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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 KaiserJeep » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:30:46

I'm sure the Koch Brothers are not the only rich fossil fuel magnates who are trying to step on the head of newborn renewable energy. RM, you are doing a pretty good job of talking it down unless it's located in Texas. But you are actually (if you'lll pardon my blunt expression) blowing greenhouse gases from your nether regions when you ignore this:
Image

See the dark brown band off the NE coast? It's the absolute best wind resource in the entire continental USA, and the only part of the country that averages above 10mph wind velocity, year after year. It's all offshore, as well - and it includes the Nantucket shoals (the biggest one being Horsehoe Shoal where Cape Wind still has a permit to build) and Georges Bank (where we can all agree is too delicate to risk, seeing as messing it up might destroy the entire Atlantic fishery).

The facts are that (according to the NASA study a few years back) the brown band of NE offsore wind resource marked above will almost always be producing near the peak output capacity, whereas onshore wind will almost always be at some fraction of peak, and sometimes at zero output. IOW, the intermittancy that troubles renewables is absent from this area, night and day, all year round.

This is why Cape Wind must be built, why I supported it, why I approved of the things Barack Obama said about Green Power, not understanding that he too was simply generating GHG's.

The island of Nantucket is itself in that ideal wind resource band, and my new home as well. I'm currently researching residential sized wind turbines, and now you know why. A nicely sized, stout wind turbine, a Powerwall battery, and an efficient ground sourced heat pump to supplement the existing oil burner are the outline of the plan I am developing. Then as I make energy efficiency improvements to the house itself, adding such things as an electric induction stove and heat pump water heater, I'll eventually reach a point where I can exist off grid.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:40:44

ROCKMAN wrote:Z - "And who was recently beating the drum for Georgetown, TX, going 100% solar/wind next year? Or do they have an opt-out policy?" Not sure if they do but why would they need one? They knew exactly what their electric rate will be for the next 25 years when they signed the contracts. Do you and your neighbors know what your rates will be 20 years from today?
...
Overall a rather tightly strung together project. Apparently much more so the offshore NE wind.


I guess I could have been more specific: both Georgetown and Cape Wind projects demand long-term contracts and rate increases to be paid by the consumer. Both are meant to generate profits for the investors. One fell through, the other didn't; apparently the difference is mainly the cost per kWh to become economical, while the basic business model is the same. How much would Cape Wind power have cost the average consumer, and how much do the people in Georgetown pay *in excess of average electricity prices* in their respective areas?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:57:35

Zarquon wrote:
ROCKMAN wrote:Z - "And who was recently beating the drum for Georgetown, TX, going 100% solar/wind next year? Or do they have an opt-out policy?" Not sure if they do but why would they need one? They knew exactly what their electric rate will be for the next 25 years when they signed the contracts. Do you and your neighbors know what your rates will be 20 years from today?
...
Overall a rather tightly strung together project. Apparently much more so the offshore NE wind.


I guess I could have been more specific: both Georgetown and Cape Wind projects demand long-term contracts and rate increases to be paid by the consumer. Both are meant to generate profits for the investors. One fell through, the other didn't; apparently the difference is mainly the cost per kWh to become economical, while the basic business model is the same. How much would Cape Wind power have cost the average consumer, and how much do the people in Georgetown pay *in excess of average electricity prices* in their respective areas?


In case this hasn't been clear from everything I have said in this thread already, I am a Cape Wind investor, and gave them $7500 in their IPO in 2007, right after Obama declared the project "shovel ready" in his 2007 presidential campaign. The stock was briefly worth 3X what I paid for it, then fell to pennies per share, and has not been traded since 2008, when they reorganized for the first time.

All of the past financial shenanigans are absent from the Wikipedia article and the Cape Wind web site. But my backside has never stopped hurting.

In case you are wondering WHY Cape Wind has not been built, a rich coterie of millionaire and billionaire investors, including the Kennedy/Shriver family and the Koch Brothers, oppose the project. The fact that their 27th lawsuit has just been dismissed means that they will soon file the 28th. They seem to be able to afford better lawyers than us Cape Wind supporters, and more of them.

