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-   -   Al Gore's 10 year challenge to the USA (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/al-gores-10-year-challenge-usa-3897.html)

NeilBlanchard 07-18-2008 07:17 AM

Al Gore's 10 year challenge to the USA
 
Hello,

Al Gore gave a speech today at D. A. R. Constitution Hall, in which he challenges us to convert over to 100% renewable energy sources for our electricity in 10 years.

Al Gore: 'We Need A New Start' : NPR

You can listen to the speech using the link in the upper left -- please do listen.

He speaks of three major problems that all can be solved by doing this:

* The economic problems brought on by high energy prices

* The security problems brought on by our dependence on a finite energy source

* The environmental challenges of burning carbon fuels are numerous.

He has started a web site called We Can Solve It, where you can get other details:

We Can Solve It

NeilBlanchard 07-18-2008 07:18 AM

Hello,

The cost estimate from the Scientific American "Grand Solar Plan" (which was to provide 69% of all our electrical needs) was just 420 billion. Not too much really.

That is for ~30,000 square miles of mostly photovoltaic panels, with some solar heat collection (which I prefer), high voltage DC transmission (very efficient apparently -- only 10% loss from coast to coast!) and it included underground compressed air storage to cache excess power, which then provides power when the solar systems are not producing enough. Also, a large company recently released some details about a system that used molten salt to hold high heat (1100F) for a long time, so overnight generation from solar heat plants is doable, if not for longer.

Here's the article (though they have pulled the nice images that were in it at the beginning):
A Solar Grand Plan: Scientific American

They were shooting for 2050 -- quite a bit longer than what Al Gore is proposing.

If we were to combine this "grand solar plan" with what Lester R. Brown proposes in Plan B 3.0 -- which is to build 1.5 million 2MW wind turbines (using some idled assembly lines?) by 2020; to replace ALL the coal fired power plants! Again, not quite as fast as what Al Gore is proposing -- but the coal plants are also about 70% of our electricity; and they are by far the worst offenders in carbon dioxide output.

And T. Boone Pickens seems to agree. :o

If we add in geothermal deep drilling, and/or wave power along the coasts (or offshore wind power!), then I think it is doable -- and trying is everything! We will see immediate benefits! And as Al Gore points out -- we will see huge improvements on three fronts all at once.

The savings from scaling back (and stopping?) the Iraq War alone could easily pay for this.

echomodder 07-18-2008 09:15 AM

DC transmission is VERY inefficient. Just Thomas Edison.:)

PS The war has cost us ~600B. When GB took office we were 4.5Trillon in debt. Now we're ~10Trillon in debt! I here people complaining about the cost of the war all the time & I must say I'm sick of it. We can debate whether the war is good or bad, just or unjust, but the cost of war is irrelevant. If we are in a just war(I don't think Iraq is, not since we stopped LOOKING for the WMD's) if that just war(ie. WWI, WWII) costs us 15T if our way of life is under attack the the cost is irrelevant. What I want to know is where did the other 4.9Trillon go?

echomodder 07-18-2008 09:29 AM

As for offshore wind power our good friend Teddy will never let that happen.

NeilBlanchard 07-18-2008 09:52 AM

That's what I thought, too.
 
Hello,

That's what I thought (about DC transmission), too. But apparently, we are both wrong. The Scientific American proposal is the first place that I heard this -- but it has been confirmed by several other credible sources. We live and learn, right?

You are forgetting that we had a surplus when GWB took office -- they then fought over how to "spend" it.

The Iraq War is costing us ~10 Billion dollars per month, or about 200 Million per day -- and that may be just for the military. We are borrowing that money, so the interest over time will easily put the cost well over 1 Trillion dollars.

If we were to spend just a fraction of that money on energy independence, as Al Gore is proposing, not only would we not need to fight in Iraq, we would stop spending $2,600,000,000 PER DAY on oil. (Based on 20 million barrels / day @ $130 / barrel).

ALL of that money goes to the oil companies and to the countries where we buy it!

