Let's Talk About Energy Production

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

phonon266737
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:41 am UTC
Contact:

Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby phonon266737 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

I am curious - Why do people seem to think that gigantic investments into solar cells would boost the economy? After the initial expenditure, your cost per kwh is much much higher than buying from the grid for years. You have to have faith in the manufacturer and in mother nature that your cells will continue producing full output and not fail before you even get a hint of economic benefit.

Also, you have to have a sure bet that nobody is going to build any new nuclear plants in the near future. Because solar cells are a long, long way off from being cheaper than nuclear power.

Nuclear discussion merged in here

-Az

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Azrael » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:14 pm UTC

Let's use this opportunity to talk about energy production. And keep in mind that you're in Serious Business so discussions should be filled with citations, references and defensible numbers.

Have at, Mega Topic To Be (Maybe).

Bright Shadows
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:56 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Bright Shadows » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:49 pm UTC

I'm not sure what repair costs are, nor the kw/h, but I can give a general idea on the economic boost thing, I think.
The general idea, I think, is that the panels have to be made. Soes. People make them, they have jobs, they spend money, economy has a party.

With mass production and hopefully buying, the cost goes down, they become more viable, more are bought, etc etc etc.
Also, as demand increases, we might get a few more R&D sites to work on that solar paint I seem to recall reading about.

The initial cost problem is pretty effectively ignored.
Image

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Diadem » Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:05 am UTC

Ok let's ignore all enviromental concerns completely, and look only at the economic aspects.

Bright Shadows wrote:The general idea, I think, is that the panels have to be made. Soes. People make them, they have jobs, they spend money, economy has a party.


This is not actually true, for the same reason that hiring people to carry water to the sea does not boost your economy. Sure, it does increase the number of jobs. And yes, all those newly employed people will have more money to spend. But obviously it doesn't help your economy. New jobs only boost your economy if they are useful jobs. Spending massive amounts on manpower on solar energy is not actually productive if we could as easily get this energy from fossil fuels. Of course, if your investments ensured that solar power would become cheaper than fossil fuels, then it might be worth it, economically. But to make solar energy cheaper than fossil fuels are now... That's not going to happen in the near future - though it will happen in the long (possibly very long) run, absolutely, undoubtedly.

However, there's an extra factor here. Which is the fact that fossil fuels are getting more expensive. There is only a finite quantity of them, and we see that supply decreases while demand increases. Even if you don't believe that Peak Oil has already happened, you have to admit that it is going to happen eventually. So the cost of winning energy from fossil fuels will keep going up.

This means that solar power will become cheaper than fossil energy in the future. Even without any further improvements to solar power cost efficiency. And it might not even be very far into the future. Oil became 6x as expensive in the last 10 years (not counting the recent decline due to the economic crisis). Do that another 10 years and oil is far more expensive than solar power. Of course the global economic collapse might slow this a little. But even with a very serious recession we'll see oil prices skyrocket past the cost of solar energy within our generation.

Given this fact, it might be beneficial to invest heavily into solar power already. We're going to have to switch eventually. We might as well make sure we're prepared for it. So the switch will be less painful. And maybe we can get the cost down a bit, so our economy won't suffer as much from rising energy cost.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
frezik
Posts: 1336
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:52 pm UTC
Location: Schrödinger's Box

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby frezik » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:46 am UTC

Don't equate solar with photovoltaics. There are much smarter ways to go about the problem. Photovoltaics require relatively high tech silicon fabrication plants. Concentrated Solar Power requires shiny surfaces and a Stirling or steam engine--stuff that could have theoretically been done over a century ago. Photovoltaics might get 40% efficiency sometime in the future if some labratory advances work out, but right now is around 20% at best. Concentrated solar is getting around 30% efficient overall right now, and could go higher with by scaling to higher temperatures (an engineering problem rather than a fundamental breakthrough).

The real economic benefits will probably be in building transmission lines from the places where it's convenient to put solar collectors to the places people actually live.
I do not agree with the beer you drink, but will defend to the death your right to drink it

Nelgraf
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:32 am UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Nelgraf » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:53 am UTC

I think the solar power is a wonderful thing and could, in the future, be unitized to a giant potential. If America was smart what we would do right now was force everyone to use alternative energy about 10 years ago,. But, Now people are interested in making money and not collapsing into bankruptcy with the current economic crisis people aren’t about to invest huge amounts of money into something that will take decades to get full use out of, also in the status quo OPEC is threatening to cut production and has very shaky relations with the united states so a big push into solar or any other alternative energy might be enough to topple the relations. And the bigger factor is Russia. Russia’s entire economy is based on Oil, with the recent down turn of oil Russia’s economy is on the brink (Assosiated press, December 2008), so if we continue to push into alternative energy that will drive down oil. Driven down oil = Russia in 3rd world state with nukes = bad (see Walter Russel Mead, 1992). So well it would be a great thing for a large push into alternative energy, for the time being it is not the right thing to do.

But this is also a catch 22, if we don't do it now then we will not be able to stop global warming (Hanson, NASA, 2005) because pollution levels need pretty much level out or stop in the next 20 years otherwise it becomes a positive feedback loop with water which is 96 percent of the greenhouse gasses (National Geographic.... can't remember author or date) and then you see the impacts of that. Plus alot of other economic problems if we continue to rely on fossil fuels.

financecreep
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:02 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby financecreep » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:45 am UTC

frezik wrote:Don't equate solar with photovoltaics. There are much smarter ways to go about the problem. Photovoltaics require relatively high tech silicon fabrication plants. Concentrated Solar Power requires shiny surfaces and a Stirling or steam engine--stuff that could have theoretically been done over a century ago. Photovoltaics might get 40% efficiency sometime in the future if some labratory advances work out, but right now is around 20% at best. Concentrated solar is getting around 30% efficient overall right now, and could go higher with by scaling to higher temperatures (an engineering problem rather than a fundamental breakthrough).

