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Green energy has overtaken total Nuclear energy productionFollow

#27 Sep 01 2011 at 11:50 AM Rating: Excellent
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I thought the other thing holding back wind and solar is that it's way too variable of a source of power to make up much of a % of the capacity of a grid. Puts extra stress on an outdated grid, needing excess capacity, no efficient way to store excess energy, etc.

Also living in a rain forest means lots of hydro power. Who's got green energy?

Das right.

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#28 Sep 01 2011 at 12:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
I thought the other thing holding back wind and solar is that it's way too variable of a source of power to make up much of a % of the capacity of a grid. Puts extra stress on an outdated grid, needing excess capacity, no efficient way to store excess energy, etc.

In theory, it would supplement a traditional power plant. The more output from your solar or wind farm, the less the plant works. You can also mitigate this by selecting optimal locations so, while it may not always be sunny (or windy) in a spot, it usually is and you can make some sensible predictions on how much it'll provide.
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#29 Sep 01 2011 at 12:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
I thought the other thing holding back wind and solar is that it's way too variable of a source of power to make up much of a % of the capacity of a grid. Puts extra stress on an outdated grid, needing excess capacity, no efficient way to store excess energy, etc.

In theory, it would supplement a traditional power plant. The more output from your solar or wind farm, the less the plant works. You can also mitigate this by selecting optimal locations so, while it may not always be sunny (or windy) in a spot, it usually is and you can make some sensible predictions on how much it'll provide.


Right, but I thought all that was the crux of the problem as well. Not that it's not solvable.. There are places in the world that are getting up there in renewable percentages, but the outdated US Power grid isn't really set up to handle a large amount of variable power.

So even as wind/solar gets better, you're still talking about infrastructure replacement regardless. Albeit replacement that is overdue anyway.
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#30 Sep 01 2011 at 12:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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No arguments here. I made this point back during the last presidential election when they were discussing domestic energy production; namely that neither of them was laying out a serious plan for the infrastructure.
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#31 Sep 01 2011 at 12:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Sir Xsarus wrote:
I don't disagree with this sentiment generally, but I'm not sure I can really take your statement about wind not having a path to become more cost effective seriously. Solar was certainly terribly non cost effective, but by continuing to persue it it became better. You can't evaluate future energy possibilities by how they perform now.


It's not really about technological advancement, but basic physics. We've known for decades that solar energy had great potential. What was blocking us was sufficient technology to tap into it efficiently. Thus, as we've advanced the technology, we've advanced our ability to use solar power. This is just not the case with wind though. There's a physical hard limit to the amount of energy the wind has at any given location. Building a more efficient turbine can't increase the energy that's physically present. And in the vast majority of locations that potential value of wind energy is pretty small.

There are also some pretty severe ecological effects from large scale wind farms. This is why I mentioned the whole ideological thing. Sometimes people seem to favor one energy technology over another seemingly purely because someone else labeled it "green". When you start digging into the actual environmental impact of the various technologies though, the green ones often aren't a whole lot less damaging than the non-green ones. It really is sometimes just about an arbitrary label.

As Joph points out, hydro power causes extreme environmental impact. Same deal with tidal/wave power. Wind farms are directly harmful. Solar panels are quite clean at the generation point, but are quite "dirty" at the location where you're building the panels themselves and the landfills the panels ultimately will end up in. The whole "electric versus gas car" issue raises this problem as well btw. Large scale solar power plants are amazingly efficient, however they also cause amazing ecological harm in the immediate area as well. Nuclear is the only power source with nearly zero impact at the generation point (barring an accident of course!), but is dirty at the source and endpoint of the raw material used (and isn't renewable). Coal, of course, is dirty all the way around (relatively speaking), but is incredibly cheap and plentiful here in the US.


There's no magic bullet here. I just think that some people use the phrase "alternative energy" as though the fact that one is an alternative automatically makes it "better". In most cases and in most ways, they aren't though.
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#32 Sep 01 2011 at 12:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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That said, a given wind farm is a lot less ecologically harmful than your standard coal strip mine. You can say all modes of generation are "harmful" in their own way but that's like saying all cats are "dangerous". I'd rather get scratched by a tabby than bitten by an ocelot and rather ocelot-bitten than leopard mauled.

Also: Natural gas.
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#33 Sep 01 2011 at 12:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Elinda wrote:
You make assumptions you have no right to make, and then make judgement calls and accusations based on those assumptions.


I make assumptions you disagree with. I certainly have a right to make them though. Smiley: wink

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I would like to see us diversify our energy sources for many reasons

1. A diverse market is a healthy competitive market.


Only if the energy sources are competing on an even footing. And yes, I'm aware that we subsidize energy all the way around and in every direction. My point is that I don't think anyone can look at our current energy market and call it either "healthy" or "competitive".

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2. Regional considerations to efficiency. Solar may be the best choice for those in the desert while wind for those on the coast, etc etc.


Absolutely true!

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3. Cleanliness and healthyness to the over-all environment/ecology.


Yup. But this is the area where I really do believe that the cart sometimes strays well ahead of the horse. People assume that because something is labeled "green", that it must be better. But in most cases, we're trading one form of environmental impact for another. I just believe that it's important to point this out.

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4. Accessibility and sustainability.

5. Cradle to grave considerations. ie, Currently solar panels produce good clean energy though unreliable. However, the solar panel, once unusable has some disposal issues (platinum). These can be worked out, emissions can be scrubbed, metals can be retained, solventy stuffs can be broke down to inert substances - lets see how willing the industries are to take responsibility. This is where nuclear really takes a hit as we still have no good disposal options for spent fuel.


But this is also where the "perception is reality" bit comes in. Because some energy sources are labeled as clean/green/whatever, people perceive them as better, and thus they actually work to make one cleaner than another. You're correct that we should do this, I just think that quite often we don't do a good job fully considering the costs and benefits of each power source.

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6. Newer and better stuff can continue to be R&D's IF there is not a monopoly on one energy source as they will tend to stifle anything that might be viable competition.


I think that this is feared more than it happens. We always hear about how the electric car was killed by oil interests. I just don't buy it though. It's not like there's one company selling oil, or one company making cars. There fact that one energy source may dominate a given area doesn't really have anything to do with monopolies and doesn't have the same anti-competitive aspects of a monopoly. It's really a very different thing.

The companies who sell power don't really care how the power is generated. If they can make more money generating power by having people run on giant hamster wheels, that's how they'll do it. There are some inter-industry interactions which may act as blocks for newer sources entering the market, but those factors really don't have nefarious purposes. If an energy source really is cheaper and/or more abundant, companies will fall over themselves to develop it and make a buck off it.
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#34 Sep 01 2011 at 1:02 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
That said, a given wind farm is a lot less ecologically harmful than your standard coal strip mine.


Taking into account total area affected to generate a given amount of total power over time? They're a lot closer than you think. I think what tips it against coal really is the pollution generated when actually burning the coal for power. The total impact of mining, while extreme right at the source, is relatively minor when you consider the total amount of power compared to square acreage of land impacted.


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You can say all modes of generation are "harmful" in their own way but that's like saying all cats are "dangerous". I'd rather get scratched by a tabby than bitten by an ocelot and rather ocelot-bitten than leopard mauled.


That's a pretty crappy analogy.
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#35 Sep 01 2011 at 1:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
They're a lot closer than you think.

Yeah, I'm going to take that with all the credentials it deserves, Mr. Oil Subsidies & Off Shore Drilling/Production Expert Smiley: laugh
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#36 Sep 01 2011 at 2:09 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They're a lot closer than you think.

Yeah, I'm going to take that with all the credentials it deserves, Mr. Oil Subsidies & Off Shore Drilling/Production Expert Smiley: laugh


How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph? How much per square mile of wind farm? Both make the land they're on unusable for anything else, so why not do the math?
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#37 Sep 01 2011 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They're a lot closer than you think.

Yeah, I'm going to take that with all the credentials it deserves, Mr. Oil Subsidies & Off Shore Drilling/Production Expert Smiley: laugh


How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph? How much per square mile of wind farm? Both make the land they're on unusable for anything else, so why not do the math?


I thought you could do traditional farming around wind turbines? Smiley: dubious
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#38 Sep 01 2011 at 2:57 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They're a lot closer than you think.

Yeah, I'm going to take that with all the credentials it deserves, Mr. Oil Subsidies & Off Shore Drilling/Production Expert Smiley: laugh


How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph? How much per square mile of wind farm? Both make the land they're on unusable for anything else, so why not do the math?


