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  (Source: colostate.edu)
While 80 percent may be a tough goal, the study mentioned that renewables could fully supply 50 percent of electricity in 2050

A new study shows that renewable energy sources could "adequately" power 80 percent of the United States' electricity demand in 2050.

The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published the finding in the Renewable Electricity Futures study. NREL used technologies present and available today to calculate the results.

According to the study, wind, photovoltaics, and biomass power plants will play the largest roles in reaching the 80 percent renewable energy goal. Hydropower, which is the largest renewable player in the game today, will actually be used less over the next few decades.

While increased offshore wind and biomass power plants (instead of just offering biomass to coal plants) will help the U.S. on its way to the 80 percent goal, this will not be easily obtained.

The study notes that 439 gigawatts of wind capacity will be required in 2050 for the U.S. to be adequately supplied by renewables. Currently, there are only 50 gigawatts installed. This means that the U.S. would have to build over 10 gigawatts per year for a little under 40 years. This equals to 2,500 to 3,000 turbines per year. This is a bit lofty.

"Annual renewable capacity additions that enable high renewable generation are consistent with current global production capacities but are significantly higher than recent U.S. annual capacity additions for the technologies considered," said the study. "No insurmountable long-term constraints to renewable electricity technology manufacturing capacity, materials supply, or labor availability were identified."

While 80 percent may be a tough goal, the study mentioned that renewables could fully supply 50 percent of electricity in 2050 without any gaps. Eighty percent was just the adequate supply. This gives renewable energy hope for the future, not to mention new technologies will likely be available by 2050 to help the renewable effort.

Last July, the Energy Information Administration reported that renewable energy production had beat nuclear power in the U.S. in Q1 2011, showing that renewable energy was making its way to the top and may hopefully surpass domestic oil production at some point.

Source: ieee



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Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By topkill on 6/20/12, Rating: 0
RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Ringold on 6/20/2012 11:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
No need to scream about anything, not a single price tag attached anywhere in the article unless I missed it. Nothing to argue over then, since rational people make decisions with some sort of cost-benefit analysis, which has been where renewables have failed up to this point.

That said, Chinese innovation and over-supply (big time over supply) has been driving solar costs through the floor. If someone just comes up with cheap grid-scale storage, the pieces will start falling in to place and in a competitive way that doesnt soak up billions in subsidies.

I'd still rather the backbone of the grid be supplied but nuclear, though, but we're too weak for that. But the technical details are nice.. Energy, day and night, rain or shine, no matter what the winds are, for thousands of years with the right designs, and all for practically nothing once capital costs are paid off. And all the high-paying jobs that go along with it.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Samus on 6/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By mdogs444 on 6/21/2012 6:51:20 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
because at the rate our population is growing, we are going to have a food, oil, coal and clean fresh water shortage in our lifetime.


You guys make me laugh. You realize that they've been yapping about this oil shortage thing for well over 100 years now but they are always wrong. And every year, we keep finding newer and larger reserves, including the Arctic.

The US has an estimated 800B barrels of reserves in the ground, which should all be technically recoverable in the next 20 years, according to studies. Thats three times the size of Saudia Arabia.

Save the scare tactics for something else.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Paj on 6/21/2012 7:49:38 AM , Rating: 1
So oil is infinite? Great - free money for everyone!


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By arazok on 6/21/2012 8:47:50 AM , Rating: 3
Based on what we have already found, and all reasonable estimates of what we are going to find in the future, there is almost certainly a minimum of 150-200 more years worth of oil in the world for us to consume. Those are just land based, and shallow ocean finds. It’s entirely possible there is another 100,200,300 or more years worth in the deep ocean or deep underground. We’ve never looked.

That’s infinite enough for me.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Paj on 6/21/2012 12:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
"reasonable estimates"
"almost certainly"
"entirely possible"

nice qualifiers.

You seriously want to keep running on oil for the next 300 years? Surely we can progress beyond that by then?


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Schrag4 on 6/21/2012 12:33:00 PM , Rating: 3
Paj, you're not listening. Nobody's saying "oil is infinite." What some, myself included, are suggesting is that we easily have enough oil to get us 100+ years down the road, which is more than enough time for renewable energy solutions and higher fuel efficiencies (hybrid/EV tech) to mature to the point where they're cost effective. Not only that, but as others have pointed out, nuclear power can get us by for at least a few thousand years too.

In other words, it's irrational to treat the usage of oil reserves as a crisis. There's no need to panic about getting off of oil "right now at any cost." Even if estimates are off by 100 years, we'd still have DOZENS of years to prep for the pending shortage. If that were to happen, during that time oil prices will TRULY necessarily skyrocket (not artificially) and competing techs will become cost effective, mainstream, and cheaper. I suspect you don't like to hear it, but the free market would work - as it would in most scenarios if we let it - and it wouldn't be the "end of the world as we know it" as so many claim it would.


By Samus on 6/22/2012 11:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
You guys are missing the point. I'm not saying we'll be out of energy as Australia has vast uranium mines. But turning OIL into ENERGY is about as stupid as turning food into energy. We need oil to make extremely important things, like medical instruments and plastics. How are we going to make that stuff when we no longer have crude oil? This is going to become a problem in the next 50, not 100 years, as when the middle east runs dry, if you think its unstable now, what do you think is going to happen then?


By voronwe on 6/23/2012 12:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
The figure you cite is 200 years at what rate of consumption? Are we assuming that oil consumption will stay flat?

That figure you cite is "technically-recoverable oil", which for the most part means shale that needs to be dug up and refined. Here's a picture of that process going on right now in Canada:

http://goodcanadiankid.com/canadian-oil-sands/

Most of that "technically-recoverable" sand and shale oil is indeed stuck in national parks right now. All we have to do is get rid of the national parks, shave those mountains flat and we'll be able to get to all that oil. And get India and China and the rest of the world to stop having babies or buying cars, because the figure you cite is based on *current* consumption, not the developing world consumption that's projected to triple by 2050.

The truth is that the projections geologists have been making since the early 1970's have been remarkably accurate. We'll run out of light, sweet crude exactly when they said we would, and we're being forced to go to shale right when they said we would. Yep, science works.


By voronwe on 6/23/2012 12:17:32 AM , Rating: 2
The figure you cite is 200 years at what rate of consumption? Are we assuming that oil consumption will stay flat?

That figure you cite is "technically-recoverable oil", which for the most part means shale that needs to be dug up and refined. Here's a picture of that process going on right now in Canada:

http://goodcanadiankid.com/canadian-oil-sands/

Most of that "technically-recoverable" sand and shale oil is indeed stuck in national parks right now. All we have to do is get rid of the national parks, shave those mountains flat and we'll be able to get to all that oil. And get India and China and the rest of the world to stop having babies or buying cars, because the figure you cite is based on *current* consumption, not the developing world consumption that's projected to triple by 2050.

The truth is that the projections geologists have been making since the early 1970's have been remarkably accurate. We'll run out of light, sweet crude exactly when they said we would, and we're being forced to go to shale right when they said we would. Yep, science works.


