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  #21  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 8:22 PM
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Originally Posted by echinatl View Post
Dante, maybe right now it's expensive but that's bound to change over the next few years. And also how much more expensive is it then paying people, and building and maintaining trucks, and paying for fuel costs to drive gas around. Or the cost to pipe hydrogen around. The numbers you quoted are one time fees that 'should' pay for themselves eventually. Plus advances in solar panels and wind turbines continue to make the tech cheaper, and more efficient, while also making them look better. Bladeless wind turbines and solar panels that look like shingles. Things are looking pretty good so far.
I think the price of transmission lines go up over time gradually and consistently, but I think it is worth it so you don't have to convince me. However there are two problems that the scientists need to solve with wind and solar.

First wind power kills thousands and thousands of birds. Blade-less turbines have the issue of very, very low power output per land use and the technology was just patented last week. The second issue is that solar power costs more than electricity in every region except where electricity is otherwise exceedingly expensive.

The issue with both forms of power is that on a large scale they greatly alter the environment and solar power shingles are only useful for a small number of Americans. Effective renewable energy should be transported and efficiently harnessed to maximize output and minimize impact.

The South's form of renewable energy is wood and biomass and in Georgia wood actually beats out hydro as the largest form of renewable power. I currently support offshore wind and biomass for Georgia as replacement forms of energy. We don't have coal mines here so I feel like we should at the very least replace the coal with natural gas.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 8:25 PM
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Realistically, the solar revolution isn't here yet. Thats an issue for the 2015+ time period. Wind is already here and in force after it hit parity with fossil fuels recently.

The great thing about solar in the future is that it has the potential to be cheaper than fossil fuels and when that happens it wouldn't make sense not to switch over. In the Southwest though, not here, not anytime soon.
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Last edited by dante2308; May 12, 2010 at 9:30 PM.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 9:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dante2308 View Post
I think the price of transmission lines go up over time gradually and consistently, but I think it is worth it so you don't have to convince me. However there are two problems that the scientists need to solve with wind and solar.

First wind power kills thousands and thousands of birds.
This is indeed true, but I want to put this into perspective. What people fail to realize is that wind turbines kill somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 birds per year in the US, but that number is insignificant when compared to other bird killers. We shouldn't turn away from non-polluting energy sources due to this. I do agree, however, that each region will have renewable resources best suited to its locality.

From a report by the National Wind Coordinating Committee (link):
The NWCC reports that: "Based on current estimates, windplant related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States." That is, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S.

For comparison (from the report):
Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.

Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.

While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.

A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report states that, "recent research suggests that rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year." This is in Wisconsin alone.

While it is unfortunate that birds are killed by turbines, it is a paltry amount compared to other bird dangers, many of which are manmade and not producing clean energy. Also, newer turbine designs are higher with larger blade spans, resulting in fewer kills per turbine than older designs. Paraphrasing from a synopsis (link) of a report by the Government Accounting Office (link):
Older turbine designs produced far less power, thus more were needed in a condensed area than would be required today. Plus, new designs are higher (out of reach of birds swooping down to catch prey) with longer, thinner blades, thus less area for a bird to hit.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 9:24 PM
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Wow good point. However among the largest numbers you cited was transmission lines. That changes things a bit.
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  #25  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 9:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dante2308 View Post
Wow good point. However among the largest numbers you cited was transmission lines. That changes things a bit.
Certainly, which is why, as has been noted by several people, transmission line lengths should be reduced as much as possible and energy sources (renewable and otherwise) should be placed close to where the power will be used. And there should be fewer cats. Just kidding.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 12, 2010, 9:51 PM
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  #27  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 12:19 AM
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And there should be fewer cats. Just kidding.
I'm not sure I care about cats eating birds lest we worry about the mortality of cats... cue Mufasa and a song about the circle of life. Neither do I think our goal should be to make birds immortal.
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  #28  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 1:50 PM
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Put the lines underground?
And to Dante's point there are definitely other things we should be going after, such as biomass. Bill gates is apparently heavily investing in micro nuclear reactors. We should take advantage of our coastline and look at tidal power. This is also amazing, Bloom Box. Combine the Bloom Box with natural gas that America has a ton of with micro nuclear reactors with a sprinkling of wind, solar, and tidal and we could be self sufficient in terms of energy.
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  #29  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 2:30 PM
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The point isn't to provide enough domestic energy. There is enough energy and energy demand is getting lower. Our energy has always been almost completely from North America.

The point isn't making small nuclear power plants. That doesn't make the waste less radioactive or the material less rare and expensive.

The point isn't switching from coal to natural gas because it is cleaner relative to dirty coal.

The point is to move our energy into renewable sources that don't net pollute and aren't subject to volatile energy markets or resource limits.

Renewable sources aren't for sprinkling, they are for replacing. You fix the issue once and it is over.
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  #30  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 7:26 PM
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But aren't you suggesting a goal that is impossible to reach (not counting on what might come from the "singularity" or 2050+ tech)? Say we only focused on Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Hydroelectric, Biomass, and Tidal. I think I hit all of the ones you would consider as solution. Lets throw in "batteries" as well, because we'll need them to hit the "aren't subject to volatile energy markets or resource limits" part. So how do you propose we build these things? There is mining, there is extraction of certain elements, there are a lot of things that will indirectly cause pollution.
For the short term 2010-2020 I don't see how we can get close to our goal without looking at a hybrid system that brings together say Nuclear and solar plus wind. Or natural gas + a Bloom Box at the house with line to a wind turbine. Also the amazing thing about the bloom box is because it's a power cell there isn't combustion and therefore no pollution.

Honestly I think by 2030 we'll have solar cells that are efficient enough to power your entire house + car without the need to be connected to the grid. The cells will charge batteries that will allow you to go for weeks with no sun.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 9:14 PM
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Or just forget about everything else and do this: http://www.physorg.com/news192730850.html
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  #32  
Old Posted May 13, 2010, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by echinatl View Post
But aren't you suggesting a goal that is impossible to reach (not counting on what might come from the "singularity" or 2050+ tech)? Say we only focused on Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Hydroelectric, Biomass, and Tidal. I think I hit all of the ones you would consider as solution. Lets throw in "batteries" as well, because we'll need them to hit the "aren't subject to volatile energy markets or resource limits" part. So how do you propose we build these things? There is mining, there is extraction of certain elements, there are a lot of things that will indirectly cause pollution.
For the short term 2010-2020 I don't see how we can get close to our goal without looking at a hybrid system that brings together say Nuclear and solar plus wind. Or natural gas + a Bloom Box at the house with line to a wind turbine. Also the amazing thing about the bloom box is because it's a power cell there isn't combustion and therefore no pollution.

Honestly I think by 2030 we'll have solar cells that are efficient enough to power your entire house + car without the need to be connected to the grid. The cells will charge batteries that will allow you to go for weeks with no sun.
Bloombox isn't even suggesting they can generate a single drop of energy before 2020.

I'm not sure how a nuclear+natural gas system is somehow novel. We are already heavily nuclear and natural gas. Why if we are going to build a bunch of new plants would a single one be something that pollutes using a rare resource or causes near permanent radioactive waste?

Building renewable energy is a one time charge. Building all a natural gas plant continuously pollutes and continuously requires transportation of materials.

Sorry adding natural gas and nuclear power plants doesn't change anything and there is nothing wrong with switching to renewables in the short term. There is no conceivable reason that we should invest billions upon billions to build power plants using polluting technology from 60 years ago that we intend to replace later when renewable technologies are already here.
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  #33  
Old Posted May 14, 2010, 2:00 AM
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Well, I just hope Ga. Power knows what they are doing and doesn't let one of those dang nuclear things get away from it. You have got a real situation once that happens. From what I hear the Russkis have never really shut down that Chernobyl mess and it is still bubbling and whatnot.
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  #34  
Old Posted May 14, 2010, 2:10 PM
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Bloombox isn't even suggesting they can generate a single drop of energy before 2020..
Article about the experience Ebay has with Bloomboxes: http://www.fastcompany.com/1560450/b...ebay-interview
During the special 60 minutes did on them they mentioned Google, Staples and FedEx were using them right now too. From what I've read they're producing energy right now and have been for several years.

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I'm not sure how a nuclear+natural gas system is somehow novel. We are already heavily nuclear and natural gas. Why if we are going to build a bunch of new plants would a single one be something that pollutes using a rare resource or causes near permanent radioactive waste?
If you compare our Nuclear resources compared to France or some other countries we are not heavily nuclear at all. I dont think we've built a new reactor in over 20 years so focusing on it again would indeed be novel. There are some programs that recycle the waste, and the amount of waste produces compared to the amount of energy produced is pretty amazing. I have no doubt we'll be able to figure out a better way to dispose of it in the future. This is an example of a way to produce a lot of electricity with minor pollution. Not a long term solution but a good bridge to get us to 100% renewable land.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dante2308 View Post
Building renewable energy is a one time charge. Building all a natural gas plant continuously pollutes and continuously requires transportation of materials.

Sorry adding natural gas and nuclear power plants doesn't change anything and there is nothing wrong with switching to renewables in the short term. There is no conceivable reason that we should invest billions upon billions to build power plants using polluting technology from 60 years ago that we intend to replace later when renewable technologies are already here.
I just don't think we're there yet, and if you wait until we are I think we will have polluted ourselves to death waiting for the perfect solution. It also does change a lot in terms of air pollution. I think a transition period is the way to go. Lets not let great get in the way of good.

I would love it if Ga Power or our leadership set a goal that all new power sources would be renewable, and 10% of all non renewable power sources would be phased to renewables each yea, but from what I've read costs haven't come down enough. I would love to be proven wrong though!

And yes Cybele lets hope we all don't become glow in the dark because of some accident haha. From what I read about Chernobyl there was massive user and mechanical error that caused that one.
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  #35  
Old Posted May 14, 2010, 6:33 PM
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France has less nuclear power than we do by a factor of two so lets not go there. I don't think you get that renewable + natural gas makes up a full 77% of the power plants under construction. And the greatest share of that at 42% was renewable. Where is the space for nuclear? You are basically advocating we replace renewable energy with nuclear power plants. Why, what on earth could possibly have you advocating we replace renewable with nuclear?

I just don't get it. By the way wind is cheaper than nuclear.

New Nuclear power - 25-30 cents/kWh
Wind power - 5-6 cents/kWh

source for nuclear
source for wind
second source for wind

a table for you

At this point, I don't see a single reason on earth to go with nuclear over wind. What is the benefit?

As for solar power, it is rapidly become cheaper and is already at parity in three states. It currently stands at 19.27 cents/kWh for industrial roof top installations. source For widespread power installation, the price is expected to be 10 cents/kWh by next year. Several sources agree with it coming in line with the entire grid average by 2015. Solar power capacity construction is up 259% from 2010 over 2009 in the US which is shattering cost.

Geothermal energy costs 5.5 cents per kWh. Enough said about that. source

Hydro is built out unfortunately and biomass costs are generally low but isn't done on a massive scale yet. I will look up some stats for that later. The point is that nuclear is more expensive than every single form of renewable energy I have listed here.
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Last edited by dante2308; May 14, 2010 at 9:03 PM.
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  #36  
Old Posted May 14, 2010, 9:03 PM
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Wood comes in at 6-11 cents/kWh source

Georgia Power offers electricity at 8.28-10.95 cents/kWh depending on usage source Rates are dependent on the prices of the fuel sources which may spike as they did in 2008 as anyone who has GNG for heating knows.

However electricity rates average at 10.54 residentially nationwide source. This means that renewable energy sources with exception of solar are already cheaper than the grid and solar is predicted to be lower than grid by next year by several producers.

To summarize:

Geothermal - 5.5
Wind - 5-6
Wood - 6-11
Solar - 7.5 (2008)
Grid - 10.54
Nuclear - 25-30 (lowest suggested value was 11 for existing systems)


Nuclear doesn't add up. The renewable sources have the potential to become even cheaper than they are right now. In fact they WILL become even cheaper than they are right now. What people don't realize is that they are already cheaper than you pay now. The only reason people don't know this is that it keeps getting compared to cheap/dirty coal but coal isn't even the majority of our national power supply anymore.

It is simple, either you are okay with coal and all our power should come from it or you think it has problems and we should switch to renewable or/and natural gas. If you are worried that natural gas prices are volatile (which they are) and may be priced at 6 times what it is now (which it was just two years ago) then you'll admit that there is chance that a natural gas dependent energy infrastructure may be subject to huge price spikes (which it has been) which blows it out to as high as 20 cents/kWh. FYI, natural gas prices are up 10%.... this week.

That makes it even simpler. Go renewable or go coal.

Edit: First Solar achieved 7.5 cents/kWh in December 2008 of actual realized cost of an installed system. (source) I'll update the table. Let me also point out that there are several suggestions that coal costs more than 7 cents/kWh such as this. Some are suggesting that new coal raises the cost of electricity above grid.
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Last edited by dante2308; May 15, 2010 at 4:22 AM. Reason: More data
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  #37  
Old Posted May 16, 2010, 2:27 AM
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  #38  
Old Posted May 16, 2010, 2:30 AM
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If you are worried that natural gas prices are volatile (which they are) and may be priced at 6 times what it is now (which it was just two years ago) then you'll admit that there is chance that a natural gas dependent energy infrastructure may be subject to huge price spikes (which it has been) which blows it out to as high as 20 cents/kWh. FYI, natural gas prices are up 10%.... this week.
We have over 100 years proven reserves of natural gas in the US, with more coming online every day. In fact, there's an oversupply AKA a glut.
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  #39  
Old Posted May 16, 2010, 7:34 AM
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We have over 100 years proven reserves of natural gas in the US, with more coming online every day. In fact, there's an oversupply AKA a glut.
Here's my two cents and then i'm done. Natural gas, oil, and coal are not renewable. We may have enough at the global current growth rate to last us another 200 years but that only solves the problem for the next several generations. It ALL will eventually run out!

The idea with finding ways to use wind, solar, and water is not to find ways to help ourselves for the next few hundred years but for the next few thousand years. We today have to start working to help not just the next 10 generations but the next 100 generations.

OPEC can never monopolize the wind but it can and has monopolized oil. Who knows what cars and cities will run on in 200 years long after we're all gone. I do know that if we don't start finding creative ways to use the renewable energy that we have have now and continue to rely on fossil fuels then in 200 years no one will be running on anything.

Fossil fuels will run out... someday!
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  #40  
Old Posted May 16, 2010, 8:06 AM
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We have over 100 years proven reserves of natural gas in the US, with more coming online every day. In fact, there's an oversupply AKA a glut.
Tell that to the 10% rise in prices and the pollution. I just don't see the point of having our electricity dependent on the will of derivative traders do you? It is nice to know the natural gas lobby's ad campaign has reached you.
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