I'm actually quite bitter about this, and appalled - because the estimate is that the coal emissions that Cape Wind would replace kill 1200 people each year in the area where I just inherited a house from the wife's parents. I'm an EE and I can power the home with the wind myself. But I cannot figure out how to avoid breathing the coal fumes, or living in the deathprint of the pollution of decades of coal burning, which is a legacy of heavy metals and mercury and radioactives produced when one burns "high quality" hard coals. In actual fact, the entire Eastern US has this problem:
Image
Understand, the paying customers of the power grid in the areas above also bear the responsibility for their lifestyles and the pollution emitted. The Koch Brothers did not cause the deaths above. They (and the Kennedy/Shrivers and the unnamed others) only bear the blame for 1200 or so people a year, those who sicken and die because Cape Wind has not been built.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby jawagord » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 10:40:56

KaiserJeep wrote:It's an apples and oranges argument you are making. YES the presence of electricity would (briefly) save lives in countries where cooking was done with open fires of wood or dried dung. But in a country like the USA where virtually every home is electrified and not even considered habitable without power, coal is the #1 contribution to the disease and deaths caused by air pollution.

Yes, coal power is the fastest way to electrify countries without an electric grid. But after a brief drop in mortality, they would be still paying off the power plant when it went dark as we run out of coal. There are 6-8 decades of coal available at current consumption rates, and if we attempt to bring the 3rd world nations up to a lifestyle approaching Western Middle Class, perhaps half that supply, only 3-4 decades. Meanwhile if you happen to believce in Global Warming, the doubling of coal burning will have cooked the globe by then.

Since coal is the deadliest form of power generation, we should implement renewables by choice everywhere we can. NO, most of the world will not ever achieve a Western Middle Class lifestle. Nor will we in the Western World have such unless we transition to renewable energy.

I'm not actually pro-nuke, even though I do believe the mortality statistics in the Forbes article. The problem with nuclear energy is that it is subject to the same peak effect as fossil fuels, and we have already mined all the best uranium, just as we have already pumped all the best petroleum. Uranium is not renewable.


You've got a real 1st world attitude there KJ. No sense helping the people in developing countries, we can't having them living better, will hurt the planet and their doomed anyways. The math is simple, developing country deaths are largerly in children under 5, prevent their death and we extend their life 60-70 years, not briefly! Centralized power pollution can be filtered and is otherwise greatly diluted which is why it has much less affect on human life span, its not a child killer, in our modern societies instead of living to 75 yrs, maybe you die at 74.9 yrs, a good trade in anyone's books for not dying at 5. GW will never cook the earth, some areas will become less habitable (some more habitable), so people will do what they have always done, adapt or move, which will be a lot easier if we get them out of poverty first.

We should be helping LDCs build coal fired power plants with modern filtration. Lift them out of poverty and then in 40-50 years they can transition away from coal to other "cleaner" sources of energy.

FYI, there is a glut of Uranium production which has depressed pricing for most of this decade. If you still think we are running out, here is a tidbit from Hubbert's presentation 70+ years ago.

"From these evidences it appears that there exists within the minable depths in the United States rocks with uranium contents equivalent to 1000 barrels or more of oil per metric ton, whose total energy content is probably several hundred times that of all the fossil fuels combined. The same appears to be true of many other parts of the world."
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 11:58:18

No, I don't have a 1st World attitude. Do the math - there are 7.5 Billion people already, and in the 4 or 5 decades you are talking about, there will be a lot more:
Image
See the green line, the U.N. so-called "low estimate"? That scenario is one where Global Warming is real and we die from it, which was the actual meaning of my remark "cooked". But if we are not dying from GW by then, there may be as many as 12 billion humans in the time frame you are talking about.

There are already too many people , and not enough stuff that people need to live. Not enough food, not enough clean water, not enough croplands, not enough fish, not enough energy. The mere presence of 7.5 B humans is killing the Earth, if you want to know the details, peruse the thread on the 6th Great Extinction, the one caused by the human overshoot population.

It sounds very much like you are no great believer in AGW. I am too - welcome to the minority opinion on this board. But if you are thinking that Uranium prices are depressed, think again - the low prices for the period 1993 to 2013 were the result of the "Megatons to Megawatts Program", where the USA purchased enriched uranium from the USSR and used it to fuel reactors. You see, most of the cheaply accessable fissionables were mined and fashioned into bombs, not reactor fuel. Hubbert assumed we would use the resource for power in his optimistic 1956 paper.

Human overpopulation is a 3rd World problem, and every time we share medicine, agriculture, or energy tech with them, it gets worse. In the Western 1st World, there would be a slowly falling population if it were not for immigration from 2nd and 3rd World countries.

