Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Solar and wind power simply aren't practical.

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Environment/Energy Donate to DU
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:32 PM
Original message
Solar and wind power simply aren't practical.
I was just reading the thread on nuclear power, and I saw someone again pushing the idea of solar and wind power as the answer to future energy needs. I thought it would be a good idea to point out why this is an inaccurate assessment.

The bottom line reality is that while solar and wind may be a nice supplement, they could never produce enough energy to eliminate other forms of production. To get enough power from solar to meet our needs, we would need to pave over pretty much the entire southwest US, and all the desert contained therein. I seriously doubt that anyone here would be okay with destroying all that area. And then, you still have the classic problem that if there's no sun, then you get no power. Wind has a similar issue in that you would have to build a massive number of turbines, in the millions, to make a significant dent in national energy needs. Even then, if there's no wind over a notable portion of the grid, then you're screwed.

Which is not to mention the fact that building either of these solutions would require production on a level never before seen, massive strip mining for materials, and the destruction of vast areas of wilderness, tens or hundreds of thousands of square miles, in order to build them. Imagine destroying all the undeveloped land in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah for solar, or in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas for wind. That's more or less what would be required to build the facilities.

As I said before, solar and wind are never going to be practical replacements for current energy supplies. To believe otherwise is to buy into an idea without doing the math. The only non-greenhouse solutions that are practical for replacing existing power supplies in the near term are nuclear or fusion reactors.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
YDogg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. Stay the course.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. No we wouldn't have to pave over the southwest
The Wright brothers flew a few hundred feet. Should we extrapolate that air travel would never be considered feasible because they couldn't make it to Heathrow on their first go??

We need to invest in the technology, developing roofing material that collect solar energy, windows that do the same, even home siding that will fill the bill. We need to get beyond the paradigm of a flat, boxlike solar PANEL and go to different shapes--round, flexible, you name it. And not all panels NEED bright sunlight to collect energy--some can do it through a couple of inches of snow.

And we need to get the price down. That won't happen straight away, but with investment and determination, it could happen sooner rather than later.

And PEI is talking about exporting their wind power: http://www.cbc.ca/pei/story/pe-3rd-cable-20051121.html

Sorry, I can't join the nuke bandwagon. I'd rather go to energy rationing first.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
3. These folk's home has been "unpractical" for the last 11 years
http://www.solarhouse.com /

Someone should let them know...

And maybe someone should let the wind power industry that it isn't growing by double digits and thousands of MW each year.

Same for the photovoltaics industry - it should not be growing a exponential rates.

And same the solar thermal-electric industry.

and the tidal power industry.

and the wave energy industry.

and the biomass energy industry too.

and nuclear fusion is a reality?????

That's news to me...

Maybe all those states with Renewable Portfolio Standards should be alerted to this problem.




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. You're not listening.
You can talk all you like about growth, but you're still talking about 1% of energy demand. That's easy. But completely replacing existing energy sources the way some people here envision is not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. There is no law of physics or chemistry or biology that sez it can't
When the oil and gas and coal and uranium run out, that 1% will be more like 100%.

Renewables are the only sustainable long-term energy resources we have.

period

(and fusion is a pipe dream)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Brotherjohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. YOU'RE not listening. "1% of energy demand"... you mean today?
As in "solar/wind/renewables can provide only 1% today"? Well, first of all, there are whole states, and even countries, doing that or better today.

But YOUR post was about "future energy needs", not what solar/wind etc. could do today.

You can't do math based on technologies that haven't been developed yet. But to ignore that they can be (and will be unless people with your mindset control the debate) is to ignore the obvious.

I suppose we should never have developed the internal combustion engine, allowing us to use the abundance of oil and gas that drilling we would eventually be able to harvest. I mean, hey, those unknown (not even invented yet) technologies could NEVER replace the steam engine!

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. The practical use of solar and wind power would depend
on the individual and environment. I have used solar power for many years to heat water for home use.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. I didn't see any actual proof in your post, just expansive denial
you say its impractical, and then you stated we'd have to pave over the entire southwest. Is this something you just pulled out of your butt or do you have links to corroborating information?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I read somewhere that we could power the whole country with a PV array
that covered a few hundred square miles in AZ. Sorry no link.
Of course if that is true the OP is a load and can be
ignored.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. That's not even remotely true. Whoever said it lied to you.
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 01:49 PM by TheWraith
If it were true, don't you think someone would have done it?

The actual answer is closer to a few hundred THOUSAND square miles.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. The US Government is lying to you...
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/myths.html

Learning About PV: The Myths of Solar Electricity

Myth 1: Solar electricity cannot serve any significant fraction of U.S. or world electricity needs.

PV technology can meet electricity demand on any scale. The solar energy resource in a 100-mile-square area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity (about 800 gigawatts) using modestly efficient (10%) commercial PV modules.

A more realistic scenario involves distributing these same PV systems throughout the 50 states. Currently available sitessuch as vacant land, parking lots, and rooftopscould be used. The land requirement to produce 800 gigawatts would average out to be about 17 x 17 miles per state. Alternatively, PV systems built in the "brownfields"the estimated 5 million acres of abandoned industrial sites in our nation's citiescould supply 90% of America's current electricity.

These hypothetical cases emphasize that PV is not "area-impaired" in delivering electricity. The critical point is that PV does not have to compete with baseload power. Its strength is in providing electricity when and where energy is most limited and most expensive. It does not simply replace some fraction of generation. Rather, it displaces the right portion of the load, shaving peak demand during periods when energy is most constrained and expensive.

In the long run, the U.S. PV Industry Roadmap does expect PV to provide a "significant fraction of U.S. electricity needs." This adds up to at least 15% of new added electricity capacity in 2020, and then 10 years later, at least 10% of the nation's total electricity (PDF 674 KB). Download Adobe Reader

<more>


http://www.nrel.gov/wind/wind_potential.html

Wind Energy Potential in the United States

<snip>

To provide 20% of the nation's electricity, only about 0.6% of the land of the lower 48 states would have to be developed with wind turbines. Furthermore, less than 5% of this land would be occupied by wind turbines, electrical equipment, and access roads. Most existing land use, such as farming and ranching, could remain as it is now.

<snip>

Now tell us about that mythical fusion plant...

(oops - I forget we already HAVE fusion energy - it's called sunlight)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. My information isn't from the government.
And that information you cited is deceptive. They fail to take into account all energy requirements of the US, instead focusing on electrical only. They also don't take into account expandability, inefficiency (Solar cells produce DC, which has to be converted into AC power at a cost of 10% waste) or the fact that you can't have a fully efficient use of the square area. In other words, it's excessively optimistic. If you wanted to replace all energy used in the US, and with room for future needs, and accounting for waste you're talking about 20 times more area than that data discusses.

As for fusion, I fail to see why anticipating future technological development is somehow ridiculous as compared to exaggerating the capabilities of current technology.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Nuclear power - which produces electricity - is supposed to
"replace all the energy in the US"????

And I'm focusing on electricity only???

And no, I'm not simplifying - there's biomass, biogas, geothermal that can provide electricity and thermal energy as well.

and passive and active solar thermal too.

and electrified mass/personal transport, bicycles, energy efficient appliances, insulation and Energy Star windows and doors too.

"Some say" it will take 40 years and $10 billion to produce a single (small) prototype fusion plant.

Give me $10 billion and I can produce electricity and heat from a variety of renewable energy technologies today.

And what about US uranium supplies????

The Lying US Government has something to say about that too....

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0903.html

US reactors used 62 million pounds of yellowcake in 2003.

US uranium production peaked in 1980 at 43 million pounds per year.

US uranium production is currently ~2 million lbs of yellowcake per year.

How are US uranium supplies going to replace all our energy needs????

(clue: they can't - and can't even support the reactors we have today...)





Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #26
38. Huh?
"As for fusion, I fail to see why anticipating future technological development is somehow ridiculous as compared to exaggerating the capabilities of current technology."

So, how do you justify placing hope in a technology that as yet does not produce a net gain in energy, while browbeating another technology which DOES produce a net gain?

We need a multi-pronged approach, to use power sources in ways to which they are suited. Solar is great for distributed power (Residential homes, light industry.) Nuclear is great for point source, peak demand. (Heavy industry, steel forges, etc...) Plains have wind. Mountains have rivers. Coasts have tides. Everyplace has sun.

You know the problem with all that? With all those sources, it's hard to generate a monopoly. After oil, nuclear is the last bastion for the energy barons.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
atfqn Donating Member (154 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #26
45. It is excessively optimistic eh?
So is it the hundred square miles or the pv technology or maybe the conversion factor. All of these are concerns I acknowledge this but I like the researched analysis made by scientists for the government over your uncorroberated opinion about how inefficient solar electricity is. Shrug, but I am more than willing to let you build a nuclear power plant in your town/city as long as it isn't in new york.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Salviati Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
30. you may be thinking about:
http://www.stirlingenergy.com/faq.asp?type=allsolar

They're developing arrays in to concentrate solar energy in order to use it as a heat source to power a sterling engine. from their faq:


Do Stirlings solar systems use photovoltaic technology?
No. This is a common misconception. Photovoltaic technology is generally not abundant enough or cost-effective enough to meet any large scale demands. Our Solar Dish Stirling system is shaped much like large satellite dishes (approximately 37 in diameter) and covered with curved mirrors. These solar dishes are programmed to always face the sun and focus that energy on a collector in much the same way that a satellite dish focuses radio waves on a tuner. This collector is connected to a Stirling engine which uses the thermal power generated by the focused solar energy to heat liquid hydrogen in a closed-loop system. The expanding hydrogen gas creates a pressure wave on the pistons of the Stirling engine which spins an electric motor creating electricity with no fuel cost or pollution. This technology is referred to as solar thermal or concentrating solar power.


They claim that to provide the US's electricity supply would require an area 100 miles on a side, or 10,000 square miles. This method certainly sounds a lot better than PV panels, which can be pretty nasty to make.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #30
40. They're currently working on some huge power plants
out in the desert in California.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. All it takes is a little research and calculation.
But if you prefer a link:



The blacked out areas represent the areas that you would need to completely cover with solar cells in order to equal electrical power requirements. The dot for the US (and the rest of North America, though the US is the vast majority) is about the size of California. And you'd have to make that area considerably larger if you also wanted to provide for future power growth.

We don't have the capacity to produce that size of a solar field, and we don't want to pave over the states that we would need to in order to deploy it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. according to what?
can you show your calculations?

even if whatever you just showed me were accurate, that dot does not represent paving the entire southwestern US. All your dots are the same size, too. So not really sure what we're looking at here.

besides, you're assuming the power needs to centralized instead of localized.
There's a lot of unused space that could be reused for power. roofs, sides of the highways, and existing power plant locations.

all I see is psuedo science tacked onto hyperbole.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. They're not my dots. That map is from a solar proponent.
See here:

http://www.ez2c.de/ml/solar_land_area /

And that dot represents roughly 150,000 square miles. Add in the areas like mountains where you can't deploy cells, the roads and depots needed for maintainence, places where you can't deploy due to cities and towns, and you're talking about destroying the vast majority of the desert southwest if you really wanted to deploy such a system.

Decentralized solar power would require essentially rebuilding or renovating, if not every structure in the United States, then a great many of them, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars or more.

The only people engaging in pseudoscience are the people who claim that solar is a magical cure-all for energy needs.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
32. That's at 8% cell efficiency.

...and noone seriously intends to localize the entire generation requirements of the country.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Doesn't Sunpower sell 22% efficient (non-concentrating) modules today???
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 04:20 PM by jpak
on edit:

Yup - they do (21.5%)

http://www.sunpowercorp.com/technology/
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. I generally don't follow the w/m2 figures.

Frankly, the only time I've never lived in a house that did not receive enough roof insolation to fully power it, pretty much regardless of the cell efficiency, was in a log cabin in the middle of the woods.

Someday maybe I'll own a house instead of renting, and doing those calculations will be more than just an excercise in wishful thinking.

But yeah, w/m2 efficiency has been improving at a good clip, even among thin-film techs.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. It is
A PV farm 100 mile x 100 miles in the SW could satisfy all US electrical demand - that's not "paving it over".

Wind farms covering 4% of the area lower 48 could satisfy >100% of US electrical demand (and that does not include offshore wind).

And that's not counting biomass, biogas, tidal and wave energy resources.





Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Not even close to accurate.
You would need a PV farm at least 400 miles by 400 miles. That's 16 times the size of what you're talking about. And that's not providing for wasted space, cities, maintainence areas, and future demand.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #21
33. Cell efficiency.
At some point, you should make it a point to throw out the old 1960's era books you have on this matter and get new ones.

May I suggest a nice, fresh copy of wikipedia?


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

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
6. Why limit them to your scope of the applications?
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 12:56 PM by kgfnally
Why not- oh, I don't know- build a giant mirror in space to reflect solar energy onto land-based collectors all day long, and most of the night as well? Shoot- build it so the reflector can move around in the sky, and build a bunch of collectors so you can funnel that energy into the power grid regardless of the weather in any particular area. After all, it may not be clear on the ground all the time, but it's always sunny in orbit.

You don't even need to use solar cells; you can use the heat to boil water and turn turbines. This is fifth grade stuff and there's no excuse not to do it. The company or government that does it could even make money or trade for a cut of the energy delivered by allowing other nations access to the same satellite for use in their own, similar systems when the mirror satellite is not above the US (i.e., at night).

Oh, wait, that's a creative solution. Never mind.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. And that's a much better suggestion than most people have.
Unfortunately, you still run into problems of practicality. How do you build the mirror? How do you launch it? We don't have the infrastructure for such a large orbital construction platform as that, nor the kind of boosters to launch a completed device. Plus the cost would be literally astronomical. We may find ourselves doing this in 30 or 40 years, but not much sooner.

Contrary to what some may think, this is NOT the same solar and wind power that people play with in fifth grade. You're talking about producing hundreds of gigawatts every day, reliably and without fail or dips in capacity. That's hard enough as it is, without trying to use new technologies which are far from perfected.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bigbrother05 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. Hydro and geothermal are other pieces
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 01:03 PM by bigbrother05
that can be used. The US has vast reserves of natural gas that aren't currently economical, but would be as costs go up. If we can eliminate older coal-fired plants with green(er) alternatives, that is a move forward. Reduced consumption from efficiencies and simply cutting back will help too.

Higher efficiency solar and wind will be aided by improved battery technologies to make EVs practical. Fuel cells will come into play also.

No one thinks there is a silver bullet, even fusion would not be the be-all-end-all some might think. The thinkers/tinkerers will always lead us ahead, but a little help from an aware government couldn't hurt either.

edited for grammar and to add: Not anti-nuke, per se, but very cautious with its execution.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. Yours is the smartest and most balanced response I got.
Thanks for it. My main intent behind this thread was to point up the ridiculous way in which many people here do consider solar and wind to be a silver bullet for the problem without at all considering the difficulty of doing it or the ecological damage that would result. Of course, I should know better than to try talking facts to fanatics, but then, I'm a Democrat.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. What ecological damage is that???
n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mucho macho Donating Member (73 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
9. RED STATES
AS LONG AS WE BUILD THEM IN THE ENERGY HOGGING RED STATES, I DONT CARE HOW MUCH LAND THEY WASTE. MOST PROGRESSIVES CONSERVE!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Brotherjohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. My little solar lights on my deck have no way of getting power at night...
... but you know what? They turn on, and ONLY at night!!

