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Old 11-15-2011, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,105 posts, read 20,406,504 times
Reputation: 4143

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That is the chilling statistic. The Wattenburg Field is considered a "major find," but it would take finding 11 of them a year to replace what is being depleted from world oil supplies each year--just under one a month, and that is if world consumption is flat, which it is not. Anyone who doubts the theory of Peak Oil and the crash that is coming in oil supplies need only think about that for a minute.
Alternative fuels are doubling their cost effectiveness about every 24 months, and have been doing so for over 20 years. That means sources like solar are only a few doublings away from being more cost effective then oil. This is good news for Colorado as we rank as one of the states with the most sunshine. That is not to say that this oil field is not good for Colorado in the short term, say under 20 years, but in the long run the jobs will move to where solar is more viable.

MODERATOR EDIT: This thread was created by moving posts from the Front Range Oil Thread to this thread. Please use this thread only for Alternative Energy discussion, and the other thread to post about oil and gas drilling in the Front Range area. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenkonami View Post
It was suggested...nay, encouraged on another thread. So let's start it here. Present your thoughts, and more importantly your DATA on energy alternatives to fossil fuels throughout Colorado. DON'T FORGET TO PROVIDE YOUR SOURCES. Fossil fuels are known contributors to pollution as well as potentially damaging to land and local geologies, but are well subsidized and supported by our current infrastructure, making them cheap, fast and accessible in a world of rising energy costs. Remember...thoughts are welcome, but DATA IS BETTER and PROVIDE SOURCES!
Get ready...get set...and GO!

Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-17-2011 at 10:38 AM..
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 3,629,161 times
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If energy alternatives received the kind of subsidies and government backing that fossil fuels do, they might be far more appealing alternatives. It still astonishes me the shear amount of energy that goes into producing oil (from discovery to extraction to refining to delivery) and yet still at an incredibly low price for the consumer.

I'm not proposing that we drop all oil production tomorrow, but we are taking our sweet time making alternatives viable from a cost standpoint.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:20 AM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,726,605 times
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Having studied solar power extensively, it will be viable sooner than some people think. Prices are dropped dramatically and economies of scale are being realized as capacity has increased dramatically. Your panels will have to be made in China to be cost effective though. If the American solar sector manages to impose tariffs all consumers will lose. The low cost of polysilicon is driving down the cost to manufacture high quality panels, and the big player(s) in the American market designed their panels to avoid the "high" cost of polysilicon. With the amount of sunshine Colorado gets it will certainly be one of the first places to achieve grid parity. The challenge that will come with really making this system effective is having battery reserves that allow houses to use the grid only as a backup. Until this point solar wasn't anywhere near that effective and it was generally much more cost effective to sell the energy back to the electricity company because solar installations were only competitive off feed in tariffs. Peak oil is still several years away because of the use of fracking. Solar will surpass it before then. Because those solar panels are mobile, they will gain more use in other countries that are still developing infrastructure and reduce (not eliminate, no where near that) the reliance on gasoline. As our own electric cars are showing, there will be a significant shift in the future as the price of electricity comes down and the price of gas continues to increase.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,105 posts, read 20,406,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenkonami View Post
If energy alternatives received the kind of subsidies and government backing that fossil fuels do, they might be far more appealing alternatives. It still astonishes me the shear amount of energy that goes into producing oil (from discovery to extraction to refining to delivery) and yet still at an incredibly low price for the consumer.

I'm not proposing that we drop all oil production tomorrow, but we are taking our sweet time making alternatives viable from a cost standpoint.
To be honest it does not matter as alternative energy is doubling every 24 months. In Colorado there are large tracks of land that is on the verge of being developed into large solar fields by the end of this decade when the cost will be cheaper then fossil fuels.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:36 AM
 
874 posts, read 927,792 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
To be honest it does not matter as alternative energy is doubling every 24 months. In Colorado there are large tracks of land that is on the verge of being developed into large solar fields by the end of this decade when the cost will be cheaper then fossil fuels.
You can keep blabbing about some futurist's bull**** proclamations, but I'll stick with the DoE's estimates for solar energy showing that it will still be more expensive than coal and natural gas in 2020. Wind power will be competitive, but solar still has a way to go.

