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Old 01-05-2012, 08:01 AM
 
5,409 posts, read 10,327,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Many areas of this country do not have weather that is suitable for dependency (even partial dependency) on solar panels. Start there, lol.

Most growth is in the "sunny areas."

Most de-population tends to be from the not-so-sunny areas.

No real demand for additional power in the not-so-sunny areas.

Why would one "start" where there is not even a problem?
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
18,665 posts, read 18,920,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
Easiest way to drop the Peak Demand on the grid is by taking the Air Conditioning (that is THE Peak Demand) and going direct Solar Thermal with it.

Some on that >>>

Sopogy MicroCSP - Technology behind Energy - SOLUTIONS

At any rate, the grid is designed to fulfill that Peak Demand from Air Conditioning -- and MORE (as you say) with intent. We have to live in surplus for the risk of a major plant or line failure -- we still have to keep the rest of the system up.

Seriously, I work and design in this field. My customers include the biggest power companies in the US. We are required to have reserve capacity, even at Peak. All areas of the country come under what are called Electric Reliability Councils, and they require we operate at a surplus.

As far as traditional power plants going on/off line -- Once a Coal or Nuke is up and running, we run them steady. Only gas --typically a Gas Turbine is cycled on and off for the Daily Peak. Dams can also be used as peakers.

But in all that, Solar does not risk somehow saturating the already surplus market for decades ahead, and the only question at this point is how to take out the old surplus Coal and Nuke plants.
Excess capacity COSTS MONEY.

When you are setting up a system you want to have a system that delivers what you need, when you need it. That is why powerplants are set up with generator banks, they can fullfill peak demand, then shut down generators as needed.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:33 AM
 
21,459 posts, read 19,246,159 times
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I still think solar power/wind power/ biofuel is engineered to have us turn away from more cutting edge and revolutionary power sources and technology that are within our grasp. Call it a conspiracy but I think the technology is already here or being developed but "they" don't want it available for mass consumption.
Whatever happened to fusion power? Batteries are a dead end technology as much as the internal combustion engine. We're supposed to turn back to go into the future. Those technologies don't seem capable of sustaining themselves as industries or being able to generate profit.
I see no chance of getitng social security in 30 years, either. I see reduced standards of living unless we turn ourselves around and begin adopting more libertarian principles of government. Screw the new world order and globalization. If a country falls down on the other side of the globe, why should we go down with them?
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:31 AM
 
4,391 posts, read 3,173,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
Most growth is in the "sunny areas."

Most de-population tends to be from the not-so-sunny areas.

No real demand for additional power in the not-so-sunny areas.

Why would one "start" where there is not even a problem?
Philip, I think you have some excellent insight into alternative energy. But, what is holding up further advancements in this field? It seems to me that the tech is not yet cost effective enough to get any real traction without tax subsidies and even less so in the colder climates. I fully support alternative energy to lessen the strain on nonrenewable resources, but it seems we are just not there yet. Still, we need to be as prepared as possible for the future, as oil prices are sure to rise eventually to a point when the alternatives make even more sense.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:03 AM
 
3,335 posts, read 2,700,206 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaker281 View Post
Philip, I think you have some excellent insight into alternative energy. But, what is holding up further advancements in this field? It seems to me that the tech is not yet cost effective enough to get any real traction without tax subsidies and even less so in the colder climates. I fully support alternative energy to lessen the strain on nonrenewable resources, but it seems we are just not there yet. Still, we need to be as prepared as possible for the future, as oil prices are sure to rise eventually to a point when the alternatives make even more sense.
The benefit of alternatives, is there localization. Where there is farmland, oilseeds can be grown for diesel. Where there are rolling hills and funnel valleys, wind generation. Arid dry lands can use solar for electricity and algae oils.
Coastal, Rivers and Streams can produce Hydro.
All of these can be stored into an abundant clean Hydrogen gas.

Looking at how the Universe creates endless amounts of energy, we can evolve past dirty carbon.

China will have to do something soon or they just won't simply be able to breath without apparatus filtering their smog.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:22 AM
 
6,714 posts, read 7,717,867 times
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I too, have succumbed to the 'doomerism' concern from time to time. I just wonder how we are ever going to get the people running this country, and perhaps the world, to understand that the resources with which we have been blessed are not put there for any individual, company, or generation to exploit for commercial gain (money!) at the cost of everything else.

Hence, we don't have a vialble solar industry, nor do we have an electric car that is viable.

And why is that?

Because in America we are run by the oil companies. Whatever they want, they have the resources to purchase the influence in whatever form is necessary to further their commercial well being.

Simply put, they put the brakes on anything which competes with their well being whether it be solar, hyrdro, wind, or even other fusion technologies which might solve our energy problems for hundres of years to come. Every year the tax incentives for alternative energy projects must be renewed, leaving anyone who would invest in these technologies uncertain, and unwilling to make long term comittments. Any pcoket of development which threatens the oil company freight train, and the oil companies are on the phone with their paid for friends in Washington to put the fear of god in the alternative energy developers.

Break that cycle, and we could make some progress in viable alternatives. Leave it as it is, and we will be at the mercy of shortages and threats from the people who make tens of billions every time there is a hiccup in the 'system'.

Doomerism? How long can we go on like this? Trillions for the 'haves', and scraps for the 'have nots' who are paying the bills through their taxes.

It has gone on longer than i could ever have imagined......so therein lies the conundrum: Hope? Or Fear?
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:43 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 3,744,990 times
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After reading the likes of James Kunstler and others of the peak oil mind for a few years I'd have to say I don't think the geo-reality of petroleum will change, nor will it magically succumb to the positive thinking hoopla that characterizes the nightly news. The whole "doomer" thing is really a type of media hype, not the mainstream media but certainly the dark side of the blogging community's best naysayers. A slow disintegration of our natural support system seems likely, that isn't as much a doomer thing as it is the obvious view of the direction we have been going for a long time.

Because we exist in our own conscious shell we can, for the most part, only speculate within the limits of our own lifetime frame, to suppose that the real bad stuff is really a long time out in the future allows us to live like there really is no tomorrow. Most of America is too engrossed in the likes of NASCAR, Budweiser, and the various reality shows that capture their collective attention, those that aren't are equally consumed with their newfound infatuation with fine wine,resort hopping, and the high life that money always allows. The fact of resource depletion isn't readily apparent when you're ignoring it.

I don't look to the future with any more loathing or fear than the present day reality is capable of conjuring up. Ignorance of the consequences is usually the reason for the proliferation of so many of the terrible things we experience, when that ignorance takes the form of a collective net thrown over an entire society that society is usually suffering on a mass scale. What we think and do in the meantime is irrelevant when we consider the real impact won't be felt until those consequences are upon the society that ignored their potential.

Technology has it's limits, it cannot overcome the constant drain from the worlds natural resources, it is not a resource in itself, it is only able to utilize those resources we have at present. All the alt-technology surrounding oil's replacement relies on that same oil for it's manufacture and often it's maintenance. It is the consequences of ignoring this truth that makes me doubt the view of our future as something good, my grandchildren will probably be experiencing the full grief of this techno-hubris. All of the talk of the big bonus of advanced drilling techniques in the Bakken oil play is a good example of a typical techno tradeoff, I don't know of anyone who bothered to read about the consequences such technology may bring to bear on agriculture in this region, they were overjoyed at the thought of possible unlimited oil and nothing else. I'm not a doomer but I sure am aware of what the downside is of our insatiable appetite while eating at natures table....
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,352,636 times
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All interesting replies...

I have to notice that our whole world never has completely gone to hell everywhere and all at the same time.

Some argue that globalization is why this time will be different, but in practically any other case I can think of interconnectedness actually strengthens the whole rather than making it more vulnerable. Because of interconnectedness, losses can be more readily absorbed and adapted to and new attachments made before total system failure. We may be a civilization built on toothpicks, but there are millions of them holding us up.

Therefore, I think civilization will endure, and while localized disasters WILL happen and cultural/lifestyle changes are inevitable the globalized world is here to stay unless life on earth is somehow extinguished.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:55 AM
 
5,409 posts, read 10,327,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaker281 View Post
Philip, I think you have some excellent insight into alternative energy.
Thanks, and sure.

I am an R&D Electrical Engineer in the power field.

Coal, Oil, Wind, Hydro, Solar PV, and Solar Thermal, just about anything but Nukes.

Just some of the stuff on here gets too silly to argue with.

Quote:
But, what is holding up further advancements in this field?
Time and Timing, and limited demand.

The Great Recession has put the brakes on a lot of things. Power and Renewable, as well. All in this together, yunno.

After the late 2008 crash, real growth actually went negative in our field. Nothing like that has ever happened before. We add and build based on at least a 1 to 2% annual growth, and plans and major equipment that takes some years to put together are based on that.

That planned new, budgeted and contracted equipment was already being put into place, so anything that could be canceled was. Including a LOT of new renewable.

So now generation is still rather surplus, so there is little to build for.

Quote:
It seems to me that the tech is not yet cost effective enough to get any real traction without tax subsidies and even less so in the colder climates.
First thing I suppose most folks do not understand is that All Energy in the US is rather well subsidized.

All of it.

Oil, Coal, Nukes, too.

IF (and that is a big IF) all subsidies were ended across the board, renewable would already come out the cheaper choice.

Quote:
I fully support alternative energy to lessen the strain on nonrenewable resources, but it seems we are just not there yet.
Only source in a strain or running with supply nearly matching demand is Oil.

THAT is it -- Just Oil.

Most Oil, whether US sourced or imported winds up just being burnt up for transportation. Ground Transportation in particular. Shift Ground Transportation towards all the surplus Electric Generation, and things could balance out nicely.

But so far, we still have our Oil addiction.

Probably just need some more pain from it.

Pain tends to make change easier.

Quote:
Still, we need to be as prepared as possible for the future, as oil prices are sure to rise eventually to a point when the alternatives make even more sense.
Sure. Whether Oil continues to rise, or everything else continues to sink (deflationary depression) -- same result -- in the end we will no longer be to afford our addiction.
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,369 posts, read 3,047,443 times
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Being a doomer is generally not a profitable strategy in a stock market with an inherent upward bias. Doomers have done OK in the last few years but let's be clear: the market has an upward bias and if you are a constant doomer you are very likely to under perform or not do as well as the more optimistic counterparts. There are people who make their living shorting stocks and with extremely bearish strategies but it's significantly harder than being bullish in an upward facing market.

That said, I think it's good to be *skeptical* about things. Healthy skepticism is necessary and very valuable. But you don't want to turn into a person who starts worshiping sites like Zerohedge.
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