AMAZING, isn't it? No sun, yet there they are, glowing brightly in the night!

I guess they must have figured out some magical way of "storing" the energy for later use!

As for the rest of the logical flaws and straw man arguments in your original post, most others here have already addressed them adequately.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
22. You want to talk about a strawman argument?
"Gee, my tiny ultra-low-draw solar lights work on a battery, therefore we can build a battery that stores hundreds of gigawatts of live electrical power."

I would go on for a bit, but it's clear that you haven't actually listened to a word I've said.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Brotherjohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Of course there wouldn't need to be a big rechargeable NiCd battery...
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 02:29 PM by Brotherjohn
... at each solar/wind/whatever facility.

The entire electrical system of the United states today "stores" energy everywhere. The grids are interconnected, and often energy used in one place comes from another place hundreds of miles away. As for the future, if there's little sunlight in one place, there's likely to be abundant sunlight elsewhere (or wind, or other sources). Not to mention undeveloped technologies which you seem to think will never exist, and aren't worth pursuing.

If you think bigbrother05's post above is smart and reasonable, then we probably aren't as far apart as it seems. No one here thinks solar and wind alone will TOTALLY replace fossil fuels, or nuclear, anytime soon. But your OP sets up the argument as they will never totally replace today's forms of energy. Well, no one here really claims they will. But it's another thing to say they're completely impractical.

Yes, it's not practical to argue that they will completely replace fossil fuels anytime soon. But it's completely practical to invest more heavily in them, and very possible that they could become significant contributors to the power grid within our lifetimes (they are already in many countries).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. .
It is absurd to talk about a single battery that stores hundreds of gigawatts of power. You know full well that power storage is distributed throughout the network. Moreover, given current concerns about power outages and severe climate events, the trend is going to be towards local on-site storage, or at the very least regional.



http://www.beaconpower.com

What's pictured is an array of 6KWh flywheel units, two of which are being tested as we speak by regional ISOs in NY and CA. A single one of the 25KWh units is a tad bit larger than one of those 6KWh black objects shown. Buried in someone's back yard it would allow an average house to draw it's power from the grid, or on-site renewables, at optimum times of the day, and serve dual purpose as emergency backup.

Also not to be left out, though it's vaporware until I see it working someplace and quantity manufacturing viability is proved:

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/01/eesto...

Geoexchange and ice-stored AC can do the same for heating and cooling.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #22
39. Battery storage alternatives.
Batteries are convenient, and work ok in smaller applications. But for larger applications there are more efficient storage means. A place I used to work ran ice cooling systems. During the night, when grid power was cheap, they use that cheap power to freeze a saline solution. During the day, they'd use that ice for cooling AC system. With enough solar they could reverse that. Plus, they wouldn't need as much ice storage, as it would only need to store night time cooling surplus. The solar energy is available for the expected peak loads.

A number of existing power generating plants use excess power generating ability during off-peak hours to pump large quantities of water to storage tanks at the tops of ridges. During peak power used hours, they drain that water down through turbines to generate the needed extra power. I've seen one of these (coal fired, I think) in action. The amount of water it was sending uphill was damned impressive. That works, right now.

Another message in this thread mentions flywheels.

And this is one of the few places where I see Hydrogen having a use. Use excess solar power during daylight hours to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, then at night run them through a fuel cell to recover that power. No need for miles of hydrogen gas lines. Lots of room for excellent refridgeration and well sealed tanks in order to reduce leakage and waste. And no need to make these fuel cells and all their "accessories" light and safe enough to load into road going vehicles.

Storage of solar power gathered during daylight for night usage is not as big a problem as solar opponents make it out to be. Most houses have plenty enough roof to meet their power needs. Many factories have acres of flat roofs, soaking up solar heat which they then have to use expensive AC systems to purge. Why not shade those roofs with PV panels, and solar thermal arrays, and turn that negative asset into a positive?

Does it meet ALL our needs? No. But not taking advantage of it is damningly inefficient.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
11. Production level never seen?
Dubious. We've seen production levels far in excess of what is needed in the automotive and aerospace industry during times of war.

Now whether our inept corporations could pull it off, there you have an argument. But then, if they cannot, they can't manage reactors on the scale needed either.

To buy your 1960's math without researching technological imporvements and updating your input variables is as idiotic as not doing the math at all.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
27. More nonsense!
Solar will become much cheaper soon. It can generate electricity at the point of use, reducing loss in transmission. We are already paving over much of the Southwest -- at least when we do, we can in future put solar panels on those roofs.

Wind power can be anywhere there is wind -- for example, a lucrative sideline for those whose land is already "developed" for farms and ranches. And wind power on one's own land can also reduce reliance on transmitted power.

Nuclear power may be made safe some time in the future. It is not now. It must be kept out of the energy menu for decades to come.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Solo_in_MD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
35. Mixed Bag
You are right that today they can not be the total solution. But lets not limit the future.

IMO, nuclear is better than coal as well
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
freethought Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I would agree with you
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 09:47 PM by freethought
There is no one "magic bullet". Hydrocarbons may well remain as an option as well.
But let's remember one thing developing these alternative have to go hand in hand with conservation practices. Unless we do that as well, we'll be f____d.
But just as you said "let's not limit the future". The future involves just as much conservation and efficiency as it does in developing PV solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear (fusion & fission). And let's not forget some other options that some other countries are working on. Wave energy, offshore/deepwater wind, and that solar tower concept that the Aussies are working on. We're not going to get there by doing nothing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:54 PM
Response to Original message
41. Even if we could only get 20% of our energy needs from rooftop PV
Don't you think that 20% is worthwhile?

Even if building rooftop water heaters would only conserve 10% of the energy of each household, don't you think it's worth pursuing?

Or "technologies" such as passive solar mixed with proper insulation?

Even planting trees around a house can conserve energy.

Once all these steps and more are taken, then we can talk about where to get the rest of our energy from, but let's take care of the easy solutions before working on the hard ones, like drilling ANWR, building nukes, or going to war in the middle east.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #41
44. exactly! and if we'd all just replace our incandesent bulbs with CFB
we could drop power needs considerably

I don't think there is a magic bullet, i think we all have to do baby steps and get better and better at conservation
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. One of my brothers just replaced all his major appliances
with Energy Star models.

He said his electric bills were cut in half (or better). And he's slowly replacing all his light bulbs with CFs.

If every American household cut its electrical consumption in half - we could shut down most (or all??) of the nastiest coal-fired power plants grandfathered under the Clean Air Act.

But that would entail "personal virtue" (even though it makes perfect economic sense).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dcfirefighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #41
49. Sure....
IF building these electricity sources is the best use of our limited resources: earth, atmosphere, labor, etc.

Ideally, the best way to determine this is to do a cost comparison with the alternatives.
Ideally, this cost reflects ALL costs, not just the internal monetary costs, but REALISTICALLY, only the internal costs are counted.

My bet is that, for a given burden on our earth, and a given investment of our labor, our energy would come from a mix of solar thermal, biomass, wind, and, most of all, a baseload of nuclear power. Of course, collecting the externalities of all energy sources would raise the price of energy, fostering conservation across the board.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #49
71. That's all well and good for the NEAR term...
However, out of the energy sources you cited, the one that you count on providing the lion's share of the load is the one non-renewable source -- nuclear power. Given that nuclear fuel is a finite resource and doesn't renew itself, the question that inevitably comes up is what we do when the stocks of fuel decline precipitously, which is bound to happen if nukes step in to fill a void previously occupied by fossil fuels. Personally, I think that the more rapidly we can adjust to a lower-energy lifestyle and greater dependence upon decentralized renewable sources, the better.

Of course, collecting the externalities of all energy sources would raise the price of energy, fostering conservation across the board.

Now, THIS is a statement I can agree with 100%.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #71
72. Uranium will last a long time though.
If the industry is set up right, it will easily last thousands of years.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #72
73. IAEA doesn't seem to hold that view...
http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bul...