The market is still betting on oil and natural gas being dominant players while solar and wind are still trying to hit their stride. An issue that will be even more evident as the subsidies for energy production are reduced under the growing pressure of fiscal austerity.

BTW, weren't you slobbering all over nuclear power a few months ago?
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,105 posts, read 20,406,504 times
Reputation: 4143
Quote:
Originally Posted by wong21fr View Post
You can keep blabbing about some futurist's bull**** proclamations, but I'll stick with the DoE's estimates for solar energy showing that it will still be more expensive than coal and natural gas in 2020. Wind power will be competitive, but solar still has a way to go.

The market is still betting on oil and natural gas being dominant players while solar and wind are still trying to hit their stride. An issue that will be even more evident as the subsidies for energy production are reduced under the growing pressure of fiscal austerity.

BTW, weren't you slobbering all over nuclear power a few months ago?
This is not futuristic bull but advancements that have been happening as the technology for solar has been doubling every 2 years for the past 20 plus years. There is no sign that this trend will not continue and that means in just 4 or 5 doublings (8 to 10 years) solar will reach a tipping point where it is more cost effective then fossil fuels. Sure in 2011 the markets are dismissing solar, as is the Republican Party and the DoE, because it is meeting only about 1% of our energy needs and they do not understand the technology is growing at a exponential rate. So they are still putting all their stock into oil and oil fields like the one in northern Colorado but if you dig deeper things are starting to change. I volunteer for PEDCo (Pueblo Economic Development Corporation) and the talk of the industry leaders for the future is not new oil fields but solar fields like in southern Colorado. By the end of this decade when projects like that are coming on line people are going to say that solar came out of no where when it reality it has been building since I was a kid, just no one realized it.

As far as nuclear. It is, also, seeing growth and will continue to be a important part of our energy needs as well. Maybe not in Colorado like I had hoped and that is ok.

I want to say that I think we should go after the oil because its still going to be a big part of our economy for 10 to 20 years and in that time the state can make billions of dollars from this field. I am just saying that long range, more then 20 years at the most, our energy needs will not be met from oil fields like that one but solar fields like the ones proposed in southern Colorado as well as other alternative energy sources like wind and nuclear.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:50 PM
 
874 posts, read 927,792 times
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Which industry leaders? The solar industry? The natural gas industry? Or the utility industry?

Which of those leaders is staking the future on the dominance of solar panels?

As for your proclamations about the cost effectiveness of solar power. Everything I've seen says that the cost of solar power is not being halved every two years over the last twenty years, which is what you seem to be claiming. So, I'm calling bull****.

Gains of 5-10% per year? Far more likely.

Last edited by wong21fr; 11-16-2011 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:29 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,857,024 times
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Wink Solar energy & oil

'U.S. researchers have utilized nanotechnology to create a new solar material with silicon wires that is just as efficient at turning sunlight into usable energy as its conventional counterpart. The new material is flexible, durable and uses only one percent of the material that goes into the conventional wafers.' [1]


There has been news of recent advancements in solar panel technology. The cited reference mentions a few briefly.

As contrast, by one estimate the American oil industry receives up to $113 billion in direct subsidies from the American taxpayer annually.[2] This is accounted for in such things as subsidies for drilling and also the military role necessary to insure continued oil supplies. The cited article provides further details.

What will make a huge difference in this equation is when a truly viable battery emerges. Lithium-ion batteries, such as in laptop computers, have seen significant advancements of late. But those most suitable for the larger energy storage of solar installations, and those used in residential applications, are still the old technology of lead-acid.

It is surely a question of when rather than if a revolutionary battery will be developed, and will probably not be similar to those extant today. But within the sun and this universe there is a vast amount of energy, and in physics possible to contain a huge amount of energy in a very small space. So probably more a problem of how to apportion the energy out in a steady, reliable fashion.

Once such a battery exists, it will prove a game changer. At that point electric vehicles will be truly viable and preferred. Although solar panels are still expensive, the converters and batteries required in residential applications are also a significant cost in such an installation. Also one that must periodically be replaced. Obviously many other applications as well for such a battery.

Oil works because it is a known, and the vast and expensive infrastructure for it is largely in place. But obviously as well with large costs, in production for one as the easy reserves have now been tapped and drawn down. Also in a number of environmental costs which are substantial. For all the energy contained in petroleum and natural gas, it pales in comparison to what is available from the sun, and that the amount of solar energy falling upon the Earth in an hour enough to power the world for a year. But a question of being able to utilize it well. Although not overlooked that solar energy is best adapted for generation of electricity, or passive solar heating, but without the many properties of oil whose uses are essential in a modern economy.

Burning oil out an auto exhaust pipe is one of the least of its important uses. And of course a finite resource.

1) 'Solar Technology Advancements To Lower Cost and Environmental Impact,' Energy Boom
Solar Technology Advancements To Lower Cost and Environmental Impact | eBoom Contributor

2) 'Information on US Oil Subsidies,' Askville
Can someone explain the subsidy that US oil producing firms get?
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,105 posts, read 20,406,504 times
Reputation: 4143
Exclamation Exponential Growth of Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by wong21fr View Post
Which industry leaders? The solar industry? The natural gas industry? Or the utility industry?

Which of those leaders is staking the future on the dominance of solar panels?

As for your proclamations about the cost effectiveness of solar power. Everything I've seen says that the cost of solar power is not being halved every two years over the last twenty years, which is what you seem to be claiming. So, I'm calling bull****.

Gains of 5-10% per year? Far more likely.
From what I can remember it was from solar energy experts and energy experts in general.

This, also, builds on what Idunn posted about solar versus fossil fuels.


This is from Arizona but applies to Colorado solar fields as well. That is why you see a few large developments on the drawing board in southern Colorado.



It’s happening. The future is both here today and it is coming at us with great speed for tomorrow. The tools of change that have gotten us to this point are advancing at an ever increasing rate and providing even better tools. Things that build upon themselves are exponential and that is what is happening in the solar tech arena. Those of us that watch such things can see it right before our eyes. Those of you that don’t watch such things will see the effects of this right before your eyes very soon.

The link: Exponential Growth of Solar

Here is another example of the exponential growth of solar energy:

That is happening with solar energy — it is doubling every two years. And it didn’t start two years ago, it started 20 years ago. Every two years we have twice as much solar energy in the world. Today, solar is still more expensive than fossil fuels, and in most situations it still needs subsidies or special circumstances, but the costs are coming down rapidly — we are only a few years away from parity. And then it’s going to keep coming down, and people will be gravitating towards solar, even if they don’t care at all about the environment, because of the economics. So right now it’s at half a percent of the world’s energy. People tend to dismiss technologies when they are half a percent of the solution. But doubling every two years means it’s only eight more doublings before it meets a hundred percent of the world’s energy needs. So that’s 16 years. We will increase our use of electricity during that period, so add another couple of doublings: In 20 years we’ll be meeting all of our energy needs with solar, based on this trend which has already been under way for 20 years.

The link: Futurist Ray Kurzweil isn’t worried about climate change | Need to Know | PBS

Last edited by Josseppie; 11-16-2011 at 03:21 PM..
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:26 PM
 
874 posts, read 927,792 times
Reputation: 1013
Oh my god, you're citing a guy who runs a one-man solar consulting business and then you're pasting his articles word for word as your own to defend your position? Plus, you're using a graph that is not referencing any data as your "proof"?

Let's look at a real source, the EIA, and it's forecast for the year 2016:


Original Source

Solar is non-competitive at so many levels it's not even funny. It simply can't compete with baseline generation technologies and wind simply kicks it's ass due to the low-availability of solar and higher installation costs.

BTW, here's the historical installation price of solar from NREL's Open PV Project (though I did take the static image from another source):


Source

Notice the downward trend as the technology matures and larger installations realize economies of scale. Also notice the complete lack of a 50% decrease in installation price every two years. This is because it's a REAL graph based on REAL data. Not a header for blog of a guy selling solar consulting services.
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