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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:16 PM
Original message
Question for people who believe we can go 100% renewable
How do you balance the load? Which forms of energy are run as peakers? How do you prevent brownouts?
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why bother with this question? The real issue is how renewable can we go ...
by what dates?

In any case, we don't know how to prevent brownouts now.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. We haven't had a brownout here in quite a long time
Under an all-renewable scenario, I would think that brownouts would happen on a monthly basis, if not more frequently, and they mess up a lot of equipment.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
46. A distributed grid is technically superior to a centralized grid.
Dept of Energy Myths about Solar Electricity Jan 2003

Myths about Solar Electricity
The area required for PV systems to supply the United States with its electricity is available now from parking lots, rooftops, and vacant land.

Solar electric systems are an important part of the whole-building approach to constructing a better home or commercial building. Although these systems have delivered clean, reliable power for more than a decade, several myths have evolved that confuse the real issues of using solar electricity effectively.

Myth #1
Solar electricity cannot contribute a significant fraction of the nations electricity needs.

Solar electric panels can meet electricity demand on any scale, from a single home to a large city. There is plenty of energy in the sunlight shining on all parts of our nation to generate the electricity we need. For example, with todays commercial systems, the solar energy resource in a 100-by-100-mile area of Nevada could supply the United States with all of its electricity. If these systems were distributed to the
50 states, the land required from each state would be an area of about 17 by 17 miles. This area is available now from parking lots, rooftops, and vacant land. In fact, 90% of Americas current electricity needs could be supplied with solar electric systems built on the estimated 5 million acres of abandoned industrial sites in our nations cities.

Myth #2 ** (see footnote added by K)
Solar electricity can do everythingright now!

Solar electricity will eventually contribute a significant part of our electricity supply, but the industry required to produce these systems must grow more than tenfold over the next 10 years. In 2001, about 400 megawatts of solar electric modules were produced worldwide. According to an industry-planning document, in order to supply just 10% of U.S. generation capacity by 2030, the U.S. solar electricity industry must supply more than 3,200 megawatts per year. Most experts agree that with continued research, solar electric systems will become more efficient, even more reliable, and less expensive.

Myth #3
Producing solar electric systems creates pollution and uses more energy than the system can produce over its lifetime.

Producing solar electric systems uses energy and produces some unwanted byproducts. However, most solar electric systems pay back the energy used to produce them in about one year. Because the systems generally last 30 years, during the 30 years of a system's life, it is producing free and clean electricity for 29 of those years.
Production of solar electric systems is regulated by rigorous safety and pollution control standards. In addition, during the lifetime of a solar electric system, pollution that would have been emitted by conventional generation of electricity is avoided. For each kilowatt of solar electric generating capacity, the pollution avoided by not using fossil fuels to produce electricity amounts to 9 kilograms of sulfuric oxide, 16 kilograms of nitrous oxide, and between 600 and 2,300 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year. The annual amount of carbon dioxide offset by a 2.5-kW rooftop residential solar electric system is equal to that emitted by a typical family car during that same year.

Myth #4
Solar electric systems make sense in only a few applications.

Solar electric systems make sense nearly anywhere electricity is needed. Homes and businesses that are already using electricity from the utility, such as homes, businesses, and electric-vehicle charging stations, represent nearly 60% of the market for solar electric systems. The number of these grid-connected applications is growing because they make sense economically, environmentally, and aesthetically. Solar electric systems make economic sense because they use free fuel from the sun and require little upkeep because they have no moving parts. Every bit of electricity produced is used in the home or sold back to the electric utility for use by other customers. Solar electric systems also make sense for the environment and can blend seamlessly into the design of a building.

Myth #5
Solar electric systems are unreliable and produce substandard electricity.
Solar electric systems are some of the most reliable products available today. They are silent, have no moving parts, and have been tested to rigorous standards by public and private organizations. Many solar electric products have been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories, just as electrical appliances are. Warranties of 20-25 years are standard for most modules.
Solar electric systems connected to the utility grid generate the same kind of power as that from the power line. Todays systems must meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code, the local utility, and local building codes. Once these systems are installed according to these requirements, the owner of a solar-electric-powered home has electricity of the same quality as any other utility customer.