I'll skip ahead to the conclusion...

BALANCING NEEDS
Based on a projected, modest 1% annual growth rate, world uranium requirements are estimated to grow from 61 500 tU in 1997 to 75 000 tU in 2020. Cumulative demand over the period is 1.638 million tU.

In 1996, production met about 60% of world requirements, with most of the balance coming from inventory. This source, which has been supplying an average of about 23,000 tU per year since 1992, is coming to an end. With the end of excess inventory in sight, uranium supplies from other sources will have to increase to meet requirements. What supply sources are available to meet requirements through 2020?

Uranium mine production will continue to be the primary source of supply, meeting 76% to 78% of cumulative requirements through 2020. Alternative sources supplying the balance, in order of relative importance, are LEU blended from HEU released from weapons programmes (11% to 13%), reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (6%), and excess inventory (5%). The contribution of US government and other Russian strategic stockpiles is not known at this time.

To meet these projected uranium requirements, all sources of supply will have to increase as planned. Otherwise, shortages could result early in the next century from one or more types of producers.

<END>

Now, if there's something I'm missing in all of this, I'd certainly welcome other information. But from what I read in this piece it seems that the IAEA believes keeping up with demand for uranium through 2020 will be a challenge at a modest 1% growth rate. If we increase nuclear power to fill the gap for oil, it would require a double-digit growth rate, which would appear to be impossible to supply based on these authors' findings.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #73
74. except they assume countries will mine new Uranium instead of recycling it
Reprocessing and breeding would be essential to a sustainable nuclear industry.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #74
75. No, they account for recycling and reprocessing...
The only thing is that they assume it will only account for 6% of the fuel used. If you're proposing that reprocessed fuel can provide a lion's share of the fuel used, I'd like to see an article featured by IAEA that supports such an outlook.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #75
76. 2020 is short term, and not relevant to the larger question
I have no doubts that there are sufficient uranium and thorium reserves to support nuclear power for a long, long time, certainly on the order of hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Arguments that we don't have enough uranium are exactly equivalent to "We don't have enough whale oil for our lamps." In the case of the IAEA articles cited, they are saying that supplies of the specific sort of enriched fuel required by most current reactors will be tight.

These predicted shortages are strictly a consequence of the existing infrastructure. Change the infrastructure and the shortages go away. The only relevant question is "at what cost?" do we change this infrastructure, in terms of both the environment, and the economy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
42. They aren't practical as remote energy sources.
They are very efficient as onsite individual use power sources.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
suziedemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #42
47. Exactly!!!
Build an energy efficient home with Structural Insulated Panels and a Geo-thermal heat pump, and maybe a solar (or at least on demand) hot water heater, add a rooftop wind turbine like mag-wind or something (http://www.mag-wind.com/mw1100.php ), add some solar panels. Farmers could turn their pig manure into diesel fuel to run their tractors. (http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/health/153217... )

IMO the mistake people make is not thinking outside the "big utility companies must provide our energy" box.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 04:18 AM
Response to Reply #47
52. Very good point
> IMO the mistake people make is not thinking outside the
> "big utility companies must provide our energy" box.

There is a need for centralised power generation but there is
also a need for localised power generation. Why is there always
this fight over *either* one *or* the other?

The important thing is to do what is appropriate for the situation
rather than fighting for a "one size fits all" solution.

Reduce the energy bill in the first place (insulation, efficiency).

Use 'free' power if available (solar thermal, wind, GSHP, low-level
hydro, whatever is sensible) on a per-house, farm or community basis.
Solar PV to power air-con is an ideal match - especially for daytime
offices but also for homes. Methane digestors make sense on a farm,
especially if the reduced waste can also be used as fertiliser.

This will all reduce the regional power needs and allow some of the
coal power stations to be closed rather than replaced. The remaining
ones can then be replaced by nuclear (or whatever cleaner fuel you
wish) but the reduction in regional demand is key.

The last step is the one that is hard to steer as - whichever side
of the argument you're on - the battle is really between rival
corporations using competing (bought) politicians and devolves to
a drawn-out expensive slanging match.

The earlier steps are the ones that we can do for ourselves and these
are the ones that make an immediate impact.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #42
57. That's not true - wind/PV/solar thermal farms are "remote" sources.
And PV was initially introduced as a means to produce electricity at "remote" locations (telecommunication infrastructure sites and homes not served by powerlines).



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
suziedemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #57
66. I thought he meant when the electricity is generated away from use.
Like with the grid. So we have a huge coal, nuclear, wind, etc. plant in a "remote" location and then transport the electricity to it's point of use. Solar is better when it's close to the point of use. That's how I took what he said. The OP talks about a huge solar or wind farm in the Southwest U.S. Not as good of an idea as a million solar roofs.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
43. There are many applications where these are the most practical choice.
Nothing beats a solar or wind powered water system. The sun shines, the wind blows, and the water is pumped into large, inexpensive tanks. You add solar water heating to this setup and you have the true measure of civilization -- indoor toilets and warm showers.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
48. Why not put solar cells in the places already paved over?
Like... on rooftops, perhaps?

Seems like there are a plenty of houses that get their power from panels on the roof. If every house had rooftop panels, it wouldn't take up any more space.

May not work in Minnesota, but it should work for the lower half of the country.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
50. Straw man
> practical replacements for current energy supplies

I don't think any serious solar or wind advocates are saying that those two sources can step in and provide the same level of energy per capita we've gotten used to with oil. If they do, I want to know what they're smokin!

The assumption that we can somehow maintain present energy-per-capita levels is highly questionable.

Those days will be behind us before long, and when they are, it'll be nice to have a source of at least some amount of energy from, say, solar or wind. ...Yeah, yeah, and coal and nuclear, too, but even those will fall way short of providing present EPC levels. The numbers just aren't there.

PS: Fusion reactors? Practical?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #50
51. Well, define "can."
If "can" means it is technically possible, they can indeed totally replace all fossils and nukes. Technical solutions are available for all their faults.

If "can" means economically possible, there's a case to be made that a concerted society-wide effort could make it happen, though a more diverse portfolio of technolgies and conservation would obviously be a better choice.

If "can" means in spite of: 1) Contrarianism 2) Opposing vested interests 3) Public apathy and ignorance 4) Republicans 5) War and Disaster then that requires a good amount of opium to believe in.

(P.S. I give large scale "Tokomak" macro-hot fusion about the same level of change as the various micro-hot endeavors at successfully becoming an energy contributor on a large scale -- not much. Heck let's even throw in "Zero Point" stuff as well. It's really not a matter of where the energy comes from, but how much the machines cost and who can get political and economic power by building them. The reality of energy geopolitics has nothing to do with solving the energy problem.)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #51
54. Define "is."
Edited on Thu Aug-24-06 09:14 AM by NNadir
It would be useful if rather than endless talk about how renewable energy can replace everything, it actually did it.

It is a little late in the game to define "can." The claim about renewable energy is not supported by experiment.

I am really, really, really bored by the conspiracy theory now being applied to why renewable energy doesn't work. The fact is that the reason it doesn't work is economic and, as it happens, environmental. Here's some news for you: Dick Cheney doesn't control Nigeria. He doesn't control Venezuela or Argentina or Lesotho or Switzerland. Last I looked, he doesn't control Iran.

Conservation while there are millions, if not billions, of people living on less than 10 watts per capita, is a rather elitist approach. Telling us what a rich person in Colorado "can" do is very different from telling us what the rest of the world can do.

As for "contrarianism," I think that the case can be made that all of the press on renewable energy has been largely favorable. I have personally been hearing for decades how wonderful renewable energy is and how it can solve all of our problems. Decades later though, the problems are worse than ever.

