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Old 10-14-2008, 08:50 PM   #111 (permalink)
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Hello,

There is no debate about global climate change among scientists over the "big picture". Really.

Back on topic: why wouldn't we use as much renewable energy as possible?

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Old 10-14-2008, 08:56 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Why did they withdraw? Simple. Like Enron, they figured an angle by which they can make money. But one has to expect that will cost the US consumer big time.

Did you ever step back and look at what Global Warming "remedies" always entail? Sacrifice by the US. America getting poorer. Taxes and regulations.

If they were really serious about Global Warming there would be a proven alternative offered. But what is consistently demanded is America (as my folks used to say) Doing Without.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:19 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Changing to renewables will *help* our economy

Hi Dave,

I think that if we switch over to renewables, it will help our economy by creating jobs (that cannot be exported) and by keeping more of our dollars spent on energy here, where they are generated. We gain is security, because we send much less funding dollars to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc., and we do not have to have our military on high alert in the Middle East -- which will save us a bucket load of money, too.

And yes, we start to clean up our environment as well, which can't help but a very good thing.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:50 PM   #114 (permalink)
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Renewables that do not consume resources needed for agriculture - arable land and fresh water - quickly boil down to algal biofuel. That would be OK, algal biofuel is merely using the same organisms that converted sunlight to oil in the first place, simply cutting out the slow geological process. But it still needs something that needs something that looks a lot like an oil refinery. US regs make it very difficult to build refineries in the US. You would be more likely to find such operations in the Third World. China is working on it.

Until you do something about excessive regulation, real aternative fuels will probably simply result in the US importing more refined product.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:28 PM   #115 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
I think that if we switch over to renewables, it will help our economy by creating jobs (that cannot be exported) and by keeping more of our dollars spent on energy here, where they are generated. We gain is security, because we send much less funding dollars to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.,
Yes
this is the part I think we can agree on
This is more than half the reason I am here at ecomodder
I want to stop wasteful exportation of my income abroad, often to oppressive regimes

all the rest of this is a distraction or nay saying
or best of all - endlessly arguable to no point
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:39 PM   #116 (permalink)
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I'm not even going to get into some of this somewhat hijacked thread.

As I see it, much of this debate is based solely on working within the current energy business structures. However, with a few simple legal changes we could easily increase our use of solar/wind power.

As is stands now; as an individual, if I were to go "alternative" the best I could ever hope for would be that I wouldn't have to pay a power bill. The "system" is set up so that as a property owner I cannot sell power to the power company for a profit (rephrased purposely). Hence the term "Net Zero. And for those with a net metering billing system in place the money they receive for excess power is given to them as credits at a rate well below market value for that power. Those credits are then applied to those times that the house uses more power than it creates. It is part of the contract that they won't pay you for power generation over and above what you use (at least here in Oregon it is, this may vary power company to power company...but I doubt it).

Now an easy way to get more solar/wind power into the grid would be to outlaw this procedure and make it possible for an array/turbine owner get an unlimited fair market value for the power they produce in excess of their needs. This one act alone would dramatically increase the amount of "alternative" energy in the grid, as well as start a domino effect into other great things (here's 10 just off the top of my head).

1) it would speed up the pay back time on alternative power investments a person makes.

2) It would help decentralize the grid.

3) It would increase the amount of power conservation at the investors residence (who wouldn't be more apt to watch their consumption if it meant more cash).

4) It would lower the power loss from transportation. Since the excessive power that house creates would then be sold to commercial properties and properties that can not meet their own power needs near the point of generation.

5) It be revenue for consumers.

6) And it would cost the government nothing more than passing some legislation.

7) It would reduce the amount of political power that the power companies currently have.

8) It would make recovery from natural disasters faster, and those area's hit safer.

9) Solar panels would become sexy instead of an eye sore. Is anything really more sexy than money?

10) Use mass amounts of already developed land instead of building new structures on undeveloped land.

Such incentives would even encourage people with less than ideal locations to go solar, because even if they couldn't get a check at the end of a billing cycle, they'd at least get a better rate of return on the investment rather than the small credit they'd get now.

Now I'm not by any means implying that this measure would be a cure all. There would still be a need for other power generation to supply power during the night, or through extended down periods of the home owners power generation, but these larger systems could be much smaller in scope (or perhaps much bigger and covering a much larger region than they could under the current system). Though the really smart property owners would store some at home to keep from losing money to the grid in such times. But I don't really see any down sides to allowing the general public to be an active part of the solution other than asking us to buy better light bulbs and turn off the lights.
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:28 AM   #117 (permalink)
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^^ conrad, I think it would even be fair to sell back at a reduced rate (once net zero has been reached). A reduced rate to cover the cost of infrastructure (which is built into the cost per Kwhr).

I wonder how such a system would be regulated - you can't produce more than the current demand - so how do you make sure your system's output is utilized the same % as your neighbors (might not be a big problem, I just haven't put a smidge of thought into it).
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:10 AM   #118 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
^^ conrad, I think it would even be fair to sell back at a reduced rate (once net zero has been reached). A reduced rate to cover the cost of infrastructure (which is built into the cost per Kwhr).

I wonder how such a system would be regulated - you can't produce more than the current demand - so how do you make sure your system's output is utilized the same % as your neighbors (might not be a big problem, I just haven't put a smidge of thought into it).
First off you could assume that within our life time if such a system was in place, that the problem you mention would only apply to very small communities in areas (like the SW) where it'd fairly easy to produce that much excessive power.

In metropolitan areas this wouldn't be a problem because the industrial, commercial and high density residential areas wouldn't be able to supply themselves with enough power to cash in on the system. Also, the building codes would limit the sizes of the arrays/windmills, in that most communities have a limit to the amount of square feet a structure can use up on a given lot. So really in area's with any kind of significant population (ie a small town or bigger) with even a small industrial/commercial area distribution wouldn't be a problem. So really until the technology vastly improves this would be a moot point for most people.

Now I personally wouldn't implement any kinda of rate reduction for the infrastructure, as a matter of fairness to the property owners that are investing into the system. Each person with such a system has their own systems to maintain (that they are personally paying for) and are contributing to the common good. And it could stall reinvestment in system upgrades and expansion. After all, the more potential for profit under this system, the more power the property owners will want to produce.

And personally I think all income from such systems should be taxed at an rate comparable to the capital gains or royalty taxes (at a lower rate than income taxes, for those not aware of the tax rates). Or at least X number of years to help implement the system.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:17 AM   #119 (permalink)
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Back on topic: why wouldn't we use as much renewable energy as possible?
I don't think we're arguing about that. We're arguing about the technical details of how much "possible" is likely to be.

The basic problem is that most renewables produce power when they want to, which is not necessarily when people want to use that power. So if you're going to use mostly those renewables, you either have to build a lot of excess capacity, and/or you have to have some way to store the energy until it's needed. Building excess capacity costs money. So does building energy storage, and in addition the inevitable losses mean you waste 15-30% (for pumped storage) or more of the generated energy.

What it boils down to is that neither the engineering nor the economics of a largely-renewable grid are as simple as it seems you'd like to think. The problems just don't scale linearly. Small amounts of intermittent generation are easily handled, large amounts are difficult.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:30 AM   #120 (permalink)
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James his the nail on the head wrt the argument I am making, that being renewables are good when used in small doses. That leaves us leaning on nuclear or clean-coal for our base load generation.

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