemented.
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #116
117. Fair enough, and thank you for NOT just copy/pasting a summary to a report
...that is hidden behind a pay wall. You actually commented on what you posted.

Again, that report appears to group all nuclear technologies together. As I said, not all nuclear techs are created equal. That report approached them not just from cost, but for environmental risks. Fusion techs are not even remotely in the same ballpark with fission techs and not all fission techs are of equal detriment. One science blog I follow, Next Big Future, has the occasion post on varying nuclear technologies (in its different flavors) and as such, has over the years helped me form my layman's understanding of the field and evolved it from "anti-anything nuclear" to a more reasonable consideration of them. As I suggested, I have no love for standard nuclear fission plants, but there are other ways of working with nuclear technologies, including fission-based. Also, you assume that the opposition of the US population equally translates into opposition globally, or the the US government's responsiveness to the support or opposition of its people equally translates globally. Other countries aren't as opposed as we might be, and not all governments give a shit either way. The nuclear industry in the US may have stagnated somewhat, but that isn't true globally. Nuclear projects are moving forward and will continue to do so. We have to hope that the ones based on fission are ones utilizing newer techs and designs.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #117
119. The nuclear picture is bleak worldwide because of costs.
There are pockets of development, but there is little indication that there will be a worldwide resurrection of the industry; it is simply too expensive and there is little reason to think the costs are going anywhere but up.

The analysis by Jacobson is focused on technologies that are ready to deploy right now, so you're right to say he lumps all techs together if you mean he isn't considering what might be ready 30 years from now.

Why are you rejecting the solution of efficiency, wind and solar that nearly all independent energy analysts recommend? Your focus on a (to paraphrase) "nuclear, fossil or nothing" approach is flat out wrong. Renewables can do the job and they are the solution we are pursuing. The only question is how rapidly do we pursue the goal of a complete phase out of fossil fuels.

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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #20
73. Trasmitting electricity over long distances is very inefficient
otherwise we would put our power plants near where people live, we'd stick them all out in the desert.

But if you try to run a cable from the southwest US to say New York you will lose pretty much all power generated along the way.
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Arctic Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
28. Seems like it would be cheaper to have people install solar panels on their homes.
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #28
41. Well... Solar does not provide enough wattage....
on the vast majority of roofs to power most houses in the country.
But you're on the right track. There ARE solutions... solar farms in very sunny places... wind power... things like that.

But all those things cost tens , if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
For a few million PG&E can just hire a PR firm to promote this fake company and they get out from under the new green energy requirements that they are required to produce.
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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #41
132. I beg to differ, with a caveat.
Solar *can* provide enough wattage on the vast majority of roofs to power most houses in the country.

However, most people in the US are consuming much, much, more wattage than they actually need to power their homes.... running high wattage TV's that they're not watching, leaving lots of lights on they they aren't using, spending lots of energy freezing, and thawing, and cooking, and refrigerating food (rather than just cooking smaller amounts of fresh food), leaving all kinds of chargers and electronics plugged in when they're not in use, etc.
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cowcommander Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
31. Looks cool, hope it's real
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #31
39. It's not real - just hype
He's been hyping it for 5 years now but never came up with a single peer reviewed prototype .

It's like saying "I have a plan for an energy machine!" but never demoing it to anyone.
For five years.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
33. Isn't all solar energy technically space-based?
Since the Sun is in space? Or is space just the (kinda) vacuum?


Remember, in space, no one can see you masturbate.
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Well, Ceiling Cat can...
Basement Cat can, too, but He approves.

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TCJ70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
40. Why would you do space-based solar when...
...there's already so much you can do with earth-based solar? Let's get photovoltaics up on the roofs!
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Techn0Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. Well Space based solar is actually a LOT more efficient...
for many reasons - much more solar power is available when out of the atmosphere and you are producing it 24 hours instead of 12 - and other reasons as well. And it;s actually efficient to beam back to earth believe it or not.

But maintaining a huge kilometers wide array of cells (or even hundreds of meters) in space is no mean feat. Let's face it - the U.S. no longer even has a manned shuttle program as of 2011. We have no way to maintain it. And you need launch capability and the ground substation ...etc etc...

This bogus company, Solaran, has NO past history for ANY of these technologies. Solaran is just the product of some Boeing aerospace engineer who got PG&E on board when they found out they could get out of some federal regs.