I did not say that I liked this situation, or that it was not a human tragedy. But I do believe that your proposal to attempt to bring the 3rd World up to 1st World lifestyles, will increase suffering and in the end, kill more people.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:01:44

KJ - One confusing aspect of your death by coal map: Texas by far consumes more then any other state:

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/ene_co ... onsumption

Yet the death count is relatively low compared to the NE. But I once read that Texas coal burning plants were the most efficient in the country since, in general, they were fairly new compared to the NE. If correct maybe they also produce less of what's killing folks.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:14:09

RM, the two prime factors for the deathrate would be the coal used and the number of people who breathe the fumes. Texas has a lot of cheap real estate and keeps the nasty power plants away from the people. New England cannot do that, people live directly adjacent, as they do in most of the the more densely populated Eastern half of the country.

Nantucket at least has a breeze, almost always. But sometimes you catch the stink from the mainland. But that is still better than the big diesel generators and the big steel tanks that formerly were located about 100 yards from Main Street Nantucket town. They were stinky, unhealthful, noisy, and eyesores to boot, located in big red brick buildings with glass block windows that let in light and kept the noise down. The town burned down once in the days of whale oil, and they were lucky it didn't burn down in the last half of the 20th Century.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:55:01

Z - Sorry for the delay. How much is Georgetown, Texas, going to pay for its electricity by going 100% renewable?. Still haven't found the exact price but here's the word from its utility company: less then it was paying for fossil fuel fired sources under its previous contract.

https://georgetown.org/2015/03/18/georg ... y-by-2017/

"The City of Georgetown signed a power purchase agreement with SunEdison to purchase 150-megawatts of solar power starting in 2016. SunEdison will provide electricity to Georgetown through 2041. The new renewable power contracts signed by Georgetown provide electricity at a lower overall cost than its previous wholesale power contracts.

From Paul Gaynor, executive vice president of North America Utility and Global Wind. “Georgetown...by going 100 percent renewable they cut down on pollution, save water, and enjoy stable energy prices. They’re able to accomplish all of this without spending a penny up-front with the SunEdison power purchase agreement. Georgetown is a model for other cities that hope to become powered by clean renewable energy.”

"In addition, Georgetown has contracted with EDF for 144-megawatts out of a 194-megawatt capacity wind project...that will begin delivery of power next year. The Spinning Spur 3 project is currently under construction. A 20-year contract with EDF for wind power signed in 2014 will provide competitively-priced renewable energy to Georgetown customers through 2035."

"When Georgetown Utility Systems opted to seek new sources of power in 2012, we were charged with a mission to secure the most cost-effective energy that balanced risk and reward,” says Jim Briggs, general manager for utilities. “Our team took advantage of a unique time in the market place and did just that. By securing these renewable contracts the utility can consider itself 100 percent ‘green,’ but it does so at extremely competitive costs for energy, and it hedges against future fuel and regulatory risks, fulfilling our initial goal.”

And again without going into detail again, essentially all of the Texas electricity production, transmission, distribution and sales are controlled by the elephant in the room that everyone readily sees: ERCOT. Which is how Georgetown buys 100% green power from a system that is still mostly supplied by fossil fuels in addition to wind that supplies 12% from wind and now with solar beginning its big expansion. Again the great advantage of Texas being solely on its own electric grid. So even when there's a few hours when wind and solar can't supply Georgetown with its demand it can still pull electrons out of the system since they aren't labeled wind, solar or fossil fuel. But at the end of the month the city only sends a check to the wind and solar power generators: 100% of the city's consumption is "banked" with ERCOT. Thus the city will never have to deal with the intermittent problem. Why such low rates? The utility refers to a unique aspect of the electric market: there are moments when the rates are actually NEGATIVE when wind is adding so much to the grid above the scheduled fossil fuel base load we have excess total production.

But the really exciting development is E.on currently building a grid scaled battery storage system that will be fed by two of its west Texas wind power. Now we're talking a direct solution to the intermittent problem.
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Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is Unl

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 22:28:35

“Is having 100% renewable energy for a country feasible?” This question was recently posed on Thinkable. Dr. Gene Preston, a man who has been professionally specializing in grid reliability studies since his 1997 dissertation on the subject, answers “Exceptionally unlikely.” He doesn’t stop there; his answer includes enough detail to persuade all but the most fervent believers in the fantasy. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been reading Dr. Preston’s thoughts and professional investigations into grid reliability planning for a number of years. We communicate via the same closed email list that includes members with a variety of professional backgrounds who share technical interests in electricity production and distribution. It’s obvious to members of the list that Gene really knows his stuff when it comes to accurately modeling the variables in grid reliability predictions. It would be useful for more people should have access ...


