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Old 07-08-2011, 12:07 AM   #191 (permalink)
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Why We Have No Wind or Solar Power

I did not go very far back in to this thread since it seems like it has devolved in to a discussion about nuke plants and global politics.

The title is:

"Why We Have No Wind or Solar Power"

It is not true that we have none. Any one of you could look it up. The problem with wind and solar power is that it is not reliable as a constant source of power. The federal agencies, NERC, FERC and whoever, demand that the power companies have reliable, constant and manageable sources of electricity so you all can charge your devices, watch TV and charge your electric cars. In spite of what you may believe, the wind doesn't always blow and the sun isn't available 24 hours per day.

Stop *****ing about it and work toward a managed progression to "renewable resource" powered electricity. First you have to define that "renewable" resource. Then you have to figure out how to make it reliably produce electricity 24/7. Until then, we are stuck with coal, oil, gas powered plants.

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:17 AM   #192 (permalink)
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you oil shill!


(when you get your payment from Big Oil, let me know - I've been waiting for years for my compensation for being a shill, too)
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:43 AM   #193 (permalink)
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Renewable energy like solar and wind have short term fluctuations, but that doesn't make them unusable. In fact, if we build them over a broad enough area, they can provide a very steady and predictable power source. Wind turbines produce a steady 35-45% of the total capacity virtually all the time, if they are spread out over a broad enough area. The wind in places like South Dakota is very constant. Both USA coasts and the center of the country have way more wind than it would take to produce ALL the power we need.

And there are several other renewable sources that are controllable; like biogas or geothermal. Wave power and tidal power are also very constant.

The sun's energy that hits the Earth in ONE HOUR is enough to power the entire world for ONE YEAR. If you factor in our ability to collect it, etc. it only takes ONE WEEK. Enough wind power is available in ONE MONTH to power the entire world for a whole year. So, in one month from solar and wind alone we could have 5X as much energy as we need for a whole year.

Storage is not a problem either: we already have at least 2 ways to do this. Hydro plants with an elevated reservoir is one way, and another is to store compressed air underground in spent natural gas fields. Solar heat plants can store molten salt underground that stays very hot for days. Biofuels can be stored long term. Geothermal is stored in the Earth's core.

These energy sources will last as long as the Earth does -- virtually forever. They use zero fuel, and produce zero pollution. They have no need for military protection, and cannot be used to make bombs, and they can't explode or burn or cave in. They are not dominated by certain countries, and can't be shut off by anybody. The money we pay for them stays in our local economy.

What's not to like?
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #194 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
The sun's energy that hits the Earth in ONE HOUR is enough to power the entire world for ONE YEAR.
That gives a rather exaggerated idea of the amount of energy actually available, because a lot of it is already being used, to run things like photosynthesis and atmospheric/hydrospheric circulation.

It's also quite misleading to suggest that winds completely even out over large areas, because there are significant daily & seasonal changes, plus changes due to large-scale weather systems.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #195 (permalink)
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oil shill

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Originally Posted by t vago View Post
you oil shill!


(when you get your payment from Big Oil, let me know - I've been waiting for years for my compensation for being a shill, too)
You're not getting your money? You need to check on that.

Yup, that's what you get called for pointing out the realities of a situation.

Storage is a huge problem. You can't store Alternating Current Electricity. You can convert it to Direct Current and use batteries but that is not very efficient and you have to convert it back to AC when it is needed. You will need BIG batteries.

You can't just keep all the water you use for hydro generation. There are regulations, agreements, treaties, etc. about how much you have to pass down stream for others to use.

Mother Earth doesn't really like getting a compressed air enema. Or a compressed liquid enema. Look up fracking. Storing molten anything underground may have "unintended" (read ignored possible) consequences. Underground storage can cave in. Anything under pressure can explode.

I never said solar or wind power was unusable, just peaky.

Geothermal is a great idea. It is not practical everywhere. Tidal and wave power generation is good too but not without other environmental concerns.

I said before:
Quote:
Originally Posted by taredog View Post
work toward a managed progression to "renewable resource" powered electricity
Until then we are stuck with coal, oil and gas fired power plants. Or rationed electricity. That's going to make it tough to recharge those ZEVs.

Unless one of you discovers that huge secret unicorn storage corral the government has. Sponsored by big oil of course. I have been told that unicorn farts have an unlimited amount of BTUs. They may even be able to be converted directly in to AC power without any generation plants. Those sparkly things you see surrounding unicorns have unlimited energy potential too.

Some think the corral is near Groom Lake NV. I think it's in Tooele UT.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:10 PM   #196 (permalink)
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Hydro with an elevated reservoir is a (more or less) closed system. Since you are storing excess solar and/or wind, you pump water up above the hydro station to the reservoir. It sits there until you need some additional base load, and then you let some of the water down through the generators, and hold it in another reservoir; to be be pumped back up to the high reservoir when you can.

Air in place of methane should not be a problem. Once a natural gas field is depleted, it could be used to store compressed air.

Geothermal can be done in more places than where it is naturally near the surface. Deep drilling can let water be pumped down, and then capture the steam.

I think the environmental problems with oil, gas, coal and nuclear are obvious and abundant. Can you name any issues with solar PV or solar heat or wind or wave or tidal power that even approach a small fraction of the problems with the finite energy we are now using?

Oil is finite. Coal is finite. Gas is finite. Even nuclear is finite -- uranium is not unlimited, and can we accumulate spent fuel rods forever?

The Great Fusion Reactor in the Sky is close to infinite. All the other renewable energies originate with the sun, except geothermal. They all will last as long as the Earth does.

So, let's review: finite energies will run out pretty soon, they will pollute the environment we depend on for our life, they will cost more and more as they dwindle away.

Renewable energies on the other hand, will never run out as long as the Earth exists, they have no pollution, and they will cost less over time, because we can build each generation of gathering system with renewable energy.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:19 AM   #197 (permalink)
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Depends on your definitions of "pretty soon", and "renewable". After all, wood is a renewable resource, but there are definite problems with burning a whole lot of it. Pollution from wood smoke is very real (there are many days we cannot use our fireplace due to the thermal inversion layer over the Bay Area!), and deforestation is a real concern when lots of people are burning wood.

On the other hand, there is an awful lot of fissionable material in the earth.


None of these solutions are perfect. Everything has drawbacks. I'm guessing it will take a mix of different solutions and technologies to approach a real solution, if we ever do solve our power problems. Or maybe someone will actually invent a fusion reactor that produces more power than it consumes, and do an end-run around all of these issues. Who knows?

All we can do is keep trying.

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Old 07-12-2011, 03:44 AM   #198 (permalink)
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All we can do is keep trying.
Or we can keep our collective heads in the sand, not be proactive, and just keep increasing per capita demand and the demand base right up until a crisis point of no return is reached.

On a related note, I really love how Dodge is spamming the **** outta EM with Durango ads. Yes, that's what we need, a V8 SUV for all our daily tearing around. :/
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:45 PM   #199 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I think the environmental problems with oil, gas, coal and nuclear are obvious and abundant.
Except that there aren't any significant problems with nuclear that aren't rooted in ignorance and mass hysteria.

Quote:
Renewable energies on the other hand, will never run out as long as the Earth exists, they have no pollution...
But they do, or they can have if not built properly. Consider the environmental destruction caused by large fields of solar panels sited on undeveloped lands, for instance.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:56 PM   #200 (permalink)
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And oil fields and refineries and mountaintop removal have lots of this sort of problem. Renewable energy have no fuel and so they do not have air or water or radiation pollution.

Nuclear power has lots of problems: who pays for decommissioning? Nuclear power plants have leaking radioactive water, the risk of catastrophic failure, mining uranium is hardly safe, and we have yet to come up with an answer for the long term storage of spent fuel -- plutonium remains dangerously radioactive for about 100,000 YEARS and it is also extremely poisonous, and of course terrorists would love to get hold of some... So, other than that, no problems at all.

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