EcoRenovator

EcoRenovator (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/index.php)
-   The Billiards Room (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=18)
-   -   Doomsday Preppers? (https://ecorenovator.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2048)

Xringer 02-07-12 08:36 AM

Doomsday Preppers?
 
1 Attachment(s)
New prepper TV Show: “Doomsday Prepper” | ModernSurvivalOnline.com


Is it my imagination? Or does it seem like there's a lot more interest
in Doomsday Prepping during the last 2 or 3 years??

Piwoslaw 02-07-12 01:39 PM

I always make sure to have a 3-month stash of candy in the house. Then I eat it all and go stock up again;)

Xringer 02-07-12 02:42 PM

I do the same thing after Halloween and Christmas.. :(

I am a chocoholic.. I was at my worse during a Norwegian cruise line trip.
One night they had a late night Chocolate Feast..
It was kinda like this:
http://travelingmamas.com/wp-content...88-500x333.jpg

They prepared about a ton of Chocolate items for us.

After that, I couldn't even look at candy for a whole week!! :p

AlanE 02-07-12 05:14 PM

I think that there has been an upswing in prepping interest and that it's due to two interrelated phenomenon. The first is that the webs of society, the things that work that make progress possible and lift our standard of living are becoming less resilient, that is, of late the gains are coming from a Just-In-Time type of efficiency, meaning that there is less slack in many systems. When a JIT supply chain hiccups the effects ripple downstream and because there is no slack in the system, the effects are amplified. People are seeing some of these effects and taking measures to insulate themselves as best they can.

The second effect is hardship created by tough economic times. The rise of home canning, coupon shopping, debt repayment, less consumption. Those who are forced into living with less really have no choice but their struggles become known by their social circles and those people have their eyes opened. I think some of these people migrate to prepping simply as a precautionary measure - stockpiling food and consumables makes them sleep a bit easier because they're buying cheap insurance against hardship created by loss of income. Many of these people, I think, are oblivious to the fragility of the systems upon which they depend. They believe that the monetary system will never reach hyperinflationary levels, they believe that there will always be a rock-steady natural gas distribution network ready to service them, etc.

The victory gardens of WWII and the consumption habits of the Depression-era folks were induced by external stimuli and were slow to change after the stimuli was ended. I think that external stimuli induced behavior is playing a big part in the rise of prepping. I'm not so sure that there is a wide-spread belief that civilization is right on the brink of the cliff though - prepping, in my mind, can mean preparing for doomsday and preparing your own safety net.

Xringer 02-07-12 05:56 PM

Hi Alan,
You are dead on with that JIT ripple. Where we live, almost our total food supply
is dependent on long-distance trucking.
It really makes me wonder what would happen if truckers went on strike,
or some other event kept them off the highways for 5 or 6 weeks.


I was born in 1946, so I was subjected to a lot of leftover Depression-era stimuli.
It's not something that's easy to shrug off. My wife and I both look at every
luxury item purchase, and wonder if, there will come a day when we will starving or cold,
because we were too extravagant today.

A couple of those 'Doomsday Prepper' shows will be on tonight.
I'll have to check them out.. :)

Ryland 02-07-12 07:16 PM

Always be prepared?
I grew up with what comes out to 6 months or so worth of food stocked up and I currently keep at least a few months worth of food around the house, it's just cheaper and I like not having to worry about not having a food that you tend to eat.
Same goes for most other things, keep gas cans full, parts that wear out on tools, spark plugs for vehicles, lumber for projects.
Only thing that I'm behind on is fuel and electricity, sure my back up power supply can run my fridge for a day or two and I can get my hands on solar panels but nothing is set up and ready to use at least not at my house, my back up plan of course is head over to my parents house when the Apocalypse happens.

Higgy 02-08-12 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryland (Post 19649)
my back up plan of course is head over to my parents house when the Apocalypse happens.

WHAT?!?!?! Well dang there goes my plan of driving down to your house when the Apocalypse hits...

I think we'd be screwed for everything but money. I have tools and some lumber in the house, but we haven't done a lot of jarred stuff or extra food in the fridge. We have some canned and dry food, but nothing that would last us more then a few days...maybe a couple of weeks if we stretched it. Don't even have a backup power supply in the house. Maybe i should get something but I'm not sure what. And my jerrican is usually about half full with gas...but it's a small one.

Guess we're not really that prepared for anything.

iamgeo 02-08-12 09:45 AM

I watched and was disappointed with the show.
They just skimmed over things. Not enough detail at all.
The people that impressed me the most were the ones here in Texas.

Ryland 02-08-12 10:13 AM

I thought that the guy with piles and piles of buckets of food was kind of weird, he reminded me of someone who would stock up on flashlight batteries so they are never left in the dark where the other guy was growing his own food, he's the guy who skips the flash light batteries and gets a hand crank flashlight.
The thing that worries me most about my current house is that we don't have solar panels installed yet and our main source of heat is natural gas.
I never understood people who don't keep at least a few weeks worth of food on hand, I don't like to go shopping, so when I do I buy a handful of each of the things I need and use, more if it's on sale, because of this I am able to buy 70% of the food I buy while it's onsale.

When Y2K was the next big thing people where talking about how if things go bad they would learn to garden or start a garden... why not start one now? don't wait to learn to can food you grow, grow it and can it now.
I'm not sure if I would bike pedal grind all of my flour every day right now, but I do know that the hand crank flour mill works and works well but the electric flour mill is easier to use.

AC_Hacker 02-08-12 11:44 AM

Poster...
 
Here's an eye-opener...


-AC_Hacker

Xringer 02-08-12 12:40 PM

That old guy with the Weed Salad, seemed like he might end up being a Homeless Zombie's victim..
I bet he would love to visit this guy.. Salad Fixings - 2-2012.avi - YouTube

Walking Salad Man, and the Texas Girl-on-foot seemed to have some weird idea about
being able to march around semi-abandoned cities, carrying survival gear.
IMHO, that's a really dumb idea.



If you live in the city like I do, surrounded by millions of totally unprepared people,
(many of whom are living the entitlement lifestyle) I'm not sure that
having PV panels (or having a nice garden) visible from the street, would be such a good idea.

If you trying to remain at home, when thousands of desperate people are
streaming down your street. It just seems like a no-win situation.

I was also impressed by the Texas food hoarders, and I'll bet they didn't
reveal much about Plan B, C & D.. Serious folks.

But worrying about the magnetic poles switching?? That's a job for the FAA..
Earth


I'll try to watch the second show tonight. (It's on the DVR).

