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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 16:47:02

KaiserJeep wrote:Residential buildings will be required to meet much more stringent energy standards such as the European PassivHaus standard. This is a complex standard but in the end results in a structure that consumes 10% of the average energy of today's American home, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40% of the current Energy Star standard. The efficiencies are gained through a combination of superinsulation, passive solar design, air infiltration barriers, and energy-efficient HVAC and major appliances. Zoning requirements such as which way a house faces should be changed to allow for solar heat gain and PV optimization.

There are somewhere around 74 million single family homes units in the US. (the rest, multifamily and apartments are another story, not easily done.) These would need to be upgraded (new house construction is minuscule in comparison). Because current homes are not sited to the sun, a sunroom would need to be added. $20, 000. Homes typically have 2*4 interior walls that can be blown-in insulted. $2,000. New HVAC and appliances. $5,000. Cost: $2 trillion.

KaiserJeep wrote:Additionally, we have to give up on energy-wasting practices such as street lighting and security lighting. This is not necessary or desirable:
Image
A necessary requirement to meet this standard is that NO GRANDFATHERED EXEMPTIONS ARE ALLOWED.
yes indeed. Studies suggest that street lighting increases, not decreases crime. Security lighting, especially residential is the same. It's an open invitation to robbery . . . it lights the way.

KaiserJeep wrote:A house cannot be resold or newly constructed without either meeting the standard or being torn down. For continuously occupied structures that get passed through inheritance, the house must be tested and pass the current standard every 50 years. Non-compliant structures must be destroyed even if it means putting old people on the street to die. Similar standards can be applied to commercial buildings and manufacturing. Again, no exceptions, no crossing-the-palm-of-a-politician, nothing. If an industrial process cannot be re-designed to use less energy, it deserves to be ended and replaced by another.

The correct question you should be asking: Can we meet 10% of the current energy consumption with renewables and storage within the next 50 years, after 100% infrastructure renewal? The answer would be, assuredly YES.

Before you quibble with my numbers, ask yourselves this: What parts of our present infrastructure are OBSOLETE and do not deserve to exist? I would include the interstate highway system, at least half the state roads, and virtually every vehicle that exists today. I would mandate EVs and charge every owner of a "historic" ICE or Hybrid vehicle (anything that burns hydrocarbon fuels) a $10,000 annual license fee. Electrified railroads and a renewed system of waterways and canals (with electric traction engines) should be used for frieght, not ICE heavy trucks.

Get the idea? It's a cliché, but you need to "think outside the box" when it comes to energy infrastructure. Renewing the country's infrastructure to use less energy is a Herculean task, but is required. Recycling of the materials in use at the present, plus 100% employment for 3 generations - including even immigrant laborers from South of the border - are elements of the solution.

money? another planet's worth of resources?
/sarc
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 17:02:39

Tanada wrote:First, a lot of research has already been accomplished and China is building the first utility scale unit now.
...
or if the China plan works 5 years.
That's for a pilot plant, not utility scale. First they build a small pilot plant. Then they spend a few years experimenting with that. Then they build a larger demonstration plant and see if it works at scale. Then spend a few years experimenting on that. Finally, assuming everything worked out ok, they can start looking at a commercial reactor. Saying a pilot plant is 5 years away is much different than saying a commercial reactor is 5 years away.

Within weeks, state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is set to launch a small modular reactor (SMR) dubbed the “Nimble Dragon” with a pilot plant on the island province of Hainan, according to company officials.
Enter the Nimble Dragon: China looks to small reactors for nuclear edge

A pilot plant is a pre-commercial production system that employs new production technology and/or produces small volumes of new technology-based products, mainly for the purpose of learning about the new technology. Also, as pilot plants are intended for learning, they typically are more flexible, possibly at the expense of economy.
Pilot plant

A demonstration plant is an industrial system used to validate an industrial process for commercialization. It is larger than a pilot plant, and is the final stage in research, development and demonstration of a new process. Demonstration plants are generally larger than pilot plants are often constructed following a successful trial in a pilot scale size. Demonstration plants are used to prove a process works at industrial scale, and is financially viable in its intended industry.
Demonstration plant
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 18:44:01

Kub, I'll not quibble with your $2T residential infrastructure conversion number, although I believe that it will be a lower figure than that because the technology of material recycling and construction will advance in 50 years.