Renewable energy is, at best, a niche player. 100% of the countries where it is a significant player are countries with huge hydroelectric resources - most of which are tapped out - and/or huge geothermal resources. In the latter case we are talking Costa Rica and Iceland. Neither of these countries has enough geothermal energy to export significant quantities of electrochemically derived fuels.

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

Those countries in which biofuels are huge players - actually we should say country and not countries as we are talking Brazil - are mostly noted for their horrific agricultural policies that are ripping some of the earth's most precious habitat to pieces. I, for one, question whether replacing all of the world's rain forest and the Pantanal with sugar cane plantations and soybean farms is a good idea.

As for the solar joke, this form of energy doesn't provide 1% of the world's energy, 50 years after the invention of the solar cell. It is very likely that all of the solar electricity ever produced has been consumed by computers accessing websites where people tell us how wonderful solar energy is. Solar energy is a very minor player in a minor industry, the renewable energy industry. In fact the only form of renewable energy that has demonstrated capacity to grow on scale is the wind industry. We all like and love wind power, but what it can do is limited.

The matter of wood fired energy is playing itself out in places like Nepal, where there no longer is much forest, and the Himalayas flow into the Ganges in the form of mud. It played itself out in Britain hundreds of years ago:

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/NNadir/20

Even in the renewable paradise of Maine, the problem is playing out with great difficulty. In the late 1990's our friends the Green Party put a ballot initiative before the voters to ban clear cutting which was aesthetically screwing with the brains of some people in that State of Ecstasy. Here is a thoughtful discussion of the nature of the problem on environmental impact:

Assuming an equal volume of wood is harvested each year in Maine, the total number of harvested acres must increase as the number of clear cutting acres decreases. For example, one might go about gathering 2500 cords of wood either as a 100-acre clearcut, or as a 300-acre partial cut where only one-third of the trees are harvested at a time (Figure 2). This simple inference is supported by the Maine Forest Service data: between 1989 and 1994 the number of partial-cut acres of forest increased (from 55 percent to 89 percent) as the total number of clearcut acres decreased (Figure 3). The total number of clearcut and partial cut acres harvested increased from 326,000 acres to 504,000 acres, reflecting the fact that more acres must be harvested under a partial-cutting strategy to meet specific wood volume demands.

Mimicking nature

It seems to be widely assumed that this reduction in clear cutting is good for Maines forestlands. It may, in fact, be good. But when placed in the context of the publics demand for wood and paper, it may be that alternatives to clear cutting are just as worrisome. Timber harvesting that best mimics nature is broadly considered by both scientists and the public as good. Selection cutting often is extolled as a better representation of nature because it results in a forest with many ages and size classes of trees (an uneven-aged forest), which nature often produces. However, nature also produces even-aged forest through fire, windthrow, and budworm epidemics. Thus, both harvesting methods can result in a forest similar to that produced by nature.

However, both selection-cutting and clearcutting have trouble replicating nature, for many reasons. First, both methods remove wood from the forest, whereas it is left on site with natural events. Clearcutting results in an even-aged, closed-canopy stand, but typically the stand will not be allowed to reach ecological maturity (in Maine, 100 to 200 years of age, depending on the tree species composition and chance natural events).


http://www.umaine.edu/mcsc/MPR/Vol5No2/hagen.pdf#search...

But unlike places like say, Mumbai, Maine is an area with low population density, so it's comparison with international needs - Maine's problems notwithstanding - is hardly representative. Nepal, I think, is more representative.

But let's cut to the chase:

The real problem is the carrying capacity of the earth, which is exceeded. We have a real problem on our hands. Many people argue for the existence of stabilization wedges and in theory they exist. But there is myopia on all sides of the debate and for the renewables advocates to claim - in the face of decades of undelivered promises - that all of the idiocy lies outside their camp is purely absurd by virtue of experiment.

The renewables fraction of the world's energy supply can be garnered from looking at electrical power. Data, as opposed to promises and talk is available on this subject:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table17....

As of 2003 - really, really, really, really late in the game - the total planetary wide contribution of renewable energy was 334 billion kilowatt hours, or 1.28 exajoules. This is incredibly insufficient in a time of environmental catastrophe.

The world consumption of electricity in that year meanwhile was 14,803 billion kilowatt-hours, or 53 exajoules.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table62....

When exactly do "renewables only" advocates claim the difference is going to be made up?

Wake up and smell the soot. It ain't working.

Renewable advocates brag incessantly how they're going to knock off "nuclear energy" but they haven't knocked off any forms of energy, not nuclear which is the safest form of scalable energy known, not natural gas - which is far more dangerous - not oil - which is even more dangerous - and not coal - which is incredibly dangerous.

And what do we have by way of explanation for this vast readily visible failure? Excuses mostly. Internationally, in every country from Lesotho to Indonesia to Mali to Luxembourg to Bolivia it's all Dick Cheney's fault or the faults expressed in vague concepts like "apathy."

Personally I don't see this alleged "apathy." I see a lot of passion around these subjects. People all over the world are thinking deeply about the problem - almost everyone on earth is concerned on one level or another. Every single person on this website, for instance, whether they are "renewables will save us" claimants or pro-nuclear advocates or sequestration advocates is passionate.

Nobody is calling for the abandonment of renewable energy. It is a popularly applauded concept. Most people love it, at least until they get to the details. Thus renewable energy is failing or succeeding on its own merits. Hydroelectricity - problems aside - is an economic and (mostly) environmental success story - even acknowledging that it was responsible for the worst energy disaster of all time, the Banqiao dam failures. Wind energy is growing quite well. But neither of these forms can do everything. Overall, waiting for the mystical renewable god to descend from heaven and sweep away the "vested interests" is a religious attitude that actually causes a great deal of sacrifice to the fossil fuel god. There are no gods in fact. Our problems will not be solved by magic or by divine intervention. The matter is one of reason. The use of reason can only be useful, however, if it is based on an examination of reality.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. You're making some excellent points but there's a bit of an omission
Every form of "conventional" (i.e. non-renewable) power has only become cheap after a HUGE amount of either public or corporate investment. All the technologies that supply much of our power, such as nuclear and fossil fuels, rely on an economy of scale that none of the "alternative" energy sources other than hydropower have been able to take full advantage of. The status quo here looks cheap and easy because we are unaware of the infrastructure, subsidy, and research dollars that have gone into these forms of energy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. I think we are more aware of subsidies than is generally acknowledged.
Edited on Thu Aug-24-06 01:25 PM by NNadir
At least we have a general sense of the subsidies involving cash layouts directly for the energy.

We generally ignore the unstated subsidy of environmental degradation. Only recently have people begun to appraise the external costs of energy: www.externe.info . When we include the external costs, we have guidance.

I favor the direct taxation energy commensurate with external costs. This would very quickly eliminate the coal industry, diminish the oil industry vastly and further restrain the gas industry. All three of these events would be, of course, a desirable thing.

When we speak of energy subsidy, we should look at the efficiency of these subsidies, specifically the economic return on investment. As a practical matter, most people are confused about what forms the subsidies actually take, and what they are capable of doing.

From my perspective, the ethanol subsidy is questionable, for instance. Billions upon billions of dollars have produced less than half an exajoule annually. There is no reason to suggest that trillions of dollars would produce ten exajoules of clean energy. Before we throw such trillions of dollars out, I would favor a few hundred million dollars to show, through the operation of closed system farms, that ethanol is actually a net gainer. One can demonize the guys who say ethanol is a loser or demonize the guys who say it isn't, but the case is easily measured by a simple experiment. You buy a bunch of farms in different areas, you put in a few stills, a ethanol fueled farm equipment and you see what must come in, and what must go out for the farm to operate. Then you make a decision about the subsidy.

The other biomass systems are situational, but they have profound risks as well as benefits, much as ethanol does. These risks are risks to the land, to habitat, and most importantly to water. We should be balanced and wise about how we invest in these schemes, the technology of which is all well understood.

