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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,661

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

Afraid of the electric car, yes, possibly. It would mess up their current distribution model.

But natural gas power plants augmented by solar and wind are a damn fine energy system, cleaner than coal, and economical too. Plenty of giant industrial and energy companies are eagerly pursuing that. Call Siemens, write a big check, and they'll build it however you like, from megawatts to gigawatts. Call one of the energy companies and they'll sell you the gas.

There are several mega-gas projects being built by Exxon, Chevron, and Shell. These are astonishingly HUGE projects, among the largest projects ever attempted by human beings. They will produce plenty of gas for everyone for the rest of the 21st century; gas that will be used to generate electricity, gas that is easily turned into liquid fuels.

An example would be the Gorgon project in Australia. Another example would be the giant floating processing plant Samsung has built for Shell:

The largest vessel the world has ever seen

Climbing onto the largest vessel the world has ever seen brings you into a realm where everything is on a bewilderingly vast scale and ambition knows no bounds.

Prelude is a staggering 488m long and the best way to grasp what this means is by comparison with something more familiar.

Four football pitches placed end-to-end would not quite match this vessel's length - and if you could lay the 301m of the Eiffel Tower alongside it, or the 443m of the Empire State Building, they wouldn't do so either.



Here's the big gas power plant in Humboldt Bay, California, next to the old nuclear plant:


Yep, it's basically a building full of natural gas fueled diesel engines of the sort you might find on a ship. The advantage of this setup is that diesel engines are fairly efficient, and they can nimbly balance out intermittent wind and solar inputs to the electric grid. Larger "combined cycle" plants use a clever arrangement of gas and steam turbines.

Many different manufacturers would be happy to set you up with such a plant, and many big energy companies would be happy to sell you the gas. With a fifty percent duty cycle for wind, and a fifteen to thirty percent duty cycle for solar, some days you'll achieve near 100% renewable, the diesels on standby. It's truly an awesome clean low carbon energy source.

Here's the point of my questions: What happens when most of the world's population is enjoying our standard of living; charging their electric cars, air conditioning their 2500 square foot homes, and so on? I'm sure you'd agree, nobody should be left behind in our glorious expanding economy!

The problem is I can't get the math to work for seven and a half billion people, or worse, a future ten billion people.

"Better than coal" isn't nearly good enough.

If it's any consolation, it's pretty much the same with nuclear power.

A world economy powered entirely by "renewable" energy, or by nuclear energy, would look nothing like the economy we affluent people, we "one-percenters," enjoy today.

The clean energy, non-nuclear, future we dreamed about in the 'seventies is here, with electric cars and everything!

Yet every day the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases at an accelerating rate.

The next future we dream about has to deal with that reality. We have to discover some fossil fuel free comfortable lifestyles that people will willingly choose, and we'll have to learn to cope with climate change refugees in some manner other than killing them or watching them kill one another.

Every single post anyone writes is about them.

The neutral dispassionate observer is always a fiction, even in science.
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