However, the USA uses a total of 97.4 quadrillion BTU annually (EIA stat for 2016). 37% of this is residential use (from pstarr's pie chart above), about 36 quadrillion BTUs annually. At the end of 50 years, we would be saving 90% of that in residences alone, about 32.4 quadrillion BTUs annually. In 2017 dollars assuming natural gas energy at an average of 4.032 times ten to the -8 dollars per therm (EIA again), that is an annual savings of $130.6B in energy, and the 50-year infrastructure conversion pays for itself every 15 years.

It's not that simple of course, and dollars are not constant over 50 years, and niether is energy cost or construction cost. But my honest estimate is that we can run the whole country at 15% the overall current energy expendatures, and 10% for residences alone. The PassivHaus standard is over 20 years old, and demonstrated to be achievable at a 15% cost penalty. Most of the current housing doesn't have 50 years of life remaining, and would be needing replacement or major rennovation in any case.

What I am talking about troubles my Libertarian soul, not to mention the idea of turning old people out of their homes and bulldozing same. But you have to understand that when energy escalates 10X in price, they are not gonna be there anyway, the bank will have their house and they will be living in their kid's garage.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 18:49:32

Much of that infrastructure will be due for replacement anyway, but it seems we can't find the money to maintain what we've built already. And we keep digging the hole deeper building crap in places that will be underwater in 50 years.

The whole discussion seems rather 'academic', eh?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 19:07:57

You are correct, it's "academic" in the absence of political leadership committed to making it happen. If Trump bothered to understand, he might make seven years progress towards the goal. We have enough FF's to bridge us to renewables, just not the will - much less a plan - to get there.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 20:18:38

KJ you are playing pretty fast and lose with peoples personal property. Tell me you are going to tear down my house because of some ex postfacto law you have just passed and I will meet you at the door with a loaded gun if I have failed to hunt you down at your own door. (just saying)
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 22:39:45

vtsnowedin, that's not what I am saying. This is what I am saying:

1) You can live in your present home for 50 years without spending one penny on mandated energy efficiency improvements. At the end of 50 years, we will administer the PassivHaus certification test, requiring a blower door test for air infiltration, an infrared scan for escaping heat through the insulation/windows/doors/roof, and note the annual energy consumption of the home, based on records of gas/electricity/oil/wood purchases. Any renewable energy sources are part of this - solar PV or wind turbine or hydropower or active solar may be used to offset energy purchases, all we care about are net energy inputs.

If you fail the standard, you will be given a reasonable amount of time, and possibly a loan, to bring the structure into compliance, following which the test will be re-administered at your expense. If you fail again, the structure must be destroyed.

The standard is Federal. The enforcement is Federal. Local or state or county governments play no part of this.

2) After a reasonable period - I believe a year is enough, but would buy into up to 10 years - all new structures must meet the PassivHaus standard before being occupied. The average cost for this is 115% of a structure that otherwise complies with Energy Star, for example - it is not an excessive burden. After that same period, all houses being resold must also meet the standard before the new occupant can reside in the home. This would include the possibility of someone who has no means of meeting the standard selling his home, as long as he sells to someone who will meet the standard before occupying the house.

3) Reasonable exceptions could be made for historic homes. The only requirement would be that non-compliant structures are for display only and cannot be occupied by people except as a place of employment, days only.

This is "getting serious" about residential energy consumption. We also must "get serious" about manufacturing, agriculture, and transport, including both public and personal transport. IMHO getting serious is the only way we succeed in transitioning to 100% renewables.

I generally favor nuclear energy, and it will soften the impact of what I am proposing, by supplying all the electricity we need for this. It would also make sense - given that nuclear energy is the safest form of power we have - to place these nuclear plants into cities, and utilize the heat they produce for Winter space heating, not just the electricity. A half dozen nukes in NYC would nicely wean the place off of FF's.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 23:28:47

KaiserJeep wrote:Kub, I'll not quibble with your $2T residential infrastructure conversion number, although I believe that it will be a lower figure than that because the technology of material recycling and construction will advance in 50 years.