Xringer 02-08-12 07:17 PM

Just watched the second show and then started reading this,
inflation.us/foodpriceprojections.pdf about food prices.
Looks like I'm going to be cutting back on Chocolates in the coming years.. :(

I found the Liberal New England food hoarders very interesting.
They're obviously anti-gun (aka defenseless), and I have to wonder, who the
Practical New Englander is in that group?
It's not the nut who wants to poison the invaders from Beantown,
or cut their throats while they slumber. :eek:

Haha! I can just see them, a couple weeks after the 'Hit', trying to sell honey for guns and ammo.. :p



Of all the worst case scenarios, the total financial melt-down looks to be the most likely.
The deterioration of civilization caused by lack of food and fuel etc, should be pretty slow,
if the local state and city law enforcement keeps running for a while.

But, once it starts, it might not be reversible.. We might end up with
50 or 50,000 little 'States', or non at all. Just complete anarchy.
Those States would try to protect themselves..


In various movies and books about this sort of thing, people in small
towns barricade the roads into their towns. They become an isolationist commune.

In many of these fictional stories, brutal gangs take over areas in the cities.
But when they run low on food, the worse of humanity will head out to those small towns..

Seems logical. (After seeing people get into fist fights over milk and bread
just before a snow storm hits).


It's a big no-win. IMHO, the best way to prepare is to try to insure that
we have a good government. One that will stay running in hard times,
but even better, one that will be smart enough to prevent us from going over the cliff.

A guy can dream can't he??

Higgy 02-09-12 08:26 AM

Yeah, I'm just thinking about all this "preparedness". Really, if something that bad happened, wouldn't having a garden or people knowing you have stored food or a generator make you a target? I think some of the best things to do would be to lay as low as possible because it would be anarchy out there as you say. Your so called neighbors will turn into your enemies unless you all band together to form a community of sorts. As much as I'd hate to say it, you'd need some kind of guns or weapons to keep you and your family safe. And you sure as hell wouldn't want to turn on any lights if you do have a generator. You'd be a huge target. Candles would be the norm. A house would need an actual fireplace. Really any of us who get hit with snow who have larger houses without a fireplace would kind of be screwed. It would almost be better to have a European type of house...small, with a fireplace and wood stoves to keep you warm in the winter. Some kind of cold storage under the house to keep food. And some kind of 10 foot barbed wire fence around your house. I'm not sure any of us could really prepare for something that crazy to happen.

It's funny to think that if we lost electricity or conveniences right now it would turn us all into a bunch of crazy people and we'd fall into chaos when not even 150 years ago they did just fine without all of these conveniences...for the most part.

Xringer 02-09-12 09:12 AM

Very loud Dynamite explosions are one of my first vivid memories as small child.
I might have been about 4 years old when the power company installed lines
down the farm road where my grandparents lived.
Within a matter of a few years, they also had phone lines. That's how it was in 1950 Texas.

There's a vacant house down the street from me. It seems like every time the
repair guys leave, the copper thefts come back again..
Maybe a cheap alarm system would save that family some bucks..
Or, maybe their insurance company hasn't suggested that idea??


I have a few panels (1300watts) out in the backyard.
If the grid was to fail for a few weeks, I'll bet that PV would become a target..
Might be better not to have those things where they can be seen from the street.


In the city, if your whole roof was covered with PV, the best prep might be a good bug-out bag.. :o

My family has a bug-out plan, but only because of the old nuke plant down on the south shore.
We get enough radiation from our Radon in the basement!! :eek:

AC_Hacker 02-09-12 10:59 AM

Entitlement...
 
I formerly belonged to a local group that was originally interested in studying the effects of Peak Oil and find ways to work cooperatively to improve a future where oil (the life blood of modern society) would be in short supply.

I watched it evolve into a network of people who shared the understanding that the scenario of hard times ahead was a distinct possibility.

I saw the group grow in numbers and ultimately have a positive effect on the way our city plans for the future.

Then I noticed that the number of participants began to drop rapidly and I realized that a new mindset was driving out people who were interested in cooperative work toward a better future, considering scenarios of resource limitations.

The new mindset was the mindset of survivalism (distinctly different from surviving)... a mindset of fear and guns and food hording and razor wire barriers and guard dogs.

There was also talk about what to do when 'they' came to get our food and water and valuables. I came to understand that 'they' were dark and lazy and dangerous. In other words, 'they' were blacks and Latinos.

This was all around the time of hurricane Katrina, and in the aftermath of that disaster, there were shaded comments about the "lessons of Katrina".

It was racism wearing a very thin veil.

And always, 'they' had a sense of entitlement... (how ironic)

* * *

I came across a film called "Welcome To New Orleans", which was done by Rasmus Holm, a documentary film maker from Denmark who was visiting New Orleans when Katrina hit.

In the film, there is a segment where drunken survivalists are bragging about the (black) people they killed, for the crime of being out on the street.

Welcome to New Orleans - COMPLETE

* * *

I read a very interesting book about the San Francisco earth quake of 1906, and the subsequent fire that engulfed the city. It was very interesting the way people behaved in the face of a total actual disaster, that cut across racial and class lines.

The surprise was that people of all races and classes opened their hearts & homes to help others in need.

* * *

So I think that the real danger is not the starving, dark, pillaging mobs, but instead it is the more real threat of white people with guns who are ready and willing to kill to protect their own sense of entitlement.

* * *

I have wondered what is behind the survivalist bravado... I hear the very same talk, the same words over time, from many different locations.

I think it springs from a sense of social isolation combined with a sense of helplessness... a potentially dangerous combination. It is a combination where weapons replace vibrant social connections, and bravado and swagger attempt to fill the void where hope used to exist.

In many ways it strongly resembles a fixation on pornography... where an abstracted symbol is used as a stand-in for a complex reality. And I think that very similar forces are driving it.

-AC_Hacker

Ryland 02-09-12 01:30 PM

The thing about this who idea of being prepared is, I don't think it will happen over night, it's going to start with $2 a gallon gasoline and with people not knowing how to grow their own food so they buy food that has limited nutritional value and takes very basic skills to prepare, it's going to be caused by young people going to get an education to be bankers and lawyers and in the end not having the skills the get by in life.

I'm not worried about people coming and steeling food from my garden because there are so many people who don't have a clue how to eat real food that the idea wouldn't even cross their mind, no one steels real food, but when looting a grocery store the microwave dinners and frozen pizzas will most likely be the first to go, same thing with solar panels, there many people who don't even have a clue what they are, how they work or how they would use them that if they did get stolen they would most likely be destroyed before they got used, I can almost see two houses from where I sit in my living room that have solar panels on the roofs, I'm one of a handful of people who even know that those people have them and if panic sets in people are not going to look at what they can do, they are going to focus on what they don't have and stock on up poptarts.