By voronwe on 6/23/2012 12:19:04 AM , Rating: 2
That figure you cite is "technically-recoverable oil", which for the most part means shale that needs to be dug up and refined. Here's a picture of that process going on right now in Canada:

http://goodcanadiankid.com/canadian-oil-sands/

Most of that "technically-recoverable" sand and shale oil is indeed stuck in national parks right now. All we have to do is get rid of the national parks, shave those mountains flat and we'll be able to get to all that oil. And get India and China and the rest of the world to stop having babies or buying cars, because the figure you cite is based on *current* consumption, not the developing world consumption that's projected to triple by 2050.

The truth is that the projections geologists have been making since the early 1970's have been remarkably accurate. We'll run out of light, sweet crude exactly when they said we would, and we're being forced to go to shale right when they said we would. Yep, science works.


By voronwe on 6/23/2012 12:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
That figure you cite is "technically-recoverable oil", which for the most part means shale that needs to be dug up and refined. Here's a picture of that process going on right now in Canada:

http://goodcanadiankid.com/canadian-oil-sands/

Most of that "technically-recoverable" sand and shale oil is indeed stuck in national parks right now. All we have to do is get rid of the national parks, shave those mountains flat and we'll be able to get to all that oil. And get India and China and the rest of the world to stop having babies or buying cars, because the figure you cite is based on *current* consumption, not the developing world consumption that's projected to triple by 2050.

The truth is that the projections geologists have been making since the early 1970's have been remarkably accurate. We'll run out of light, sweet crude exactly when they said we would, and we're being forced to go to shale right when they said we would. Yep, science works.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By gamerk2 on 6/21/2012 8:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
Heres the problem though: All the cheaply accessable oil is already gone. You are left with the hard to get to, expensive to refine stores. As a result, you need higher oil prices to justify the cost of their extraction. As a result, all of us end up paying MORE for the SAME AMOUNT of oil, due to market economics.

Secondly, worldwide production has essentially flatlined, while demand continues its exponential increase. This is not sustainable.


By StanO360 on 6/21/2012 11:01:08 AM , Rating: 2
Then when it starts to become scarce, or when a cheaper alternative comes along (a magical turbine or solar panel) we will use them.

But this article has little to do with oil. Energy production is primarily natural gas, coal and hydro. Hydro won't change, coal we will have to sell to the Chinese, and we got boatloads of natural gas. But a project as specified above would probably increase power costs 50%, destroy our competitiveness and lower our standard of living. I know there are some that probably want that!

That doesn't mean we don't use other sources. Hey, if an electric car makes financial sense to me I'll buy it.


By johnsmith9875 on 6/21/2012 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
If oil really is infinite, do we want to pump ALL of it to the surface and end up swimming around in the stuff because we're too greedy and lazy to harness free energy from the sky?


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Strunf on 6/21/2012 7:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
because at the rate our population is growing

Don't worry the trend is that population will start go shrinking in the next few decades, I wouldn't be too surprised if by 2050 there are less people on earth than today.


By amosbatto on 6/21/2012 8:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
We will have roughly 8.5 - 9 billion people on the planet by 2050 according to the predictions, so we will have to feed 50% more people. The population will fall in many first world countries, but it will continue growing in most places. China will be facing a crisis as its population ages and there are less youth to care for the elderly, but India will continue to grow beyond its carrying capacity. Parts of Africa will be totally screwed. At least that is what demographers predict.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By NellyFromMA on 6/21/2012 10:19:49 AM , Rating: 3
I'm curious as to considerations regarding environmental effects of over use of 'renewable energy' resources.

What I mean is, every system that draws energy is a load, and presumably that load when places on a system diverts energy away from the source or other loads on the same system and draws it towards itself. In this case, that diverted energy is converted into electricity in various ways.

Well, imagine a scenario where we have deployed solar panels and windmill farms in massive numbers.

What happens to the foliage in the area (regarding solar panels)?

Does the sunlight that the plants were converting into oxygen and surviving off of become compromised and diverted in any significant way?

Is there a finite unit of solar energy available to divert in the atmosphere in a given volume (presumably above and around the panels)?

In the case of wind, Al Gore (lols) tells us that climate and temperature in our environment is ultimately kept in check by wind patterns passing hot and cold air throughout the world in an almost enginee-like manner. He explains what happens when this engine slows and seizes. If we place large loads on that system (the wind and climate) do we drag that system down?

I have a feeling that those are extreme circumstance,s but I wonder if they have been properly investigated and theorized?

I suspect there is a bit more to this pie-in-the-sky (no pun intended) than 'renewable energy', Just like it is hard to imagine a perpetual engine, I suspect our climate is not perpetual either.

Could over reliance and dependance on renewable energy lead to environmental disaster? Wouldn't that be ironic?

Just food for thought :)


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Schrag4 on 6/21/2012 1:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is how I view it:

quote:
I suspect there is a bit more to this pie-in-the-sky (no pun intended) than 'renewable energy', Just like it is hard to imagine a perpetual engine, I suspect our climate is not perpetual either.


Our climate is not in any way perpetual. Take the sun's energy out of the equation and you don't have any climate.

quote:
Could over reliance and dependance on renewable energy lead to environmental disaster? Wouldn't that be ironic?


Yes, it would be ironic if we somehow alter the ocean and/or wind currents and the climate changes for a thousand years and kills all of us off. I really doubt that would happen though. Look at those wind towers from 30,000 feet up and you'll realize that they're simply not going to make a significant difference. And as far as solar depriving plants of sunlight, simply don't cover lush areas with solar panels. Instead cover building tops, parking lots, and dry, plantless areas. Who knows, the escape from the sun may actually increase the amount of wildlife in some areas.

All this to say that it's arrogant to think we could somehow cause some mighty environmental disaster. What you and I call an environmental disaster mother nature considers a pimple or a cold - neither permanent nor alarming.


By Jaybus on 6/21/2012 3:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All this to say that it's arrogant to think we could somehow cause some mighty environmental disaster. What you and I call an environmental disaster mother nature considers a pimple or a cold - neither permanent nor alarming.

Of course, that also means that it is arrogant to think that our CO2 emissions from burning hydrocarbons are affecting the climate.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By NellyFromMA on 6/22/2012 8:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
Arrogant? I thought I was being thoughtful. Sorry for thinking outside the box I guess?

Sure, wind towers at low levels and low deployments are insignificant. So are all of our 'renewable energy' deployments. In 2050, however, if we are meeting 80% of our energy needs, I can't imagine how many magnitudes higher we'd have to deploy solar and wind based energy. Where do you put all those panels and windmills? I think at some point, you don't have the luxury of cherry picking locations.

Even at low altitude, just think of how man windmills would have to be deployed to have any measurable impact contributing towards 80% of American energy needs. All that drag will no doubt have SOME impact, no?

I think it's arrogant to just dismiss it IMO. Just my two cents, we are each entitled to our own.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Schrag4 on 6/22/2012 8:39:59 AM , Rating: 2
Well, even a single tower has "SOME impact." I merely suggest that we could nearly blanket the Earth in this stuff and life would adapt to any changes we may introduce.