"Dr Eugene Preston explains.."
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 08:39:39

I have seen this issue as an either or proposition for a long time. either you can use Wind/Solar to supplement the grid up to perhaps 20% and maintain our current standard of living, OR you can reduce out current standard of living by 80% and use just renewables in a local off grid lifestyle. The grid stability problems what become critical any time the total grid input exceeds 20% perhaps 25% wind/solar maximum are insurmountable in terms of expense when using randomly variable inputs.

If you are talking renewables in the general sense and include hydro-electricity, tidal electricity and ocean current generated electricity which are all variations on that theme, plus perhaps geothermal and ocean thermal gradients using thermocouple sources to generate electricity then you can have a higher percentage total because those sources provide a continuous calculable output and can be used for base power. The problem with that is our civilization as it currently exists already exceeds in demand from all those existing sources and perhaps even the remaining potential from those steady state sources.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 09:00:37

When you are simply dumping the renewable power directly into the grid, these comments are correct. But the presence of large numbers of distributed batteries plus the "Smart Grid" control of all these distributed power sources makes the grid a lot more stable.

AdamB, If you want to have a conversation about 100% renewables, or Smart Grid, we have existing threads for those. When you start a new thread on exactly the same topic, you make extra work for the moderators who have to merge the threads. In this case, the prior thoughts on this topic can be found here:
http://peakoil.com/forums/running-the-us-power-grid-on-100-renewables-t73499.html
....grid instability under renewables was explored in this thread:
http://peakoil.com/forums/no-progress-toward-c-free-economy-in-20-years-t72127.html?hilit=%20NREL
....the role of the NREL supercomputer in simulating power grid performance with renewables is here:
http://peakoil.com/forums/the-wind-power-thread-pt-3-merged-t69260.html (search the term "NREL" within the thread)
...we would appreciate it if you would search first, then add to an existing thread, so that all the prior thoughts are not lost, and don't have to be repeated.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby Sys1 » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 09:00:47

Tanada : If you add Epsilon once a week plus Epsilon once a season plus Epsilon once an hour, you have something like three Epsilons at best at any moment.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby asg70 » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 09:19:15

1) it doesn't need to be 100% to prevent collapse (or at least stall it long enough for it not to matter that much)
2) sustainability becomes a hell of a lot easier if we reduce our population (the biggest problem)
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 09:40:40

Understand that our current lifestyle grew in a time of cheap fossil energy, and simply is not sustainable. That in a nutshell is PRECISELY WHY we consider the use of renewable energy sources "insufficient". But once you postulate the end of cheap fossil energy, plus the increase in energy costs that results, many things become possible.

I believe and have said before that we can run a modified American lifestyle on renewable sources alone. "Modified" means a total re-implementation of the country's infrastructure. This will include but not be limited to:

1) Re-implementing existing homes, businesses, and public buildings to a new more stringent energy-efficiency standard. I suggested the European "PassivHaus" standard for US Northern states, and LEED Platinum for Southern states where A/C is the dominant energy use. Buildings would go from 40% of the existing energy consumption to 4-5% over several decades. The carrot would be generous tax rebates, the stick would be that existing buildings must meet the energy standard every 50 years, or be torn down.

2) Eliminating "Security Lighting" in favor of infrared scanning plus computerized monitoring of the scanners to sort out wildlife and legitimate users such as the building occupants. This is a huge win, there is absolutely no need to make our planet gleam into space every night - which you see every time you fly an airline at night.

3) Transportation energy can be optimized by a combination of public transport and robot cabs. Make private ownership of an automobile 10X as expensive via taxation policies, UNLESS you use an EV and charge it via renewables.

4) Switch the grid over to more efficient HVDC transmission and abandon the "last mile" connectivity in rural areas that comprises the largest expense. Rural inhabitants must own efficient homes and businesses and EVs (including electric farm machinery) AND have the means to power them via renewables.

5) etc etc etc

You could go on and on about this. My point is that everyone makes the assumption that we must continue the current energy-hog lifestyle which is based on cheap fossil fuel enegy. The correct goal is to reduce energy consumption until it matches the feeble renewable sources.

Oil and Natural Gas and coal are needed for the chemicals they produce, and are literally too precious to burn for energy.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby GHung » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 09:50:11

asg70 wrote:2) sustainability becomes a hell of a lot easier if we reduce our population (the biggest problem)


Meanwhile, reduce or eliminate discretionary uses of energy. That soda machine sitting outside our local hardware store (facing south in full sun) is a luxury we don't need. Giant electronic billboards? Pissing away energy to benefit advertisers. The largest section in our local grocery store is ice cream (frozen sugar). What is our energy overhead just to keep sugar cold in the US? I could go on and on. Tax these things into extinction.

