The True Benefits of Alternative Energy

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, May 21, 2005.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
    Link

    What more could you ask for? Jobs, increased tax base, rental fees go into local pockets, not multinationals, lower current account deficit and energy that doesn't pollute.

    Wind is more expensive on the face of it but when the true cost of fossil fuel energy is taken into account, alternative sources are clearly cheaper. It continues to boggle my mind that this country could care less about ALL the above benefits of wind and solar.
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #2
    it doesnt boggle my mind, look at who is running the country, people who care only about money, and the solid proven ways to make it too. they know oil and so they will make their money that way. this country is afraid of change, and that will be our downfall, because everything in life changes
     
  3. takao macrumors 68040

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    actually untill 2001 the US has been the top country with building new ones but since then the numbers of built wind turbines has dropped significatly every year while in other countries the numbers for built per year are still increasing (germany is in front at the moment)

    and thats troublesome when a country the size of montana and less 1/3 of inhabitants is building more wind generators than the whole US
    and it's not like there is lacking know-how or something the US is leading together with the germans and danish
    there are simply political reasons
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Well, takao, I'd be a bit careful about the raw numbers. I know of over 500 wind generators built in the last three or four years along I-10 in west Texas. While I grant that that part of the world is not among the most aesthetically pleasing, I have found it a bit of a shock in some places of scenic beauty to suddenly find a "farm" of wind generators or of solar panels. Why not stick a few wind generators around the castles of Mad King Ludwig, et al? Think of the attraction for tourism: "The old and the new!" (After all, many castles are on high ground, and upslope winds are common and steady...)

    The cost per mega-watt is still higher than for fossil-fueled plants. The current price of oil means that both coal liquifaction and coal gasification are competitive, and the gasification methodology removes "grunge" before burning it.

    And we can borrow from China's new pebble-bed nuke technology. Almost zero problem with either weapons enrichment or with "waste" disposal. Since they're into a program of building some 35 of these plants, we have ample time to learn the pluses and minuses...
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Well, takao, I'd be a bit careful about the raw numbers. I know of over 500 wind generators built in the last three or four years along I-10 in west Texas. While I grant that that part of the world is not among the most aesthetically pleasing, I have found it a bit of a shock in some places of scenic beauty to suddenly find a "farm" of wind generators or of solar panels. Why not stick a few wind generators around the castles of Mad King Ludwig, et al? Think of the attraction for tourism: "The old and the new!" (After all, many castles are on high ground, and upslope winds are common and steady...)

    The cost per mega-watt is still higher than for fossil-fueled plants. The current price of oil means that both coal liquifaction and coal gasification are competitive, and the gasification methodology removes "grunge" before burning it.

    From today's NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/business/yourmoney/22coal.html?th&emc=th

    I disagree somewhat with the author as to the amount of resistance beyond costs. Note this plant got a large tax-dollar subsidy. But, with oil and natural gas costs having risen, the overall economic picture seems to be changing.

    And we can borrow from China's new pebble-bed nuke technology. Almost zero problem with either weapons enrichment or with "waste" disposal. Since they're into a program of building some 35 of these plants, we have ample time to learn the pluses and minuses...

    In the FWIW department, the International Energy Agency projects that over the next 20 years, the US and China will each spend around $2 TRILLION on energy investment. That's a mix of wind, solar, coal, nukes, nat-gas...The EU, a bit over $1 trillion.

    'Rat
     
  6. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    because the increased price to built,maintain them somewhere high in the mountains is simply not the most cost effective way to built them on completle even terrain because i nthe same time you can built 3 times more and the power difference grows slim when close the the windy shores like in germany or in regions where winds are common

    http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=36020

    "U.S. wind energy capacity reached 6,374 megawatts at the beginning of this year, which is the amount of electricity used annually by about 1.6 million average American households.

    The Energy Department has announced a goal for the United States to obtain 5 percent of its electricity from wind by 2020, up from less than 1 percent now and consistent with the current rate of growth for wind energy, the trade group said. "

    germany 2004 16629 megawatts
    austria 2004 606,2 megawatts (support is lousy for wind energy at the moment)

    so ? germany produceds around 6+ of it's electricity with wind energy denmark around 20%


    nuclear powerplants are on the way out too dangerous, too political too much long time pollution and if count in the costs for cleaning everything up it's even more expensive then some alternative ones



    wind energy can only one part of producing energy in the future together with other sources (sun energy, water, earth thermal energy etc.) but it's very reasonable to say that 10% or even more by wind energy only _is_ do able germany nearly doubled their output within the last 4 years

    it could be very easy for the US to increase the amount of wind energy up to 10 percent untill 2020
    sure windfarms don't look pleasing but you know what is the alternative ? coal and oil burning plants who are blowing smoke in the air ? or nuclear plants who after 30 years are a pain in the a.. to remove


    anybody has link of all the energy producing branches in the US like ? 1% wind energy x percent waterplants etc. ?
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Amazing. Didn't you use the exact opposite argument when we were discussing oil drilling in ANWR?

    [edit]Yeah, you did: here.

    Why is it okay to ugly up the countryside if it's in Alaska but if it's in Texas it gives you pause?

    China's new PB technology? Pebble bed reactor design has been around for quite some time.

    Bull. They produce a lot of high level waste. Their design precludes a containment structure, and each pebble is covered in inflammable graphite. Safety is not guaranteed; a German plant had a significant accident in 1986.

    We'd be better off persuing CANDU designs. Or better yet, none at all. Nuclear energy is not cost effective and survives on subsidies and optimistic accounting practices.
     
  8. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Oil refineries don't despoil the coast in Texas? That's news to me. Just as refineries need to be located near the oil or a pipeline or a shipping route, so do wind farms need to be located where the wind is. That's a pretty lame excuse if you ask me.

    The short term cost is less, but the long term costs are much, much higher. It would be interesting to see how much higher health care costs are in Houston due to all the refineries belching out pollution.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #9
    If you can externalize the costs, you don't need to count 'em.
     
  10. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    *cough* nuclear waste *cough*
     
  11. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

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    I was going to say exactly the same thing about ANWR. Better to defile that environment than stick a few windmills in the desert I guess.

    There is a huge wind farm on the I10 between LA and Phoenix. It's quite a sight to see and the land under it is still usable.

    I think that resistance to alternative forms of energy has more to do with the cartel running the country.

    It's baffling why these people get such unquestioning loyalty.
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    How many times do I need to tell you? Nuclear waste is not a condiment!
     
  13. takao macrumors 68040

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    #13
    just found the numbers for the installed turbines of 2004
    http://www.igwindkraft.at/index.php?mdoc_id=1000959
    in german

    1. Spain: 2.065 MW
    2. Germany: 2.037
    3. India: 875 MW
    4. USA: 389 MW
    ...
    9. China: 197 MW
    10. Austria: 192 MW

    in total numbers Spain finnaly overhauled the US is now more than 2000 mw ahead (with 1.500 MW still in construction and further things in planning)

    edit: in the germany bureau responsible for allowing the building of offshore wind turbines plans for turbines with a complete capacy for over 70.000 (!) MW have been sent an already turbines with more than 2.200 MW have been signed and are now entering planning /constructing etc.
    similar in the Uk with 1.116 confirmed out of 7.500 , spain etc.

    untill 2013 the world wide isntallations are estimated to have a maximum capacy of 194.000 megawatts (47.317 in the end of 2004)
     
  14. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    That's only because we have been lucky enough to, so far, avoid the inevitable toxic wind spill! Just wait, when it happens you all be sorry for putting up those environmental hazards!
     
  15. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

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    I was kinda worried about one of those blade breaking loose and cutting my car in two, with all of the dangers involved, it's a wonder they get away with it.
     
  16. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I dunno as how the actual drill-area of ANWR is any more "scenic" than the wind-farm areas I've seen. The area to be used is a helluva lot smaller. And after the expected life-span of the field, the approval law requires removal of the equipment. Part of the reason I don't object to certain projects is that I can take you to several places and say, "There was a strip mine here." and "There was an oil well here." If I didn't tell you of these things I myself had seen, you'd never know the activity had occurred. (Same thing for a lot of clearcut forests, although I object to replacement of a mixed species forest with pine forest mono-culture.)

    Refineries? Well, one way or another, there will continue to be petro-chemical plants for production of fuels and for production of those raw materials which go into consumer products. They're point-source problems which can and have been controlled as to pollution. We could get rid of them all, of course, if you don't want plastic or have some alternate means of fuelling transportation.

    There's no such thing as a totally pristine country, if you want anything remotely near the lifestyle that we at this forum enjoy. That's why the concept of zoning exists. Ya wanna flush a toilet, ya gotta have a sewage plant--but you don't put it downtown. Same for industrial areas.

    Pristine? Hey, drive I-20 or I-40 across west Texas, or I-70 across Kansas. Notice the mesquite? It's there because we ran off the Indians who used to use deliberately set grass fires to drive game. The fires also kept mesquite and cactus south of what's now I-10. Then came those romantic trail herd days from south Texas to Kansas. Cows eat mesquite beans; they then leave evidence of their passage and the seeds do their thing.

    IOW, people change the environment and then a couple of generations later somebody says, "Aw, ain't that Natural!"

    What I'd run across about China's pebble-bed nukes indicated it's a relatively new setup. Damfino. Regardless, they plan on 35 of them, so we'll learn about problems, I reckon.

    The CANDU project, IIRC, is a 400-MW, CO2-cooled system. Its successful operation has always had me wondering if that general size-range isn't inherently more manageable than these 1,200-MW systems. Dunno. (The size and thus the wall thickness of the larger pressure vessels creates problems with quality control and thus reliability/longevity. Stainless steel that's 8" thick is not the most easily-welded stuff around.)

    Storage of spent fuel is always gonna be "hot stuff". It's more of a political, NIMBY, problem than an engineering/geology problem. I still believe that in 20 or 50 years, what's now called "nuclear waste" is gonna be raw material for something. Dunno what, but something...

    takao, I don't know if the wind generators I've seen are 1.2 or 3.2 MW units. Regardless, given what are already built in Altamont Pass and near Palm Springs (I'm assuming they're operable), there are at least another 600 MW to be added to the US total, if not 1,600 MW. :) Plus, I see articles here and there about other areas for WG besides west Texas.
     
  17. takao macrumors 68040

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    #17
    i think the US government somwhow managed to make certain tax reducion thing in last november after they somehow did nothing the years before for further development

    i thik it's good news i read something along 3.000 MW (untill end of 2006 i think not sure)... that's definatly better than those 3hundred something before .. at least on one front the bush administration seemed to have changed their mind after the election and recognized that something has to be done

    i just read that water power electricity plants account for 7%, nuclear palnts for 20%, gas for 18% coal: 50%, 1 % wind and the rest for all others .... so i think water power plants have still a lot of possibly gorth rate ..we've around 55-60% from water in austria, sweden even more

    add a few thousands megawatts here and there and it quickly sums up to real numbers right ? ;)
     
  18. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    According to whom? If we're counting the "land use" the same way the ANWR drilling proponents are, the only area used is the footprint where the tower touches the ground. Thus a 100 acre windfarm would "use" less land than a modern gas station.

    You are applying quite a double standard in terms of how you value Texas scenery and Alaskan scenery.

    And how do wind farms not meet this requirement? We've already been over how your experiences in the warm climate of Texas cannot compare to the treeless tundra of Alaska.
     
  19. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

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    You can't often see the toxic residue that is polluting soil and the underlying water tables. More of than not though, the residue is there and does not fully disappear for indeterminable periods of time. Appearances are often misleading. I'll see if I can dredge up an article outlining how wind farms have actually raised real estate values in some areas because they area quite a spectacle.

    Much nicer to look at than a smoke spewing coal factory.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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  21. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21

    Now, now, 'Rat's neck of the woods is actually quite beautiful. Can't remember what the name of the mountains on the border between TX and Mexico, but they're very pristine and spectacular. I drove through the area about 5 years ago and was quite impressed. Reminded me somewhat of the Trinity Alps in N. California. Of course, my leisurely drive was slowed even more by all the INS roadblocks, but that probably belongs in another thread :D
     
  22. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #22
    Water power is pretty big in the west, especially in Washington and Oregon, although it has a pretty bad reputation these days, what with salmon dying out and all. A few smaller dams have even been removed so I doubt there's a future for hydro in the US. But, in Canada, especially in Ontario and Quebec, hydro power is huge. I think the power companies are actually called Ontario Hydro and Quebec Hydro.

    Huge strides have been made though in mini water generators and in rural areas they are pretty popular for those who live off the grid. Water flows are much greater in the winter when solar isn't as efficient. I think there's a huge future in small scale local solutions like mini water turbines, solar, and wind. When fuel cells take off, the potential for eliminating massively expensive and inefficient transmission lines is huge.

    I agree that the combined effect of all forms of alternative energy are pretty impressive. Wind turbines are a huge growth market right now and the potential for export is huge. To bad bushco isn't interested in creating jobs and reducing the current account deficit.
     
  23. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

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    According to this article in Wired there is enough wind power to generate 5 times the world's electricity needs.

     
  24. mischief macrumors 68030

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    #24
    I've often wondered, after driving across it, why Mexico doesn't cover a significant portion of northern Baja in solar arrays. It'd be great for their economy, create jobs in an incredibly poor area and improve their international image. Lots of room there for Wind farms too....
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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