Personally, I think nuclear is a much better idea because of its power density. There's no need to blanket the Earth with wind and solar. You can get just as much power (and more reliable power at that) with much less cost and much less environmental impact.


By NellyFromMA on 6/22/2012 9:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
Oh gotcha. Must have misread. I suppose to an extent that's true.

I think it's just very easy for people to gravitate towards 'green energy' because it sounds like it will save their lives meanwhile they are not realizing that rather than polluting the environment they actually may just be consuming it and indirectly harming it as a result. I think no one wants to fund that kind of study either due to the economic and social repercussions of such a thing being true.

It's funny, because when I picture nuclear energy, I picture green rods that produce energy. Maybe nuclear is the REAL green energy lol.

Eh, nuclear energy has it's dangers. It simply is the best alternative in terms of power density though. Tough choices I suppose.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By amanojaku on 6/20/2012 11:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
2030? You're out of your damn mind if you think public works programs on that scale will get done that quickly. And renewable energy wouldn't be beating nuclear if it weren't for the simultaneous push for renewable with the strangling of nuclear plants. You get subsidies for renewable plants, not nuclear plants.

Anyway, I like renewables, but I doubt they'll be as cheap or energy dense as nuclear and fossil fuels in the next 10-20 years. Renewables currently take up a lot of land and a lot of resources.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By StevoLincolnite on 6/21/2012 12:02:16 AM , Rating: 3
I can see the headline now...

quote:
80% of the US is powered by renewable's, electricity prices increased by 200%


Renewable's aren't viable for base-load power, solar and wind isn't reliable... Hydro is limited by location, Geothermal has massive potential but suffers the same problem as Hydro being limited by location...

Nuclear isn't "true" renewable, you still have to mine (Which is far from clean.) and "burn" the Uranium, but it is the best current alternative to regular fossil fuels.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Amiga500 on 6/21/2012 4:57:51 AM , Rating: 2
200%?

hehehe, I'd think about adding another 0 onto the end of that.

A much more efficient means of energy storage is needed (than batteries) to make the variable power of renewables ready to form realistic proportions of the grid make-up. Algae-excited-by-electricity based H2 production *may* hold the answer, but that is still very much in the lab testing phase.

There are other hurdles to overcome as well - assuming use of fuel cells to convert the H2 to electricity, then an alternative to platinum must be found.

Of course, none of that will come cheap; but costs may come down with mass production far enough that it is comparable. Not holding my breath though!


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By ShieTar on 6/21/2012 8:44:24 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, batteries are almost 100% efficient, they are just completely and utterly unaffordable on this scale. There are only two methods widely in use to store energy these days, Pumped-storage hydroelectricity for electricity and isolation for heat (e.g. heat up water with sunlight, use it to shower at night).

Pump-Storages already achieve 70%-85% of end-to-end efficiency, and while only a few of them are cheap (already existing Hydroelectricity Plants just adding pumps), but still the overall cost should not exceed a doubling of electricity costs.

Add to that the option of intelligent controls that use electricity when it is abundant and power down when it is not, and 150% cost may be much more realistic. Then keep in mind that germany has about two thirds of the per capita energy consumption as the US have, while having the same standard of life and a higher percentage of industries on the overall economics, and you see that there are should be options for you to end up spending the same for energy in 50 years as you do today.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By mindless1 on 6/21/2012 10:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
No, batteries are not almost 100% efficient. Please stop making things up, even the losses on the wires to charge and discharge are relevant at this scale, let alone the charging and discharging losses themselves unless you have a way to reclaim the heat which is yet another costly machine involved.

To put a number on it, you might get 80% efficiency from batteries (or might not).


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By ShieTar on 6/21/2012 10:58:23 AM , Rating: 2
The original post was indicating a 10% battery efficiency because he suggested to increase electricity cost by "adding a 0". Compared to that they are definitly almost 100%.

I have seen claims on 99.8% efficiency on Lithium-Ion-Polymer batteries in scientific articles, so "you might get 80% efficiency" is a little pessimistic on the state of the technological capabilities of batteries. Not saying that charging your mobile phone battery with a 2$-voltage-adapter will get over 80%. Of course efficiency will be rather lower than the pure battery-performance if you include two-way AC/DC conversion.

Either way, my point was that the cost for saving electricity by batteries is driven by the initial cost of the battery rather than the losses due to inefficiency.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By StanO360 on 6/21/2012 11:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter, it's not the battery that's inefficient it's the charging. When you get into huge systems, 80% efficiency in the inverter to actually charge them up and oops! We need to convert the DC back AC! Take another 20% out!


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By ShieTar on 6/21/2012 11:17:34 AM , Rating: 2
Correct in principle, but again somewhat pessimistic in the number. Common PC Power supply units are nowadays achieving more than 95% efficiency at their optimum working points. Conversion technology has come a long way over the last few decades, so far that nowadays transporting High Voltage DC over long distances and converting it to 110/220V AC for the user would actually be more efficient than the high voltage AC solution we went for when we started building our overland networks. It wasn't back then, when conversion efficiencies were 60% or less.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By mindless1 on 6/21/2012 1:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not pessimistic.

PC Power supplys are not typically achieving over 95% efficiency, they are now finally around 85% at particular loads with a near constant input voltage.

THAT is significant. With variable input power due to differing solar or wind levels, then variable output power depending on the power consumption rate of consumers, you can't fine tune the conversion circuits like you could for a fixed input and output situation.

You "might" get 85% efficiency converting to the right DC input voltage to charge the cells. You "might" get 80% output efficiency converting back to grid power voltage (several kilovolts) but it's doubtful, perhaps 80% conversion locally to 110/220VAC.

No, it is not more efficient to transmit high voltage DC over long distances nor does it make any sense to transmit it then have to convert back at every single usage point. Further, the system we have in place now is rather simplistic but that is a virtue as the imaginary (impossible) thing you want to suggest, will not be very robust. Do PC power supplies sit in a closed metal can outside in freezing cold, rain, 110F summer temps, and operate for 20 years or more? No. A basic oil submerged step down transformer to go from HV AC to LV AC is far far more reliable.

Our power grid has to be reliable if nothing else.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Amiga500 on 6/21/2012 1:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well, he/she does have a point on the high voltage DC. Kinda.

Highly theoretical, but supercooled cables have shown promise for long distance (think undersea) transport of electricity with reduced losses relative to AC.

The transport would be strictly point to point, with conversion at both ends to AC for generation or for local distribution.

But your talking cryogenic cables over long distances before it is a net benefit.


By mindless1 on 6/23/2012 8:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
No. It takes power to remove heat to have supercooled cables, more than the power lost without.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By ShieTar on 6/22/2012 3:27:28 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but no. A typical 80+ Platinum PSU will exceed 90% efficiency over most of its power range (20% to 100% load) and over the full international range of input voltages (100V to 240V). Admittedly though, the peak power seems to be 93% to 94% depending on model, not the 95% I remembered.

As for transmitting, sorry, but inform yourself. For example, have a look at http://www.energy.siemens.com/hq/en/power-transmis...

As for replacing existing HV converters by PC power supplies, I assume you are trying to be funny with this? I merely made a comment about technological feasibility as can be easily experienced by the progress in consumer electronics, of course I did not suggest to use those consumer parts directly in Overland-Circuits.