Myth #6
It is difficult to make solar electric systems aesthetically pleasing and functional for homes and businesses.
The buildings shown here include solar electric systems serving dual functions: building structure and generation of electricity. These photos represent only a small sample of the beautiful, functional, and energy-efficient buildings being designed with solar electric components. (download for photos- link below)
In the future, people will reflect on our current solar electric technology much as we reflect on the technology of the Model T Ford: with admiration for the pioneering visionaries of the day and perhaps amusement at the technology that seems so primitive compared to what we now enjoy. Researchers believe that in the future, new physics and technologies will be developed that will greatly improve solar energy technology. As for the present day, clean, reliable solar electricity is increasingly popular with home and business owners, which helps to dispel the myths surrounding this technology.


Produced for the U.S. Department of Energy by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory
DOE/GO-102003-1671 January 2003

www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/32529.pdf


**At the time this DOE pamphlet was written, the US was the leader in PV - now we are 5th. The global solar manufacturing capacity is now more relevant since the Republicans have successfully obstructed every policy that would have helped the industry grow here. You can see from this discussion, however, that China's manufacturing capacity is expected to hit 35GW/year this year. That compares to the 3GW of manufacturing capacity identified in myth #2.

Before 2007, China wasn't even on the radar. After Fukushima, what do you think they are going to do?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. And solar wind geothermal wave/current/tidal biomass and storage make it work just fine
delivering power to end users more reliably than what we have now.

THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION AND RATE-RELATED ISSUES THAT MAY IMPEDE ITS EXPANSION
A STUDY PURSUANT TO SECTION 1817 OF THE ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005

June 2007
U.S. Department of Energy

Executive Summary
Background
Section 1817 of the Energy Policy Act (EPACT) of 2005 calls for the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study of the potential benefits of cogeneration and small power production, otherwise known as distributed generation, or DG. The benefits to be studied are described in subpart (2)(A) of Section 1817. In accordance with Section 1817 the study includes those benefits received either directly or indirectly by an electricity distribution or transmission service provider, other customers served by an electricity distribution or transmission service provider and/or the general public in the area served by the public utility in which the cogenerator or small power producer is located. Congress did not require the study to include the potential benefits to owners/operators of DG units.1 The specific areas of potential benefits covered in this study include:
Increased electric system reliability (Section 2 of the Study)
An emergency supply of power (Section 2 and 7 of the Study)
Reduction of peak power requirements (Section 3 of the Study)
Offsets to investments in generation, transmission, or distribution facilities that would otherwise be recovered through rates (Section 3 of the Study)
Provision of ancillary services, including reactive power (Section 4 of the Study)
Improvements in power quality (Section 5 of the Study)
Reductions in land-use effects and rights-of-way acquisition costs (Section 6 of the Study)
Reduction in vulnerability to terrorism and improvements in infrastructure resilience (Section 7 of the Study)
Additionally, Congress requested an analysis of ...any rate-related issue that may impede or otherwise discourage the expansion of cogeneration and small power production facilities, including a review of whether rates, rules, or other requirements imposed on the facilities are comparable to rates imposed on customers of the same class that do not have cogeneration or small power production. (Section 8 of the Study)

The full study may be found at http://www.oe.energy.gov .


A Brief History of DG
DG is not a new phenomenon. Prior to the advent of alternating current and large-scale steam turbines - during the initial phase of the electric power industry in the early 20th century - all energy requirements, including heating, cooling, lighting, and motive power, were supplied at or near their point of use. Technical advances, economies of scale in power production and delivery, the expanding role of electricity in American life, and its concomitant regulation as a public utility, all gradually converged to enable the network of gigawatt-scale thermal power plants located far from urban centers that we know today, with high-voltage transmission and lower voltage distribution lines carrying electricity to virtually every business, facility, and home in the country.

At the same time this system of central generation was evolving, some customers found it economically advantageous to install and operate their own electric power and thermal energy systems, particularly in the industrial sector. Moreover, facilities with needs for highly reliable power, such as hospitals and telecommunications centers, frequently installed their own electric generation units to use for emergency power during outages. Traditionally, these forms of DG were not assets under the control of electric utilities. However, in some cases, they produced benefits to the overall electric system by supplying needed power to those consumers in lieu of the local electricity provider. In such cases, utility investment for facilities and/or system capacity that would have been used to supply those customers could be re- directed to expand/upgrade the network.