MN Renovator 02-09-12 04:28 PM

I think that you need to have a diverse range of food types. Making things from ingredients is great until water is scarce or undrinkable or you don't have the ability to boil or cook. Less of a doomsday thing and more of a 'I don't like going to the grocery store more than once a month' type thing, I take advantage of the sales on the chunky sort of soups that have the vegetables, burger, and potatoes. When they were a buck and I bought almost half a cart of that, canned fruit, and a bunch of 69 cent cans of ravioli. I got the weirdest look from the cashier. I didn't want to explain that I was buying food that will last a few years (in regular eating rotation, bring some to work since there is only a microwave, etc) so I told her that this was going to a food shelf. She seemed to be a little relieved that I wasn't some nutcase who only eats one thing. Since it is cooked it can be eaten right out of the can too so in the event of no electricity or natural gas and I want to conserve fuel, this isn't a bad way to go. Of course its not the healthiest thing(salt, etc) but probably better than what most of the general public eats.

Of course fresh food is best, I do have a garden but the yield is small and dependent on the season for harvest.

AlanE 02-09-12 08:36 PM

<i>This was all around the time of hurricane Katrina, and in the aftermath of that disaster, there were shaded comments about the "lessons of Katrina".

It was racism wearing a very thin veil.</i>

I wish that people would stop with bandying about the racism card as part of a moral posturing game.

The people you observed were reacting to the reality that was seared into the nation's consciousness in the Katrina aftermath. Acknowledging reality doesn't make a person a racist and ignoring reality doesn't make a person an ant-racist saint.

Compare the community reaction to the Grand Forks flood in 97, the Kobe earthquake, the Christchurch earthquakes, the Boxing Day Tsunami, all catastrophes that equaled or exceeded the devastation of Katrina and the social decay wasn't present. Those victims pulled together. Even the Yakuza in Kobe were out in force handing out care packages and there was no violence, no queue jumping, no looting, etc.

<i>I think it springs from a sense of social isolation combined with a sense of helplessness.</i>

The Harvard scholar Robert Putnam has been at the forefront of research on community values and he's detailed what you're referring to - social isolation is growing in America and the primary culprit is increased diversity. As diversity increases people isolate themselves even more, not just from different ethnic groups but also from their own social circles. They cocoon. This is an interesting effect because one would expect that the pullback from unease with diversity would be to a point where one relies more on one's own community but Putnam was quite surprised by the correlation between social isolation/cocooning and community diversity.

Whatever is driving this rising survivalism phenomenon is an academic point - people can pass moral judgments on these people but that stigmatization effort doesn't really change what's going on, in that shows like this are actually mainstreaming the movement and granting it more legitimacy. There's no need to invoke the false boogeyman of racism and tar these people as racists. If it's not your bag, then just leave it at that.

NeilBlanchard 02-10-12 04:38 AM

Farmers markets are growing very quickly. CSA's are as well. Buy locally grown meat and eggs. The best thing is local food tastes *much* better than factory foods *and* it is more nutritious and lacks all the nasty hormones and antibiotics. Read "Animal Vegetable Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver and/or "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. Learn about water use and erosion and how chemical fertilizers and pesticides are killing the soil. Watch "Dirt! The Movie" on Hulu to learn about the cycle of life.

Disposable plastic is an oxymoron.

Start composting all your yard waste and kitchen waste (except meat, of course). Dig a garden and start learning about what to grow. Stop using chemical fertilizers on your lawn. Learn how to knit or sew or spin yarn if you are so moved. Call up one of the solar installers that can put a PV system on your roof for $0 down -- you then pay about half of what you are now for electricity over time.

I am seriously considering buying a velomobile. Our next car will have a plug. Start a car sharing group. Help your neighbors learn about all of these things.

Higgy 02-10-12 09:10 AM

We just moved outside the city, so the first thing I have to do this spring is build a new garden. We're also closer to one of the farmer's markets that open in the spring to fall. And there's a honey guy just down the main road of the town that I'm going to get to know for sure. Now that we bought a new house I'm a few years away from solar paneling though. We've got to buy a new furnace/AC for the house, new toilets and eventually a new water softening system. I also need to start harvesting rainwater and have 1 barrel right now. And we also want to finish our basement, which includes making a cold storage area. So I'm hoping in 5-10 years all of this is complete.

You are right though, when disaster strikes, it's not all looting and vandalism like you see in the movies. We have a lot of issues here with flooding every year from the Red River (we're upstream from Grand Forks) and people always band together to help out.

roflwaffle 02-12-12 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AC_Hacker (Post 19700)
I formerly belonged to a local group that was originally interested in studying the effects of Peak Oil and find ways to work cooperatively to improve a future where oil (the life blood of modern society) would be in short supply.

I never understood this whole oil=life thing. To me it sounds more like an ad from BP than anything else. :confused:

AC_Hacker 02-12-12 02:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roflwaffle (Post 19787)
I never understood this whole oil=life thing. To me it sounds more like an ad from BP than anything else.

It would be in your interest to research transportation and what is the ultimate source of the fuel used in transportation for:
  • Air Transport
  • Rail Transport
  • Road Transport
  • Sea Transport

It would be very useful for you, in future conversations, to know for yourself, what fuels are used and to what extent is transportation important to the many aspects of the way of life that we experience.

This will make you completely free of the encumbrance of BP advertisements.

-AC_Hacker

MN Renovator 02-12-12 09:16 PM

It isn't just transportation. Don't forget that without oil we will lose plastics, a majority of our large crop fertilizers. The impact on food will be one of the biggest issues. Of course that rolls back to transportation again, all of the goods, foods, and products we use aren't built or produced in the city we live in and for most of us, local production would take some time to get started, it wouldn't happen quick enough. If tomorrow we had a deep oil crises the economy would tank.

AlanE 02-13-12 06:00 PM

For a variety of reasons we'll NEVER run out of oil. We'll run out of cheap oil and that will cause problems but there will always be oil available and it'll go towards the most economically productive uses. Leisure travel will subside, so too personal commuting, agriculture will be reformed, and so on. The period of transition and reform will be long, not immediate, so this particular Prepper Crisis seems overblown to me.

NeilBlanchard 02-16-12 07:07 PM

By definition, oil (and coal and gas and uranium) are finite; because the earth itself is finite. So, of course there will some left somewhere by the time it gets too expensive to find it -- but that is effectively running out.