The way my family has managed to live well for 20 years off-grid has been efficiency and to eliminate most discretionary energy use except when we have a surplus, and to move some necessary uses to times of surplus. If we don't do that, we find ourselves running the generator ($$$), or the lights go out.

Of course, the powerful for-profit energy providers want to sell power for these discretionary uses, and most in our society feel entitled to use as much energy as they want, when they want it.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby asg70 » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 11:20:05

GHung wrote:most in our society feel entitled to use as much energy as they want, when they want it.


Meanwhile the people elected Trump to all but abolish the EPA and bring back coal.

Let's face it. Pursuit of happiness is written into the constitution. Most of these powerdown manifestos require a benign dictatorship to implement because no amount of lecturing will voluntarily convince 99%+ of society, even those who classify as green, to do so. How is that dictatorship going to rise to power without any public support? Answer--it won't.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 11:31:25

KaiserJeep wrote:When you are simply dumping the renewable power directly into the grid, these comments are correct. But the presence of large numbers of distributed batteries plus the "Smart Grid" control of all these distributed power sources makes the grid a lot more stable.

AdamB, If you want to have a conversation about 100% renewables, or Smart Grid, we have existing threads for those. When you start a new thread on exactly the same topic, you make extra work for the moderators who have to merge the threads. In this case, the prior thoughts on this topic can be found here:


First, our culture is unwilling to replace critical infrastructure on a timely basis to meet our current problems throughout most of the country. Grid repair and replacement is a badly lagging infrastructure item nobody is willing to invest in so fantasies about smart grid top to bottom replacement are simply that, fantasy.

Second, when I challenged people to volunteer if they didn't like the time available for me to moderate only one person volunteered and that is AdamB. Like Rabbit he is doing volunteer work at my request and I will thank you to let him do as requested and leave the Moderating to those who know what is going on around here instead of staying tightly wound up in their own limited viewpoint and criticizing things outside your limited viewpoint instead of asking questions about your concerns. There is a PM system for those sort of questions as bringing up Moderators or Moderation practices in the open forums is against the COC. Please keep this in mind the next time you feel like commenting on Moderating or Admin practices on this website.

Consider this your official Informal Warning, twice in one week complaining about Moderation is twice too often.

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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby GHung » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 11:37:29

asg70 said; "Meanwhile the people elected Trump to all but abolish the EPA and bring back coal."

You skipped the part where Trump was not elected by a majority, and he has something less than a 35% approval rating. That said, I doubt a majority of Americans are going to sacrifice much when they believe changing their own behaviors isn't necessary.
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby asg70 » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 11:46:32

GHung wrote:You skipped the part where Trump was not elected by a majority, and he has something less than a 35% approval rating.


The electoral system is the electoral system.

How many times have people made a note here that democracies tend to unravel in sort of a tragedy of the commons way, where they vote for what they think is their own short-term self-interests? That's pretty much what we've got in this country. We have a largely uneducated and gullible electorate who have bought into fear/anger-based populism that is ultimately just trickle down economics 2.0.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” --Maya Angelou
asg70
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Re: Dr. Eugene Preston Explains Why 100% Renewable Energy Is

Unread postby coffeeguyzz » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 15:23:38

I think you doomers/anti fossil fuel folks have missed the boat BIG time and - without joy, but as a fierce proponent of FF extraction and consumption - I am absolutely loving it.
The mere thought of 100% renewable generation is so preposterous that those who sincerely, naively (?) promote it display such a gross disconnect from reality that we carbon- friendly types benefit enormously from these discussions.

On a somewhat micro level - emerging micro grids being one example - there exists economic, practical, even (gads!) ideological overlap in accepting these types of processes.
Intrinsic to virtually all these kinds of applications is a core generating/heating component usually fuelled by gas (methane or propane).

Main point being, you folks who staunchly wish to embrace 100% non carbon forms of electricity generation are needlessly, but quite effectively, showing a much wider audience that you know little about these affairs, yet stridently attempt to impose your way on the general public.

The looming fiascos in Australia - in particular South Australia and Victoria - along with New England's dramatic shortfall in reserve electricity generation ( to be manifest in the coming cold snaps) will provoke a fierce public backlash against anyone, any public official, who promotes wind and solar sources.

Shame, I think, since gas-supplemented systems that incorporate wind and solar generation may make some sense in many applications, but zealous ideology has pushed aside any semblance or possibility of rational discourse.
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