Over the years, the technologies for both central generation and DG improved by becoming more efficient and less costly. Implementation of Section 210 of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA) sparked a new era of highly energy efficient and renewable DG for electric system applications. Section 210 established a new class of non-utility generators called Qualifying Facilities (QFs) and provided financial incentives to encourage development of cogeneration and small power production. Many QFs have since provided energy to consumers on-site, but some have sold power at rates and under terms and conditions that have been either negotiated or set by state regulatory authorities or non- regulated utilities.

Today, advances in new materials and designs for photovoltaic panels, microturbines, reciprocating engines, thermally-activated devices, fuel cells, digital controls, and remote monitoring equipment (among other components and technologies) have expanded the range of opportunities and applications for next generation DG, and have made it possible to tailor energy systems to the specific needs of consumers. These technical advances, combined with changing consumer needs, and the restructuring of wholesale and retail markets for electric power and natural gas, have opened even more opportunities for consumers to use DG to meet their own energy needs.

At the same time, these circumstances can allow electric utilities to explore the possibilities of utilizing DG to help address the requirements of a modern electric system. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has supported research and development in an effort to make these next generation DG devices more energy efficient, reliable, clean and affordable. The aim of these efforts has been to accelerate the pace of development of next generation energy systems, and promote greater energy security, economic competitiveness, and environmental protection. These next generation systems are the focus of this study.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Information from Energy Genius Amory Lovins
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #49
56. You mean Amory Lovins, employee of BP and Walmart?
As well as Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon-Mobil, and a dozen other petroenergy companies? :eyes:
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:50 AM
Response to Reply #56
59. "disparaging insinuations through an "I wonder" framing cheapen the discourse..."
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 02:54 AM by kristopher
Do you know where all of those character attacks come from?
The blogging network set up by the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The particular one you are using was part of a smear campaign against Lovins by a blogger named Barton, IIRC, but that doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that this crew is organized by the NEI - a paid lobbying organization that organizes this astroturf character assassination squad to provide cheap fodder for whatever innocent and/or venal mind wants to latch onto it and help them spread it.

Here is an instance where Adams tries it on Gundersen at eh website SolveClimate.com.
...Perhaps there is a reason why Mr. Gundersen left his job as "Corporate Officer and Senior Vice President" of a company he describes as a division of a Fortune 500 company in 1990 and decided to teach math and science in small school systems for 10 years. It can be a rewarding job to work with young people, but it is not normally a path chosen by someone who is less than 20 years into an upwardly mobile career path.
I wonder what attracted him to his new employment as an "expert" witness employed by groups organized for the sole purpose of fighting the development of the only real competition that fossil fuel suppliers face in the market for reliable energy. Could it be that being a $300 per hour consultant with a nearly 40 year old nuclear engineering degree beats his teaching salary?


reply

...no need for ad hominim attacks
if you disagree with the substance of the report, that is fine. but, disparaging insinuations through an "I wonder" framing cheapen the discourse and make this reader want to disagree with you on the substance because your presentation is so unpleasant. If you know something, say it. Otherwise, engage with the substance and skip the smear tactics.


Coalition: Design for New Nuclear Reactor Less Safe Than America's Current Fleet
Report Raises Questions Over Safety of Global Nuclear 'Renaissance'
By Stacy Feldman Apr 23, 2010

And notice how this blogging network - organized by a paid lobbying arm of the nuclear industry, gang up to attack Lovins' character at ForeignPolicy.com's website about a summary article of his essay. Each and every argument presented by this gang of character assassination thugs is either specious, spurious, a straw man, or a red herring. There is no substance in any of it, period; for it is not meant to be a discussion, but by intent is a piece of propaganda designed specifically to discourage people from making the time investment required to read the paper by Lovins.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/21/a_road...

Really classy eh? It is a style and tactic well known to anyone that has listened to the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingram for more than 15 minutes; the only difference being this despicable circle of jerks specialize in attacks against academics with a great deal of integrity rather than the politicos that are the usual targets of the wingnut talk radio set.

Lovins' piece can be downloaded here:
http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library%2F2010-02_ProliferationO...