AlanE 02-16-12 07:30 PM

To mirror your point - sunlight is a finite quantity. Eventually our sun will die and then there'll be no more sunlight. I'm not really seeing the reason to invoke this line of reasoning because it doesn't scale well to human civilization timeframes. Secondly, where there is a need there is usually a way - if we really, really, truly want more coal and oil, damn the cost, we'll never run out, ever - the hydrocarbons embedded in the Near Earth Asteroids could keep us going for millions of years. Far fetched sure, but it illustrates the point that resources are available to use if cost considerations are immaterial.

A less far-fetched alternative are the coal fields off of Norway's coast:
They calculated that there are 3000 billion tons of coal off the Norwegian coast. Most of the reserves are located at Haltenbanken. This compares to today's proven and recoverable world reserves of 900 billion tons of coal.
That's just ONE localized coal field which is presently uneconomic to mine and that ONE field has 3x+ the coal of ALL of the world's economically viable recoverable coal.

As I said, we'll never run out of coal and oil because at some point their scarcity will push up the cost and they won't be worth the effort of getting out of the ground in that their energy content could be replicated through other fuels/processes. If no viable alternatives develop then our attention will turn to reserves which are presently economically nonviable and our energy costs will increase as a result.

Xringer 02-16-12 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard (Post 19921)
By definition, oil (and coal and gas and uranium) are finite; because the earth itself is finite. So, of course there will some left somewhere by the time it gets too expensive to find it -- but that is effectively running out.



LFTR in 5 Minutes - THORIUM REMIX 2011 - YouTube

I understand that if we used Thorium reactors, we would be okay for a few
thousand +years.. There seems to be a very large amount of Thorium available.

roflwaffle 02-16-12 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AC_Hacker (Post 19789)
It would be in your interest to research transportation and what is the ultimate source of the fuel used in transportation for:
  • Air Transport
  • Rail Transport
  • Road Transport
  • Sea Transport

It would be very useful for you, in future conversations, to know for yourself, what fuels are used and to what extent is transportation important to the many aspects of the way of life that we experience.

This will make you completely free of the encumbrance of BP advertisements.

-AC_Hacker

Ultimate as in fundamental, or final, or something else? We use oil because it was or is the cheapest in up front costs and has a lot of mature infrastructure, but I don't think that means it's ultimate in any sense. We have used, do use, and will use in greater amounts other energy sources for transport as oil becomes more expensive due to supply/demand as well as accurate pricing of externalized costs.

What I don't understand is how people seem to use sufficient and necessary interchangeably. Oil is sufficient for different forms of transportation, but not necessary for them, just like it is for a bunch of other things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MN Renovator (Post 19795)
It isn't just transportation. Don't forget that without oil we will lose plastics, a majority of our large crop fertilizers. The impact on food will be one of the biggest issues. Of course that rolls back to transportation again, all of the goods, foods, and products we use aren't built or produced in the city we live in and for most of us, local production would take some time to get started, it wouldn't happen quick enough. If tomorrow we had a deep oil crises the economy would tank.

Oil is mostly used in large crop pesticides and plastics, natural gas is where we get most of our fertilizer. Oil prices have some impact on food prices, but as a whole it's a lot less than other things like plastics. IIRC oil is only like a third of all agricultural energy inputs, and most of that is used to run farm machinery and transport food. Big, but not that big, and it's not impossible by any means to minimize or eliminate oil in ag. Similarly, plastics require about 5% of world oil production, which is large, but not impossible to replace.

NeilBlanchard 02-17-12 05:57 AM

When the sun explodes, the earth is all done. This is in about a BILLION years. For all intents and purposes, this is unlimited during the time the earth has life on it.

Underwater coal? Yeah, right. Coal is horribly dirty, and spews mercury, and carbon fuels are what is causing the rapid changes in the climate. And it is limited to a specific quantity -- what do we do after it runs out? What kind a world are we leaving for all future life? No thanks.

Why limit ourselves to a few thousand years? Thorium is not yet a reality, it costs an unknown amount and it has many unknown risks.

Renewable energy has none of these challenges. The energy itself is free. The energy itself has no pollution. It is all over the place. No one controls it. No country can dominate another country's energy supply.

We have to fit into the cycle of life. We *are* a part of it, and we cannot pretend to be separate. We cannot have "waste". We cannot poison the earth -- and when we throw something away -- it is still here.

AlanE 02-17-12 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard (Post 19939)
Underwater coal? Yeah, right.

Underwater oil? Yeah, right. Look, your threshold on credulity is not some universal benchmark on what is possible.

Quote:

Coal is horribly dirty, and spews mercury, and carbon fuels are what is causing the rapid changes in the climate.
Look around you, most people don't care because they'd rather have coal energy and 1.) a job and 2.) cheaper electricity to power their ipods, cell phones, plasma tvs, etc than do without all the gadgets and lower their electrical usage. China is building a huge number of new coal plants even though they know full well that unfiltered coal emissions are polluting. Why are they doing this? They've made the informed trade-off between environmental concerns and economic well-being.

Quote:

And it is limited to a specific quantity -- what do we do after it runs out? What kind a world are we leaving for all future life? No thanks.
This is simply pleading to irrational emotion. I could point to many aspects of your life and nitpick about what YOU'RE doing which will leave the world in worse shape. That effort would come up with loads more examples if I started applying my own idiosyncratic standards to your life. For instance, here's an example of how I can twist your particulars into a no win scenario by applying idiosyncratic rules, as you're doing above. Do you have one child? You're leaving the world in worse shape by only having one child for you and your wife are going to be drawing pensions that have to be paid by extracting money from the working careers of society's children and by only having one child your pensions can't be paid by his earnings thus making the world worse off for everyone else. Do you have more than 2 children? Now you're contributing to overpopulation thus increasing the marginal deprivation of future citizens.

If you want to live in an energy deprived present-day, then there is nothing stopping you. Why are you participating on this forum for your participation requires a.) electricity to power your computer and the internet infrastructure and b.) it requires a pollution emitting, and energy consuming, industrial infrastructure to produce all of the components of the computer, so your participation in cyberspace is making the world worse off for future generations.

Clearly you're not living your life in a manner which meets MY standards of making the world better for future generations, so you really have no business preaching to everyone else that they should live their lives by YOUR standards so as to make the world better for future generations.

Quote:

Renewable energy has none of these challenges.
Have you look at the embodied energy and the EROEI of a silicon solar cell or a steel windmill blade? The point is that the same considerations apply to renewable energy technologies just like they apply to fuel-sourced energy technologies. The differences are in the margins and those differences come with significant trade-offs. Renewable energy is not some religious holy water which cures all that ails us.