My number, dude :)
/sarc
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 00:22:06

pstarr wrote:-snip-
My number, dude :)


Sorry, Pete. Your thoughtful comments were appreciated.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 07:12:07

Again if you tell me I can't pass my house on to my heirs without rebuilding it to some government standard it means WAR!!!
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 09:59:56

KaiserJeep wrote:vtsnowedin, that's not what I am saying. This is what I am saying:

1) You can live in your present home for 50 years without spending one penny on mandated energy efficiency improvements. At the end of 50 years, we will administer the PassivHaus certification test, requiring a blower door test for air infiltration, an infrared scan for escaping heat through the insulation/windows/doors/roof, and note the annual energy consumption of the home, based on records of gas/electricity/oil/wood purchases. Any renewable energy sources are part of this - solar PV or wind turbine or hydropower or active solar may be used to offset energy purchases, all we care about are net energy inputs.

If you fail the standard, you will be given a reasonable amount of time, and possibly a loan, to bring the structure into compliance, following which the test will be re-administered at your expense. If you fail again, the structure must be destroyed.

The standard is Federal. The enforcement is Federal. Local or state or county governments play no part of this.

2) After a reasonable period - I believe a year is enough, but would buy into up to 10 years - all new structures must meet the PassivHaus standard before being occupied. The average cost for this is 115% of a structure that otherwise complies with Energy Star, for example - it is not an excessive burden. After that same period, all houses being resold must also meet the standard before the new occupant can reside in the home. This would include the possibility of someone who has no means of meeting the standard selling his home, as long as he sells to someone who will meet the standard before occupying the house.

3) Reasonable exceptions could be made for historic homes. The only requirement would be that non-compliant structures are for display only and cannot be occupied by people except as a place of employment, days only.

This is "getting serious" about residential energy consumption. We also must "get serious" about manufacturing, agriculture, and transport, including both public and personal transport. IMHO getting serious is the only way we succeed in transitioning to 100% renewables.

I generally favor nuclear energy, and it will soften the impact of what I am proposing, by supplying all the electricity we need for this. It would also make sense - given that nuclear energy is the safest form of power we have - to place these nuclear plants into cities, and utilize the heat they produce for Winter space heating, not just the electricity. A half dozen nukes in NYC would nicely wean the place off of FF's.


I and the vast bulk of the country is with VT on this one KJ. I have no problem with the Federal Government using greenmail to coerce states into passing high quality building standards for all heated or cooled structures like residential or commercial buildings. Do that today and within three years all buildings would be built to a much better standard of construction. As old houses are torn down or lost in earthquakes/tornadoes/hurricanes/floods/fires the replacement structures will have to meet the new standards like any other new construction.

But that is it. No forcing people to alter existing structures when they would have done so if it made economic sense for their situation. I grew up in a farmhouse built by my great grandfather in 1911 and though it passed out of the family in 2014 it is still standing to this day and housing a family. It has had numerous upgrades over its existence but there is no way for it to meet passivhaus standards without basically encasing the structure in a greenhouse shell to prevent contact with the wind. Not only is that a historic structure with a great deal of family history tied up in its existence but the first house I bought as an adult was a Sears House built from a kit in 1913. That house was an energy hog because it was built of uninsulated glazed tile blocks with a stucco exterior and because of the period it was constructed in there were a lot of single pane windows with removable exterior windows (we call them storm windows around here). I searched high and low for ways to improve the energy quality of the house and every option I looked at save replacing the HVAC which I did would take longer to pay off in saved energy than was worth the expense.

Now if you want to offer grants for everyone to upgrade houses that they inherited or bought that were built prior to the date the national pasivehaus standard was enacted then fine, that would also go a long way to cutting energy demand. But what you are talking about is sending men and women with guns to evict people from private property because they choose to live in a lifestyle that offends you. That is no different than Janet Reno burning out the Branch Davidian cult and killing all those people because she wanted to look like a tough law enforcer to the rest of the country.

Most of us not on the coasts would at the least cause a major change in government if such a stunt was tried. You want to get removed from office ASAHP try a stunt like that. On the other hand if your goal is to improve the energy use of the country I am all in favor of that. If your method is an Authoritarian force methodology to make all those who disagree comply then you and I part company right there. You are trying to force what you see as the 'perfect answer' instead of looking at real people and real issues and asking 'what answer can I get to work'.

At the turnover rate of buildings simply passing the national standard and using greenmail to get the states to pass it on the state and local level you can achieve 30% of your goal in just a decade. After fifty years likely half of all structures would be within your goal and most of the remainder will have had upgrades of one sort or another as energy costs rise and people improve their homes and commercial buildings to save energy for their own reasons effectively getting you about 75% of the way to your goal. Offer the grants for upgrades I wrote about above and you might get to 85%. Then very gradually as the remaining old structures are naturally destroyed or torn down by their owners for replacement those replacements will be to the national standard and the percentage will keep rising.

You will never get 100% but you also won't set off the second civil war by kicking Granny out of the house she raised her family in against her will. Besides with the national standard as the population of immigrants continue to flood into the country all the new housing built would naturally boost your percentages.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 11:33:50

Yes KJ, Think like a capitalist.

The proper way to address this issue and apply leverage is to control the price of energy. That is the issue, not the house you live in. Enact highly progressive energy rates that increase exponentially as your usage increases linearly. Take the windfall and use it to provide grants to improve the existing inventory of housing. Put a cap on the per-capita energy anyone can take from the grid. Develop a rate structure that reflects the environmental damage caused by each energy source.

Force producers to live by their creations, inhale the fumes, and keep the resulting waste in their own backyard (distributed evenly among the shareholders). If you want to live in a shack by a stinking mass of radioactive coal dust that's your problem.

I am willing to accept these changes tomorrow. They will not affect me. I have already made my transition plan.

I should also point out that your plan to require passive house certifications will also not affect me. My 60 yo farm house is all set to exist forever.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 13:12:11

Mandating price controls for energy is a far worse abridgement of rights, actually. It victimizes both energy suppliers (who no longer operate in a free marketplace) and energy consumers (who pay artificially high rates above market).

Understand that if we don't curb our consumption of energy and conserve fossil fuels, we run out sooner. People continue the present pattern of consumption, the resource disappears sooner, and we are left considerably worse off because there is no runway left to switch to renewables, and no FF's to power the conversion. Recall that when the petroleum fuels are gone, we lose the ability to mine and refine fissionables, to mine and transport coal, to manufacture PV panels and wind turbines, and even to run chainsaws to cut wood and pickup trucks to bring same to your home. All of these things are enabled by cheap petroleum fuels, and all will become unaffordable rapidly - even suddenly - when those fuels are no longer cheap.

I told you that I was uncomfortable taking this approach, and that I was only proposing same because we have an inescapable problem. I believe that there is at this point in time a 50 year supply of oil. During that 50 years, oil will escalate in COST some 10X to 25X (yes a SWAG). Note that the currency will inflate along with it, and the PRICE may be 100X to 250X as great.

If that sounds doubtful to you, when I got my driver's license in the late 1960s, I remember paying $0.189 per US gallon in Illinois. I remember how disgusted my Father was with such outrageously high gas pricing, and that his response was to buy an "economy car" (a Ramber "American" with a 232 cubic inch straight 6 engine, the ancestor of the 4.0L fuel-injected engine in my 2003 Jeep Wrangler).

I would submit to you that the heavy-handed government actions I am talking about, although unpalatable to almost everybody including me, end up saving a lot of suffering, if they were to be enacted into black letter law. BTW, 50 years from now, it's your grandkids and great-grandkids who get to deal with the last oil crisis, and not any of us. So your outrage is wasted, and knowing the inevitable, your descendants never feel it.

Unless of course, the rest of you oppose such a plan, and we NEVER get serious about renewables, and we never transition off of FF's. Because THEN, your grandkids and their kids are out of options save one. They can choose to die, surrounded by vehicles without fuel, residences without heat, and agricultural fields that can only feed those within walking or bicycling distance.

When was the last time that any of you took actions to prevent an emergency that is 50 years in the future? You NEVER did, because you don't know of any. I am proposing to give you one, as an act of kindness. Think about that.

What are YOU waiting for? We HAVE EVs that are good enough. We HAVE PV and Wind Turbines and batteries that are good enough. We HAVE the knowledge and experience to construct PassivHaus compliant homes. But because the lot of you are not doing so, your descendants will suffer greatly. I just proposed to alleviate their suffering, and look how you responded.

BTW, who did you think were the people that were gonna be put on the street by an uncaring Federal government, who bulldozed their homes? Hint: It was not your grandparents, or your parents, or even you - it was your kids and grandkids, who had 50 years to consider the problem and deal with it.

So now, go on your merry way. Pump gas into your SUV or Hybrid. Turn the thermostat up a smidge to alleviate the chill. Leave the lights on in all the rooms in case you want to walk into one. Act like we don't have a problem called Peak Oil that will prevent all of these things from being options that your Grandkids have as they shiver and curse you and the legacy of suffering your attitudes caused.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 17:41:12

KJ wrote; "When was the last time that any of you took actions to prevent an emergency that is 50 years in the future? "


So we can be sure that your new (second) home on Nantucket will be brought up to full PassivHaus standards, right?

.... and I started taking those actions over 20 years ago, and am still tweaking things to do even better.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 08:50:47

https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-fos ... terms.html

Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms: study
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Subjectivist » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 11:12:51

dohboi wrote:https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-fossil-fuels-blown-terms.html

Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms: study


I shall resist my first response and just say, take away the subsidies and feed in regulations and I will believe it when I see the real world reflect the rosy scenario.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 11:19:07

Subjectivist wrote:
dohboi wrote:https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-fossil-fuels-blown-terms.html

Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms: study


I shall resist my first response and just say, take away the subsidies and feed in regulations and I will believe it when I see the real world reflect the rosy scenario.


take away ALL subsidies for ALL energy sources and I will believe it when I see the real world reflect the rosy scenario.

Fixed that for you, Sub.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 11:29:26

Tanada wrote:
But that is it. No forcing people to alter existing structures when they would have done so if it made economic sense for their situation. I grew up in a farmhouse built by my great grandfather in 1911 and though it passed out of the family in 2014 it is still standing to this day and housing a family. It has had numerous upgrades over its existence but there is no way for it to meet passivhaus standards without basically encasing the structure in a greenhouse shell to prevent contact with the wind. Not only is that a historic structure with a great deal of family history tied up in its existence but the first house I bought as an adult was a Sears House built from a kit in 1913. That house was an energy hog because it was built of uninsulated glazed tile blocks with a stucco exterior and because of the period it was constructed in there were a lot of single pane windows with removable exterior windows (we call them storm windows around here). I searched high and low for ways to improve the energy quality of the house and every option I looked at save replacing the HVAC which I did would take longer to pay off in saved energy than was worth the expense.


There is also value in terms of comfort. The energy savings from installing spray foam in our almost flat roof will never pay for the cost of the installation but we very much appreciate how much more comfortable the house is. Air leakage through the roof would be almost nil now and we no longer have icicles forming along the edge of the roof. The walls are still not well insulated except for a couple of rooms I have worked on, so we are still depending on a programmable thermostat to save energy. That means that if I get up in the middle of a cold night or when we return from an out of town trip, the house temperature will only be 14C. With a well insulated house, there is not much to gain by trying to drop the temperature at night or during the day when you are at work.

Rental accommodations where the tenants are picking up the cost of heating is one case where government regulation is a necessity since the landlord has so little incentive to improve the energy efficiency.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 11:46:11

Re: Mandating new housing standards

We have a 1887 brownstone, 4 apartments. Philadelphia, walls are two layers of brick with grout on the inside. Zero insulation. The wife spent over $30,000 replacing the windows which were allowed by the historical commission. However the majority of the windows are historic and must be replaced in kind (yeah right, try finding someone to make custom wood windows).

Many of my inner city folks live in high rise buildings, many over 50 years old, all energy hogs. The vast majority of Phillys housing stock is well over 50 years old. New high rises are being constructed and some old houses are being torn down, but the life of a URBAN housing unit is well over 50 years.

I believe the vast majority of posters here are rural/suburban. You look around and see the stick McMansions and think that is how the USA is housing folks. It’s not, we have become a predominantly URBAN with folks moving into more and more dense environments.

My Wife is Bavarian, houses there are often built like bunkers. Many are CENTURIES old. They do better in their construction techniques, but very few new houses are passive and the existing will not be replaced easily. Hell, they just replaced whole CITIES after WWII, they will be here for a long time.

So I understand both sides of this argument. VT and Tanada and I want to keep our old places. KJ and I understand that we can’t keep them and meet any kind of reasonable sustainability goals.

Clearly at some point in the future these two sides will come to blows over such issues. If something else doesn’t intervene in the meantime.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 15 Jan 2018, 12:01:03

BUT on a more personal note, we are sitting here in Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas. The winds are howling for the next few days and now the sun is shining so the new 639 watts of solar are kicking along with the wind generator.

The wind gen dumps excess juice into a resistor bank to waste it. We are awash in FREE ELECTRONS!

It would sure be nice if there was some way to store all this excess energy, and not battery banks. It would be great if I could make diesel or some such energy dense medium that I could put in a Jerry can tank and keep for latter.
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Newfie
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