Nevertheless, I should make it clear that HVDC transport nets are not a "imaginary (impossible) thing I want to suggest", but rather the agreed backbone strategy of each version of the possibly future european/northafrican power net.


By mindless1 on 6/23/2012 8:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
An 80+ platinum is not a typical PSU, it's best of breed (very expensive), and still it does not necessarily do this at the entire 20% to 100% range at all outdoor environmental temperatures and all possible input voltage levels.

DC is not more efficient because then it has to be converted back to AC. Remember that we cannot just scrap an entire power grid in the middle of the night for a new one, the additional grid and tech must be compatible with what already exists. Further to even have this Ultra high voltage DC you would incur losses stepping it up to that voltage as the generators aren't designed for this.

What is imaginary in the context of the discussion topic is that it is possible to actually do it, integrate it into the existing grid and gain efficiency.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Amiga500 on 6/21/2012 1:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, because of course the electrical efficiency of batteries is the only input to the rise in cost.

Not the wind turbine/solar panel/tidal barrier efficiency per dollar.

Not the increase in grid costs to connect this distributed power source.

Not the battery installation and subsequent maintenance cost.

No sireee - the only cost is the battery electrical efficiency and of course since its 80-90%, then thats the difference of operation.

Seriously.

Think.
Before.
Typing.


By ShieTar on 6/22/2012 3:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
More importantly, read before replying? You respond to a post where I say that the cost of batteries is more relevant than the efficiency by explaining to me exactly the point I already made. What's up with that?


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Amiga500 on 6/21/2012 10:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually, batteries are almost 100% efficient


They are heavy thus hard to install, costly to produce, have poor energy densities, lose performance and require constant maintenance - which needs energy. Apart from that they are very efficient.

quote:
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity for electricity and isolation for heat


Pumped up hydro as a significant contributor to base power is like trying to run the starship enterprise of a lawnmower engine. Be realistic please.

Isolation for heat does not solve the problem of variability of electrical supply - it just provides one alternative energy source for heating some water.

quote:
Add to that the option of intelligent controls that use electricity when it is abundant and power down when it is not


So do Boeing (for instance) send the workers home when the wind stops blowing on a cloudy day? I'm sure those "intelligent" controls will seem mighty "intelligent" then.

The idea of intelligent controls reducing the need for power on-demand to the levels needed for variable supplies is madness. Its not much different from the middle ages of only having water in your house when the local river is full and you can fill up a few buckets from it... Crazy.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By ShieTar on 6/21/2012 11:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pumped up hydro as a significant contributor to base power is like trying to run the starship enterprise of a lawnmower engine. Be realistic please.


It is not only possible but already done. Germany alone has about 10 GW installed power with about 50 GWh capacity right now. Of course they are still partially filled up with nuclear power at night, so their output can be sold as renewable energy during the day.

quote:
So do Boeing (for instance) send the workers home when the wind stops blowing on a cloudy day? I'm sure those "intelligent" controls will seem mighty "intelligent" then.


Yes, the concept must be rubbish because it does not work in a single chosen example. It is not like there are any byttery-chargers or dish-washers out there that could happily run at any given time during the day. Or like there are automated electrolysis parks that produce aluminium and could run at duty cycles below 100% to save on cost of electricity.

Really, before you decide something cannot be done, you should check if it isn't already done by somebody.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Schrag4 on 6/21/2012 1:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is not like there are any byttery-chargers or dish-washers out there that could happily run at any given time during the day.


Here's how I see this going down:

1. New smart appliances like dishwashers optionally kick on when demand is lower than average. People with a washer full of dirty dishes AND a sink full of dirty dishes tell it to run now instead of later more often than not.

2. The next obvious step (sarcasm) would be for the govt to require that all new smart appliances sold not allow users to override the timing of when they run. The result would be a decline in sales of smart appliances, since sometimes you really really need something washed now, or simply people like to exercise freedom occassionally.

3. Next the govt legislates that ALL new appliances be smart appliances with no timing override (this might actually be step 2). Cue the "cash-for-clunkers" advertisements.

4. People still sometimes need their stuff washed when they need it washed, so they watch a youtube video on how to rig it to run whenever they want. It's a hassle, but people do it after getting burned a couple of times with no clean underwear.

5. The govt imposes fines and/or jail time for people who rig their washers to run on demand rather than during off-peak hours.

Americans read step 5 with disgust, and for good reason. From all that I've read and heard about laws in Europe, such legislation would seem normal, expected. I mean, after all, in some places in the EU you have to be 18 and show photo ID to buy a nerf gun or a silverware set that includes a butter knife. Seems sensible to me. Kids buying nerf guns leads to...kids...playing with...nerf guns. Oh the horror!


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By praktik on 6/21/2012 2:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
ya I guess so, but you can walk down the street with a beer in Europe while America is so paranoid even 20 year olds can't buy a brew in a pub!


By Schrag4 on 6/21/2012 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
LOL - yeah not all of our laws make sense either, I'll give you that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that more laws/regulations is almost never the best solution for a problem. Not only that, but it's not govt's job to fix every "problem." Is steroid use in baseball really any business of the federal govt? Shouldn't MLB have policies in place to deal with that?


By Amiga500 on 6/21/2012 1:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is not only possible but already done.


I know it is "done" - the UK has been doing so for quite some time with the Dinorweg facility.

Now, you say Germany has 10 GW of pumped storage (@peak)... I say the German power production averages at 430 GW... so your talking less than 3%... which lasts ~5hrs. Whoopee. :rolleyes:

No doubt that 10GW is using the easiest and cheapest locations to install pumped storage.

quote:
It is not like there are any byttery-chargers or dish-washers out there that could happily run at any given time during the day


Its not like they form a significant proportion of electricity load.

Fundamentally, most facilities and equipment is operated along a quite predictable schedule - which best suits their users. Moving away from that is not possible in the significant proportion (by load) of cases as they are simply needed for operation at that time of day every day (or 5/7 days).

At this point in your argument, you are trying to teach your dad how to have children.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By StanO360 on 6/21/2012 11:09:59 AM , Rating: 2
Energy use is reflective of production, and Germany does produce 25% less GDP per capita than the US.


By johnsmith9875 on 6/21/2012 5:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Germany just makes 25% less junk products


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By mdogs444 on 6/21/2012 6:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
It's going to be well more than that. Three coal power plants in NE Ohio are being shut down thanks to Lisa "Commie" Jackson, Obama's EPA Nazi.

The estimated increase to our power bills here are 400% by 2014. Who can afford a $400 electric bill in the winter, probably double that in the summer with A/C being used very seldom?

Oh thats right, who cares - its "renewable". The only thing renewable is that the government things my wallet produces renewable dollar bills.


By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 7:48:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yup. Not looking forward to my power bills here in SC. We at least do have a nuclear plant possibly (I say possibly because I'm sure the hippies will fight it tooth and nail) coming online in a few years.