Proliferation, Oil, and Climate: Solving for Pattern
AUTHOR: Lovins, Amory
DOCUMENT ID: S10-02
YEAR: 2010
DOCUMENT TYPE: Journal or Magazine Article
PUBLISHER: RMI

In this essay Amory Lovins discusses the problems of proliferation, oil, and climate. These three formidable problems, though treated as distinct, share common causes and solutions. New energy and climate solutions can strengthen security and prosperity by shifting strategy for the NPT Review Conference. Nuclear powers astonishing eclipse by cheaper, faster, more climate-protective competitorsif acknowledged and exploitedcan simultaneously bolster nonproliferation, energy security, global development, and climate protection, all at a profit. Foreign Policy published a condensed version of this paper, "On Proliferation, Oil, and Climate: Solving for Pattern" (RMI document ID 2010-03) in January 2010.
http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library%2F2010-02_ProliferationO...
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:54 AM
Response to Reply #59
64. Lovins admits that he is employed by BP.
It's right up there on the website for his "Rocky Mountain Institute." All the walls of text and obfuscation you can summon don't change that. He admits his money comes from BP, Walmart, Exxon-Mobil, and all those others.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #64
65. Only the sleazy part of the fission PR industry fails to recognize an honorable man
Unlike the scum merchants that put the narrative you are pushing together, Lovins' sells an expertise that is both beneficial and profitable. It PAYS to pursue energy efficiency. His work with WalMart leveraged significant energy efficiency improvements into the entire trucking sector. What has Joe Barton and Rod Adams et al done besides engage in the propagation of right-wingnuttery style misinformation and character assassination?
Here is why they do it:

...Nuclear power is uniquely unforgiving: as Swedish Nobel physicist Hannes Alfvén said, No acts of God can be permitted. Fallible people have created its half-century history of a few calamities, a steady stream of worrying incidents, and many near-misses. America has been lucky so far. Had Three Mile Islands con- tainment dome not been built double-strength because it was under an airport landing path, it may not have withstood the 1979 accidents hydrogen explosion. In 2002, Ohios Davis-Besse reactor was luckily caught just before its massive pressure-vessel lid rusted through.

Regulators havent resolved these or other key safety issues, such as terrorist threats to reactors, lest they disrupt a powerful industry. U.S. regulation is not clearly better than Japanese regulation, nor more transparent: industry-friendly rules bar the American public from meaningful participation. Many presidents nuclear boosterism also discourages inquiry and dissent.

...Nuclear power is the only energy source where mishap or malice can kill so many people so far away; the only one whose ingredients can help make and hide nuclear bombs; the only climate solution that substitutes proliferation, accident, and high-level radioactive waste dangers. Indeed, nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection.

Heres how. Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 210 times less carbon savings, 2040 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (cogeneration), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the worlds 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13%, reversing their 2000 shares)and made over 90% of the 200708 increase in global electricity production.

http://rmi.org/rmi/Library/2011-02_LearningFromJapan


Posted with permission of the author at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/insidenova/2011/03/nuclear...
The comments there are interesting also.

Physicist Amory Lovins consults on energy to business and government leaders worldwide. He s written 31 books and over 450 papers, and received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, Zayed, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, 11 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National Design, and World Technology Awards. Hes an honorary U.S. architect, a Swedish engineering academician, and a former Oxford don, and has taught at nine universities, most recently Stanford. His RMI teams autumn 2011 book Reinventing Fire describes business-led pathways for a vibrant U.S. economy that by 2050 needs no oil, coal, or nuclear power to provide clean and resilient energy with superior economics.

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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. Thanks for admitting that I'm correct.
So now the question becomes, why do you trust information put together by the man responsible for greenwashing BP? A man whose continued personal salary depends on the continued use of fossil fuels, and who specializes in saying that we don't need any major changes to energy policy, that solar and wind will just come in and save us?

If you really believe "Well, his expertise on green energy is just that valuable!" then you ALSO have to believe that BP, Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, et al, are genuinely and nobly interested in a clean energy future.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #66
68. You are so far out there
words escape me.
Here's a guy who has single handedly done more to cut green house gases by helping others to cut their energy usage as any other person and you call him a greenwasher. Stupid is as stupid does
You haven't been correct on anything yet here, if you have I sure missed it.
What do you do that would even come close to what Mr Lovins has done to help in our quest of cutting down green house gases? My bet is not a fucking thing.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #48
55. That link doesn't seem to be working
:)
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:55 AM
Response to Reply #55
61. is the google also inop?
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. See this report, it addresses your concerns.
Institute for Environmental and Energy Research - "Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy", by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D.

http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/CarbonFreeNuclearFree.pd...

thanks.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
3. Natural gas is usually tapped to fill in
because it can be started up much faster than coal.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's not 100% renewable, though
:P
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #4
18. Your premise assumes we won't discover magic pixie dust to make it renewable
Pessimist :P
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. Hydro has some of that ability.
But it's silly to talk about an abolute 100% goal.