Add to this that we can stop mining coal, and we can use natural gas for heating (and to run some vehicles?) -- the positives add up pretty quickly.

If we spend the money on building the solar, wind, and grid infrastructure -- we employ a lot of Americans -- and the only cost for our electricity would be for maintenance. The energy itself would be "free".

We improve our security.

We improve our economy.

We improve our environment.



Why would we not do this?

echomodder 07-18-2008 10:16 AM

I totally agree!:) We need to get off foreign energy. I use to be a republican but since this spending spree I can't stand them now. Although I don't think the dem's will do any better. I have no choice in this election. As for the natural gas that comes from drilling too, and also needs to be refined.

PS. As to the surplus the main reason for that surplus was all the company's getting ready for Y2K. The explosion of the internet was a big factor too. All the rush to get up and running made for a lot of money being spent. So thats were the surplus came from. Again where did the other 4.9Trillon go?

rsx2002 07-18-2008 10:25 AM

Its too big of a project for our politicians to handle. They are too hung of on partisan issues to get anything done. GWB has something like a 20% aprroval rating last I heard. Democrats are always running there mouth about it, but I heard today on CNN the newest polls say congress has a 14% approval rating lol. The congress that Democrats have ran for the last two years...you know the two years the gas prices went up $2. Nobody is getting anything done! Ive always thought there needs to term limits in congress, only problem is congress themselves would have to pass that law...which would never ever happen. Why get in a hurry when they have 50 years of service left to accomplish there goals.

Duffman 07-18-2008 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by echomodder (Post 45227)
DC transmission is VERY inefficient. Just Thomas Edison.:)

Not an electrical engineer are you?
HVDC is very efficient. I know Hydro Quebec uses it and it is used extesively by Manitoba Hydro where the bulk of the provinces power is generated in the north and used or sold to the south.

http://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/ar/...ilitiesMap.pdf
Converter Stations

As I understand it, there is no inductive resistance with DC and there is a phenominon in AC where the current clings to the perimeter of the conductor, so the conductance of the core is wasted.

jamesqf 07-18-2008 03:10 PM

DC is apparently more efficient at higher voltages. I used to work for a utility (developing powerflow & stability software), and there are a number of very high voltage (1 MV, IIRC) long-distance interties out there.

As to the program, I don't think that totally renewable is doable in any realistic time frame. But build nuclear to replace a lot of the current coal-fired generation and provide a system base generation, and you can build to 30-40% or so solar & wind. Beyond that, you need an efficient storage mechanism, and all the ones I've seen lose a significant fraction of what they store.

Arminius 07-18-2008 04:01 PM

The past couple of presidents ended their terms concerned about their legacy. Each of was concerned that they had done nothing of major benefit for the country. Yet the energy issue was staring them right in the face. A comprehensive energy policy is what this country has needed since the 70's, and no one has made a major push for it (yes, there has been a lot of talk). The president that enacts this type of policy, no matter if it is somewhat flawed, will have a legacy worth bragging about.

Whoops 07-18-2008 04:01 PM

I'm not keen on anything Al Gore has to say. I got pretty disillusioned when I found out that his claim to utilizing totally green energy on his estate, stemmed from the fact that he is purchasing energy credits. His credibility was totally shot, for me, at that point.

The man is a politician, first and last. He's interested in telling you something to make himself stand out as a good guy and pointing the finger at someone else, as the bad guy.

Arminius 07-18-2008 04:15 PM

I agree that Gore is one of the worst examples of how to live. His annual use of electricity and fossil fuel is more than some use in 10 years. He has a Prius in his fleet of cars, but flies all over the place in a jet. However, if the foolish speak the wisdom of the wise, who is harmed?

cfg83 07-18-2008 04:17 PM

Duffman -

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duffman (Post 45326)
Not an electrical engineer are you?
HVDC is very efficient. I know Hydro Quebec uses it and it is used extesively by Manitoba Hydro where the bulk of the provinces power is generated in the north and used or sold to the south.

http://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/ar/...ilitiesMap.pdf
Converter Stations

As I understand it, there is no inductive resistance with DC and there is a phenominon in AC where the current clings to the perimeter of the conductor, so the conductance of the core is wasted.

I thought the big reason DC lost was because of transmission line losses :

War of Currents - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:

Transmission loss
The advantage of AC for distributing power over a distance is due to the ease of changing voltages with a transformer. Power is the product current × voltage (P = IV). For a given amount of power, a low voltage requires a higher current and a higher voltage requires a lower current. Since metal conducting wires have a certain resistance, some power will be wasted as heat in the wires. This power loss is given by P = I²R. Thus, if the overall transmitted power is the same, and given the constraints of practical conductor sizes, low-voltage, high-current transmissions will suffer a much greater power loss than high-voltage, low-current ones. This holds whether DC or AC is used.

Transforming DC power from one voltage to another was difficult and expensive due to the need for a large spinning rotary converter or motor-generator set, whereas with AC the voltage changes can be done with simple and efficient transformer coils that have no moving parts and require no maintenance. This was the key to the success of the AC system. Modern transmission grids regularly use AC voltages up to 765,000 volts. [10]

If you generate the electricity locally, i.e. your roof, then DC is fine. The problem, of course, is we live in an AC world, so you need the DC-to-AC inverter to "work with" the legacy infrastructure.

CarloSW2

Duffman 07-18-2008 04:45 PM

Check my 2 links above Carlos, it exists and the reason they use it is because it works.

cfg83 07-18-2008 05:03 PM

Duffman -

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duffman (Post 45407)
Check my 2 links above Carlos, it exists and the reason they use it is because it works.

I wasn't disagreeing with you. I am talking about the historical context.

CarloSW2

atomicradish 07-18-2008 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arminius (Post 45399)
I agree that Gore is one of the worst examples of how to live. His annual use of electricity and fossil fuel is more than some use in 10 years. He has a Prius in his fleet of cars, but flies all over the place in a jet. However, if the foolish speak the wisdom of the wise, who is harmed?

To be fair, a politican hardly has the time to drive across country.

Arminius 07-18-2008 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by atomicradish (Post 45423)
To be fair, a politican hardly has the time to drive across country.

His life hasn't changed since he was a politician. He's one of the ultra-rich, and he lives like it. But he's not the subject of this thread, per se. I'd rather have someone lives like David Suzuki (a Candadian, however) to be the poster boy. He lives like he believes what he's saying, and he did it when there was nothing personal to be gained from it.

LUVMY02CREW 07-19-2008 02:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard (Post 45217)
to build 1.5 million 2MW wind turbines

WOW......1.5million/50 states=30,000 per state.....30,000 here in TN/95 counties=315 per county (not that all counties would even be wind worthy of a tower)

I personally am still undecided on these huge turbines...I was watching a few minutes of the Tour de France the other day and the helicopter shot of the peleton gracefully flowing through the countryside was, for me, rather ruined when they passed a turbine field that stuck out like a sore thumb....:confused:

It's also hard for me to listen to someone(A.G.) talking the talk, when it's pretty obvious he's not walking the walk:rolleyes:

NeilBlanchard 07-19-2008 08:20 AM

Hello,

Texas has the most wind turbines of any state at the moment. And I think California has a lot. Every farm in the upper midwest could have dozens of wind turbines, and off both coasts are perfect places for turbines.

The town of Hull, Massachusetts has two so far, and they are building 4 more. I've been able to get very close to them.

When they produce your electrical power, they are a beautiful thing. Much better than a smoke stack, don't you think?

dcb 07-19-2008 09:29 AM

I'd rather see windmills than nuclear cooling towers. Nuclear just makes some nasty byproducts that we will be leaving behind for the next generation to deal with. It would be much better stewardship to shoot for renewable all the way, and money well spent IMHO.

basjoos 07-19-2008 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cfg83 (Post 45400)
I thought the big reason DC lost was because of transmission line losses :

If you generate the electricity locally, i.e. your roof, then DC is fine. The problem, of course, is we live in an AC world, so you need the DC-to-AC inverter to "work with" the legacy infrastructure.

CarloSW2

The reason AC won out over DC was because the DC transformer hadn't been invented back in Thomas Edison's day, and he had no way to step up DC voltages the way that Westinghouse could with his AC power for long distance transmission. When the voltage goes up, then the current goes down, and you want a as low a current as possible to avoid resistance losses when sending electricity a long way down a wire. By the time that the DC transformer was invented in the 1960's, AC transmission had long been the dominant technology. But now that we have DC transformers that can step up the voltages needed for long distance transmission, DC has become the most efficient way to transmit electrical power long distance since it isn't forming and collapsing an Electro-Magnetic Field 120X a sec (@60HZ). This EMF induces electical currents in any nearby metal objects. Just try grabbing onto a unpowered wire that runs for several hundred feet parallel next to a high tension line, I had fun with induced currents when stringing electric fence wire in my field next to a high tension power line. You would think the fence had already been connected to a weak charger. This stray EMF can also light up a fluorescent tube carried under the power line. All of this represents line losses from AC that don't occur with DC.

cfg83 07-19-2008 01:14 PM

basjoos -

Thanks for the clarification. Soooooo, if you were building an electricity infrastructure from scratch, then DC would be superior.

CarloSW2

jamesqf 07-19-2008 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cfg83 (Post 45587)
Soooooo, if you were building an electricity infrastructure from scratch, then DC would be superior.

Not really. DC is good for long intertie lines carrying lots of power from point A to point B, but A/C works better when you have an interconnected web of transmission & distribution, with power being generated & used at many points along the way.

NeilBlanchard 07-21-2008 12:58 PM

Hi,

Here's a level-headed and realistic appraisal of Al Gore's proposal, on ArsTechnica:

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Timmer
Last Thursday, former presidential candidate and Nobel Laureate Al Gore gave a speech in which he called for a national effort to get the entire US electric grid operating on a carbon-neutral basis within a decade. In its aftermath, much of the attention has been focused on whether the idea is actually achievable—Gore says it is; many say otherwise. To a large extent, however, this may not be the most important question. Even if the plan is destined for failure, it's worth considering where it would leave the country if we actually tried it.


(click on quote for link to entire article)

Doofus McFancypants 07-22-2008 08:33 AM

Personally - i think it has to be a phased plan .. Each one is to last until the other infrastructure is inplace to replace it...

1 - Clean up what we have (Efficiancy and Emissions wise) There are products what can improve the performance and clean up the emissions of every power plant out there
2 - use what we have ( oil reserved) to curb the dependance on Foreign Oil
3 - Continue to install Wind Turbines ( we have production capacity today)
4 - Start to build a "FEW" Nukes - you cannot beat the power density they produce

these 3 items can impact the oil consumption in the "near" term ( next 20 years)

Meanwhile we are updating CARS to be Electric and Developing True Green power - (Tidal genorators - Solar - Geothermal - Kids on treadmills connected to Genorators - The Matrix - or what ever we can think of)

There are those who are concerned about NUKE safety and the byproducts - I have them on here only as a STEP to get us off of oil while we develop the future technology.
THere are those who DO NOT want to drill more - and i understand - but again this is just a step to curb the demand of foreign Oil.
There are those who do not like the look of Wind turbines.. I am sorry - I have to say to those you cannot have your cake and eat it too. It is clean energy - but it has to be somewhere - "Not in my back yard" is what screwed CA a few years ago - they had no new power genoration for YEARS - but everyone wanted energy - so they had to pay.

Whether Al Gore is a conduit for the creater good- or a political shark playing on our fears to keep himself in the spot light.... if people are thinking about the right things ... maybe we can ACTUALLY DO something this time..

Just my thoughts....
Steve

regor 07-22-2008 09:37 AM

I tend to get turned off when Gore and his rich elitist friends talk. Here’s a group that waste much more energy than the typical American, but then tries to justify their waste by stating that they are buying “Carbon Credits” to offset their excessive waste/usage. Give me a BREAK.
If they really cared, they would be fighting to make it so the average American would qualify for the tax credits/incentives for alternative energy sources for their residences (solar panels, wind turbines for example) and hybrid vehicles. As it is now, you have 2 groups that will go for the alternative energy sources and hybrid vehicles-The rich and the elite that qualifies for the credits and incentives and the hardcore environmentalist that, while they don’t qualify for the credit and incentive, they want to make a difference.
I’d like to consider myself to be a environmentalist, but sadly, I don’t make enough to pay for solar panels or a hybrid.

So while I have deviated slightly, let me get back to my Gore bashing. Gore is such a hypocrite. As long as he and the rich elitist group that worships him can justify their wasteful energy consumption by buying “carbon credits” and they try telling us what we must do, I will continue to ignore him and do what I can to make a difference on my own. He and his elitist group needs to gets off their elitist behinds and actually start practicing what they preach. They also need to lower the cost of alternative energy so ALL of us, not just the elite, can AFFORD it.

dcb 07-22-2008 10:05 AM

I wouldn't care if it was David Koresh giving the challenge, it has nothing to do with the messenger.

cfg83 07-22-2008 11:23 AM

NeilBlanchard -

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard (Post 46039)
Hi,

Here's a level-headed and realistic appraisal of Al Gore's proposal, on ArsTechnica:


(click on quote for link to entire article)

This reminds me of the first generation of wind power designs. They were terrible. Carter's energy incentives created the wind power market. When the incentives expired, the poor reliability of the designs contributed to the collapse of the market. However, that effort became a "lessons learned" that led to a new generation of reliable wind power designs.

At this stage in time, we are in a better position to succeed.

CarloSW2

i_am_socket 07-22-2008 01:24 PM

I'll skip the Gore bashing. I think he's a @$$, but at least he has the right idea. It's not quite achievable in 10 years, but if we never try...

Wind and solar are awesome things, but I wouldn't bet on those for base generation in most areas. There are places that they would work really well, but it's not a total solution.

Nuclear is not the bad guy. Our current nuclear infrastructure is old and not as efficient as it could be. New plants would be far more efficient. New methods of recycling spent fuel into new fuel have been developed to skip the whole issue of a radioactive legacy. We could certainly do worse than using France as a model.

jamesqf 07-22-2008 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by i_am_socket (Post 46499)
I'll skip the Gore bashing. I think he's a @$$...

He's a politician, so I think that's an oxymoron :-)

As for the rest of the Gore-bashing... Well, anyone want to try arguing that Bush & company aren't a bunch of rich elitists? Or that Obama, Clinton, or whoever you care to name doesn't have a bunch of rich, elitist friends?

i_am_socket 07-22-2008 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 46526)
He's a politician, so I think that's an oxymoron :-)

Indeed :D

Arminius 07-22-2008 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 46526)
He's a politician, so I think that's an oxymoron :-)

As for the rest of the Gore-bashing... Well, anyone want to try arguing that Bush & company aren't a bunch of rich elitists? Or that Obama, Clinton, or whoever you care to name doesn't have a bunch of rich, elitist friends?

The issue was hypocrisy involving conservation, not elitism per se. The issue with Gore is that he lectured everyone about conserving energy, and used examples of buying cfl’s. When it was found that he used enough electricity in one month to power the average home for a year (or something like that), he claimed he had green credits. Once the embarrassment of that comment hit him (everyone is on the same grid there), he said that he intended to install cfl’s, as if that would solve the problem.

Frankly, I'm glad he's encouraging people to conserve. I also think that his public presence demands that in some ways he will live differently than the general population. I also embrace his general attitude towards solving the country's problem. I just can't take him seriously.

LUVMY02CREW 07-22-2008 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 46526)
He's a politician, so I think that's an oxymoron :-)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Quote:

As for the rest of the Gore-bashing... Well, anyone want to try arguing that Bush & company aren't a bunch of rich elitists? Or that Obama, Clinton, or whoever you care to name doesn't have a bunch of rich, elitist friends?
X2

I think most any of them, at that level, have become detached from the reality of what John and Jane Doe actually have to deal with on a daily basis.


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