Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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QUOTE O’ THE DAY
"You either fixed what broke or did without. It was excellent training for the future.”
Renewable energy sources will struggle to replace coal and gas-fired power stations as long as energy consumption continues to rise and fossil fuel subsidies remain in place, a new study has found.
Based on a study of electricity used in around 130 countries over the past 50 years, University of Oregon sociologist Richard York found that rising demand means it can require between four and 10 units of electricity produced from nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass or solar to displace a single unit of fossil fuel-generated electricity.
York's paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, recognises that many of these new technologies are yet to become fully established and have the potential to be more viable alternatives once they have matured.
But it also describes how creating more energy sources often leads to higher levels of consumption. Inventing more efficient car engines or houses opens up the possibility of building bigger engines and houses, the study says, which means total energy consumption often did not decrease significantly even with the rising efficiency of new technologies.
The paper concludes that simply building alternative sources of energy is not enough to get the world off the coal and gas hook. Instead, governments need to curtail the $409bn of subsidies the sector is estimated to receive each year as well as accelerate efforts to reduce the cost of clean alternatives.
sunweb wrote:I would like to share the first two paragraphs of my essay:
We will go kicking and screaming down the path to the new Middle Ages as fossil fuels desert us. With the decline of available energy, those of most of us who have sat at the top of the energy pyramid will become the new peasants. With the popular view of the Middle Ages as a brutal and dirty time filled with famine and disease and at the mercy of armed overlords. We cringe at the thought.
With great sadness, we must recognize the direct connection between present day population levels and the use of fossil fuels in food production, medical procedures, medicines and hygiene. With the fall in fossil fuel availability there will be a reduction in population. Population soared with the industrial revolution and the development of industrial, fossil fuel based agriculture. It cannot be sustained.
From: The New Middle Ages
http://sunweber.blogspot.com/2011/05/ne ... -ages.html
Oddball: Hi, man.
Big Joe: What are you doing?
Oddball: I'm drinking wine and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know.
Big Joe: What's happening?
Oddball: Well, the tank's broke and they're trying to fix it.
Big Joe: Well, then, why the hell aren't you up there helping them?
Oddball: [chuckles] I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work.
Big Joe: Christ!
Oddball: Definitely an antisocial type. Woof, woof, woof! That's my other dog imitation.
Quote: Kelly's Heros
Sure, solar power is greener than electricity from fossil fuel, but that doesn't guarantee that all solar panels are made sustainably. For corporations buying or investing in solar panels for their environmental benefits, it makes sense to keep track of the sustainability leaders -- and to be wary of the potential risks of associating with manufacturers with less sustainable practices.
The good news, though, is that many solar manufacturers are highly aware of the issue, according to a new report from San Francisco-based nonprofit As You Sow. The group, which advocates for environmental and social corporate responsibility, supports solar energy and put out the report – titled Clean & Green: Best Practices in Photovoltaics -- as a guide for investors, consumers and others.
“I was really pleased to see how much awareness there was,” said Amy Galland, the report’s author, adding that solar companies likely want to avoid the criticisms about sustainability that other industries have faced.
Sys1 wrote:We used since the beginning of industrial civilisation 500 billions barrels of oil, aka half of world reserves. Those 500 billions barrels were made by nature in 500 millions of years, meaning it's a sun stock of half a billion years.
So we consumed on average since 1930 (since rate of extraction is actually in constant increase, if not exponential, until it reachs the peak) around 5 millions years of sun stock each year, aka around 14'000 years of sun energy a day!
From there, how the hell it's imaginable to run our civilisation -without even thinking about growth- on solar pannels which would return at best 1 day of energy for each day they are used?
We are about to experience a total collapse of industrial civilisation and massive die off. There is no such thing any more as businnes as usual.
As we hear on mainstream medias that "recovery" is here, oil skyrockets above 100$ a barrel. This is where recovery is an illusion. It's like willing to run faster than your shade. The truth is that never will we again recover from the first wave of peak oil which occured in the form of "subprimes" in 2007-2008.
A wiser question would be : "What can be preserved with far less fossil fuels?"
It depends on your definition of solution. Quantitatively, there's nothing that we can implement that replaces 160 exajoules of energy input into society. Nothing. There are the inefficient solar collection schemes (algae, hydrogen cracking) and the less inefficient solar collection schemes (hydropower, wind) and the somewhat more direct solar collection schemes (solar panels and mirrors), but we have nothing that's as cheap and energy dense in large quantities as oil other than nuclear power, which too has both limits and problems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil).pstarr wrote:On the other hand solutions seem so apparent, at least to me. So easy peasy.
The funny thing about arable land is that people like to to use the sunlight on it to grow food. That sort of defines "arable." You'd want to place your solar facilities on unarable land, which still might destroy the local ecology in some way, but that's the trade-off no matter what energy system you favor.pstarr wrote:The United States contains 450 million acres of arable land for 300 million people.
Oh, for a world with affordable superconducting transmission lines. Unfortunately, you have to build those and they take some power themselves just for temperature maintenance. Thousands of miles of supercooled materials, which would by necessity have to be buried underground, are neither technically nor economically trivial. If we ever get inexpensive, room-temperature superconductor wire, this may be feasible. Not before.pstarr wrote: Add in a PV park 100 sq. mi* 100 sq. mi in the Southwest (attached to local grids with superconducting transmission lines) and you have your electricity. Done. Power. Next.
Clean energy should play a central role in revitalizing our economy, putting Americans back to work, and keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation and growth. Recently a slew of misguided attacks on the merits of clean energy have exchanged petty partisanship for hard facts.
Here are the top six things you really need to know:
Clean energy is competitive with other types of energy
Clean energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels
Clean energy improves grid reliability
Clean energy investment has surpassed investments in fossil fuels
Investments in clean energy are cost effective
Fossil fuels have gotten 75 times more subsidies than clean energy
Here are the supporting details:
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