But this rampant removal of power from what they say is an already unstable, overtaxed grid is just ridiculous. And do they want to replace it with reliable, stable energy? No. They want to replace it with wind and solar at 3-4x the price that doesn't always work.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By curelom on 6/21/2012 11:06:51 AM , Rating: 2
And who does this hurt the most? The poor and elderly. The very people Obama is supposed to be championing.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 12:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. He claims no new taxes for the poor but they don't realize what is being done in the background. When their power bills skyrocket, who will be blamed? Those evil power companies.

This is why the Supreme Court opening up private companies to being able to air ads about candidates is a good thing. Before they had to remain silent as to why these things were happening. Now they can go on the air with an ad telling people why their power bills are going up and what politicians are to blame.


By tallcool1 on 6/21/2012 1:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, expect the cost of power to skyrocket! What do you think of your electric bill going up maybe 8 times as high!!! Yes, this is very likely, possibly as early as 2015.
quote:
“Last week PJM Interconnection held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt.

In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.
Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year's because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.
These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.”

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/05/22/obamas-w...


By tallcool1 on 6/21/2012 1:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, expect the cost of power to skyrocket! What do you think of your electric bill going up maybe 8 times as high!!! Yes, this is very likely, possibly as early as 2015.
quote:
“Last week PJM Interconnection held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt.

In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.
Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year's because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.
These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.”

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/05/22/obamas-w...


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By tjcinnamon on 6/21/2012 3:58:44 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
When will the poor/minorities stop buying the Democrat rhetoric about wanting to "help" them and actually realize their being enslaved?


When will the conservatives be able to mask their inherent racism?

When will the non-ultra-rich conservatives stop believing in Golden Shower economics?


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Ringold on 6/21/12, Rating: -1
By FITCamaro on 6/22/2012 8:18:58 AM , Rating: 2
Blacks are not inherently dependent based on culture. But they have long been led to believe that they deserve it and that it is "justice" for what happened to blacks in the past. That has resulted in entire generations being brought up in that mindset.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/12, Rating: -1
By tjcinnamon on 6/22/2012 10:36:37 AM , Rating: 4
Correction, you grew up in Louisiana, traditionally a Red state: 49th in poverty, 48th in high school graduation (statistics indicative of Red states)...

If anyone needs help, it is your state. It will take years to dig that state out of it's cyclical hole. But making blind cuts across the board to further ideological principles will not help that.


By Kurz on 6/21/2012 7:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
You make it sound like the Private Enterprise couldn't do it?


By Jaybus on 6/21/2012 12:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's not beating nuclear by any stretch of the imagination. The latest available data at the US EIA is:

2011 Annual Generation (in TWh)
Nuclear: 790,225
Hydro: 319,162
Renewables: 194,993 (wind, geothermal, solar, wood, biomass)

Even including hydro, (which is by far the lion's share of renewable energy), it is still only 65% of nuclear output. Since hydro cannot increase, the other renewables will have to more than double just to catch up to nuclear, which itself is less than 20% of the total production. Replace coal and natural gas? A very lofty goal indeed.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand I haven't heard of a wind turbine leaking radiation with the potential to make surrounding land unusable for centuries.


By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 10:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
And here in the US I haven't heard of a nuclear plant doing it either. At least not in the last 50 years. But I'm sure you're smarter than all those nuclear engineers who've spent their lives designing new, safer, more efficient reactors.

But then again I guess the threat of an earthquake followed by a massive tsunami is always a constant danger here in the US.....oh wait no its not.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By stimudent on 6/21/2012 12:44:05 AM , Rating: 3
The oil, gas,and coal companies will quietly put an end to this idea anyway.
Chinese innovation? Is there such a thing?! I thought everything the Chinese did was the result of copying and stealing from other countries.


By mindless1 on 6/21/2012 10:40:29 AM , Rating: 2
Their innovations are using cheap labor and quality cutting measures to make something 60% as good for 30% of the cost.

For many gadgets that doesn't cut it but for solar panels it just might.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By TSS on 6/21/2012 11:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
You're forgetting 1 thing: Numbers.

Maybe they can only copy solar panel technology. Maybe they can't make it any better then 80% of the original. But because they've put down so many factories and simply started mass mass-producing the panels, they're so cheap now that it's actually had a positive effect on renewable energy.

It's that reason why american solar panel producers are going out of business. The traditional panels where expensive so they focussed on thin-film solar panels because they expected the prices to stay high. The chinese simply brought the price down through mass production rather then efficiency, and the US companies wheren't prepared for that. An additional nail in the coffin is that traditional solar panels are more efficient then thin-film solar panels, atleast for the forseeable future.

funnily enough, the chinese didn't so much innovate as embrace true capitalism. There's no reason why the US makers couldn't decide on mass producing the stuff themselves instead of going into thin film. Well except for bureaucracy.


By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2012 11:46:50 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's that reason why american solar panel producers are going out of business.


That and there is no real demand for the product. And before people flip out and rate this down, use some logic. If there WAS demand for it, there would be a thriving solar panel industry.

There is not.


By Bad-Karma on 6/21/2012 3:32:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
it's all a commie plot to pollute our bodily fluids


I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

geez...am I the only one to catch the Dr. Strangelove reference? I must be getting old.

Believe it or not, during all the years I sat on strategic alert B-52s)that movie was always a favorite with the crews, and still is to this day!


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 7:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm just going to say it's a terrible freakin idea.

120,000 turbines across the nation does not mean 120,000 turbines producing at the maximum potential. You still have to build standby power in reserve or WAY more wind turbines. And where are we going to put them all either? Yes we have a lot of land in this country, but a lot of it isn't suitable for wind farms.

Nuclear power means no landscapes bloated with wind turbines everywhere and safe, clean, STABLE power.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Paj on 6/21/2012 7:55:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'd love to know where everyone gets these ideas that nuclear is cheap. It's not. It costs billions to build a new plant, even with subsidies. It takes years, if not decades, of planning and building before the thing can even go online. And then you have to tear it down again in a couple of decades. Then theres the problem of waste, the massive water requirements, the uranium processing and shipping.

Sure there are new meltdown proof reactor designs, but they are far from widespread, and are still expensive and often completely unproven.

My money's on thorium power. Most of the benefits of nuclear minus a lot of the drawbacks. Despite being a tree hugging hippy, I too question whether wind and solar is up to the task. An energy mix is important but I think thorium power is the ticket.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By polishvendetta on 6/21/2012 9:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
So what your saying is, we could buld 1 less F-35 and have a brand new reactor?

I'm all for this.


By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 12:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
How do you figure that a single F35 would pay for a nuclear power plant? A single F35 is about $130-150 million...even across the entire lifetime of the plane it wouldn't cost that much.


By siconik on 6/21/2012 9:50:39 AM , Rating: 4
One of main the reasons why nuclear plants cost so much is because there are forces working overtime to make them prohibitively expensive. These are incidentally the same forces that are extremely eager to put dollar value on the CO2 emissions, except when it comes to the lack thereof from nuclear plants.

The game plan is quite clear:
Step 1: Delay the plant completions for as long as possible while making operators incur billions of dollars in administrative and legal costs.
Step 2: Immediately turn around and complain that plants are not economically viable...thanks largely to Step 1.
Step 3: Demand taxation of CO2 emissions, while refusing to consider decades of C02-free power generation as part of the plant's cost structure.
Step 4: Drum circles!