The real economic benefits will probably be in building transmission lines from the places where it's convenient to put solar collectors to the places people actually live.


That is something to definitely consider. A major factor related to energy production is the infrastructure that delivers it. As it stands, approximately 60% or more of energy produced is lost in transmission due to inefficient delivery grids and outdated controls. (Source.) Regardless of how efficiently you produce the energy, if you lose over half of it in transmission because of its location that severely lowers the effectiveness.

By placing sources of energy production in high-demand areas, even if they are low efficiency renewable energy methods, you still reap the gains of diminished losses and lowered peak demand. An example of this being done can be found here. If you can locate a high-efficiency solar plant in the middle of the desert, but lose 60% of the energy generated due to losses, that cuts the actual efficiency by over half.
http://financecreep.blogspot.com
Stories of a Finance Creep...

plantofail
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:24 am UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby plantofail » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:33 am UTC

I think the biggest reluctance to use atenative energy is the lack of ongoing jobs most wind, solar and geothermal energy only require maintence once every six months and can be done with a small team of people over the corse of two weeks depending on the size of the farm/plant

User avatar
Mabus_Zero
Posts: 245
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:30 am UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Mabus_Zero » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:30 am UTC

So people have to find other jobs, if they want to maintain a certain quality of living. I still propose removing federal support mechanisms from pretty much anything, let oil and coal die, and have a vast multitude of possible energy sources flood the market like a Zerg rush. I find pebble-bed reactors rather fascinating, and would love to see automobiles powered by nothing more then massively powerful capacitors fed by a much more distributed and competitive electric grid.

If you want to affect it, change your buying and selling habits. Expecting some central authority to come up with something will only slow down progress, and encourage stagnation and favoritism.
Image

Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Iv
Posts: 1207
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:08 pm UTC
Location: Lyon, France

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Iv » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:08 pm UTC

An often overlooked part of the value of individual solar electricity generation is the "individual" part. In light of recent power outages, the ability to generate even a part of one's own electricity independently is a great bonus that is hard to quantify in dollars, as it is highly subjective. Different people might give it different value but this value exist nonetheless. Solar cells might be more expensive than a fuel-powered generator but it provides the advantage of being silent and to not depend on a fuel supply. These things are, again, quite subjective but they explain why a 50,000$ solar installation may be favored over a 20,000$ 10-years electricity budget.

You have to have faith in the manufacturer and in mother nature that your cells will continue producing full output and not fail before you even get a hint of economic benefit.

Faith in the manufacturer, I can understand, but faith on mother nature ? unless we get a nuclear winter, I see no risk in predicting that in the next 50 years, average solar radiation will be about the same as today. About manufacturers, many predicted a duration of around 20 years for their cells. We are beginning to get some data and it begins to look like it was a conservative estimation.

About massive semi-public investment : it is a bet on the future. If US becomes a leader in that field, it will not only be able to sustain its own needs but also provide knowledge and sell assistance to foreign countries looking for equipment, like France does for many new nuclear countries. We complain about being dependent on the mideast oil, what about making other countries dependent on US-made solar cells ? If it prevents only one more gulf war, it would be economically profitable.

phonon266737
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:41 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby phonon266737 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:05 pm UTC

I just had a strange/unique? idea/question/something about energy production.

1: Is using geothermal heat to produce electricity considered sustainable?
2: How much heat is in the earth, and if we used that for all our energy how long till it cooled off?
3: (the wierd one) If we were to adapt to a 100% geothermal electricity supply, could the cooling issue be addressed by setting off moderately small fusion bombs in the earth's core?


On topic-
It seems that instability in fossil fuel prices brings ruin to large scale investment in alternative energy. History has well proven that nothing is cheaper than fossil fuels for the vast majority of energy needs - the conectp is simple. the energy is already contained, rather than needing to be gathered. So as long as fossil fuels are cheap, Putting any large investment into renewables is financial folly. You would be better off buying an underground cavern and stockpiling billions of gallons of crude oil - per dollar spent, you will have the capability to produce more usable energy. When the saudi arabian oil fields run out the refineries will be running clearance sales on their services.

So, when fuel prices fall, like they did recently, It just has to play bloody murder on renewable investments, because when oil is cheap, like it is today, it doesn't make sense to NOT be buying it up as fast as you can. Until the oil shortage actually happens - not a forecast, future shortage - and price increases become permenant, I just can't fathom how investing in renewables really makes any sense. Just wait until oil prices go up, use all the money you saved by not building solar arrays today to build them10 years from now, and you'll have top of the line, brand new solar arrays when the oilshortage hits, when the guy who's being green today has a decade old array in need of being replaced.

Iv
Posts: 1207
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:08 pm UTC
Location: Lyon, France

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Iv » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

phonon266737 wrote:1: Is using geothermal heat to produce electricity considered sustainable?
2: How much heat is in the earth, and if we used that for all our energy how long till it cooled off?
3: (the wierd one) If we were to adapt to a 100% geothermal electricity supply, could the cooling issue be addressed by setting off moderately small fusion bombs in the earth's core?


