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Old 03-31-2011, 09:45 PM
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Pretty good article examining how to find balance in using renewables alongside traditional energy sources.

Wind and Solar: Batteries Not Included (Guest Post)

By Bill Willoughby

“Windfarm on Oahu’s north shore. As soon as we started shooting, the wind stopped.” from Jane Wells [CNBC, Hawaii] Wind and solar power have a problem in reliability. We all know the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine 24/7, and that’s a fact of nature. If wind and solar are to break out and become significant sources of electricity, changes are needed to improve the way we deal with that variability.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
Pretty good article examining how to find balance in using renewables alongside traditional energy sources.

Wind and Solar: Batteries Not Included (Guest Post)
Yep, they are hitting on to the issues that were known long before the "refresh" of these technologies became popular. That isn't to say that there isn't some merit in their use, but it has to be practical and fit a reasonable need for their limitations.

They never took off because they required too many concessions, too many adaptions to make work and as we know, current energy means do not have those limitations, so it is obvious why they took off while these technologies fell to the side.

The question becomes though, are we at a point to which they are viable? If you push off all the rhetoric, the emotional diatribe, and calls based on fluffy science, the question seems to be... NO.

That said, should we disband them? Should we ignore the potential with future technology and understanding to which we may be able to make them practical? NO, but then this has never been the issue as technology concerning these off base methods have always been a focus of improving (though very slowly and often with major flaws).

If we had never had a "fad" based social push for these technologies, would they be as developed as we see now? The answer is... YES. The fact that there are many idiots out there willing to throw out all practical application and reasoning to serve a political and emotional ideal has not caused technology in these areas to increase as they were moving at the same pace they are now before they were the "flavor of the week" for the sheepish masses. The only difference is that they are more profitable than they used to be because all of the limitations and impractical applications are being accepted by those who buy into them.

We should continue to seek better results from these technologies and we will regardless if it is the social be all or if it is a side note in technological exploration. Why? Because if it ever becomes practical, economical, and reliable, a free market will find it much faster than the promise of government subsidies and a moronic public who buys into fads and social trends.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:06 PM
Location: Interior AK
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Contrary to popular belief our current, conventional power sources aren't 100% reliable either and the same methods used to make them appear reliable, increase their uptime, and handle surges in peak demand can be outfitted in a renewable energy system as well. Conventional power plants use batteries to store excess power that is being generated to supply during periodic outages and peak surges, too.

Now, I do agree that we need to take a balanced, moderate approach to adopting renewable energy solutions alongside conventional solutions so that demand is met without inordinate sacrifices to productivity. A hybrid system improves reliability across the board as well as reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and inputs that becoming increasing difficult and expensive to procure, and provide a cleaner energy source for at least a portion of our needs.
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