By kattanna on 6/21/2012 9:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not. It costs billions to build a new plant, even with subsidies. It takes years, if not decades, of planning and building before the thing can even go online.


thats because of the endless environmental lawsuits

quote:
And then you have to tear it down again in a couple of decades


thats not true. they can easily go for 40-60 years, and probably longer, but they simply havent been around long enough yet to know.

quote:
Then theres the problem of waste,


thats purely a political issue, not a scientific issue. We know full well how to deal with it properly if we were just allowed to. Look at france, they reprocess their "waste", like we should be doing, turning it back into usable fuel.


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2012 12:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
A solar plant that could output as much energy as a nuclear plant would cost far more than a nuclear plant. But they don't exist. Not even close. Most are around or under 100 MW. A single nuclear reactor can do 500 MW on the low end. Most plants have more than one reactor. Palo Verde puts out over 3 GW with just 3 reactors(1.21 GW apiece). It only takes years of planning because of government red tape due to environmental activists.

And they don't tear them down. They seal them up. Do you think solar cells last forever? Hell no. In the 50+ years nuclear plants are open (And thats just older plants. New plants may last longer. I don't know.), you'd have to replace the solar cells in a solar plant several times since they start putting out less energy in only a handful of years.

You mention you're for thorium. That's still nuclear power genius. It's just newer designs. I'm not advocating building the plants of 50 years ago. I'm advocating building newer designs.

The water argument is also invalid. You can use sewage as they do in Palo Verde. And again, new designs don't need as much water for cooling.

You want to talk about processing and shipping? How about all the processing and shipping around wind turbines? Transporting nuclear materials isn't as dangerous as its made out to be.


By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm one reactor at San Onofre was permanently shut down after 20 years do to problems and the other rector is currently shut down with problems with engineers scratching their heads for a fix. I mean really shouldn't have they gone with Toyota instead of Mitsubishi to design a nuclear power plant?


RE: Wow, this will get everyone stirred up
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2012 10:19:08 AM , Rating: 1
There's nothing to "scream" about here because it won't happen. I didn't get mad when I read this, I laughed out loud. That goal is, literally, impossible to meet. And if it was possible, that would mean the growth and consumption rates of the United States were brought down to Third World levels.

If I were in charge of the Department of Energy I would put down protestors like sick dogs, cut away all the red tape, and get as many nuclear reactors built as possible for todays and the next generation's needs. But that would make too much sense, so it's not going to happen.


By kattanna on 6/21/2012 10:41:54 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
that would mean the growth and consumption rates of the United States were brought down to Third World levels.


to some.. that is very much THE point of it all.


In other news...
By wookie1 on 6/21/2012 12:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
100% of our electricity demand can be met with conventional generation in 2050 (including nuclear), and at much lower cost.




RE: In other news...
By FITCamaro on 6/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, there are a finite amount of fossil fuels so as we keep increasing populations and increase consumption in India and China you should reach a point where the price starts to go up dramatically. This is probably not to far off for oil, later down the road for natural gas, and even further down the road for coal.


RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
The future story could be - son when I was your age I was driven in a huge gas guzzling SUV to school, and yes through the snow.


RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
By the way increased world oil consumption has already priced gas to the point where gas guzzlers aren't selling well.


RE: In other news...
By amosbatto on 6/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: In other news...
By polishvendetta on 6/21/2012 9:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
Apple and Motorola just got thrown out of court for using the same logic.

If you have the time and resources to do a true impact analysis of anything, a single action could potentially cost trillions of dollars. Just because theres a potential doesnt mean that its actually going to happen.

If you truly want to factor in the respiratory diseases and other helath problems then you should also factor in all of the government money spent paying for those through social security and disability. Which means you also need to factor in all of the taxes americans pay. This can go on forever.


RE: In other news...
By Dorkyman on 6/21/2012 10:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, brother. Here we go with the Global Warming crap again.

Only it appears you didn't get the memo. You are now to refer to it as Climate Change. That way, when the reality doesn't match the theory, you can always say, "Well, the climate is changing, isn't it?"

Anyway, I'll wager you are a very unhappy person, yes? What a pessimistic outlook. But you forgot the whales, and the polar bears on shrinking ice floes.


RE: In other news...
By knutjb on 6/21/2012 12:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Once you start factoring in the negative externalities, fossil fuels are much more expensive than renewables. Start adding up the costs of respiratory diseases, acid rain, lower agricultural output from ground level ozone, the nervous disorders from mercury, the ground water contamination and cancers from coal mining and natural gas fracking, and the relocation and health problems of all the people who lived on the 400 Appalachian mountains that we have leveled.
Yep, our life span is getting shorter every day... Agricultural output has be negatively impacted more by environmentalist shutting down water sources than ozone. Ground water contamination from fracking has been disproved a number of times. Some water sources have naturally high methane content. Try talking to a geologist.

The analysis you are using is distorted with subjectivity. To place any confidence in the IPCC is foolish at best. They are the political tool trying to push wealth redistribution. They haven't been held accountable for false documentation, the hockey stick. Credibility is woefully lacking much the way it is with the East Anglia University climatologists. Ethics do matter.

I'm for clean air and water. I'm not for sabotaging stability and safety for a political motive that has many possible solutions that have great promise vs limited choices by extreme ideology.


RE: In other news...
By amosbatto on 6/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:23:19 PM , Rating: 1
The anti global warming crowd are the same as the anti evolution crowd. They discount science as just another opinion, those "wacky academics" You really can't reach the aggressively ignorant.


RE: In other news...
By knutjb on 6/21/2012 10:04:44 PM , Rating: 3
Yes I have read it. The first time it still had the hockey stick temp chart, before reality got in the way. I also looked at who was peer reviewing the material. After a little research group A approved group B who approved group C who approved group A. Hansen is corrupt. He conducts his work with preconceived notions, that is he is looking for evidence to prove his theory rather than objectively analyzing it. As to the books you've read have any of them been spot on accurate, most dire warnings I have read we should all be under water by now. Fear mongering is easy.

quote:
The problem is that many people refuse to believe what they find to be inconvenient. You can deny that global temperatures have risen by 0.8 C, that CO2 has risen from 280 to 390 PPM, that the oceans have risen by 20cm, the North Pole has lost 40% of its ice, but that doesn't make it reality. Of course it is easier to deny the basic science than change how you live. Most people would rather lie to themselves than face reality and then honestly ask what needs to be done to fix the problem.
My doubts have to do with their "science" not whether it is inconvenient. My problem is the political machine behind it. This is nothing more than a power grab that wants to take money from one group and pass it to another group. With all the corruption in the UN I don't buy what they are selling. You are pushing numbers without context. The North Pole had a lot more ice during the last ice age and I remember all dire sky is falling tripe that we were causing a global ice age in the 70s.

quote:
Anyone who simply dismisses the science on global warming is mere political propaganda is either ignorant of basic science or has a basic refusal to face reality.
Your understanding of "science" is naive. Most of these predictions have been based on computer models that are laden with flaws. The constant reliance on consensus, the talk is over is not behaving scientifically. Science does get it wrong more often than not. Theories are just that. They are not facts as most with your ideology try to use them. Do your history. I choose to read the data presented and research the backgrounds of those involved. That is where my distrust comes from. I won’t drink the koolaide you are pushing.

Because I don’t agree with you doesn’t make me the fool that you try to imply. I think you have the right to be wrong. Do a little more history and check the backgrounds of those involved. If you are happy with their version of consensus good for you. I don’t trust consensus as they have put it. There is too much going on in the background. Think skeptically, read the documents (including those from whom you disagree), question all the money transfers and who is overseeing it. If that doesn’t give you pause, go right ahead and jump of the cliff with all the other lemmings.


RE: In other news...
By Ringold on 6/21/2012 10:41:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with all that knutjb, plus one thing you didnt mention: Even if the IPCC is right, economists of various stripes take their own data and the case of spending more then token sums of money on CO2 abatement programs is extremely weak, IF our top priority is to maximize humanities long-term prosperity.

If the goal is preserve the bygone holocene climate, well then, economic theory no longer applies, only mass suicide (or Japanese style birth rates) is the answer.


RE: In other news...
By NellyFromMA on 6/22/2012 9:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
Fact is, those models do have flaws, because no man (or woman) truly understands the nature of, well... nature.


RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the increased food prices have really put the hurt on poor population around the world. You just haven't noticed it because you live in a western country.


RE: In other news...
By knutjb on 6/21/2012 10:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually the increased food prices have really put the hurt on poor population around the world. You just haven't noticed it because you live in a western country.
What arrogance, because I live somewhere I am unable to undestand the plight of those suffering elsewhere. I am hurting from this economy too.

I have traveled the world and most of the problems I have seen have to do with corrupt governments squandering monies from misguided western governments who think money will fix everything. Private entities do far more for the suffering than your socialism puports to.


RE: In other news...
By Ringold on 6/21/2012 10:45:17 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. At various points in the 1900s, South Korea and Singapore had equal levels of development with much of Africa. Africa leaned towards Marxism, statism, and autocracies, whereas East Asia embraced export-lead growth and free-market reforms.

Today, the common African worries about if they can get mosquito nets so their children dont get bit, infected with malaria, and die. South Koreans worry when they'll be able to buy a Galaxy S3. The poor people of the world at this point have no one to blame but their own governments or, in the case of poor people living in democracies, themselves.


RE: In other news...
By Solandri on 6/21/2012 4:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Once you start factoring in the negative externalities, fossil fuels are much more expensive than renewables.

Completely agreed. We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels ASAP. Right now, the only technology which can replace them is nuclear. That means we should be building out new nuclear plants by the dozen. So why aren't we?

See, the environmental movement has boxed themselves in here. They want to portray fossil fuels as really bad. But if they're portrayed as too bad, then replacing them quickly becomes a high priority. And solar and wind just are ready yet as an expedient replacement - only nuclear is.

So environmentalists are left trying to wriggle a fine line. If fossil fuels are really bad, then we need to replace them with nuclear right now. If they're not so bad, then there's no need to rush to develop solar and wind. So they have to be just bad enough to where nuclear isn't an option, yet we still need to push solar and wind.

This is the problem that crops up when you start off with a preordained conclusion ("our energy must come from solar, wind, and hydro"), and try to come up with reasoning to make sure you arrive at that conclusion. What you're supposed to do instead is look at the reasons (fossil fuels are bad, solar and wind are much more expensive than nuclear), and based on those reasons arrive at a conclusion (nuclear will have to be our primary power source for the next 25-50 years).


RE: In other news...
By Ringold on 6/21/2012 10:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Solandri, you skirt around the core of the environmentalists goals but don't quite hit it. They protest fossil fuels, pointing out they aren't that clean. They protest nuclear because it works. They protest solar plants in the desert because of desert tortoises. They protest wind farms because they disrupt birds, or their view.

They protest everything, why? Because mankind depends on energy, and mankind is an evil plague upon precious mother Earth, and the best way to cut back on that plague is to starve the global economy of cheap energy.

At least thats the only logical conclusion possible from a group of Marxist-ideal espousing hippies that are on record protesting all of that; if no energy source is up to snuff, their true position must in fact be anti-energy.


RE: In other news...
By johnsmith9875 on 6/21/2012 5:29:35 PM , Rating: 3
100% of our electricity demand could have been met with renewables by now if we actually went through with our plans in the 1970s.

If we had trailblazed renewable energy its possible Russia would not have had Chernobyl, Harrisburg would not have had Three Mile Islan, and Japan would not be struggling with Fukushima.

Coulda woulda shoulda


RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
90% of us could have flying cars by 2100.


RE: In other news...
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
"Hydropower, which is the largest renewable player in the game today, will actually be used less over the next few decades."

Uhm, I really don't think they are going to turn off the power from large hydro electric sources. I'm assuming as demand keeps going up the percentage of hydro power will go down. My understanding is that we have pretty much maxed out large hydro in the US so the power output depending on rainfall will remain about the same for the foreseeable future.


More money down the drain
By knutjb on 6/21/2012 1:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
While 80 percent may be a tough goal, the study mentioned that renewables could fully supply 50 percent of electricity in 2050


quote:
A new study shows that renewable energy sources could "adequately" power 80 percent of the United States' electricity demand in 2050.


50% or 80%, which is it? Delusional or more delusional?

Given the current admin's hyper politicization of the EPA; I think those who "created" this study are not likely to be objective. It smacks of the usual diatribe, wind, solar, biomass with a reduction in hydro power. Lets see, half of the Pacific Northwest is powered by hydro and it is to be replaced by this?

This is nothing more than a public funded political ad.




RE: More money down the drain
By johnsmith9875 on 6/21/2012 5:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
So the NREL is now not allowed to advertise its findings because it doesn't agree with your particular political biases?


RE: More money down the drain
By knutjb on 6/22/2012 12:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
They are a government agency pushing a poiltical message. I don't think it is right to cram their view of "scientific research" down my throat with my money.

Government has had a poor track record, this one in particular, with picking winners. They would have been better off buying lottery tickets.

I don't mind government funded research either, that is, until the point of the research is to push a political POV. That is all NREL is for, making a political view appear factual when it's merely contrived.


On lofty goals
By ShieTar on 6/21/2012 8:14:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This means that the U.S. would have to build over 10 gigawatts per year for a little under 40 years. This equals to 2,500 to 3,000 turbines per year. This is a bit lofty.


Given that over 8 GigaWatt of new windenergy were installed in the US in 2011, 10GW in europe and even 18GW in China, I don't really see what is all that "lofty" about this plans. Industrial development goes on, and surely we will be able to improve power efficiency, implementation cost and maintenance needs of these stations. I honestly would be surprised if we can't significantly increase the 2011 numbers to achieve 100 GW/year world-wide over the next decade.