Quote:

The energy itself is free.
Look out on your street. Perhaps you have a gravel lined water ditch nearby. Go and grow some carrots in that free gravel ditch. Now compare the effort of trying to grow FREE carrots in a 10 foot deep field of baseball sized boulders to the effort of buying the carrots in a supermarket. Which is a more efficient use of your time and resources? The "free" carrots or the purchased carrots? The same principle applies to all this "free energy." All that free energy hitting Flin Flon, Manitoba, up near Hudson's Bay, doesn't do much good for the residents there because it's too irregular and too infrequent, to be put to much use. All that free energy that is hitting Phoenix, Arizona does a resident no good if they don't have the capital resources to buy solar collectors and the real estate to situate the collectors upon. In both cases, but for different reasons, these folks are better off paying for energy than collecting it for "FREE."

The fact that sunlight or wind is "Free" is not the principal driving criteria in the energy use calculations people, corporations, governments and society have to make.

Quote:

We have to fit into the cycle of life. We *are* a part of it, and we cannot pretend to be separate. We cannot have "waste". We cannot poison the earth -- and when we throw something away -- it is still here.
This whole position is a religious position. It starts with the axiom that humans MUST exist as part of nature. Because you treat it as an axiom you don't question it. How to explain the astronauts who live on the ISS? How to explain sailors who live in submarines for months at a time? These environments are apart from the natural world.

There is an alternative to your religious viewpoint and that is that man controls and manages nature through the power of intelligence. That too is an axiomatic position.

My point here is that you spouting off religious viewpoints doesn't make your case strong it just highlights to us that you hold religious viewpoints that are immune from reason and alternative ways of seeing things. Further, the thing about religious viewpoints like yours is that there are always alternative religious viewpoints, opinions that are immune from challenge because they're held on the basis of faith rather than reason, so your own particular faith-based religious viewpoint is not something that is universally acknowledged.

roflwaffle 02-17-12 10:14 PM

I think you're getting a bit religious too Allen. Lets try to keep this discussion evidence based and avoid some of the ideological arguments on all sides.

In terms of the specifics, renewables tend to create more jobs than FFs, although I imagine that like everything else there are exceptions.

Similarly, a country doing something does not imply that what it's doing is in the best interest of it's citizens as a whole. I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't consider politics in America to be done for the benefit of the common man. Wealthy donors, who make up a relatively small percentage of the population, have a much greater impact on politics than the average Joe does. In China I don't think this is any different. Rolling out a bunch of coal power plants in China certainly has to be good for some group, for instance the wealthier members of society because they can expand manufacturing and make more money selling stuff to the world and to their own country to a lesser extent, but it can also be worse for the country as a whole due to a host of externalized costs.

AlanE 02-17-12 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roflwaffle (Post 19964)
In terms of the specifics, renewables tend to create more jobs than FFs, although I imagine that like everything else there are exceptions.

Obama bet the bank on your false premise and he, and taxpayers, are now reaping the reward.

It really boils down a simple insight - how much energy can be output per quanta of input. Everything else, jobs created, tax generated, economic activity spurred on, ripples out from that basic function. Oil and Coal have more attractive EROEI baselines, they produce baseline power and they can be delivered to the marketplace more cost effectively than solar and wind, meaning that industries which require steady baseline power can go about their business and create products and jobs and so on.

For your false premise to become reality, solar, wind, tidal power, biofuel, you name it, have to surpass the performance of fossil fuels. When they do that then your dream becomes quantifiable reality and we can avoid the political and business boondoggles like Solyandra.

Don't get me wrong, there are viable reasons to like some of these renewable technologies but efficiency, job creation, cheap power are not those reasons. The primary attraction that can be defended is that most renewables can be operated in a decentralized fashion. It's hard to build your own coal mine and coal power plant to power your own house, or to dig your own own well and refine your own oil to burn in your home furnace, but it's quite feasible to set up your own mini-hydro plant, your own wind power plant, your own solar array and power your own home. That will appeal to a lot of people, probably quite a few on this board who are tinkerers extraordinaire but I think you'd be hard pressed to find people who are deploying such systems because they are more cost effective (ignoring gov't subsidies.)

Green Energy Tech being a net positive job creator is a boondoggle based on wishful thinking and this will always be so until the fundamental physics is resolved to make this energy more cost effective.

Quote:

Similarly, a country doing something does not imply that what it's doing is in the best interest of it's citizens as a whole.
I'm not really sure what this is supposed to mean. It's sounding an awful lot like the Philosopher-King reasoning that underpins much of liberal orthodoxy - put the smart man in a position of power and that smart man will make better decisions for everyone than they can make for themselves.

What we have at present is a corrupted system, which more often than not, produces outcomes which align with the best interests of most of the people.

Quote:

I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't consider politics in America to be done for the benefit of the common man. Wealthy donors, who make up a relatively small percentage of the population, have a much greater impact on politics than the average Joe does.
I don't disagree too much. Corruption and rent-seeking are real problems in American politics but they don't completely overshadow the invisible hand of the masses.

Quote:

In China I don't think this is any different. Rolling out a bunch of coal power plants in China certainly has to be good for some group, for instance the wealthier members of society because they can expand manufacturing and make more money selling stuff to the world and to their own country to a lesser extent, but it can also be worse for the country as a whole due to a host of externalized costs.
Don't overlook all of the workers who benefit from increased living standards. There are reasons why Foxconn has hundreds of thousands of workers living in dormitories assembling iPhones and iPads - these soul crushing factory jobs are better than the alternatives of living in a village and being in an energy poor environment where the highlight of the day is stewing up some tree bark or something for dinner.

The issue for China is how to apportion the gains that come from energy rich industrialization, not whether that energy rich industrialization is creating wealth for China. China is better off by using dirty energy to create wealth than it is in trying to make due with intermittent power from windmill farms or some other renewable fad.

roflwaffle 02-18-12 08:01 PM

OK, now you're getting too political IMO. IEnergy subsidies are more than just one renewable screw up. You can't reasonably expect us to believe that you're up in arms about a .5 billion dollar loss, but you're OK with well over a hundred billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry over the last decade, can you?

If you wanna bash Obama, start another thread and go to town. If you wanna talk about the problems with energy subsidies, then start with fossil fuel subsidies, because as bad as the Solyandra losses were, subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, which has been established for decades, were over one hundred and forty times worse than Solyandra in just six years. Another irony is that more subsidies went to ethanol, which is pretty much a give-away to the farm industry, than all the other renewables combined in that same time period.