I thought you could do traditional farming around wind turbines? Smiley: dubious


Around, but not directly under. You can graze animals under them though. The problem is that they create significant air turbulence, so they're usually put on already cleared land. There are still a lot of studies underway to look into the full impact of large scale implementation of wind turbines. At this time, we really don't know the full impact. We know that they alter temperatures nearby, harm birds if they're in the migratory path (which happens to often be the best places to put wind farms), the turbulence may affect soil quality and definitely limits what sort of plants can grow under them, and they produce noise. In terms of energy return on investment, they're not terrible (like solar and biodiesel are right now), but nowhere near as good as coal or hydro power.


And honestly, we still don't know what the effects are of really large scale implementation over time. You don't get energy for free btw. While this may seem fanciful, every unit of energy transfered to the wind turbine is a unit of energy no longer acting as "wind". We can't even begin to predict what effect that might have. We think of a windmill as "free energy", but nothing is really free.
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#39 Sep 01 2011 at 3:05 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph?

Lord knows when you've insisted these things are obvious in the past, you've never failed to make hilarious errors so, again, I'll take your proclamations with all past credibility they deserve.

Nice narrow thinking though Smiley: laugh
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#40 Sep 01 2011 at 3:10 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph?

Lord knows when you've insisted these things are obvious in the past, you've never failed to make hilarious errors so, again, I'll take your proclamations with all past credibility they deserve.


So because you've disagreed with me in the past, you'll disagree with me now? Great logic you're using there! Let's not bother to check to see or engage the brain or anything.
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#41 Sep 01 2011 at 3:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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Not "disagreed". Because you have consistently made up "facts" wholesale when discussing energy policy (things that you states are "absolute!" and "certain!") which were then easily disproven time and time and time again removes any credibility from your comments when discussing energy policy today.

By your reasoning, Norm should have run to the encyclopedia to investigate every claim Cliff ever made or else Norm is at fault for laughing off Cliff's remarks.

Quote:
Let's not bother to check to see or engage the brain or anything.

Your sad attempts to shame me are laughably ironic when one considers how rarely you've checked your own facts or enagaged your own brain when making piles of erroneous claims in previous threads. The lack of which on your part is the entire reason for this posting.
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#42 Sep 01 2011 at 3:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They're a lot closer than you think.

Yeah, I'm going to take that with all the credentials it deserves, Mr. Oil Subsidies & Off Shore Drilling/Production Expert Smiley: laugh


How much energy do we get per square mile of strip mine Joph? How much per square mile of wind farm? Both make the land they're on unusable for anything else, so why not do the math?


I thought you could do traditional farming around wind turbines? Smiley: dubious


Around, but not directly under. You can graze animals under them though. The problem is that they create significant air turbulence, so they're usually put on already cleared land. There are still a lot of studies underway to look into the full impact of large scale implementation of wind turbines. At this time, we really don't know the full impact. We know that they alter temperatures nearby, harm birds if they're in the migratory path (which happens to often be the best places to put wind farms), the turbulence may affect soil quality and definitely limits what sort of plants can grow under them, and they produce noise. In terms of energy return on investment, they're not terrible (like solar and biodiesel are right now), but nowhere near as good as coal or hydro power.


And honestly, we still don't know what the effects are of really large scale implementation over time. You don't get energy for free btw. While this may seem fanciful, every unit of energy transfered to the wind turbine is a unit of energy no longer acting as "wind". We can't even begin to predict what effect that might have. We think of a windmill as "free energy", but nothing is really free.


Well okay, they need to stand somewhere. Smiley: rolleyes

I just went with looks close. *shrugs*
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#43 Sep 01 2011 at 3:31 PM Rating: Good
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The turbine in that first link is clearly in the midst of a wheat field. I suppose wheat and turbine bases can't occupy the same space simultaneously though.

Edit: My error; my work monitor kind of sucks. From the home computer I can see the color difference better. That said, the clearing seems to differ from turbine to turbine.

Edited, Sep 1st 2011 5:27pm by Jophiel
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#44 Sep 01 2011 at 4:16 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Not "disagreed". Because you have consistently made up "facts" wholesale when discussing energy policy (things that you states are "absolute!" and "certain!") which were then easily disproven time and time and time again removes any credibility from your comments when discussing energy policy today.


There you go mixing up fact and opinion again. Simply pointing to some source which disagrees with me doesn't "disprove" anything. Nor does it mean that my "facts" are wrong. You do this constantly btw.


