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Mar. 6th, 2012 @ 11:19 am (no subject)
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pestering
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From:Nyxilis Mistwalker
Date:March 6th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
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Been reading a lot recently about the failed energy companies that got loans recently. Aside from the massive failure of Solyndra there are others. Seems like whoever said they'd make something green got big bucks with lil show that they are actually a viable company.
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From:nefaria
Date:March 7th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
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Seems all the "green" companies intend to make their profits from government funding instead of the free market, where they can't compete.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 7th, 2012 05:54 am (UTC)
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May I quote you on that in five years? I have a suspicion that with current trends in solar prices I can poke considerable fun at you by 2017.
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From:rhjunior
Date:March 7th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
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hell, you can probably quote him on that in fifty, and the story will still be the same.... The "current trends" are easily attributable to government subsidies and little else.
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From:Nyxilis Mistwalker
Date:March 7th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
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Wind is profitable because they finally got it cheap enough to rival existing things, but you can't put enough wind turbines to fuel even a quarter of total US energy needs if you covered the country in them. Nor is it a giant cash cow. And you know who did that? Not some upstart lil green money taker, General Electric makes the turbines. The same one that makes them for nuclear power, and far more parts for coal burning plants. Oklahoma Gas & Electric uses them, but they are merely a supplement, and will always be nothing but that.

Solar is still expensive for mass power plants with paltry returns compared to coal, US companies have fallen apart vs Chinese undercutting in this area back by their government. And these are not industrial level panels, these are merely home ones that shave a little off the top, do not make the home self suffecient, and could never ever power an aluminum plant, military base, or even a big sky scraper. It's at best a tiny lil thing to make your power bill go down a tiny bit, but so can spray foaming your home which shows a better drop on average.

The disconnect on green profitability is that it has to be something you want to do. Save you money, or make you money. Rarely does green anything do either of those. It's more people 'hoping and dreaming' that it will magically do something in the same means that people will magically stop warring with each other. It's simple math when you take solar and wind power compared to the overall use of US power and it falls vastly short. Construction levels alone on those things wouldn't even do it in five years. It takes longer than that to make that to simply make the hardware, but it still doesn't generate enough even then. Not for the US, China, Canada, Japan, Korea, India, United Kingdom, Germany, or any country that considers itself an industrial producer.
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From:nefaria
Date:March 8th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
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Another big downside to solar/wind: what happens when it's dark and the winds are calm? You get no energy, that's what. So you need to give everything a battery capable of powering it for 12 hours or more. Highly toxic, environmentally nasty batteries, for absolutely everything. Not very green at all.
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From:kire_duhai
Date:March 9th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
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That *is* one reason to develop energy storage more than energy generation, though. A point lost on environmentalists.

Wind and solar both have potential as decent supplements, I think. But until there comes along a truly impressive energy storage technology, they'll never be more than that.

And the fact is, better energy generation tech is more likely to come along first.

-Kire Du'Hai
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From:nefaria
Date:March 9th, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
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The liberals should invent their miraculous new affordable energy-generation technique first, THEN we can all happily convert to it. They're acting like if they throw enough money at it, the technology will invent itself, and that's not the way science works.
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From:Nyxilis Mistwalker
Date:March 13th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
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The joke is though, that the newer batteries they need for those electric cars, buses and more, are quite toxic. So are quite a few of the energies, or they need loads of hard to get precious metals. So to get a lil more out of cars off a debatable gas they're willing to go to toxins and Chinese strip mines. China produces well over half of the metals needed for them since they have about zero environmental rules or oversight. While most of the American mines shut down since theirs was vastly cheaper. Now, they announced they will simply not export x amount to the US, S. Korea, Canada, Japan, and UK. Suddenly, the US is playing catchup on that one!

So, toxic batteries, check, strip mining, check, helping another ruthless regime for a precious commodity? Check! Environmentalism as its best while they give oil companies grief for supporting the Saudis. >D
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From:nefaria
Date:March 8th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
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Well, levy a 1000% tax on energy from fossil fuels and funnel all that into solar/wind subsidies, and maybe you'll be right. Then again, maybe we'll just fund a few hundred Solyndras and solar/wind still won't be able to compete.
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From:muirecan
Date:March 8th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
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Heh not very likely. Solar power fails as a primary power source by the numbers. And by that I mean the physics of it doesn't work. There is not enough sunlight in area that the panel covers to act as a primary source of power.

That said solar power is a fantastic boutique power solution for specific cases. Where you need power in a setting that is either very low voltage allowing the panel to provide both the power to run the device and the power to charge the battery needed for night operation. Things like signs, emergency road side phones, field pumps and other such specialized uses are perfect applications. Running your house ... not so much. Powering your city ... definitely not so much.

Keep in mind the reason people do use solar now is that it is so massively subsidized that you only pay a fraction of what it would cost without the subsidy. Unfortunately for them wind and solar are complete and utter failures as primary power generation sources and they will remain such no matter how much money is thrown at them. They just don't scale up to usable levels on the large scale.
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From:Catprog Catprog
Date:March 27th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
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18TW = total human energy usage(not including food)

you should be able to get an average power/m2 of 30W

(average solar irridance is 300w at 10% efficence)

means you need 600,000,000,000 m2

take their square root and you get 800km

1 square 800km on it's side is all the area you need.

Now compare that to a coal power station including the coal mine.


http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=ZM9086&form=CAT2&SUBCATID=1004#12 $305 for 90Watts $3.40/watt

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=MI5192&keywords=grid+tie+inverter&form=KEYWORD $1/watt inverter

$4.4/watt for grid tie solar

5 hr*365 days = 1825 hours/year

10 years = 18,250 hours

1Kwh = 1000 hours = 18.25kwh

$4.4 / 18.25 = $0.24

http://www.originenergy.com.au/2087/Electricity-tariffs-QLD

$0.22759 cents.

Not that much difference on current prices.
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From:rhjunior
Date:March 27th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
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yes, IF you ignore the necessity of continuous, STABLE power, storage of power, power for surges in demand, future growth....
and oh yes, the mining and manufacturing necessary to produce the 800 square km of solar cells in the first place--- and to eventually replace it. It currently costs more energy to make a solar cell than it produces in its functional lifetime, and produces more pollutants and WORSE KINDS of pollutants. The ecosystem can soak up carbon dioxide.... It's not so great at reabsorbing heavy metals and chemical toxins.

Solar is not a replacement for fossil fuels. Not even close.

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From:gothelittle
Date:March 8th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Current trends in solar prices are due to profits being made only by government funding instead of the free market, where they can't compete.
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From:jordan179
Date:March 12th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
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In at least a significant number of cases, the whole purpose was apparently to funnel government funds to Obama supporters, probably so that they could funnel some back to Obama's campaign. Deep and sustainable corruption.
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From:gothelittle
Date:March 8th, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
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Aye aye. If I were to create a company for the purpose of "making something green", I would be researching a way to make as affordable as possible residential conversion units for geothermal heating/cooling.

As for electricity, I would like a network of main nuclear power plants, with buildings marked "essential" (like hospitals, certain government buildings, and designated emergency shelters in times of trouble) powered entirely by smaller, sealed, on-site nuclear units like the type they're playing with in some Asian countries.

That way, the grid is low-cost, very high-efficiency (even more so if we add thorium reactors and permit breeder cycles), and hard to destroy in case of attack (as the essential buildings could probably provide limited power to neighboring homes as well in an emergency).

The next step would be even smaller units for rich residential homes (and those who decide to scrimp and save enough to get one in time).

The electrical grid should be like the Internet... darn hard to take down because there are so many distributed nodes.