The EROEI for fossil fuels is also horrendous. Way worse than renewables barring a few exceptions like the chemical industry. Anyone claiming FFs are better than renewables in terms of EROEI is using flawed data, probably where they're comparing the EROEI of a fossil fuel during one or two steps in it's supply chain to the EROEI of renewables over their whole supply chain.

Many renewables are already better than their fossil fuel counterparts. The second we eliminate the $10+ billion/year in subsidies for fossil fuels and start charging them for the damage to the environment and our health that they cause (Ignoring other issues like the military being in the ME for reasons related to oil), we'll see where renewables really stand. It may also take a bit. For instance people may take a little time to get together the funds for a solar PV setup, but just because it takes time doesn't mean they won't do it, or that it isn't cheaper than power from the grid. If I did a solar install myself it would probably be about half the price of power from the grid, but the subsidies, most of which are economically justified btw, would make it even cheaper at about a quarter of the price of grid power.

And green energy definitely results in more jobs. There are both Republicans and Democrats who acknowledge this. The main reason for this is due to the distributed nature of renewables. Having a large centralized power plant will almost always be less labor intensive than having a bunch of small generators. They are several studies than support this.

In terms of China, yes people are better off than they were in many ways, but they could be even better off than they are now. Pulling someone off of a farm and placing them in a dorm doesn't give anyone the right to exploit them and not pay them a living wage just so that the rich can get richer off of their backs.

P.S. Feel free to call me out on any supporting documentation. I'm kinda rushed for time so I can't link to as much stuff as I would have liked to, but I can hopefully get around to it later in the week.

AlanE 02-18-12 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roflwaffle (Post 19984)
You can't reasonably expect us to believe that you're up in arms about a .5 billion dollar loss, but you're OK with well over a hundred billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry over the last decade, can you?

Here's the problem when guys like you go fishing for supporting evidence put out by environmentalists - you present yourself as knowing jack about business and accounting. The vast majority of the tax breaks and subsidies that oil companies receive are simply regular depreciation allowances available to all business but environmental lobbyists classify these accounting expenses as special gifts from the taxpayer when these same depreciation allowances are also available to every single renewable energy company.

Here is an explanation:
The largest tax break at issue is a tax credit passed in 2005, which is available to all U.S. manufacturers. Oil and gas companies qualify for that credit, so they will likely deduct somewhere in the neighborhood of $18.3 billion from their tax bill over the next 10 years. Note that this isn't really an "oil subsidy"; it's a manufacturing subsidy that oil and gas companies--along with many other companies--enjoy.
Your environmentalist "think tanks" are more akin to propaganda mills when they purposely obfuscate facts and twist them to advance their narrative.

If we stuck with the propaganda that infects the fevered swamps of environmentalist-land we'd have to reconcile the fact that solar companies, windmill companies, tidal power companies, biofuel companies, etc are all receiving "oil subsidies" due to their manufacturing activities.

Secondly, there are provisions in the tax code which seek to encourage US domiciled oil companies to explore and develop outside of the US, provisions such as the Foreign Tax Credit, which your own source even notes:
The largest of these, the Foreign Tax Credit, applies to the overseas production of oil through an obscure provision of the Tax Code, which allows energy companies to claim a tax credit for payments that would normally receive less-beneficial tax treatment.
The Foreign Tax Credit is NOT AVAILABLE to US oil companies who drill and process the oil in the US. No subsidy.

Again, when you understand what is going on you see that the choice for legislators here is to a.) do nothing and put US oil companies at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign counterparts thus letting foreign companies develop non-US oil fields and sell the oil to the US or b.) make some provision for US oil companies to drill overseas and level the playing field with foreign oil companies and thus put US oil companies into the game, collect tax revenue at a reduced rate on income that wouldn't have been earned otherwise, and create some US-based jobs. It should also be noted that when foreign oil companies operate in the US they have to play on a level field with US oil companies. So the tax credit seeks to do the same thing for US oil companies when they operate outside the US.

Thirdly, to pick and choose one's facts in order to advance an argument while ignoring other pertinent facts which weaken the argument isn't an attempt to put forth an honest argument about reality, it's more an attempt to advance a propaganda agenda. Here's what I'm talking about:

US tax policy is a convoluted mess, so to understand the effect of subsidies directed to fossil fuels one must also look at the other side of the equation - tax treatment of fossil fuel producers. For the environmentalist narrative to be a true representation of reality we should expect to see favor being granted to fossil fuel companies in the way of subsidies and no favors on the tax side of the equation, with the net result being fossil fuel companies being given an advantage. Is that the case though? No, it isn't: (from above link)
But oil and gas companies have a point when they cry foul. After all, about 41% of the net income earned by the oil and gas industry is already paid out in federal taxes compared to 26.5% for the rest of the businesses in the S&P 500.
This is the unholy mess that is created when Philosopher-Kings intervene in neutral policies and try to rejig them to create some social benefit - there are cascading consequences which follow, which often times means that there are countervailing efforts as responses. When oil companies are penalized with higher tax rates and special taxes that don't apply to other commercial concerns, then they seek to create tax situations which work to minimize those penalties in other areas. An honest environmentalist advocate would look to present the entire picture but I've never met such a thing as an honest environmentalist policy analyst.

The fundamental flaw in the religious arguments put forth by environmentalists on this issue is that their Tu Quoque fallacy fails because fossil fuels are produced economically and desired by the market and renewables are not.

To continue, when a solar company establishes a plant they invest many millions of dollars to build the plant and stuff it full of expensive equipment. That infrastructure depreciates and the must eventually be replaced. The government recognizes this fundamental aspect of commerce and allows depreciation allowances for businesses. The same applies to an oil company's oil field. It costs money to develop an oil field, it costs money to develop a coal mine, etc and at the end of the useful life of these fields, the costs to develop them have to be recouped, in that they've become completely depreciated assets.

So, back to your mixing apples and oranges question - Yes, I object strenuously to liberals/environmentalists using taxpayer money to intervene in the market and decide which companies deserve direct injections of money and which don't. I would object just as strenuously if government was directly granting oil companies cash gifts. As it stands I object to the convoluted mess that is the present tax code because it works to favor and disfavor competing sectors through the use of special tax provisions. However, if I have to scale the distastefulness on display here, I'd score outright grants as being worse than differential tax treatment due to the fact that tax treatment is predicated upon income being earned while a grant is a direct transfer of cash to the favored company or sector. It's really not government's place to pick winners and losers with the money that the public entrusts to government. Government is supposed to be a neutral referee, not a cheerleader, not a banker, not an investor, not a sugardaddy for some of the companies that it supervises and not for others.

Quote:

The EROEI for fossil fuels is also horrendous. Way worse than renewables barring a few exceptions like the chemical industry. Anyone claiming FFs are better than renewables in terms of EROEI is using flawed data, probably where they're comparing the EROEI of a fossil fuel during one or two steps in it's supply chain to the EROEI of renewables over their whole supply chain.
That's a pretty impressive claim. Back it up. I've never seen anything like this in all of the data I've looked at from impartial sources, so go back to the fevered swamps of your environmentalist "think-tanks" and post some evidence in support of this claim.

You see, here's the thing - if what you say is true, then the condition that I specified in my first comment would be met and renewables would be taking over the market because they'd be cheaper than fossil fuels. Here's why - energy costs money. Energy input into producing fossil fuels costs money just like energy input into producing renewables costs money. If, as you claim, fossil fuels have higher energy inputs to produce a given quantity of output energy than renewables, then fossil fuels would be uncompetitive in the marketplace as compared to renewables. We all know that this is not the case.

If you want to blow sunshine up my skirt with your bold talk, then back it up. Your blowhardary of claiming, simply claiming, that anyone who states coal has a higher EROEI than solar is using "flawed data" might fly in the circle-jerk fevered swamps that you inhabit where confirmation bias reigns supreme but simply because you SAY SO doesn't mean jack squat to anyone not a member of your religion.

Quote:

If I did a solar install myself it would probably be about half the price of power from the grid
Terrific. Now the case is solid. IF what you state is an accurate statement, then you win the argument. Let's see what other people have to say, let's also see what independent reports have to say. You'll understand, I hope, that after your performance above, that I don't put much trust in your blowhardy statements of fact. Your statement begs this question though - if renewable power can be had for half the price of grid supplied power, a.) why aren't utility companies rushing to implement such technologies and b.) why aren't individual consumers doing the same?

AlanE 02-18-12 10:26 PM

Quote:

but the subsidies, most of which are economically justified btw, would make it even cheaper at about a quarter of the price of grid power.
Am I supposed to take your word for the fact that these subsidies are "economically justified?"

Look, this board has a lot of people who are into alternative energy. It's my contention that many of these people are into this DESPITE alternative energy being more expensive than grid power, all else being equal, but I'm willing to challenge my beliefs. To everyone reading this thread who has a solar PV system - what is your price per kw/h produced including charges for depreciation, and how does it compare to what your utility is charging you? Are you really producing your power at half the cost of what your utility is charging and if you received a grant from the government are you really producing power at only 1/4 of the cost of the power sold by your utility?

Quote:

And green energy definitely results in more jobs. There are both Republicans and Democrats who acknowledge this. The main reason for this is due to the distributed nature of renewables. Having a large centralized power plant will almost always be less labor intensive than having a bunch of small generators. They are several studies than support this.
This is you invoking Bastiat Parable of Broken Windows. Your claims are now mutually exclusive - one can't have a claim that renewable power costs are only 1/2 of those produced by fossil fuels while simultaneously claiming that renewables requires scads more workers, who must be paid, to implement.

Spain's experience with intervening in the market and subsidizing Green Energy has resulted in net job losses in the general economy for every job created in the green energy sector. This makes sense - look at the Broken Windows fallacy. If the government subsidizes an uncompetitive sector, in this case Green Energy, then the money for those subsidies must come from somewhere and where it comes from is the competitive sectors of the economy. When you hobble the efficient so that you can support the inefficient you will get less efficiency and more inefficiency.

If Green Energy was such a godsend then Germany and Denmark wouldn't be pulling back from the experiments and wondering how to extricate themselves from the box that they've put themselves into.

The whole "Green Jobs" program that you guys have latched onto is as crooked as a $3 bill, because jobs are only really created when the value output of the worker exceeds their pay. No one is going to pay a McDonald's fry cook $45 per hour when the cook can only produce value of $10 per hour. The same applies to all these "Green Jobs" - if they actually produced positive net value then the government wouldn't have to provide hiring incentives. The reason that the hiring incentives are in place is because these jobs typically produce less economic value than the worker is paid, hence government has to step in and burn our money in order to placate dudes like you who want to see your religious views turned into reality. Faith is an unsound basis for public policy.

AlanE 02-20-12 05:01 PM

The following wouldn't be taking place if solar energy was as efficient as claimed. From Slate Magazine:

Quote:

Using the government’s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed “acceptable.” It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill.
This directly contradicts your claim that solar power can be had for 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of fossil-fuel generated power.

More highlights:

Quote:

Unfortunately, Germany—like most of the world—is not as sunny as the Sahara. And, while sunlight is free, panels and installation are not. Solar power is at least four times more costly than energy produced by fossil fuels. It also has the distinct disadvantage of not working at night, when much electricity is consumed.

In the words of the German Association of Physicists, “solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants.” On short, overcast winter days, Germany’s 1.1 million solar-power systems can generate no electricity at all. The country is then forced to import considerable amounts of electricity from nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic.
Oops for you. I guess that you made the mistake of taking the reciprocal - Solar isn't one fourth as expensive as fossil, it's four times as expensive.

Quote:

Indeed, despite the massive investment, solar power accounts for only about 0.3 percent of Germany’s total energy. This is one of the key reasons why Germans now pay the second-highest price for electricity in the developed world (exceeded only by Denmark, which aims to be the “world wind-energy champion”). Germans pay three times more than their American counterparts.
This speaks to the point I made upthread - paying more for a product or service than one actually needs to pay is a form of inefficiency and when this inefficiency infects an entire economy, then there are profound ripples effects which touch all manner of things, such as competitiveness, job growth, wage growth, economic growth, social spending, deficit spending, etc.

Quote:

Defenders of Germany’s solar subsidies also claim that they have helped to create “green jobs.” But each job created by green-energy policies costs an average of $175,000—considerably more than job creation elsewhere in the economy, such as infrastructure or health care. And many “green jobs” are being exported to China, meaning that Europeans subsidize Chinese jobs, with no CO2 reductions.
Here's the boondoggle of "green jobs" that environmentalists have been tripping on - again, inefficiency with respect to opportunity costs. Faith and wishful thinking are very bad foundations for public policy, especially when they are anti-empirical with respect to their claims.

AC_Hacker 02-20-12 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlanE (Post 20023)
The following wouldn't be taking place if solar energy was...

So is your position that fossil fuel is more good and alternative energy is more bad, and it's likely to stay that way?