The solar game has had billions of dollars of investment over the many decades it has been touted. It is not even close to half an exajoule. Granted, there have been advances, but the numbers are clear. The billions spent thus far all around the world - this is not all about Jimmy Carter's 1980 election loss solely - have failed to produce an annual exajoule of energy.

Geothermal is a well established form of energy. I believe governments everywhere that form of energy is available - and certainly the US qualifies - should expand that form of energy. But as the Iceland case shows - and let's face it, the entire nation is a volcano - there are limits here as well. Personally some of these limits involve more than the opportunity to produce. I personally would oppose hooking up "Old Faithful" to a turbine. That said, I would favor our government and governments everywhere it is possible, either subsidizing or building outright as many geothermal plants possible. It is really inexcusable that the percentage of our power provided by geothermal means is decreasing.

Wind is very low risk, both environmentally and, increasingly, financially. I favor government subsidized wind farms, although some people who have gone down that road have reached the limits of return. Denmark is done subsidizing more wind, for instance. But certainly wind can do a good deal more here in the US and most other countries in the world. Worldwide consensus seems to be that wind is a wise investment and I certainly favor it on a situational basis.

Still, people like to pretend that if you throw enough research money at some thing, it will suddenly and always yield rewards. This is why we always hear so much about "energy Apollo projects" or "energy Manhattan Projects." But it is not necessarily the case. A brazillion "wars on cancer" have not eliminated cancer, and neither have vast campaigns for ethanol eliminated petroleum. No amount of research money will make the wind blow continuously everywhere whenever it is needed. No amount of research will stop the sun from setting. No amount of money will prevent rocks from cooling when you pass water over them.

Nuclear power has given a spectacular return on the money invested. Some people on this site act as if there is a nuclear subsidy of a brazillion dollars and that such subsidies have squeezed out all of the human race forever. This is nonsense. Many of these people - and people who support nuclear power, including me - are reading and writing posts using nuclear powered computers. Let's be clear, too, on what these "subsidies" are: Tax credits are different than direct payments which are different than research dollars. A tax credit that creates taxable wealth in the surroundings doesn't really cost very much at all. But let's say that there has been a worldwide nuclear subsidy that amounted to - I can make up numbers too - 2 trillion dollars. This is money expended for a reliable form of energy that has now 50 years of industrial experience on an exajoule scale. From 1980 - 2003, nuclear energy produced 160 exajoules of electricity, roughly 1.6 times the annual energy consumption from all types of the US in a single year. Thus 2 trillion dollars, if it were a real number, would represent 40 billion dollars per year. The amount of money spent in terms of lives saved and wealth created is trivial. Nuclear energy now produces nearly 30 exajoules of primary energy and in terms of electrical energy is only slightly exceeded by the other exajoule scale greenhouse gas free energy, hydroelectric energy. The exajoule quantities of delivered electricity for the two forms of energy are respectively, 9.43 exajoules and 9.89 exajoules. The main difference between these two forms of energy is that in the hydroelectric case, the world is more or less tapped out - and may lose capacity as the glaciers disappear - a very real threat. The growth potential for nuclear, on the other hand, is huge - many would agree with my statement that it is very nearly infinite.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table27....

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table15....

(When we get to the subject of so called "nuclear waste," I will find it once again need to remind everyone that nuclear energy represents the only case where the control of waste is technically feasible for any amount of money.)

I am quite clear on my personal preference. To the extent that such nuclear subsidies exist, they are way too small. Worldwide, if the nuclear investment were 2 trillion dollars a year in subsidy, we could easily create enough wealth and infrastructure to tiptoe away from the carrying capacity catastrophe in which we now find ourselves. We would have the money - in the form of return on investment - to provide health care, education, decent standards of living, etc for the whole human race. Providing these things, we know, leads to population stabilization and even population reduction via ethical means. We face a crisis of unimaginable proportions, and we should channel what resources remain to us accordingly. Rather than expend money on war - which destroys infrastructure - we need to build infrastructure through devotion to peace - smart peace. I favor the elimination of war making capacity and the construction of energy making capacity through direct subsidy to greenhouse gas free forms of energy.

In any case, the matter has been decided. As I repeat often, the number of new nuclear plants under construction, on order, or proposed now numbers well over 200, world wide.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #60
77. Decided?
> In any case, the matter has been decided.
> As I repeat often, the number of new nuclear plants under construction, on order, or proposed now numbers well over 200, world wide.

Two hundred is nice, but out of 12,000, it could be a little premature.

At the risk of repeating myself, I question the very premise that we might keep up the same levels of energy without fossil fuels. It appears to be just so much wishful thinking. The numbers just don't seem plausible.





Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #77
81. You are confusing thermal capacity with electrical capacity.
Edited on Fri Aug-25-06 08:59 PM by NNadir
The 440 exajoule figure includes heat rejected to the atmosphere owing to the good old second law of thermodynamics.

To better help you with this law, I'll reproduce my favorite graphic that shows it visually.



Do you see all that gray stuff on the right, the 59.3 exajoules? From this value, and the fact that the total energy is 103 exajoules (for the United States) we can calculate the energy efficiency of the entire United States. It is 1-(59.3/(59.3+37.1)) = 0.385 or 38.5%.

Since you have twice failed to get this I will walk you through the calculation.

First, let's pretend we're solar power advocates and deliberately confuse power and energy. 440 exajoules/(86400 seconds-day-1* 365.26 days) = 14 trillion watts thermal as an average power. Now, it happens that nuclear power is only currently suited to base load electrical generation, but if it were otherwise it is relatively straight forward to calculate how many reactors would be required to produce 14 trillion watts thermal.

Let's take a standard Gen III type reactor of the type that characterizes most new planned reactors, the EPR which has an electrical output of 1600 MWe. The thermal output, however is between 4300-4500 megawatts, depending on the temperature of the environment to which the heat is rejected. The thermal efficiency of the reactor is thus between between 35.5 and 37%, close to the overall efficiency of the United States:

http://www.areva-np.com/us/liblocal/docs/Regional%20Sol...

So, if we take the continuous average thermal power of the world 14 trillion watts and divide it by 4300 MW (the lower thermal efficiency figure) we can calculate how many EPR's would be required to provide 100% of the world's energy: I hope you don't need further help to see that this number is 3244 reactors, less than a third of the number you have incorrectly calculated. Thus, the reactors already under consideration represent 6% of the earth's entire energy demand.

There is another efficiency figure that of which you need to be aware if you are going to seriously understand nuclear energy. This is the fuel burn-up. The EPR has a fuel burn-up of >60,000 MW-day/MT heavy metal. This is about 1/3 larger than the current burn-ups achieved with modern reactors, which is typically 40,000 MW-day/MT heavy metal in the 440 reactors that operate now.

Also you need to be aware that the MIT study calls for a "once through" fuel cycle, which they have done solely for reasons of cost and with little regard to environmental and sustainability issues. If you want to cite the report, you should be aware of what it says and be able to compare it with other opinions. I note that the MIT study was written in 2003 when the price of natural gas was far lower than it has been in recent times.

Many nations have already rejected the once through fuel cycle. Just because "MIT" is stamped on the cover of a study, doesn't mean that it's the last word. Many people try to say that "MIT" = "Harvard" = "God" but this is actually not true. European nuclear engineers are not even remotely contemplating the "once through fuel cycle." They already use once plutonium recycle and are making plans for fuel cycles like CORAIL, APA etc that continuously recycle plutonium. They are well past the MIT constraints and are, in fact, ignoring them completely. They are, apparently, unimpressed by MIT.

Here is one of the many such discussions that nuclear engineers have on this topic, this one involving HTGC type reactors:

http://www.iaea.org/inis/aws/htgr/fulltext/htr2002_205....