If we ever got into the 90s had to use a little conventional to balance things out... I'm sure that none of us would put up a fuss.
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
19. Info of Makah Tribe's wave energy program
FYI, it is a pilot project. They are a relatively small Tribe, but their goal is to be 100% sustainable via wave energy. I know that many Tribes favor wave energy but are against hydro electricity from dams.



http://nwifc.org/2003/09/makah-tribe-signs-five-year-le... /
http://www.devinetarbell.com/alternative_energy/ren_pro...

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bigmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. Red Herring question.
If you ask me.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. How so?
:shrug:
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bigmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. The implication is that if the question can't be answered now, then the option is not viable.
The question addresses issues that come after the policy decision, not before. Policy doesn't alternate between turnkey systems - the current system is more than turnkey, it's already implemented and in place.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. If we're going to push in that direction
we should be certain that fossil fuel plants will be taken offline as a result of our renewable build out.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. So it is a red herring question - thanks for admitting it.
Now you're using weasel words: "we should be certain that..."
Then for any proposal you'll say you have some doubt just as an excuse to reject it.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
34. Um, not really
n/t
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
57. In other words, you have no way to answer it, so you dodge. nt
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. For those who believe we can go 100 percent fossil, where do you propose
we find enough hip waders?
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
9. The ideal system is to eliminate the need for a grid.
Which could be done by individual power generators on site....perhaps a fuel cell with H storage system.
That would eliminate brown and black outs completely not to mention a huge savings in energy from transmissions losses.
So my answer is to make it so there is no need to balance the load.
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
10. Pumped hydro. Rotational storage. Thermal storage.
Pumped hydro is already in use for public utilities in hilly, mountainous areas. Rotational and thermal? Not as much working on large scales, but smaller projects work well enough that I think they've proven themselves viable. (Albeit not as profitable as, say, slapping on a NG supplemental power plant.) Thermal is generally connected with thermal solar, and I think rotational lends itself to power-busy/congested areas (cities.)

There are other options that are more controversial/theoretical. But I think the above three can take us a long way towards 'there.'

I'm not a star-eyed optimist. I don't think we'll be 100% renewable in my lifetime, if ever. But I do think they should become a growingly larger percentage of our power mix, to the point that they cover our residential and office-space power needs, leaving other sources for industrial needs.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I'm not sure how much additional hydro we can add
There's a proposal for a large off-channel site in Colusa County, but I think that's mostly for ag water.
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
47. Pumped hydro isn't hydropower.
Perhaps I'm not using the correct term?

What I call Pumped Hydro is where, during times of excess power, a utility pumps water up a tall hill or mountainside, to a huge cistern or other storage system. Then, during times of high power demand, the water is allowed to flow back downhill in pipes and through turbines at the bottom of the slope. Those turbines turn generators which provide electricity. It doesn't create new power, but rather stores excess power for future use.

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #47
50. Xemasab knows the difference...
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 10:54 PM by kristopher
Pumped hydro is good, but limited by space and geography. A better solution that is emerging is "ice storage" and "rock batteries".
High energy density in compact space using well know technologies. Has about the same energy loss rate as pumped hydro and costs less.
Also see CAES (compressed air energy storage).

All any of these technologies need is an expanding market niche for storage.

The batteries in an electric vehicle fleet are another huge storage resource, as are home heating systems designed to hold enough thermal energy to last 7-10 days.

Storage is the least of our problems.

Those trying to portray renewables as unworkable - that is the real obstacle (not a ref to you at all)

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. Storage is the least of our problems?
We have reasonably productive solar and wind capacity. Building these things out is part of the problem.

We have neither car batteries capable of transferring power back to the grid nor home heating systems that store thermal. This is the rest of the problem, and the subject of this thread: how do we keep the grid happily humming?

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. That's right - storage is the least of our problems.
Your "concerns" are unwarranted and are a result of the fact that you do not understand how a grid develops and functions to deliver power. If you want an answer to your question read the documents and links I provided at the top of the thread.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #53
54. I do know how a grid works
:D
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:15 AM
Response to Reply #54
58. Good, then you already know at least part of the answer to the questions in the OP.
But just in case that other part is a bit foggy, perhaps you'd benefit from reading the sources provided. The solar myths paper, in particular should set your mind at ease regarding several false perceptions you have embraced.

Then, you'd want to add to the your knowledge of the current grid with a thorough reading of the distributed generation paper by DOE together with what you can find browsing http://www.rmi.org under a search on distributed generation.

That should solidify most of the remaining thin areas in your knowledge base if, that is, you have more accurate information on the operational characteristics of the other grid components than you've displayed regarding solar.

I've a few paragraphs jotted down around here somewhere explaining what forcings shape the transition from centralized generation to distributed. If I come across it I'll post it here. The same material is, however, spread through the knowledge above.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #47
51. Most of the pumped hydro proposals that I've seen
call for purchasing cheap wind from Oregon and storing it as pumped hydro in California.

It wouldn't create new power, but it would level out some of the spikes coming from wind and turn them into hydropower peakers.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
14. Lots and lots of storage. And GeniusGrid (twice as smart as a smart grid)
Of course it will help a lot if we reduce global energy consumption by 90% or so first.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
15. There are a number of ways.
Going 100% renewable will take time, so there are two questions, what will happen in the long run, and how do we get there.

So let's look at some possibilities of how things might look in the long run.

One way is 100% solar with no storage, using a world-wide grid:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

Average insolation showing land area (small black dots) required to replace the world primary energy supply with solar electricity. 18 TW is 568 Exajoule (EJ) per year. Insolation for most people is from 150 to 300 W/m2 or 3.5 to 7.0 kWh/m2/day.

Because peak load follows the sun, this arrangement would naturally balance peak load, excess generation would be transmitted to the continents in darkness.

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. I shudder to think
what the loss would be on trans-oceanic cables.

This would also mean buildout of solar to many, many times what's needed for, say, the US. If we're going to supply power for the US as well as the rest of the world, that could get ugly fast.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Superconducting transmission cables - hardly any loss.
And no, it's not "many, many times whats needed".
Those teeny dots in the picture are all that's needed.
And a lot of that area can be spread out across rooftops etc.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. That "teeny" dot
looks like it could cover most of Arizona.

Also, there's nothing in the text accompanying that picture to indicate that the western hemisphere would have to power the eastern hemisphere, and vice versa, under that scenario.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. Where will you get those?
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 05:38 PM by Confusious
The highest temperature material right now is somewhere in the range of 77K, which is 77 Kelvin above absolute zero. They need to be cooled by liquid nitrogen. Massive amount of energy to cool nitrogen into a liquid state, and massive amounts of hardware to keep it from leaking.

Basically you're saying kick it into the future, I have no plan.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. Same place as Long Island and Texas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holbrook_Superconductor_Pr...

The Holbrook Superconductor Project is the world's first production superconducting transmission power cable.<1> The lines were commissioned in 2008.<2> The suburban Long Island electrical substation is fed by about 600-meter-long underground cable system consists of about 99 miles of high-temperature superconductor wire manufactured by American Superconductor, installed underground and chilled with liquid nitrogen to minimize power loss in the transmission lines.<3>


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tres_Amigas_SuperStation

The Tres Amigas SuperStation will tie the grids together via three 5 GW superconductive high-voltage direct current power transmission lines,<2> which permit a controlled flow of energy while also functionally isolating the independent AC frequencies of each side. The design is scalable to 30 GW.


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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. You're going to string these around the world?
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 08:03 PM by Confusious
You really have no idea of engineering and power requirements, do you? You don't even know how much the thing cost.

How much liquid nitrogen for thousands of miles? Will the line be able to handle the pressure of 1 or 2 miles below sea? How much energy will it take to constantly replenish that liquid nitrogen? ( I worked for a company that made cryogenically cooled cameras. Their best hold time (full of nitrogen to empty) was 48~72 hrs and they were the best in the business. Name a semiconductor company and they bought from us. Intel, Nvidia, AMD, TI... etc. The nitrogen will have to be constantly replenished. To even get those hold times you had to create a vacuum between the outside container and container holding the liquid nitrogen. Putting that under 1 or 2 miles of ocean would crush it like a tin can, and there goes your superconductivity.)

And how many lines at 5GW apiece to replace half the world's power + energy cost to create liquid nitrogen to cool them?

You wonder why some think you have no scientific understanding. Well this is it!
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. ROFL
I just have to laugh at that.
Apparently you don't know how international phone calls or internet data is sent.

As far as your laughable attempt at an ad hominem,
you've indicated that you're still struggling with freshman calculus,
so I'm not really impressed with your claim that you "worked for a company".
What did you do there, sweep the floors and take out the trash?

:rofl:

1901:

2007:

Maps from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_network

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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. A) The freshman calc was done more then 2 years ago
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 09:17 PM by Confusious
B) and you didn't know a few months ago and still don't seem to know, how much it takes to get a minor in math. (Uhhh, 3 more classes, wow! long way to go.)

C) A superconducting cable is entirely different then telephone cable. I suppose next you'll compare a model T and a formula 1 race car and say they are the same? That shows how little you really know. ( That you even think that is mind boggling. It's like still believing in the tooth fairy as an adult ( I'll make the assumption that you are an adult, though it's probably a wrong one, considering your behavior.))

D) Accuse me of an ad hominem attack, when there was none ( The points I made were entirely relevant to the argument ) and then take part in one. There's a word for that....

i.e. What did you do there, sweep the floors and take out the trash?

The fact that you didn't even addresss any of those points and don't know anything about them is relevant to the argument, and you proved you don't know. :toast:


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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #33
69. Here's the conversation from Nov 8, 2010
Here's the conversation from Nov 8, 2010:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Confusious: 16. ... just been studying calc II all weekend ...

bananas: 19. Freshman calculus? You have a long way to go.

Confusious: 21. Not Really
If I want a math minor, or do more engineering, I have 3 classes to go.
Of course, for computer science, this is all I need, but I'm not one to give up easily. The next class is the reason I started down this path 5 years ago: Linear Algebra.
I have no plans to be a mathematician.


"Calc II" usually refers to 2nd semester freshman calculus,
for example at MIT: http://www-math.mit.edu/academics/undergrad/first/calcu...
and at Cornell: http://www.math.cornell.edu/Courses/FSM/firstyearcalc.h...

Usually the only prerequisite for linear algebra is freshman calculus: http://www.google.com/search?q=linear+algebra+prerequis...

So, in Nov 2010, you were taking 2nd semester freshman calculus,
yet now you say "The freshman calc was done more then 2 years ago".

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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 03:26 AM
Response to Reply #69
70. Boy that took you a long time,
Edited on Fri Apr-08-11 03:54 AM by Confusious
and that's the only thing you could come up with? I don't know what "freshman" calc is?

They don't list "freshman calc" in the catalog, its calc I or II. I finished calc I two years ago. I had to retake calc II at the school I transferred to get into a program. A requirement.

Math isn't my greatest subject, and considering that, I did well. Now onto the last three.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. Well, if it takes a quarter of arizona via solar
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 05:47 PM by Confusious
to power the US, just think how much to power the other half of the plant, which is the majority of the world population.

uuuuugly indeed.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #29
38. Solar via photovotaic, or concentrating solar?
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Either, they both take the same amount of land

Though concentrated needs water. It'll use the same as a nuclear plant or a coal plant.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Concentrating uses less for watt/square foot than PV.
Also, water isn't the only medium used. (nor would it use as much as a nuclear plant, given the coastal or river cooling systems nuclear power plants use.)

There are molten sodium concentrating arrays. In the US and Spain, at least.
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TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #15
35. And Africa is just supposed to lie there and take it all over again...
...whilst Europe appropriates 1/2 million sq. km.

Oh and this: "Because peak load follows the sun, this arrangement would naturally balance peak load, excess generation would be transmitted to the continents in darkness.
"


Are you really going to try to run an extension lead across the Atlantic to feed the single biggest consumer? How about the Pacific? Or don't you figure we Aussies deserve electricity 24/7?
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #35
45. GMTA
You'd have to have a string across the entire Pacific so Australia and Japan (et al.) could get up in the morning. :P
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
16. Here is a nice report on such questions
I guess my question back to you is why do you find this report to be wrong. It seems to outline most of what you question.