Wind power is not a magic bullet and it's not without its problems. All alternatives have problems. I don't understand why you insist on dancing around the core question at hand like this.
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#45 Sep 01 2011 at 4:24 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Well okay, they need to stand somewhere. Smiley: rolleyes

I just went with looks close. *shrugs*


The second picture is labeled as a "rendering". No caption on the first, but you can see that the area around the windmills themselves is cleared quite a distance. It's not just the cement base. You may also not realize the scale. Those things are very tall. That's not a tiny area around them that's cleared.

Also, as I've said before we don't know the full effects of windfarms on the surrounding area because large scale use in less remote areas is relatively new. My point is that because it's labeled as "green" a whole lot of people blithely look the other way and don't ask the same questions they'd ask if these were oil wells for example. Perception becomes reality for many people.
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#46 Sep 01 2011 at 4:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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No, not at all. You have been provably, factually wrong multiple times when discussing energy policy. When discussing ANWR, when discussing off-shore drilling, when discussing oil use, when discussing oil subsidies, when discussing nuclear power.

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Simply pointing to some source which disagrees with me doesn't "disprove" anything.

Hahahahaha... Smiley: laughSmiley: laughSmiley: laugh Yeah, I love it when I link to articles and studies from professional organizations and agencies and you say "Well, that doesn't mean anything! My answer is just obvious! Engage your brain!" You remind me of my ex who once argued that both the summers and winters had longer daylight hours in her hometown than in Chicago. When I pointed out that this was scientifically impossible, she started ranting that I wasn't respecting her "opinion" and her statements had just as much validity and anyone else's.

Quote:
Wind power is not a magic bullet and it's not without its problems.

I never once stated that wind power was perfect or without problems. I don't understand why you insist on making these strawman arguments wheneve--- hahaha... ok, I totally know why you do it. It's still pathetic though.
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#47 Sep 01 2011 at 4:28 PM Rating: Good
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Giant wind turbines are only one form that wind power comes in, though. There are smaller, even "micro" wind turbines that can be used. I've seen them on several buildings in the nearest city, and can envision them whirring happily away mounted to buildings in the canyons of, say, NYC or Chicago.
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#48 Sep 01 2011 at 4:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
There are smaller, even "micro" wind turbines that can be used. I've seen them on several buildings in the nearest city, and can envision them whirring happily away mounted to buildings in the canyons of, say, NYC or Chicago.
They'd prove their worth the minute a pigeon flew into one.
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#49 Sep 01 2011 at 4:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Well okay, they need to stand somewhere. Smiley: rolleyes

I just went with looks close. *shrugs*


The second picture is labeled as a "rendering". No caption on the first, but you can see that the area around the windmills themselves is cleared quite a distance. It's not just the cement base. You may also not realize the scale. Those things are very tall. That's not a tiny area around them that's cleared.


Ugh sorry, I thought I cleared out that one. Smiley: frown Google images was giving me a hard time with links, was just pulling them from here. Also I'm assuming it's about 1/4 acre per turbine?

Edit: I should actually read the link from that page... all sorts of juicy number it seems.

Edit2: The wind farm in the pictures had 400MW of capacity and resulted in 71.7 hectares of permanent D.I. area apparently, which includes the roads and such.

I can read. Smiley: grin

I'm also learning you can get up to 2MW from one ton of coal, and you can get up to 1,000 tons of coal per acre from a strip mine back east...
[/i]

Edited, Sep 1st 2011 4:32pm by someproteinguy
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#50 Sep 01 2011 at 4:35 PM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Debalic wrote:
There are smaller, even "micro" wind turbines that can be used. I've seen them on several buildings in the nearest city, and can envision them whirring happily away mounted to buildings in the canyons of, say, NYC or Chicago.
They'd prove their worth the minute a pigeon flew into one.

The result? Pre-plucked urban chickens for the homeless to cook!
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#51 Sep 01 2011 at 4:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
Debalic wrote:
There are smaller, even "micro" wind turbines that can be used. I've seen them on several buildings in the nearest city, and can envision them whirring happily away mounted to buildings in the canyons of, say, NYC or Chicago.
They'd prove their worth the minute a pigeon flew into one.
The result? Pre-plucked urban chickens for the homeless to cook!
More, and clean, energy for the masses, cheap low cost food for the impoverish, and pest control.
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