If you will look at table 1, you will see the isotopic composition of equilibrium plutonium at infinite recyles, given as 575,000 MW-day/MT burn-up in an HTGR or about 10 times what the "once through" rating on an EPR is. Note that in this particular fuel cycle, the residual equilibrium isotopic mix is dominated by Pu-242, an isotope that is not particularly fissionable in thermal systems. It is quite nearly useless for proliferation purposes. It is, however, fissionable in fast and/or epithermal fuel cycles, especially if diverted to them before equilibrium is reached. Thus even more energy can still be recovered.

There are many similar discussions using ordinary pressurized water reactors as well as other reactors. Only a small subset of potential nuclear reactor types have been explored, mostly because the PWR has been an extraordinary success, nearly matching hydroelectric power as a greenhouse gas free energy source.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #55
69. Hidden costs need to be dialed into the equation.
For instance, how much of the $400BB defense budget is underwriting our access to oil? Or the trillion dollar "investment" we've made in securing Iraq freedom (and oil)?

What if we had used these monies to improve our infrastructure, invest in renewable energy strategies, creating a job intensive energy sector that is focusing on decentralizing our energy grid rather than centralizing it?

There's no 100% magic bullet energy solution, but we need a new vision of the future that transforms our current energy policy. This vision will provide side benefits- like jobs for building a new, efficient energy infrastructure; promoting emerging technologies; a better physical environment to live in; and a world not hell bent on destroying itself to maintain its oil addiction. It starts with a progressive government that recognizes and articulates this new vision. Then re-allocates and prioritizes the budget to make it happen.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #54
56. What horseshit
Edited on Thu Aug-24-06 11:45 AM by jpak
First of all, most of Maine's timber harvest is for pulpwood and structural wood products - not fuel.

Secondly, Maine's timberlands have undergone a rapid turnover in ownership in the last 2 decades. Paper companies sold off large tracts of timberland that had been harvested on a relatively sustainable basis for the better part of a century (before the term sustainable forestry was coined) and many of the state's paper mills have closed. The new owners of these lands in many cases practiced liquidation forestry, where timber was cut off and the land quickly resold. Plum Creek is a prime example of these rapacious land owners that employ these practices. Contrast this to the practices of the Pingree family which has sustainably harvested timber on their family lands for more than 150 years.

Thirdly, the Maine Forest Service recently concluded that modern silvicultural practices can stabilize and restore the state's timber inventory in by the middle of the next century.

Fourthly, most (80-90%) of the wood burned in Maine's biomass power plants (which supply 25% of the state's electricity) is wood waste (sawdust and slabs from local sawmills and woods products industry).

Fifthly, cherry picking forestry data is laughable nonsense. It takes 300 years for a disturbed forest tract in Maine to attain old-growth CLIMAX status. That does not mean that it takes 300 years for that forest to recovery and replace the volume of wood harvested. 20-40 years is the normal rotation cycle and that is dependant on the scale of the cut and the landowner's objectives.

Lastly, my family has sustainably and selectively cut our forest land for more than 50 years. It is not an even-aged monoculture hellhole and neither are our neighbor's lands. And the wood cut on our land has sustainably provided all the heat and hot water for my parent's home since 1979.

Nice fucking try.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #56
68. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #68
70. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #51
58. No case
> ...they can indeed totally replace all fossils and nukes.
> There's a case to be made that a concerted society-wide effort could make it happen

Ok then, let's have it. I'd like to see a quantitative case that's even plausible.

Problem: how to provide the current 420 EJ per year without fossil fuels.

If the proposed solution is nuclear, it would take 12,000 to 15,000 plants. That's seven new plants a week for the next 40 years, after which it would also mean decommissioning that many plants per week. That's not even addressing the controversial aspects of nuclear.

The real problem is that the starting premise is flawed. Sustaining current energy per capita levels is pie in the sky. Again, if anybody can make a realistic case, I would sure like to see it.


(more details in an earlier thread)


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. Why?
I already stated that it would be pretty stupid to push forward with a technically myopic strategy and that conservation must play a key role.

However, quick BOTE, 13 million of the new 3Mw wind turbines, assuming 33% capacity loading, plus a large amount of grid energy storage, would do it. They cost about 4.5 Million Euro, a piece for a total cost of 76 trillion dollars. Let's make it 100 trillion for the power storage and infrastructure. If we use that cost as a gross measure of the economic effort required to do so, we can come up with some comparisons.

Of course the usual caveats apply in both directions -- economy of scale, resource contention, etc.

However if you look at worldwide market valuations and if 40 years is your benchmark, the industry needed to do this would have to be about as large as the U.S. health care industry.

Last time I looked we did have a health care industry. So to say we could not create something of equivalent scale in the energy sector -- mind you on a global, not U.S, scale -- one would have to rely on the roadblocks in #3. But we are talking about #2.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #61
64. Scale
I appreciate your engaging the quantitative issue here. However, I just have to differ about the plausibility of the scenario you suggest. I don't think it scales realistically.

True, 13 million wind plants would produce the desired 420 EJ level of energy, and more. The first big problem is where to put 13 million windmills. There are currently about 30,000 worldwide, and as I understand it, the good spots are going fast. From the sources I've checked, density in wind farms runs about 10 windmills per square mile. The next question, then: are there 1.3 million square miles with sufficiently steady winds?

Secondly, a $76 trillion project is _immense_ by any measure. I'd be hard-put to think of any precedent that comes even close. It would be daunting even for a multi-nation, Appollo-intensity program. Is it possible to identify even the organizational ability for such a project, let alone the political will?

Alternatively, if we were to wait for the free market to spontaneously provide 13 million wind plants, I suspect it would be a long wait, indeed.

Again, kudos to you for even starting to tackle the issue quantitatively. A lot of fundamental questions get ignored otherwise. But I think the results so far illustrate that "energy-level-as-usual" is not a likely part of our future.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Answers.

Yes there are 1.3 million square miles of land and shoal with good wind. No brainer there.

Now as to the scale of it, it's not a "project" it's an "industry." There are numerous examples of industries that have already established themselves and easily reached a cumulative $100 trillion over a 40 year period (you chose that number, so it's what I'm going to go with) both with and without government seeding.

Political willpower doesn't factor into this discussion, because it was the premise of #2, which I've already said is silly for us to even be talking about, really, that the political will exists.




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #58
62. I think you'd better check your numbers.
The continuous average industrial output of the earth is about 14 trillion watts thermal.

Your number is off by at least a factor of 3.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RestoreGore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 07:53 AM
Response to Original message
53. This all shows we're doomed
We'll be spending all of our time arguing over what is better while that ten year window closes because as we're talking, we're continuing to behave the same. Just like anything else in the end however, it will be what makes certain humans the most PROFIT that will be considered "the best." For my money, I do think solar energy is the way to go. It's cheap, clean, and infinite. I also don't think the sun is the center of the universe for nothing either. But then, what do I know. I'm just an average citizen with a spiritual bond to the Earth that simply wants what is most sustainable for my planet and future generations. Unlike governments and corporate entities who will of course pick the ways that lead to the most profit for them and controversy for us.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #53
79. What he said
:thumbsup:

--p!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
59. Demand-side-management can "eliminate other forms of production"
If I wanted crush the 1100 MW coal fired generating plant at the west end of the county, I would not have to replace it with 1100 MW of "solar" electricity. Efficient lighting alone could reduce 10% of the demand. I think we can get a 30% reduction without any impact on our lifestyles.

I think a lot of Americans would start "using less" (conservation) if they only knew the scale of destruction that CO2 in the atmosphere will wreak. Buy the family a smaller TV and sweat out the heat so that sonny and sissy don't have a refugee crisis to deal with in 50 years. That's our outreach challenge.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #59
63. Agreed.