Thanks.

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research - "Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy", by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D.

http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/CarbonFreeNuclearFree.pd...
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. It's actually a book and not a report
Thy're leaning heavily on v2g, hydrogen, and carbon sequestration. :shrug:
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abqmufc Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Then why does author say REPORT?, and it has some flaws but it does begin to outline real steps
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 04:32 PM by abqmufc
First I quote from the preface of the book page xv "This report is not about the tangle of these difficult problems, but about a central, indeed indispensable, part of the solution greatly reducing U.S. emissions from fossil fuel burning, which constituted 84 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2004."

It may be hard bound, but it is a report.


I guess what I take from this document, it outlines some real steps.

I am against carbon sequestration to the point I lost my job 10 months ago and was removed from EPA's Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, but I'd take 5 - 10 years of sequestration (till we can move beyond the need for sequestration) if we can stop nuclear today. The problem is this Administration sees CCS as a way for IL to mine its dirty coal for the first time in over 20 years, not reducing emissions and improving public health.

I am a firm believe that the limits you first brought up are only holding us back b/c of the limited amount of R&D that has gone into the issue over the past several decades. If solar, wind, and wave had the funding which oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear receive for R&D I am confident all limitations would be solved.


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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
24. The cost of space-based solar power just dropped by a factor of ten.
And it will continue to get cheaper in the future:
"Currently, it costs about $10,000 per pound to reach orbit. Falcon Heavy would cut that price to about $1,000 per pound"
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/05/us-space-busi...

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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. so instead of quintillions.
it'll only cost quadrillions?

you can't put cheap solar panels into space. shit has to be space rated to handle the extremes.

More fantasy plans.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #28
37. Japan expected their SBSP system to be cost competitive with fossil fuels
they were aiming for their first 1GW SBSP system in 2030,
unfortunately this earthquake-tsunami-meltdown catastrophe may impede that project.


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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. If we're still here in 2030
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 09:48 PM by Confusious
and global warming hasn't starved most of us. Then I could see it. Maybe.

Of course, the public reaction to beaming microwaves down will be a drawback.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #24
36. Why is space-based power
better than earth-based power?

To put it another way, if it's a choice between chopping wood and waiting for magic space energy, why should the magic space energy win the battle?
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Space based solar is FAR more efficient than inside the atmosphere.
Trick is only: getting the power to earth. I can't WAIT to see what side effects beaming the power down as microwaves has.

(Actually I hope it works, but I can't imagine it will be without side effect.)
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Ahhh NO NOO NOOO

Radiation Radiation Radiation PHEAR RUNNN!

That's the side effect.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #41
44. Well, there are practical concerns.
A path of ionized air might be one, attracting very large lightning strikes. Another would be birds. I can't imagine a bird would survive flying through something like that, if it can boil water. (though there are other possibilities than thermal transfer)


Bad enough wind turbines kill birds. A bird has a small chance of dying flying through a wind turbine, but would be pretty well over, if it went through a very strong microwave beam, I would guess. I'm sure someone has explored this with actual numbers though.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #44
62. NASA did wind-tunnel tests with birds flying in the beam - no problems.
You can safely walk through the beams with no protection.
They will interfere with wifi and bluetooth because they use the same frequency.
But cell phones etc should work fine.
The energy intensity is about 1/6 noonday sun.

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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:04 AM
Response to Reply #44
63. The best plans envision very low power wide beams that people could live *in*.
But those require km wide solar arrays that simply aren't feasible with current launching technology. You could build the thing.

You couldn't put it in to space.

Note: no one would really live within the rectenna area, nor would they need to. The real problem is about the effects it would have on the ionosphere.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 02:54 AM
Response to Reply #24
60. It won't happen until you can manufacture the panels on the moon or an asteroid.
Until then it will remain a pipe dream.

Note: I do think that SBSP is the only long term sustainable solution to our power needs.
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One_Life_To_Give Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
67. Academic at the moment
I like traditional pumped storage. Beacon power has some interesting Flywheel units and certainly I am forgetting many more. One could also just take surplus Wind power and Open load the generators on the surplus.

However at the moment I am not aware of it being even close to a point in the load cycle where renewable's can sideline 100% of the NG fired. Never-mind taking down all fossil fuel, even if just for an instant.
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