-AC_Hacker

AlanE 02-20-12 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AC_Hacker (Post 20024)
So is your position that fossil fuel is more good and alternative energy is more bad, and it's likely to stay that way?

-AC_Hacker

My position is that each form of energy we use has intrinsic advantages and disadvantages and that the best solution is to match project needs to energy source characteristics.

From this principle all sorts of conclusions follow:

-If we want a decentralized grid, then more renewables are the way to go.
-If we want cheap power, everything being equal, then centralized fuel systems are the way to go.
-If we want reliable power, then stay away from solar, wind.

I like solar, wind and mini-hydro but I don't think that they're scalable for society. People don't like brown-outs and they hate black outs. People like reliable base-load power. Solar and wind need battery systems. The battery systems need to be included in the EROEI and pollution calculations, no matter whether the battery is a chemical battery, a capacitor, a molten salt, pumped water, or a flywheel. People also like cheap power and cheap power is conducive to economic health. People don't like being jobless.

There is no easy answer to the problems that face us and the alternatives we have all come with positives and negatives. The positives of renewables, when judged in isolation, sound good but when they're implemented in a top-down decisionmaker fashion then they cause all sorts of problems such that, in my opinion, their negatives outweigh their positives. Look at all of the misery that that incentives for industrial windmill development are causing - big financial institutions like Goldman Sachs put together development funds, they rely on laws passed in State legislatures which prohibit local zoning boards from regulating where these towers get built, they rely on laws which mandate that utilities must buy the power at a fixed cost regardless of demand levels at the instant of sale, and when the towers are built the noise and strobing effect drives locals nuts, the power is often generated at times when there is a surplus of power, the cost paid for the power is higher than the marginal cost that the utility is paying for fuel*** and there is NO RISK for the windmill investment syndicate because laws have forced compliance on others and shifted the risk to them.

In terms of what's likely to happen in the future, here's what I'm pretty certain of - as fossil fuels become scarcer their price will increase and as the price increases, solar and wind, despite their drawbacks will become more price competitive. Those price signals alone are all that is needed to foster greater implementation. All of the artificial gimmicks in place now are just waste, pure and simple, we might as well be burning stacks of dollars on everyone's front door step.

That said, I'm happy to burn some of my own dollars so that I can have a system to tinker with, so that I can buy some reassurance about being decentralized from the power grid, etc. The point here is that I'm trading my own money voluntarily to buy something that I can't get from a utility. No one is forcing me to do this and any inefficiency that I get hampered with also comes with a benefit that I purposely set out to get for myself.

Solar is not yet ready for wide-scale rollout in terms of being cost-effective. Solar prices are the lowest that they've ever been, companies are going bankrupt because they can't make a profit, and yet solar is still not cost competitive with fossil fuels, despite the ever increasing market scarcity of fossil fuels. At some point, all else being equal, if FF scarcity continues to increase, then solar will eventually be more cost competitive and thus the more attractive option. I have no idea when, or if, that will occur. No one else does either.

As for solar thermal for water heating - great idea. I love it. I think it makes sense and I'm pretty sure that it might even be cost effective compared to electric/gas heating of water.

I like energy efficiency, not for some mystical reason of "saving energy" but because I like processes to be efficient. A COP of 4 is preferred to a COP of 1. Energy is a commodity. There isn't anything mystical or special about it. Wheat is a commodity too. People throw away half-eaten sandwiches all the time. No one is on a mission to reduce "bread waste" in society. I like things to be efficient but I don't go so far as to advocate that laws be changed so that everyone must comply with MY WISHES AND DESIRES. If someone wants to waste energy then they should be as free to do so as they are to throw away day-old bread and buy fresh bread to replace it. It's their money and they can be as wasteful as they please. So my objections here are that I find the environmentalist religious fervor to be off-putting especially when laws are forcing compliance on consumer behavior. Mandating an inefficient renewable strategy which costs more than the fossil fuel alternative is simply depriving people of choice and making US all poorer as a result. Efficiency is strongly correlated with wealth. I like that. I don't think that I should be made to be purposely poorer than I have to be.

*** Because people like to have steady baseload power available to them whenever they want that power, utilities have to have a baseload generating capacity built and ready to go on a moment's notice. When a utility is forced to buy power from renewable suppliers the price that they have to pay is a.) usually above their own cost and b.) a cost which is based on an energy price that amortizes the entire generating cycle. If a utility is using a generating plant at 40% of capacity it still must pay for the entire cost of that generating plant, just as if it was operating at 100% of capacity. The only marginal cost in going from 40% of capacity to 100% of capacity is the fuel cost. So, when a utility is forced to buy wind/solar, and let's say the quantity is such that the baseload plant shuts down completely for the period of solar/wind inflow, the utility is still paying for the costs of the baseload plant even when it's idle, yet it's paying "full price" to the solar/wind providers. The upshot here is that these costs get passed down to the consumers of electricity. This is hugely inefficient.

AC_Hacker 02-20-12 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlanE (Post 20029)
If we want cheap power...

Why are there so many deep water drilling platforms?

Who is responsible for this boondoggle?

-AC_Hacker

AlanE 02-20-12 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AC_Hacker (Post 20032)
Why are there so many deep water drilling platforms?

Who is responsible for this boondoggle?

-AC_Hacker

There are so many deep water drilling platforms because the high cost of extracting that oil is still less than the market price of oil and so there is profit to be made. Further, even at that high cost of extraction that oil provides power at a less expensive rate than alternative sources for uses like personal transportation.

There is not a "who" that is responsible, it's a "what" and that "what" is basic physics - how much energy is packed into different fuel types. We can't make the sun shine at night, we can't make the wind blow 24 hours per day, those are physical constraints.

The best that can be done now is to continue research so that we can boost efficiencies of converting sunlight to electrical energy. Even if we achieve breakthroughs we're still left with physical limitations on the density of that power.

If solar gets people jazzed then the best solution is space-based solar powered satellites. The sun shines 24/365 with only a momentary eclipse a few times per year. The sunlight achieves maximum insolation. This means that the power generated can be used as baseload power. The microwave transmission efficiency to beam the power to earth are at over 90% or so (IIRC). No need for battery systems, no need for decentralized (and inefficient) deployment, the system can piggyback on existing distribution infrastructure, no need to buy power while simultaneously idling existing baseload generating facilities. The problem is developing that industrial capacity in orbit. But if we have to throw money at this alternative energy fad in order to appease people it would be better, IMO, to actually, you know, seek out developments which actually solve foundational problems inherent in the technology.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:58 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger