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Old 01-24-2007, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
944 posts, read 2,749,925 times
Reputation: 369
While "sustainable" energy resources cost more at this time, there is indeed the will to make it happen in Austin. We have one of the largest "green energy" programs in the nation, and it's continuing to grow. This program allows people to pay a premium to pay for buying only from "green" energy sources. Obviously all the energy in the grid is mixed and undifferentiated but the funds from the program are earmarked for the development and purchasing of green energy.

We do have excellent wind and solar potential in TX. We're either first or second in the nation in wind power production and it's growing rapidly. You can see wind farms all over the northwest-central areas of the state where the winds are most constant.

But the other concerns you raised are serious, such as the sprawl and the problem of air conditioning, without which most people would leave Texas after experiencing a taste of summer without cooling.
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Old 01-24-2007, 07:03 PM
 
Location: WA
4,008 posts, read 12,755,889 times
Reputation: 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeptrance View Post
...
We do have excellent wind and solar potential in TX. We're either first or second in the nation in wind power production and it's growing rapidly. You can see wind farms all over the northwest-central areas of the state where the winds are most constant.
....
Excellent yes, consistent no. The problem is obviously the sun is not always shining and wind blowing. As a result the capacity in solar and wind must be mirrored on the grid since most of us want power when we need it... sometimes on a still night. It does make those power sources economically uncompetitive without subsidy.

Our society has become more productive, healthy, and comfortable because we have ubiquitous electricity. You are right, most of us will leave without it.
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Columbus Ohio
11 posts, read 27,209 times
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maybe its time to change your mind set, explore new technologies that make solar more effecient, and above all keep a positive attitude that the little things you can do around the house will help. Yes cooling is a big consern everywhere. but can I ask you what people did before there was sub-freezing central air conditioners? what about cooling specific rooms rather than the entire house? what about closer control of when you run your cooling system? what about heat disipation measures? there will be a time when you will be forced to cut energry consumption, start now and get a jump on everyone that will be complaining about it in the near future

p.s. I believe central texas has the capacity to generate a consistant 150 watts of power per square meter of solar panel... all year
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:44 AM
 
Location: WA
4,008 posts, read 12,755,889 times
Reputation: 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdb280 View Post
maybe its time to change your mind set, explore new technologies that make solar more effecient, and above all keep a positive attitude that the little things you can do around the house will help. Yes cooling is a big consern everywhere. but can I ask you what people did before there was sub-freezing central air conditioners? what about cooling specific rooms rather than the entire house? what about closer control of when you run your cooling system? what about heat disipation measures? there will be a time when you will be forced to cut energry consumption, start now and get a jump on everyone that will be complaining about it in the near future

p.s. I believe central texas has the capacity to generate a consistant 150 watts of power per square meter of solar panel... all year
Texas has very hot summers where it does not cool off much at night. The population was much smaller before AC and would be again if it went away.

Every night there is a consistant lack of solar resouces. There is an average of 135 cloudy days per year in Austin also limiting solar.

I think solar is great, but my comments where simply pragmatic... solar and wind are not consistant so the capacity must be mirrored on the grid from other sources.
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,624 posts, read 17,391,848 times
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While the power production capacity must be mirrored, the usage capacity for the traditional energy sources could drop enormously. Pollution and resource consumption would drop accordingly, which I think is the end goal.
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:55 AM
 
Location: WA
4,008 posts, read 12,755,889 times
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Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
While the power production capacity must be mirrored, the usage capacity for the traditional energy sources could drop enormously. Pollution and resource consumption would drop accordingly, which I think is the end goal.
Agreed about pollution, etc. The point I was trying to make is that the funds spent on solar/wind must also be spent again on conventional powerplant capacity doubling the capital costs making the overall proposition non-competitive.

If you could buy a solar car that only worked during sunny days would you buy it knowing that you must also purchase, garage, insure, and maintain another car to use when the sun was not out.
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,624 posts, read 17,391,848 times
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Quote:
If you could buy a solar car that only worked during sunny days would you buy it knowing that you must also purchase, garage, insure, and maintain another car to use when the sun was not out.
Right now, no....depending on the price of gas (including theoretical 'gas penalties'), maybe.....
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
944 posts, read 2,749,925 times
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Kind of off-topic, I just read an article in Discover about a coal-based power plant in Florida that emits almost NO pollution. That technology exists. It doesn't mitigate the problem of mining the coal, but no energy source is free from environmental damage.

Ultimately the only way to mitigate the damage humans cause to the environment is to cut our population drastically and reduce our energy consumption through efficiency and changes in lifestyle. But in the transitional period we can use much cleaner energy sources than we've traditionally accepted.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,624 posts, read 17,391,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeptrance View Post
Kind of off-topic, I just read an article in Discover about a coal-based power plant in Florida that emits almost NO pollution. That technology exists. It doesn't mitigate the problem of mining the coal, but no energy source is free from environmental damage.
This is probably IGCC (Intergrated Gasification Combined Cycle) technology, which is currently a fairly hot topic. The pollution can be further reduced by injecting the greenhouse gases into the ground (although this step I am not as familiar with). There is a project (FutureGen, see link below) that plans to build a $1 billion IGCC plant with injection in either TX or IL, with Jewett (near Waco) and Odessa being the two recommmended TX sites.

This will not be cheap, however. It essentially turns the coal into a gas, burns it in a turbine, and captures the emissions. So basically, it is a coal plant with additional processes involved. This require capital, require energy (less produced for use per ton of coal), and have an ongoing expense required to capture emissions an inject.

This is, in all likelihood, the future of coal power - the question is when will it become ecomical? In the end, we, the user, will have to pay for it. I don't think it will be an insignificant jump in cost, and the main benefit will be the reduction in greenhouse gases (believe it or not, the other pollutants from a new pulverized coal plant is nowhere near as bad as it used to be)

http://www.futuregenalliance.org/
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:06 PM
 
Location: WA
4,008 posts, read 12,755,889 times
Reputation: 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
...
This is, in all likelihood, the future of coal power - the question is when will it become ecomical? In the end, we, the user, will have to pay for it. I don't think it will be an insignificant jump in cost, and the main benefit will be the reduction in greenhouse gases (believe it or not, the other pollutants from a new pulverized coal plant is nowhere near as bad as it used to be)
...
You are right, the costs will be borne by the consumer. It certainly looks like the answer to clean coal power. Although operational costs are said to be competitive it is my understanding that capital costs are twice the conventional plant.
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