There's enough savings to be had in conservation to eliminate the need for new power plants for decades to come. Not that we'd want to stick with the old power plants, but the fact that we don't do it is a glaring and definitive sign that we as a country do not take this issue at all seriously. All our talk about adding new power on a large scale without conservation is pretty much rendered moot by that outstanding, if inconvenient, fact.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #63
67. That rather depends on transport, though
The ~13EJ the US produces in electricity doesn't cover the 11EJ or so used for transport (I've assumed 25% efficiency for ICEs - the energy content of the oil used is ~44EJ). If there's a 100% energy-efficient form of transport, and you half the number of passenger-miles and ton-miles, and you can conserve 50% of current electrical usage, then you're on a winner.

:(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
78. U.S. Wind Power potential exceeds 1.5 times current total demand.
Edited on Fri Aug-25-06 03:47 PM by JohnWxy
http://www.nrel.gov/wind/wind_potential.html

Wind Energy Potential in the United States
D.L. Elliott and M.N. Schwartz

September 1993. PNL-SA-23109.

Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest Laboratory. NTIS no. DE94001667.

"Good wind areas, which cover 6% of the contiguous U.S. land area, have the potential to supply more than one and a half times the current electricity consumption of the United States."

NOte that this study was done in 1993. Since that time Wind Turbine development has advanced and increased the size and output of wind turbines significantly.

regarding costs, wind power is the cheapest source of electricity today:

http://www.awea.org/pubs/factsheets/Cost2001.PDF#search...

Fuel         Levelized costs (cents/kWh) (1996)
Coal                 4.8-5.5
Gas                 3.9-4.4
Hydro                 5.1-11.3
Biomass                 5.8-11.6
Nuclear                 11.1-14.5
Wind (without PTC)         4.0-6.0
Wind (with PTC)         3.3-5.3


The cost of natural gas has increased since 1996, so that the levelized cost of gas
fired power plants would now be considerably higher. In January 2001, the cost of
natural gas generated power was running as high as 15 cents to 20 cents per kWh in
certain markets <3>. The cost of wind power, meanwhile, has declined slightly.



http://www.awea.org/faq/cost.html


Wind energy costs can be cut substantially if a wind project is owned by a utility, and could also be sharply reduced if wind developers could obtain the same financing terms as gas power plant developers, according to a new study by two federal laboratory researchers.

Overall, Wiser and Kahn estimate wind power costs, depending on ownership and financing method, as follows:

Private ownership, project financing: 4.95 cents/kWh including PTC, 6.56 cents/kWh without PTC.

IOU ownership, corporate financing: 3.53 cents/kWh including PTC, 5.9 cents/kWh without.

Public utility ownership, internal financing: 2.88 cents/kWh including REPI, 4.35 cents/kWh without.

Public utility ownership, project financing: 3.43 cents/kWh including REPI, 4.89 cents/kWh without.


The cost of wind power if the facility is owned by a utility rather than private investor owned, would be reduced about 30%.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #78
80. Double those costs maybe, and you are closer to the truth.
Wind must be backed up by either nimble power sources or nimble loads. On the existing grid, this generally means gas turbines. Thus a kilowatt hour of wind energy is not directly comparable to a kilowatt hour of energy from less variable sources such as hydro, nuclear, coal, or gas.

To make an honest accounting of wind energy you have to take into account the major infrastructure changes that would be required to keep the grid stable as wind takes up a greater share of the power mix.

Ideally we would have a situation where surplus electricity could be diverted to produce some easily stored feedstock in a process that did not require a lot of capital. (Electrolysis of water to hydrogen is not such a process, for various reasons, but mostly because the capital costs are high, and the storage of very large amounts of hydrogen difficult.)

One wildly speculative solution in California would be to connect the Salton Sea to the ocean by a series of hydroelectric stations. When there was a surplus of electricity water could be pumped out of the sea into the ocean, and when demand for electricity was high, water from the ocean would be allowed to flow into the sea, generating power. On the shoreline of the Salton Sea this process might resemble natural tides in the ocean. A similar idea, without the extensive water flows is presented here:

http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/DRalternative2.htm

The simpler project described in the Dangermond Report would actualy generate 500-800 megawatts. A system that allowed for tides in the Salton Sea similar to those in the ocean would source and sink substantially more energy than that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #80
82. I'm sure Mexico would LOVE that
But on a less flip aside, what about breaking down the grid entirely in some areas?

I went to Arizona last week and there are dozens (if not hundreds) of communities where you have to wonder what the cost/benefit ratio is of keeping them plugged into the grid at all. A lot of these communities could easily develop collective power sources, and at some point the cost of solar installation would plausibly look reasonable next to the costs of maintaining a hundred miles of power line to power 3 trailers and a barn.

Does anyone know what the economics here would be?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-27-06 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #82
86. Mexico is going to import LNG for us instead...
...if we can afford it. If not, they'll be happy to use the gas themselves.

We won't build LNG terminals in California. Too NIMBY.

Rural Electrification used to be a VERY big deal politically, which explains the electric lines to very small communities. Now we take it for granted.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #80
84. vanadium redox batteries by VRB Power systems - economical solution to
to power storage. This will be needed when wind power reaches about 20% of total power generated.

http://www.vrbpower.com/applications/index.html

installations
http://www.vrbpower.com/applications/projects.html

VRB Power Acquires Regenesys Electricity Storage Technology

VRB Power Acquires Regenesys Electricity Storage Technology
Oct 5, 2004 5:37 PM
Edited by PETech Staff

VRB Power Systems Inc. has completed a transaction with RWE npower PLC, a leading integrated U.K. energy business and subsidiary of German-based parent company RWE AG, whereby VRB Power will purchase an exclusive global license to the intellectual property and acquire all the related physical assets and inventory surrounding the Regenesys electricity storage technology.

"With the addition of the Regenesys technology, VRB Power now has an effective range of products that can store energy from tens of kilowatt hours through hundreds of megawatt hours providing utility scale solutions using the Electricity WarehouseT concept developed by Regenesys," said Hennessy."

With adequate storage capacity adding about one third to the cost of Wind Power, it's still the cheapest source of power. Again, this will only be needed when we reach the point where wind power is about20% of the total generated power.




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-27-06 02:45 AM
Response to Reply #84
87. VRB is not as inexpensive as you claim.
And any VRB with the energy storage capacity of the Salton Sea would be a wonder to behold...

The Energy Density of the Electrolyte in a VRB system ranges from 14Wh/litre to 22Wh/litre. That's a lot of electrolyte if you are talking amout machines running on multi gigawatt/hour scales. You do the math... The cost of any system capable of storing wind energy for a couple of days does not add "about one third to the cost" of the system. The only way you can come close to that figure is when you are talking about using some other power source, such as gas or hydro, as you "nimble" backup supply. That's a bit of deception -- it's like not paying your buddy for your share of the gas when he drives you to San Francisco because you figure he was going there anyways with or without you.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
83. I am doing some math.
Tell me then, why do 18 solar panels which cover one fourth or one fifth of my home's roof supply the amount of electricity I use?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
85. Vector Announces New Manitoba Projects expects 1,000 MW in three yrs
http://www.ccnmatthews.com/news/releases/show.jsp?actio...

Vector Announces New Manitoba Projects

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 16, 2005) - Vector Wind Energy Inc. (TSX VENTURE:VWE) announced today that it has optioned over 18,000 acres of land at six sites in Manitoba.

"We expect there will be up to 1,000MW of wind development in Manitoba over the next 3 years" said Brian Barr, President of Vector. "With a land position that can support more than 400MW of wind capacity, we intend to become a major player in the Manitoba market," said Mr. Barr. The Company is proceeding with development work to bring all six sites to bid-ready status in 2006.

Vector is a developer of wind energy projects in Canada. It is currently active in 6 provinces and Nunavut with 16 projects at various stages of exploration and development. These projects have the potential to support over 600MW of wind energy capacity.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Thu Aug 21st 2014, 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Environment/Energy Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC