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Unasked for Move to the Third World

March 8, 2011 13:01:15.000

This is why I'm so skeptical about "alternative" energy - in the UK, one of the bigwigs in their power industry has started explaining what kinds of "benefits" there will be once they move to more wind based power:

Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets. Wind-based power systems are necessary to meet the government’s targets, he has explained, but they will require lifestyle changes.

Where I come from, that's a bug, not a feature.

posted by James Robertson


Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[Bruce Hobbs] March 8, 2011 17:24:35.016

The link to the article isn't working. Looks like the apostrophe in the contraction is supposed to be "curly" (i.e., ’ rather than ').

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[HKN] March 9, 2011 5:33:00.504

the current electrical power production and distribution is the bug, not a feature. Lobbyists of the existing mega companies and their suppliers are distributing FUD as much as they can, for obvious reasons: if politics would decide to go the promising way of de-centralized power production and smart management of storage and distribution they would have to write off their huge investments in their power plants and They would have to change their business dramatically or go away. You once said in another context: "nobody is entitled to a business model". This is yet another such case. Yet politicians continue to subsidise and lobbyists continue to create fear.

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[James Robertson] March 9, 2011 15:58:12.136

Wind does not blow all the time. The sun doesn't always shine. These are what we call facts. Battery storage is not an answer, as it doesn't scale to the level required (nor would a wind or solar installation store up enough for the purpose while at the same time supplying power).

Since neither wind nor solar are consistent, they aren't suitable for independent baseload power - when you need heat, you don't want a "no" coming back because the wind isn't blowing. Instead, you end up needing a backup, reliable source (probably natural gas) that runs inefficiently due to the variable nature of wind and solar installations, and the need to constantly scale its running up and down - wasting fuel in the process.

Then there's the really environmentally hostile aspects of wind and solar - they chew up enormous amounts of land, as opposed to the small footprint of the gas plant. They have environmental impacts, just like any other large scale construction plant, and those are bigger than for the small gas plant, because they chew up so much land.

So I guess my question is, how can you possibly favor industrial scale wind and solar if you claim to be an environmentally conscientious person? Short answer: you can't.

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[HKN] March 10, 2011 12:29:47.624

your observations are partly correct and partly relying on false assumptions. You do not need big solar and wind farms. Decentralized power production is enough. The unsteady pattern of production and demand can be compensated by energy storage, not meaning batteries alone. E. g. you can produce gas that can be fed into the exisiting gas grid. The problem is not the technology but the unwillingness of the people in charge who are interested in keeping the status-quo.

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[James Robertson] March 10, 2011 14:23:10.602

Storage is not an option, because it does not scale. Passive solar works fine on a personal level (1 building), but that's about it. Battery tech simply does not exist to power a large installation.

Producing gas (etc.) chews up more energy than the base tech produces, so it's not just inefficient, it goes all the way to stupid.

The people in charge are the ones most interested in change, btw - that's where all the idiot subsidies come from.It's regular people who don't like the idea of skyrocketing bills who object.

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[HKN] March 11, 2011 5:58:23.435

The people in charge are (personally) dependent on the big industry. The "ordinary" people fall into their FUD traps. Go inform yourself

Re: Unasked for Move to the Third World

[James Robertson] March 11, 2011 8:01:04.288

Oh, I'm informed. I think you've fallen into the agitprop answer scheme. Here's a video that pretty much explains the reason we have these problems:

[link 1]

[1 http://www.redstate.com/brian_d/2011/03/11/obamas-anti-choice-energy-administration/]

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