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TCJ70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Yeah, I read the part about the advantages...
...my thinking is, we've got people looking into all kinds of energy sources (geothermal, aqua, wind and earth-based solar). Ultimately the solution for renewable energy is going to be a combination of those things. I'm also concerned about the maintenance of a system like this (as you mentioned...not sure why I'm reiterating...it's late...haha).
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DRoseDARs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #40
46. Hugely expensive 2 get the kind of generation we nd; insufficient power grid 2 transmit the energy
Edited on Thu Dec-03-09 08:44 PM by DRoseDARs
...much beyond the region it's generated in. The photovoltaic panels we're working with now are terribly inefficient at converting solar energy into electricity, something on the order of 20%. Some labs have pushed experiments into 40-50% territory, but those numbers will remain in the lab for many years. There's also the ground-based footprint to consider: Hundreds of acres of either photovoltaic panels or mirrors reflecting sunlight onto a solar tower versus a few acres for a microwave receiving plant (mostly buffer space for safety). Also, one orbital solar array could be programmed to transmit its power to any compatible receiving plant in the hemisphere it's orbiting above. Something goes wrong at one plant, aim at a back up. Hell, aim at several at once.

Solar panels on roofs would be good, but they remain inefficient, expensive (for home owners, businesses, and contractors) even with rebates, unreliable for continuous production (an orbital solar array can orbit such that it remains in sunlight 24/7), and the power grid is ill-equipped to handle large-scale spot-generation (single, large power plants versus numerous, small-scale sources like homes and businesses). There's talk elsewhere of "smart grids" which would make it easier to direct power from where it's being produced to where it is needed and back again depending on usage and generation conditions (cloudy in one area, sunny in the other). Orbital solar arrays free us from much of this hassle, so this is a good thing to at least attempt. I believe the Japanese or South Koreans are seriously working on a similar project.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-03-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #46
52. Japan is planning a 1GW system by 2030
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
56. Sweet!
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 08:27 AM by Odin2005
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #56
58. See Techno Girl's Posts
The company could be a sham.

Not that the tech's not promising, but this could be a scam.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #58
68. Why, her posts are nothing but sleazy, unfounded smears by someone with an agenda.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #68
71. Says You
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 11:48 AM by Beetwasher
You're as convincing of your argument as she is of hers.

I'm not convinced it's a scam. I'm not convinced it's not either. I hope it's not because I'm a firm believer in this tech.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #71
76. Then list a single substantive criticism by her.
There is nothing to her allegations. It is the same type of shit we hear being used on talk radio every day.

Please, give me a list of her criticisms that have a solid foundation.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. Well, She Hasn't Convinced Me, But Neither Have You
Not that either of you have to, but her initial post makes me skeptical, since I've seen scams like this before, though on smaller scales.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

How about YOU posting something that shows that this company IS capabable of carrying out such an ambitious project?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #78
79. "Please post a substantive criticism made by technogirl." You can't can you?
The OP is, by far, the strongest evidence on this thread and it is in favor of the validity of the company and their plan.

TG's attacks are baseless smears, and your "doubts" are nothing but an attempt to re-enforce same.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #79
81. Yes, I Have An Agenda, I'm An Evil Smear Merchant Because I Distrust Energy Companies
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 12:21 PM by Beetwasher
And entertain the notion that they are possible of pulling scams. Such a far fetched idea!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #81
82. What large energy conglomerate is involved?
When you make statements like that you ARE engaging in baseless smearing since this matter has no relationship to any large energy conglomerates. Appealing to the actions of other unrelated wrongdoers like Enron is nothing but an attempt to poison peoples perceptions with false comparisons.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #82
86. Enron Is Perfectly Relevant
The whole industry is rife w/ fraud.

Does that mean that this is a fraud? No.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #86
88. Enron is only relevant if you want to attempt to smear a totally different process
The process of granting a PPA is unrelated to anything having to do with what happened with Enron.

What you are saying is a comparison like saying a gentle spring rain in Iowa is dangerous because Katrina wiped out New Orleans.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #88
90. Well, I'm Sure The "Process" Is Completely Uncorruptible And Totally Fair And Has Everyone's Best
Interests at heart because YOU say so!

I mean, it's not like there have ever been any scams in the energy industry before.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #90
95. Again, a smear based on insinuation and an attempt...
to tap into emotions tied to unrelated instances.

Keep digging.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #95
98. You're Taking This Very Personally
Speaking of tapping into emotions.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #98
100. I don't like right wing liars.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #100
102. Oh, So Now There's A Right Wing Liar Involved???
You mean like the swiftboaters?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #102
104. More like fossil fuel/nuclear PR companies trying to derail renewable enegy initiatives
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #104
107. You Know What Would Be A Really Sneaky Way To Do That?
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 12:53 PM by Beetwasher
Have your rightwing pals who have loads of cash set up shell companies that pretend they're working on renewable energy systems, but really aren't.