Add to that the naturally ocurring, completely unforced trends to decrease energy consumption: Consumer electronics get "greener" just because it makes them portable, or silent, which are properties in demand these days. Companies get slowly, but surely used to Video-Conferences and PC-supported Teleconferences and travel less, and privately people (specifically younger people) also travel a little less due to improved methods of electronic communication.

So I am rather positive that just with how things are going right now, the US and Europe, hopefully China as well, will hit 100% renewable in the second half of this century, without any big revolutions required to achieve it. Then we can use all that petrol for chemical products instead of burning it, and all the Uranium for medical and scientifiy applications instead of using it for energy.

And engineers get to work on the interesting problems posed by efficient energy storage systems. Which seem to be about as advanced today as automobile were in 1900, so there is a lot to do and a lot to gain there yet.




RE: On lofty goals
By ilt24 on 6/21/2012 8:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
Denmark's goal seems a bit more lofty.

Denmark: 100% reliant on renewable energy in 2050

http://www.designtoimprovelife.dk/index.php?option...


RE: On lofty goals
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:26:33 PM , Rating: 2
wow, ever the optimist


Where will the LFTR come into play?
By Stiggalicious on 6/21/2012 10:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
Having lived in Iowa, Illinois, and Texas, all big states for wind power, I can say the entire thing doesn't make any sense for providing the nation with power. Texas winds are hardly reliable and with the way the energy is generated, we simply can't transport it in any reasonable or cheap way. Big power plants like nuclear or coal plants can send off their power easily and cheaply because they have fewer high-voltage transformers rather than many low-voltage transformers. This means higher efficiency and lower complexity (and cost).
Solar plants take up too much space to provide enogh energy, and the unreliability of sunlight requires the additional construction of gas, oil, or coal turbines to supplement the solar or wind.

The LFTR, however, can safely, easily, and cheaply produce reliable power and because the design can be highly modularized, they can put small plants near small cities and large plants near large cities. Because Thorium is more common than lead in the earth and becasue it doesn't need any enrichment, it's a dirt-cheap fuel to use. An energy density 10 million times that of coal? I'll take that any time. After thorium is burned in a reactor, its radioactive byproducts are 98% smaller in volume than traditional PWR plants' waste and the radiactivity is only dangerous for 200 years instead of 2000+ years. LFTRs operate at atmospheric pressure as well, so the piping complexities are completely gone.
With the costs of thorium fuel being incredibly low, the simple design of a thorium ractor, and the significant reduction in nuclear waste, we could see 1-2 cents per kWh...
The LFTR also operates at a negative temperature regulation coefficient, so that the hotter the reactor gets, the slower the reaction gets. It's completely passively safe, and with the addition of a freeze plug, if power shuts down to cooling pumps, the contents of the reactor get automatically dumped into a holding/cooling tank where it freezes. To restart the reaction again, it simply needs to be re-heated and pumped back into the reaction chamber.




By amosbatto on 6/21/2012 3:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
As you say, wind and solar are highly variable, because you can't depend on the wind blowing steadily or the sun shining in any one place, so you have to build a lot of extra capacity and be able to transfer the generated energy from regions where the wind is blowing or the sun is shining to places which need the energy. With conventional AC power lines, there is a great deal of energy loss and alternative energy doesn't make much sense. However, converting to high voltage DC would make alternative energy viable, because it can transport energy for great distances with little loss. The question is whether we have the political will to build high voltage DC.

As for nuclear, it is far more expensive than even solar and it carries huge risks. Without huge government subsidies nuclear is not viable. If we had fast breeder technology in production and reprocessed our old nuclear waste so we didn't have to dig up new uranium, nuclear might be sustainable, but that isn't how it is currently done. More importantly, the US nuclear regulators are so lax, that nuclear accidents are almost bound to occur. Most of the US nuclear plants should have been retired by now, but the regulators are allowing the old plants to keep running well past their 40 year lifetimes and to operate at energy levels beyond design capacity. The plants were not designed for that kind of abuse. Eventually we will have a serious accident and that will be the end of nuclear power in the US.


By johnsmith9875 on 6/21/2012 5:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
The most reliable winds are offshore. There are spots in the continental USA which have quite good wind though.
NREL already did the math and the field work, just hit their site and download the JPEG maps.


go nuclear!!
By lenardo on 6/21/2012 10:39:03 AM , Rating: 2
the problem with wind is...wind is variable, a recent study of britains installed base said that on average it generated somewhere between 20-30% of the rated capacity,

take this into perspective when going wind only- you need to install 5x the capacity (a 1 gigawatt winds plant needs ~5 gigawatts installed to - averagely- generate 1 gigawatt of energy) to even out

thorium. the US NEEDS to get a modernized pilot lftr thorium plant going asap.

there is enough known thorium deposits in the US alone to power the country for several centuries-we don't LOOK for it either.

as what was said above, thorium power plants could revolutionize energy production in the US, we could replace every coal plant with thorium, we could build a thorium plant -essentially- anywhere in the US with minimal impact- ok we'd use more water but with recycling of steam etc, it would be not a huge impact,etc etc.

then we'd just have to wait until lenr power is viable to take over.




RE: go nuclear!!
By Jeffk464 on 6/21/2012 6:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but wind is like hydro where it has a pretty good payoff.


RE: go nuclear!!
By shin0bi272 on 6/22/2012 12:14:05 AM , Rating: 2
except that the turbines heat up the atmosphere around them and the wind doesnt always blow so its NOTHING like hydro... youve been thinking with your bong again havent you?


Gigawatt
By bkiserx7 on 6/20/2012 8:57:47 PM , Rating: 3
This just in -
By Dr of crap on 6/21/2012 8:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
predictions, like any future telling, it just that and is like spreading a rumor - get you nowhere!

I for one am so tired of reading about this COULD be the next big thing, or this is how the future of look...ect.

Enough already! Unless you spend more time and PROVE it's REALLY possible DON'T WRITE ABOUT IT ANYMORE!




By kamiller422 on 6/21/2012 11:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
Ford says their cars are the best. McDonalds says we should be eating their burgers. Coca Cola says "Cokes is it!"

Too much self-interest. Follow the money trail.




Just the beginning...
By MStraub on 6/21/2012 12:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
80% by 2050 using only the renewables we really know about today... well then isn't it safe to say 100% is possible just because of innovations coming along today that we're only scratching the surface of? For example, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), it creates a non-stop flow of power from the temperature difference in shallow and deep water. It's proven, zero emission, and affordable power just waiting to be tapped offshore. (No drilling under the sea required)

OTEC is ready to join in the fight today, and many countries around the world are already pushing hard to see it on a large scale. Just imagine how many more ideas like OTEC will be proven and rolling in the next couple decades...

To see how OTEC works for yourself visit The On Project.
http://www.theonproject.org/otec/?utm_source=daily...




you know....
By shin0bi272 on 6/22/2012 12:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
Oil is a renewable resource just not renewable by us. 65million years ago today a certain number of animals and plants died. Tomorrow will be the same thing. So the earth is constantly making oil making it a renewable resource... whats that? oh you meant you wanted to run the US on federally funded "green" energy? BWAH HA HA HA HA AH HA HA HA HA HA Yeah right.. I think you've been smoking a little green energy.




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