1. Can be. When using oceans for this, however, it is considered to have a negative impact on the ecosystem as it changes the temperature conditions of large areas. In Switzerland, there has been unexplained seismic activity next to an experimental geothermal power plant. It may be a coincidence but studies are being launched.
2. It is quite a lot but this is also a dangerous game. One can consider our current rate of energy consumption (=heat would last quite long) or one could consider our current (well, our 5 years ago) rate of growth of energy consumption (in which case we have a nasty exponential and earth's heat lasts quite shorter)
3. What you are proposing is to heat anything with a fusion bomb and use the heat. We can run numbers on this one if you wish, but I doubt that this is a very efficient use of nuclear material.


phonon266737 wrote:I just can't fathom how investing in renewables really makes any sense. Just wait until oil prices go up, use all the money you saved by not building solar arrays today to build them10 years from now, and you'll have top of the line, brand new solar arrays when the oil shortage hits, when the guy who's being green today has a decade old array in need of being replaced.

Something may happen : oil prices reaching a high and stopping climbing. This would happen as soon as people realize that oil peak will be a reality and once oil energy becomes more expensive than alternate solutions. There, the capacity you will have built in renewable energy will be worth as much as its oil counterpart. Building giga-watt of renewable power plants will not be instantaneous or easy. You better train doing it before you really need it or you will have to depend on foreign companies to build your own power plants.

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Azrael » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:42 pm UTC

Iv wrote:3. What you are proposing is to heat anything with a fusion bomb and use the heat. We can run numbers on this one if you wish, but I doubt that this is a very efficient use of nuclear material.


Plus, if we developed the technology allowing geothermal retrieval mechanisms, the ability to start/fuel/control nuclear reactions and have assured protection from any side-effects all at that significant of a depth, then we could also more easily dispose of the waste from traditional (and likely more efficient) nuclear power plants via very similar injection methods.

And save a lot of effort.

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3113
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:34 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:This is not actually true, for the same reason that hiring people to carry water to the sea does not boost your economy. Sure, it does increase the number of jobs. And yes, all those newly employed people will have more money to spend. But obviously it doesn't help your economy. New jobs only boost your economy if they are useful jobs.


Bad analogy.

The massive spending that government can do to help the solar power industry is going to mostly be in the form of tax cuts/incentives etc.

I can't get a private person to start a "carry water to the sea" company by giving them a big tax cut. Because they have no product to sell. There is NO demand for that product.

There is demand for solar energy, but the demand is low because of the price.
If the government were to provide massive tax cuts for solar producing companies in addition to tax cuts for converting your home or business heating and electrical needs to solar, there would be an incentive.

So suddently millions of Americans would be begging to get solar panels to at the least, power their water heaters, and at best provide all their home electrical needs. This would lead suppliers to greatly increase production = jobs. Companies that sell silicon or plastics or metals or capital goods (we make factories) would all see a spike in demand for their services and thus require more workers.

So you could potentially see job spikes in a large number of already existing companies in addition to the new companies that are solely in the 'solar' power game.

And since the largest componant of GDP is consumption, and workers provided consumption, we would see spikes in GDP.

I don't want to argue the feasibility of the cost benefit analysis of solar versus coal, but the fact is we can create jobs and GDP growth though government intervention in the industry.

I don't see why you would not acknowledge this, unless you are basing it totally on your illogical analogy.


Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

Heisenberg
Posts: 3789
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 8:48 pm UTC
Location: Uncertain

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

I agree that subsidization of alternative energy is not comparable to carrying water to the sea. However, this statement is subject to scrutiny:
Ixtellor wrote:the fact is we can create jobs and GDP growth though government intervention in the industry.

Yes, this does create jobs, but it may destroy them as well. Making solar power competitive will reduce demand for traditional energy sources, and will likely destroy jobs in those industries. If solar is cheaper than coal, for instance, no one will buy coal, and a lot of people in Pennsylvania will be getting a pink slip.

That said, I still support moving to renewable energy. However, it is misleading to suggest that these subsidies will have only positive effects on the economy.

phonon266737
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:41 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby phonon266737 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:15 pm UTC

Not to mention that, if the government provides large tax cuts to solar cell manufacturers, and people spend a large portion of their money on those cells, that is a large chunk of money that doesn't get taxed. That means taxes elsewhere need to go up in order to regenerate that revenue.
In a sense, providing tax cut incentives to renewables is simply transferring the burden for those taxes to (traditionally) the rich people, while giving everyone incentive to go spend your money on the product. The taxes still need to get paid by someone.

financecreep
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:02 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby financecreep » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:18 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Bad analogy.

The massive spending that government can do to help the solar power industry is going to mostly be in the form of tax cuts/incentives etc.

I can't get a private person to start a "carry water to the sea" company by giving them a big tax cut. Because they have no product to sell. There is NO demand for that product.

Ixtellor


I have one minor problem with that statement. Yes, you can get a private person to start a company by giving them a tax cut. How many people like to accept losses to lower their tax bill, but refuse to take a financial gain because they would have to pay a portion of it in taxes? The difference: with the former, you lose 2/3, only to recover 1/3 in lower taxes. The second, you gain 2/3 of the profit, but lose 1/3 to taxes, and it's so disheartening people refuse to do so. Private persons tend to act irrationally with regard to taxes and financial loses. Especially when they think they're doing social good by doing it.