Wish I thought of that.

Nahh, probably more effective to post on DU. That's really effective. Because everyone knows what a major factor in national discourse one poster on DU is.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #107
112. We have regulators that have evaluated the proposal and found it to have merit.
We have regulators that have evaluated the proposal and found it to have merit.

The evaluation by the regulatory agency includes expert independent analysis and specific advocates representing the consumer.

I trust them much more than an anonymous poster with a sock puppet making illogical and unfounded accusations that include demonstrable lies.

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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #112
125. But yr Anonymous postings are much more trustworthy!
Cuz you said so! :rofl:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #125
128. The facts I offer are easy to verify - just look up the process for granting a PPA
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #128
130. Doesn't Mean A Thing
Yipee there's a process!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #81
84. Note for record that you have not listed any valid criticisms that were offered by TG.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #84
87. Valid? According To You?
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 12:34 PM by Beetwasher
She's made criticisms based on a few things;

A contentless website.
A shady character who donated to the swift boat vets who's involved
A motive to evade green energy requirements

Now, it's pretty weak, but not entirely baseless. Valid? You'll say no, I'll say it's weak, but her "smears" are not completely baseless.

Would I draw her conclusions that this is a fraud? No, I wouldn't. But it makes me a bit skeptical.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #87
91. Baseless.
The website is needed for what purpose? To impress you?
In fact, the import is exactly the opposite of what you assert. If they were scamming people I'd expect them to have a very nice website with which to lull gullible investors.

Someone in the company made a $100 political donation? So what? That means nothing it is an attempt to introduce emotional bias.
Please don't be absurd.

The motive to evade green energy requirements that she posted does not exist. She made it up.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #91
94. LOL! Again, You're Just As Persuasive As She Is!
Which is to say, not very.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #94
97. Answer the reponses.

The website is needed for what purpose? To impress you?
In fact, the import is exactly the opposite of what you assert. If they were scamming people I'd expect them to have a very nice website with which to lull gullible investors.

Someone in the company made a $100 political donation? So what? That means nothing it is an attempt to introduce emotional bias.
Please don't be absurd.

The motive to evade green energy requirements that she posted does not exist. She made it up.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. I Demand You Answer My Reponses!!
And I will stamp my feet until you retract your baseless smears!

Rage at the heavens! :rofl:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #103
106. Answer the reponses. You claim her assertions have a foundation - I showed they didn't
Now you are attempting to run away from it by diverting the discussion.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #106
109. I Said They're Not Baseless
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 12:51 PM by Beetwasher
They aren't baseless. They have a flimsy base. But it's there. So far though, as flimsy as the base is, you've failed to destroy it, IMO. Your arguments regarding the PPA review process notwithstanding.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #109
113. "flimsy base" = baseless
We have regulators that have evaluated the proposal and found it to have merit.

The evaluation by the regulatory agency includes expert independent analysis and specific advocates representing the consumer.
I trust them much more than an anonymous poster with a sock puppet making illogical and unfounded accusations that include demonstrable lies.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #113
124. Not impressed
Now there are sockpuppets? Now that's baseless!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #124
129. Of course you aren't/
You're a sock.
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #129
131. Tell That To My Shoe
:shrug:
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
62. How will the "Receiving Station" receive the energy?
I didn't find that info in the article...
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #62
75. I don't know about this one
but on other proposals I've read microwaves were proposed.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #75
92. interesting... sounds dangerous
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #92
110. Possibly
but I would argue that most forms of energy production on a mass scale involves some danger. Especially in the first few years of development, before all the kinks are worked out.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #92
121. Not dangerous.
Nice thing about microwaves is with large enough recetenna you can transmit a lot of power but the power density is very low.

This unit is 200MW and the specs I have seen are for 1000MW but it gives you an idea.

The transmitter would be an antenna with 1km diameter.
The receiver would be an oval antenna 14km x 10km (the oval is because earth is curved so an oval "looks" like a circle from space).

This would allow 1000MW of power to be transmitted wirelessly with about 85% efficiency. 1000MW is comparable to peak output of large nuclear reactor.

However due to the size the power density would only be 25mW per cm2 (0.025 W). This is comparable to cellphone signal.

Of course those numbers are for 1000MW (the goal eventually would be a station that large) so this first recetenna would be smaller.
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BrightKnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-04-09 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
114. near existing transmission lines and dual purpose communications relay
Edited on Fri Dec-04-09 06:13 PM by BrightKnight
The receiving station could be build reasonable close to existing transmission. There is a lot of desert bad land in California.

They might be able to recover some of the cost by using it as a communications satellite as well. There is no reason why power and data could not be transmitted at the same time.
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
120. Might as well put giant mirrors into space and direct them at Earth
Edited on Sat Dec-05-09 02:05 AM by tinrobot
Of course, if we did that, the planet would get warmer, so we don't.

This "space based solar" scheme would do exactly the same thing. It would collect visible light energy, convert it to microwaves and beam that energy towards the surface. The only difference is the wavelength of the photons. Sure, a lot of that microwave energy would be collected, but not all of it. The rest would warm up the planet.

We're trying to cool the planet, not warm it up. Why not just use ground-based solar to collect the energy that is already falling on the planet, rather than go into space to beam even more energy towards it?

I won't even get into the environmental dangers of beaming megawatts of microwaves through the atmosphere. This scheme is downright dangerous.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-05-09 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #120
126. rectenna is about 85% efficient, produces less waste heat than virtually any other form of power.
Producing 1GW of power in space and beaming it down to earth will result in about 150 MW of energy "lost" as heat leaving 850MW of power.

Now compare that to most other forms of generation. Anything heat based (coal, nuclear, oil, natural gas) is roughly 35% efficient. Producing 1 GW of energy results in 650 MW of waste heat and only 350 MW of energy.

This is why a 1GWe (e stands for electrical output) nuclear reactor is actually 3GW thermal.

Even wind isn't "heat free". Generators in wind turbines are about 60% to 70% efficient. So 1 GW in wind power results in 300MW of heat and 700MW of power.

Hydro same thing except hydro generators are slightly more efficient (about 80% range).

Deep core Geothermal releases heat into atmosphere that otherwise would remain below surface.

Of course none of this real matters. All heat produces by man is negligible compared to the amount produces by the sun. The earth, water, atmosphere absorb 3,850,000 exajouls (EJ) of energy each year. Total energy used by man (in all forms electricity, transportation, explosives, weapons, rockets) is about 487EJ (0.012% of energy from sun).
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #126
133. And carbon dioxide is a trace gas so we can ignore its concentration?
Edited on Sun Dec-06-09 01:32 PM by kristopher
That was common wisdom for a considerable time, right up until we learned differently.

There is some evidence that anthropogenic changes to the thermal equilibrium brought about by waste heat may, in fact, be a significant issue that we should be paying attention to.

Until and unless that is eliminated there is every reason to employ the precautionary principle and look before we leap.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #133
134. No that is foolish analogy.
The reason why a small change in CO2 (which is a trace gas) can cause massive warming is SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE of the awesome and massive amount of energy output by the sun.

Even a tiny change in the amount of heat trapped is enough to warm the earth.

By that same comparison waste heat by man is far less (not even 1%) "effective" at heating the earth. If we quadrupled the waste heat from all forms of man made power (not just electricity) and don't cut CO2 it wouldn't do anything. The heat trapping power of CO2 is relatively low however the amount of energy hitting the earth is so much that a small change in CO2 traps a MAGNITUDE more heat than all of mans activities combined.

Of course even if heat is your enemy (a misplaced target IMHO), energy by rectenna is produces FAR FAR less heat than virtually all other forms of energy.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #134
135. I understand the argument
But look at it carefully. You are dismissing the effect of accumulation of heat from stored sources over time because it is small relative to solar insolation. That doesn't disprove it's cumulative effect and is precisely the same type of *dismissal without proof* that obstructed the understanding of CO2s effects.

The two are not mutually exclusive; massive releases of stored heat and CO2 are both factors to be understood. As yet, we have a grasp of the mechanism behind CO2 however we still have significant gaps in our understanding of how the Earth processes and distributes the heating that is taking place. If anyone claims we understand the interplay of the various heat sinks (ocean/earth/air) and where all of the heat is going they are simply lying. No specialist in the various areas (ice, ocean geology etc) that I've ever met is satisfied that we understand with sufficient certainty the relationships and heat flows that are taking place. They all agree it is bad and humans are the problem, but the degree and pace of warming is subject to such uncertainty that we do not have the empirical evidence to determine that waste heat is actually trivial.

We must consider the possibility that we are actually in worse shape because of the accumulation of heat than our focus on CO2 has led us to believe. Not that waste heat is a larger contributor, but because the two inputs could conceivably be much worse than either in isolation.

If heat were an issue then, as you wrote, it actually argues for SBSP since the alternative for dispatchable power (we need perhaps 20% of our total capacity to be dispatchable) is most likely to be met by our existing fleet of nuclear plants. I'm positive that SBSP would compare very favorably to that alternative.

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