"Well, at least I gave people jobs so they could feed their families before I went bankrupt."


phonon266737 wrote:Not to mention that, if the government provides large tax cuts to solar cell manufacturers, and people spend a large portion of their money on those cells, that is a large chunk of money that doesn't get taxed. That means taxes elsewhere need to go up in order to regenerate that revenue.
In a sense, providing tax cut incentives to renewables is simply transferring the burden for those taxes to (traditionally) the rich people, while giving everyone incentive to go spend your money on the product. The taxes still need to get paid by someone.


The fact remainds that every dollar spent on Renewable Energy is factored against the Net Exports portion of GDP. Last I checked, we were importing some $700billion (http://www.pickensplan.com/theplan/) in foreign oil before the price fell. If that number is brought down, Next Exports increases, causing GDP to increase, causing more funds to stay in the local economy, generating more jobs, staying in local banks to be lent out, etc. etc. That also helps provide an additional revenue base for taxation purposes.
http://financecreep.blogspot.com
Stories of a Finance Creep...

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3113
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:25 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I agree that subsidization of alternative energy is not comparable to carrying water to the sea. However, this statement is subject to scrutiny:
Ixtellor wrote:the fact is we can create jobs and GDP growth though government intervention in the industry.

Yes, this does create jobs, but it may destroy them as well. Making solar power competitive will reduce demand for traditional energy sources, and will likely destroy jobs in those industries. If solar is cheaper than coal, for instance, no one will buy coal, and a lot of people in Pennsylvania will be getting a pink slip.

That said, I still support moving to renewable energy. However, it is misleading to suggest that these subsidies will have only positive effects on the economy.


Yes coal and oil industry jobs would be lost, with the coal industry taking the biggest hit. If no exceptions or amendments were made to protect it.
Being that large portions of the Rust belt and the dakotas have soo much coal, I imagine that something would be done to protect those jobs.

As far as the oil industry, one of the primary points is to get "out of oil". A level where American production capacity meets demand would be a good step in dealing with middle eastern and defense issues. In addition, China and India's demand for oil isn't going anywhere, so it would be possible for American oil companies to shift to exporters to those countries.

I don't think any plan involving solar energy would hurt Exxon. The hard part is protecting those coal jobs. That would be an added cost that could make the whole project quite expensive.
A hard core free marketer would also argue that those Coal jobs could just go solar if coal was priced out of the market. Get a pink slip in Penn, move to Arizona and work on solar panels.


Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

financecreep
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:02 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby financecreep » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:37 pm UTC

http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/06/news/economy/smart_grid/index.htm?postversion=2009010806

I saw this article on CNN/Money and believed it would contribute to the discussion of energy production.

Cheers.

"The Brattle Group, a think tank, estimates the nation will need to spend up to $1.5 trillion on its electricity system over the next 20 years - and that's just enough to keep the lights on.

An investment in cleaner energy could put the figure at $2 trillion, and would include building new power plants, transmission lines, and focus on conservation."
http://financecreep.blogspot.com
Stories of a Finance Creep...

phonon266737
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:41 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby phonon266737 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:58 pm UTC

It seems rather straightforward: when the focus is on conserving money (price), as long as fossil fuels are inexpensive, buisnesses will choose to burn them. As the price of oil increases, more alternatives become profitable. Unfortunately, the price of oil doesn't always accurately reflect the value of oil, because of all the politics involved, which adds an element of crapshoot into the mix, but none of the big guys are willing to go all in on such a risky investment. Risky why? Because a kilowatt is a kilowatt, and price sells equivalent products. And then, even if you manage to make "green" energy cost exactly the same as fossil fuels, you're not making any more money - and you just rebuilt 90% of your generating stations and have a big mortgage to pay off.

So, we can't make the price less. We need to raise the utility! "Global Climate Change" got into the hearts of many people..they'd be willing to spending an extra $7 (~ 3-5%) a month to support clean energy. And even that program is a tough sell for my local utility company, let alone a 35% increase (as cited above). Plus, it's global, which means that it only works if a large portion of the globe begins to value clean energy more than cheap energy.

Strangely enough, other, more concrete and local environmental effects seem to have less value to consumers. Near my house, no one really cares that the nuclear power plant eight miles upriver from my house evaporates 15% of it's (the river's) flow. No one even cares that across from the old coal plant (further downriver), the decreased flow now makes the water downstream warmer than bath water, and that there's tons of dead stuff floating at the next dam.

So, other than global warming, what utility does "green energy" have for the consumer?

Edit:
I saw an interesting discussion today at my school, on the (very general) topic of world economics, global corporations, etc. One notion shared by nearly everyone in attendance was that the US is at a cost-of-labor (cost of living is too high) disadvantage in the world market in white collar jobs, and it is easier to simply place those jobs elsewhere (Take a look at IBM employing tens of thousands abroad in the last 5 years, while laying off here in the USA).
Using government subsidies / carbon taxes / whatever you want to artificially increase the cost of energy may boost the renewable energy sector, but at the same time it places every other industry at a FURTHER global disadvantage, because now not only is labor expensive, the cost of energy places American companies at a further competitive disadvantage.
What was interesting is that these two debates occured in seperate segments, by the same panel of speakers. They discussed a number of ways to fight the cost-of-labor disadvantage to try and make more jobs in this country, but when the discussion turned to oil, they acknowledged that imposing an non-renewable energy tax would likely snub just about every industry for a decade+ , but that it's the "right thing to do" in order to jolt research in renewables. Why?

Bright Shadows
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:56 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Bright Shadows » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

If there is an investment into clean energy jobs, they would not have to stop the other energy providing methods from having workers, to a point.

The amount of energy we are using is growing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World ... mption.png

If we were to focus the job growth into renewable energy by, say, 10 percent, it would not be removing any present jobs, and indeed would hardly impact the other ways of getting energy getting workers. Doing so would put us at an advantage, and a significant one, I think, when the consumption of other resources becomes less viable, and the cost difference became small enough to shift the main focus. It would more or less be long term, but workable, and wouldn't require a very large investment / year.

The buisnesses who were gathering energy via renewable sources would have a disadvantage at first, given that the other methods are cheaper and such, but if it were possible to add their energy to the other energy being used in the grid, the cost increase would be low for consumers and low for energy distributors. Perhaps, maybe, there could be some sort of tax break at this point in the system to offset the cost increase, but if it were done properly, that might not even be needed for it to work so much as to speed the process.

Eh?
Image

JPA
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:41 am UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby JPA » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Diadem wrote:This is not actually true, for the same reason that hiring people to carry water to the sea does not boost your economy. Sure, it does increase the number of jobs. And yes, all those newly employed people will have more money to spend. But obviously it doesn't help your economy. New jobs only boost your economy if they are useful jobs.

Bad analogy.

The massive spending that government can do to help the solar power industry is going to mostly be in the form of tax cuts/incentives etc. ...


This is a written and recorded medium, we do not need entire posts quoted back to us half a dozen posts later. Edit to the relevant portions and respond. -Az


You are indeed very correct, but you your phrasing it incorrect. "Massive government spending" is not tax cuts. Tax cuts are not "government intervention in the industry." They are exactly the the opposite.

if a government taxes less then economic growth and prosperity will occur for the people. You don't have to limit it to solar panels.

Unless I misunderstood you, and you suggesting that we keep government spending at current levels, rack up huge deficits via solar panel tax cuts and leave our children with a bad economy, a crushing debt burden, and and an big supply of crappy solar panels? If so, I suggest you visit Cuba or Russia to see the result of those public policies.

financecreep
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:02 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby financecreep » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:19 am UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpQa-ibNOKM

As Pickens states in his video, the US could become "the Saudi Arabia of wind energy."

It's energy that's available, and like it or not, steam turbines, coal power plants (clean coal or no), or even Nuclear Power Plants are still extremely expensive to build. As the country requires more energy to be added to the grid, why not take advantage of a clean, 'renewable' resource that we already have in abundance? President Kennedy set a strong direction for the country when he mandated that the US put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Why can't we be brave enough to say 'We will end our dependence on fossil fuel by 2019' and then do it?!

Look at all of the useful technology that came out as a 'bonus' from the Space program. (Including the Tempur-pedic mattress.) What would happen if we did the same thing with clean energy? How many bonus technologies might we stumble upon to make the journey that much more worthwhile? Also, countries increasingly have to focus on their core competencies. If ours becomes clean, renewable energy that is an exportable technology that we can bring to the rest of the developing world (especially India and China) when they're ready to clean up their act as well.
http://financecreep.blogspot.com
Stories of a Finance Creep...

User avatar
Minerva
Posts: 947
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Minerva » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:50 am UTC

The first thing I think we need is a scheme which introduces a real financial disincentive for the use of CO2-belching coal-fired generation.

After that is in place, and the externalities associated with coal plants freely spewing hundreds of millions of tonnes of dangerous coal waste into the atmosphere are taken into account, then the playing field starts to be leveled in favor of clean technology.

However, I don't think we will see, or that we should see, a large expansion of wind energy or solar energy, because nuclear energy can simply do a superior job, delivering the large amounts of energy required to replace coal-fired power stations and slash GHG emissions, with very high capacity factors, in a way that is proven already, and economically far superior to trying to deploy solar or wind on the huge, huge scales which they'd need to be scaled up to to be, even supposedly, a substitute for coal-fired plants, which would be hugely expensive.

financecreep wrote:It's energy that's available, and like it or not, steam turbines, coal power plants (clean coal or no), or even Nuclear Power Plants are still extremely expensive to build.


Nuclear power is not expensive at all compared to wind power, in fact wind power is considerably more expensive than wind power, and solar power is far more expensive again. Remember that we are (or should be) comparing the costs of the infrastructure required to get the same amount of energy output, whether that's wind or solar or nuclear or whatever.
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

Iv
Posts: 1207
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:08 pm UTC
Location: Lyon, France

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Iv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:05 am UTC

In a lot of countries, nuclear power has a political cost. The transit of fissile material is made dangerous and costly by organizations like Greenpeace

Paranatural
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Paranatural » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:11 pm UTC

phonon266737 wrote:I am curious - Why do people seem to think that gigantic investments into solar cells would boost the economy? After the initial expenditure, your cost per kwh is much much higher than buying from the grid for years.


Not necessarily true, but even if it were, it's still missing the point.

Right now many of the alternative energies are at an infant stage of development. They have the basic technology down, but they lack mass production facilities and the capital to produce real-world more efficient results. Yes, scientists are already working in labs everywhere to get the tech to greater efficiencies but most don't end up being feasible, and the ones that are take a while to get out of the lab because demand is so low.

If we started buying up large amounts of, for instance, solar cells, yes, we'd have to pay the relatively expensive 'early adopter' prices. However, the manufacturing facilities that are built (presumably in the US, that is key) to handle the demand can produce the solar cells at a cheaper price. As competition and desire for higher profits rise, they develop more efficient techniques of production and the price drops further. Soon even more facilities are built and the price per solar cell comes more into the price ranges of more people. Suddenly it becomes much more competitive price wise, and we end up being the experts in solar cell production, instead of, say, China or Germany. Other countries who cannot/won't develop their own will have to come to us to buy, and so on and so on. For all this to have a chance at coming to pass, however, we have to make that inital investment.

If all you do is stay very short-sighted, then yes, it is stupid to pay more for the power. In the long run, it can pay off handsomely.

User avatar
wisnij
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:03 pm UTC
Location: a planet called Erp
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby wisnij » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:01 am UTC

Paranatural wrote:If we started buying up large amounts of, for instance, solar cells, yes, we'd have to pay the relatively expensive 'early adopter' prices. However, the manufacturing facilities that are built (presumably in the US, that is key) to handle the demand can produce the solar cells at a cheaper price. As competition and desire for higher profits rise, they develop more efficient techniques of production and the price drops further. Soon even more facilities are built and the price per solar cell comes more into the price ranges of more people. Suddenly it becomes much more competitive price wise, and we end up being the experts in solar cell production, instead of, say, China or Germany. Other countries who cannot/won't develop their own will have to come to us to buy, and so on and so on. For all this to have a chance at coming to pass, however, we have to make that inital investment.

And even a fixed investment will effectively increase in value as the cost of fossil fuels goes up, giving any country heavily invested in solar power a big advantage over ones which are not.

On a longer time scale, an additional benefit is that it is a resource we cannot use up. We may someday reach a point where we're collecting as much solar energy as is practical, but for the next few billion years at least it will not simply dry up the way oil or even fission fuels would. On average the Earth's surface intercepts about 5500 times as much power in the form of sunlight as all of human civilization consumes, so there's still quite a ways to go. Kardashev Type I, here we come. (And of course, once we colonize space the available energy will be orders of magnitude greater still.)
I burn the cheese. It does not burn me.

financecreep
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:02 pm UTC
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby financecreep » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:51 am UTC

Minerva wrote:
financecreep wrote:It's energy that's available, and like it or not, steam turbines, coal power plants (clean coal or no), or even Nuclear Power Plants are still extremely expensive to build.


Nuclear power is not expensive at all compared to wind power, in fact wind power is considerably more expensive than wind power, and solar power is far more expensive again. Remember that we are (or should be) comparing the costs of the infrastructure required to get the same amount of energy output, whether that's wind or solar or nuclear or whatever.


Well, I contest that argument, especially since you haven't cited anything to support that claim.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2006/682/7930

"Nuclear power has higher operational and maintenance costs compared to wind power, and nuclear power stations take longer to commission (seven to 10 years) than wind turbines (three to six months once delivered). More carbon dioxide is emitted in the construction of a nuclear power plant, and in the enrichment of fuel rods, than in the construction of wind towers.

Once a wind turbine is up and running it will have generated as much clean energy after six months as “dirty” energy used in its manufacture. It takes about seven years for a nuclear power station to generate more carbon dioxide-free electricity than was spent building the plant and getting it operational.

Over the lifetime of a wind turbine, it will generate 17-39 times the amount of energy as was used to build it. Nuclear power plants produce only about 16 times the energy used to build them."

A new infrastructure is needed in this country regardless of the way the energy being produced. It's an antiquated system in severe need of new technology.
http://financecreep.blogspot.com
Stories of a Finance Creep...

User avatar
Minerva
Posts: 947
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Minerva » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:29 am UTC

financecreep wrote:Well, I contest that argument, especially since you haven't cited anything to support that claim.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2006/682/7930


Green Left Weekly? Wow, this sounds like a credible, unbiased, accurate, scientific reference on the issue, doesn't it? Where are their (decent, academically credible) citations?

"Nuclear power has higher operational and maintenance costs compared to wind power, and nuclear power stations take longer to commission (seven to 10 years) than wind turbines (three to six months once delivered). More carbon dioxide is emitted in the construction of a nuclear power plant, and in the enrichment of fuel rods, than in the construction of wind towers.


The independently produced, accredited, Environmental Product Declarations for Swedish energy utility Vattenfall’s Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant find that, averaged over the entire lifecycle of their nuclear power plant including uranium mining, milling, enrichment, plant construction, operation, decommissioning and waste disposal, the total amount of CO2 emitted is 3.3 g per kWhe.

The proposed Woodlawn wind farm project in New South Wales has also made available a detailed Environmental Impact Statement, in which greenhouse gas emissions are quantified on a whole-of-life-cycle basis.

Excluding values for wind farms that are significantly different from the proposed Woodlawn Wind Farm, GHG emissions on a life cycle basis range from 7-20 kg CO2e/MWh. This represents the GHG emissions from all activities, including the construction, transportation, assembly and operation of the turbines.


We note, of course, that g/kWh and kg/MWh are completely equivalent units. Based on the data from these environmental studies, - admittedly quite a small set of data, but let’s just look at it all the same, with that caveat in mind - energy generation from this wind farm is to be expected to produce anywhere from two to six times the greenhouse gas emissions of typical nuclear fission energy, produced using Vattenfall’s current Generation II light-water reactors.

http://www.woodlawnwind.com.au
http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/Web ... clearPower
http://www.environdec.com/reg/epd21e.pdf

Once a wind turbine is up and running it will have generated as much clean energy after six months as “dirty” energy used in its manufacture. It takes about seven years for a nuclear power station to generate more carbon dioxide-free electricity than was spent building the plant and getting it operational.

Over the lifetime of a wind turbine, it will generate 17-39 times the amount of energy as was used to build it. Nuclear power plants produce only about 16 times the energy used to build them."


Are there any credible sources underlying such claims?
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

phonon266737
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:41 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby phonon266737 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:41 pm UTC

Disclaimer: This is a little off topic, but quite applicable, I think.

Fact: The United States is clearly at a disadvantage for corporations to hire labor here. The widespread outsourcing of jobs confirms this. For profitable, developed products (cars, electronics, computers, etc) it is not very profitable to have a factory in the United States. Thus Kodak, IBM, Ford, GM, produce a lot of their product outside of the country

Fact: Making electricity and heat in the US more expensive, makes manufacturing more expensive. They still have to pay the bills. Actually, making utilities more expensive increass cost of living for everyone. Wages will have to go up

Conclusion: Making energy more expensive does not address the reasons that companies do not like to hire lots of labor in America. It also does not make it any cheaper to develop a factory in America. Also - hurting the bottom line of the fossil fuel companies seriously reduces the amount of taxes they pay.

Raising taxes, cost of living, and unemployment for the entire country.

(Which is an interesting aside: Exxon paid nearly 30 billion dollars in taxes. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=XOM&annual I don't have a source at the moment, but the total income from personal income tax is roughly the same ~ 35 billion.)

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:31 am UTC

Hi, all, this is my first post on SB, so hopefully you find this appropriate and useful.

Besides, of course, the positive effect of not emitting greenhouse gasses, any building that is fitted with solar panels/small wind turbines has the long-term effect of saving money by not buying as much electricity from the grid; indeed, if you generate enough, you can sell it back and earn $$$, which is, you know, a good thing.

I can't post the link because I'm under five posts, but an example of this is Jay Leno's garage uses a few solar cells, and one or two small turbines to generate pretty much all the power it needs. The Discovery channel had a show on green construction (can't remember it's name atm), and a segment detailed the private use of solar and wind power. His garage even sometimes makes excess power, that he sells back. Like it makes much difference to him, but to you or I, it'd probably be rather nice. Small-scale wind turbines may be the future of wind energy, producing the power for a single building rather than massive "wind farms."

Also, nuclear power gets a lot of bad rap, but most of that is due to misinformation/misunderstanding. I'm not accusing anyone here of that, but a lot of public fear is easily remedied by a few simple steps:
1. Nuclear Fuel Recycling. I believe France already does this, probably other nations as well. The US does not. In a nutshell, when a fuel rod is "spent" it is in fact 95% pure, it's only the outside 5% that is spent, which acts in essence as a shield, preventing enough radiation from getting out to make it undesirable as fuel, but being plenty radioactive enough to be bad. By recycling the fuel rod, you regain the 95% that is pure, and only have to deal with the 5% waste, which is a lot better than trying to bury a 95% pure chunk of Uranium! I have no clue why the US doesn't practice nuclear recycling.
2.Pebble bed reactors. Long story short: they cannot melt down. Period. It's just not physically possible. The reaction is self-regulating, so even if you removed all the coolant and electronic safeties at a plant, the reaction would (naturally) slow down, and you would not overheat. I can't post the link for this as I am under 5 posts, but you can certainly google it yourself.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

qbg
Posts: 586
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:37 pm UTC

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby qbg » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:01 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I have no clue why the US doesn't practice nuclear recycling.

From what I've read, it is because using the fuel once-through is cheaper than recycling it.

User avatar
wisnij
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:03 pm UTC
Location: a planet called Erp
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby wisnij » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:33 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Besides, of course, the positive effect of not emitting greenhouse gasses, any building that is fitted with solar panels/small wind turbines has the long-term effect of saving money by not buying as much electricity from the grid; indeed, if you generate enough, you can sell it back and earn $$$, which is, you know, a good thing.

My uncle built a new house a few years back as part of a research project with UMass. It has solar panels, enhanced insulation, and various other energy-saving design features. In the summertime they sell power back to the grid. It's not cost-effective to build that way on a larger scale yet, but it will be.

SummerGlauFan wrote:1. Nuclear Fuel Recycling. I believe France already does this, probably other nations as well. The US does not. In a nutshell, when a fuel rod is "spent" it is in fact 95% pure, it's only the outside 5% that is spent, which acts in essence as a shield, preventing enough radiation from getting out to make it undesirable as fuel, but being plenty radioactive enough to be bad. By recycling the fuel rod, you regain the 95% that is pure, and only have to deal with the 5% waste, which is a lot better than trying to bury a 95% pure chunk of Uranium! I have no clue why the US doesn't practice nuclear recycling.

From what I understand, it's partically because of proliferation concerns and partially because selling anything nuclear to the public doesn't go so well in the US.

SummerGlauFan wrote:2.Pebble bed reactors. Long story short: they cannot melt down. Period. It's just not physically possible. The reaction is self-regulating, so even if you removed all the coolant and electronic safeties at a plant, the reaction would (naturally) slow down, and you would not overheat. I can't post the link for this as I am under 5 posts, but you can certainly google it yourself.

I can: Pebble bed reactors. The short version is that the fuel "pebbles" are a negative-feedback system: the faster the reaction goes, the more the 238U in the pebbles acts like a moderator, slowing the reaction back down.
I burn the cheese. It does not burn me.

User avatar
Minerva
Posts: 947
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby Minerva » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:43 am UTC

The notion that the USA can't conduct efficient, sensible recycling of LWR fuel because of the boogeyman of "proliferation" absolutely perplexes me, it makes absolutely no sense at all.

The US has already got far more nuclear weapons than they really know what to do with. You've also got considerable stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium and very-high-enriched uranium, so much so that a significant part of those stockpiles has been determined to be surplus to defense needs and DOE is contemplating what to do with it.

You've also got the nuclear reactors and facilities that exist that are specifically designed to produce weapons-grade plutonium. They have got nothing to do with nuclear power. Nuclear power plants are relatively useless for this purpose.

(As an aside, I hope that that material is used in a sensible constructive way as a valuable nuclear energy resource and not declared to be so-called "waste" and chucked into WIPP or Yucca Mountain.)

How the hell does it make any sense at all to say that we can't recycle nuclear fuel in the US, and/or have more nuclear power plants, because that will, supposedly, result in nuclear weapons proliferation? It's nutty.
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:53 am UTC

wisnij wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:1. Nuclear Fuel Recycling. I believe France already does this, probably other nations as well. The US does not. In a nutshell, when a fuel rod is "spent" it is in fact 95% pure, it's only the outside 5% that is spent, which acts in essence as a shield, preventing enough radiation from getting out to make it undesirable as fuel, but being plenty radioactive enough to be bad. By recycling the fuel rod, you regain the 95% that is pure, and only have to deal with the 5% waste, which is a lot better than trying to bury a 95% pure chunk of Uranium! I have no clue why the US doesn't practice nuclear recycling.

From what I understand, it's partically because of proliferation concerns and partially because selling anything nuclear to the public doesn't go so well in the US.



Wait, why is it a bad thing to have energy companies have uranium? Saying that the US doesn't like giving uranium to civilians sounds like every household has a little nuclear reactor sitting in their basement (which would be flipping AWESOME). It's the energy companies using it. Proliferation makes no sense, unless the power company is selling off their fuel rods to terrorists. Which of course they are not.

I guess cost could be a factor in why the US doesn't recycle used fuel, but is shipping and safely storing a 95% pure chunk of uranium or plutonium really any cheaper? Especially in the long run? It would make much more sense to keep using the purified chunk of material and dispose of a much less radioactive chunk of spent material that is only 5% the mass.

Basically, both of my posts about nuclear power are to show that it is not the bogeyman that the US tries to make it out as.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

User avatar
cypherspace
Posts: 2733
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:48 pm UTC
Location: Londonia

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby cypherspace » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:08 am UTC

Minerva wrote:Are there any credible sources underlying such claims?

Firstly, if you dismiss anything from a left-leaning, green or 'biased' source, you are not likely to find much, since these are the people that commission these studies and try to promote the benefits of renewable energies. An oil company is not going to do so. Some of these stats you may find debatable, but unless you find conflicting numbers in other studies, I think you should take them as reliable. Try this for a good list of cited facts and figures. Pay particular attention to number 7 and its associated citations.
"It was like five in the morning and he said he'd show me his hamster"

User avatar
wisnij
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:03 pm UTC
Location: a planet called Erp
Contact:

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby wisnij » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:08 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:
wisnij wrote:From what I understand, it's partically because of proliferation concerns and partially because selling anything nuclear to the public doesn't go so well in the US.

Wait, why is it a bad thing to have energy companies have uranium? Saying that the US doesn't like giving uranium to civilians sounds like every household has a little nuclear reactor sitting in their basement (which would be flipping AWESOME). It's the energy companies using it. Proliferation makes no sense, unless the power company is selling off their fuel rods to terrorists. Which of course they are not.

I didn't say the concerns were necessarily valid. :wink:
I burn the cheese. It does not burn me.

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:10 am UTC

Ok, you have a point there.

It's just frustrating that legislation regarding this is determined so much by miscomprehension and public kneejerk reaction.

I still find small-scale wind turbines and solar panels fascinating. Generating your own power, and sometimes making money off of it? Yes, please.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

User avatar
TheStranger
Posts: 896
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:39 pm UTC
Location: The Void which Binds

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby TheStranger » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:59 am UTC

For personal / home use small scale solar and wind may prove viable... just as larger scale implementations can act to supplement baseline power generation. However to meet the large scale demands of the grid a nuclear baseline would be the most efficient and cost effective course of action.

The down side with Wind is that you have very little control over how much power you have going into the grid... unlike nuclear (or hydrocarbon based generation).

I've also like to know what the overhead for using wind as primary would be. It seems like the complexity of the transmission network would be far more complex, as each wind turbine (or cluster of turbines) as a power plant.
"To bow before the pressure of the ignorant is weakness."
Azalin Rex, Wizard-King of Darkon

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

Why couldn't you just wire them up in a sequence? Like you can with batteries?

Also, what about the future of cars? Fossil fuels obviously won't be around forever, biofuels tend to be at least as bad for the environment in the long run, and electrical cars tend to be rather short-range and low-power. Hydrogen fuel cells, maybe? Are we any closer to having a car battery that will enable electric cars to be competitive with internal cumbustion anytime soon? My attempts at research into the last question either yeilded no reliable answers, or tended to be negative.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests