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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 05 Oct 2017, 11:00:54

RM, I run around with a tank of liquid CO2 in my Jeep to reinflate tires after driving offroad. The stuff either has to be chilled very cold or kept under 850+ psi pressure to remain in liquid form. How (in brief) does one inject CO2 into a warm underground and have it remain in the liquid state?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Thu 05 Oct 2017, 11:01:56

ROCKMAN wrote: Also known for giving HUGE bonuses when the hit goals. And elsame size from VP to receptionist. I think last one was $60,000. Very big on rewarding success in a big way.

Good for him. Seems like the best way to ensure people are engaged -- to actually follow through and give promised rewards (whether bonuses, promotions, or whatever is appropriate), for success.

I like the idea of rewarding everyone, but am not so sure about the receptionist getting the same bonus as the gal who spent 90 hours a week solving nightmarish technical problems -- but he should run his company as he sees fit, and you can't argue with success.

What puzzles me is how seldomly business owners seem to offer incentives like simple profit sharing. Take a simple Waffle House as an example. As it is, that store is a paragon of inefficiency with generally poorly motivated employees, mediocre to poor service, and in retreat generally in the past couple of decades (if how busy they are is any indication).

Now, a store with a profit sharing plan where the more they make the more the employees get in bonus -- lots of problems are solved. Motivation for one. Finding good people for another (motivated employees will help recruit. AND they'll put pressure on deadbeats to get to work or quit, and help the boss know who is consistently a deadbeat.

And so what if the owner only makes 70% or 50% of BIG and growing profits, vs. 100% of moribund or falling, small profits?

And yet, the vastly prevalent model is poorly trained, demotivated near-minimum wage employees, and customers who have little to no reason to think, "I want to come back here" in the vast majority of cases.

I don't get it.

...

(Any casual labor I hire for work around the yard is well paid for what they do. I'm reasonable on expectations. I insist on safety and let them know I want them to be safe and take breaks, and provide water and snacks for breaks. I praise good work. I pay meaningful bonuses over time for consistent good work. And funny thing, I'm always delighted with my workers, because the unreliable ones (there are some, no matter what you do) are always easy to replace. For me, it's just a better deal all around to treat people right and enjoy a low stress environment as a side effect). But I guess I'm an "idiot" for not minimizing my expenses as "job one". :?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 05 Oct 2017, 12:59:27

OS, you have just described the difference between having a good boss and a bad boss. It is a little more nuanced in that you should have a working supervisor who mentors you in your job tasks, then a good manager that he works for, and a good 2nd level manager. Lastly one should have no more than four layers of management between the CEO and the least worker bee, and no more than a 10:1 discrepancy in salaries between that CEO and the lowest paid fulltime worker bee. Silicon Valley has proved this formula works hundreds of times.
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Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 20:43:47


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently proposed eliminating federal tax credits for wind and solar power, arguing that they should “stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources” as opposed to “being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits....” Stand on their own? Pruitt surely must be aware that fossil fuels have been feasting at the government trough for at least 100 years. Renewables, by comparison, have received support only since the mid-1990s and, until recently, have had to subsist on scraps. Perhaps a review of the facts can set Administrator Pruitt straight. There’s a strong case to be made that Congress should terminate subsidies for fossil fuels and extend them for renewables, not the other way around. A Century (or Two) of Subsidies To promote domestic energy production, the federal government has been serving


Let's End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not renewables
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby peripato » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 08:23:32

Fossil fuels are the subsidy. The modern world, including high-tech renewables, and 6 billion+ people wouldn't be around today without it.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 09:44:57

peripato wrote:Fossil fuels are the subsidy. The modern world, including high-tech renewables, and 6 billion+ people wouldn't be around today without it.


Bullseye! I have chased this particular will'o'whisp far too often around here and it never seems to sink in. For 'Renewables' to be actually a viable alternative they need to not only replace fossil fuel energy for the end consumer, they also have to replace fossil fuel energy used in the manufacturing and maintaining of those same 'renewable' systems. Sure you can build a batter powered truck to drive the workers around and that is nice and all, but it doesn't replace everything else involved.

We used to do a fair amount of discussion around here about the embedded energy in modern items. For example a car built in 1980 had X amount of energy consumption in the manufacturing process before it drove out of the factory and got shipped off to the retail outlet where it was sold. While the processes to build cars has greatly advanced since 1980 the number of specialty materials and additional features now installed in even base model cars means a 2017 car has X+ embedded energy in it before it ever ships out to the dealership.

The real kicker is the roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railroads used to transport all the materials from source to finished product before the done deal is shipped to the installer and begins producing energy. You can ignore this embedded energy all you want, but those roads and bridges need to be maintained and/or replaced at some point. If your 'renewable' system does not create enough energy surplus to do so the whole system starts decaying and falling apart pretty quickly.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 11:31:30

Tanada wrote:The real kicker is the roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railroads used to transport all the materials from source to finished product before the done deal is shipped to the installer and begins producing energy. You can ignore this embedded energy all you want, but those roads and bridges need to be maintained and/or replaced at some point. If your 'renewable' system does not create enough energy surplus to do so the whole system starts decaying and falling apart pretty quickly.


True. So in 5 or 7 decades (or likely longer), when we might start to actually see truly "running out" or even "serious" scarcity of FF's like the combination of crude oil, coal, and natural gas (there is a LOT of that in total, even though it is dirty and harmful to burn), THEN we will need to take a look at the state of the world at that time.

1). Clearly, green energy will be hugely built out compared to now. We can't know to what extent, but with any luck, except for some air travel and some industry (including infrastructure building and maintenance) - green tech is handling the job.

2). When push comes to shove and real scarcity of FF's is consistently making the price high (as supply/demand surely will ensure, net of any government subsidies), then how much adaptation, substitution, and doing without can we manage?

a). For one example, I believe if push comes to shove, we can do without commercial air travel. It will be inconvenient, but with a little planning, if people have to wait a week instead of a day or two to get some item they want from overseas, few people will die. It might cause inventories of medical supplies, for example, to need to be larger, but inconvenience isn't doom.

b). I don't see why it would be impossible to recycle asphalt for roads and maintain current roads and bridges without using FF's -- or using little FF's. I'm assuming that the vast majority of the road materials can be recycled, reheated, and the roads can be largely repaved with that. In 5 to 7 decdes, solar, wind, batteries, and the systems that run on them should be extremely sophisticated. Roads might be significantly more expensive if it all the material can't be recycled. That's inconvenient, but not doom.

c). At some point, if things really get bad, but gradually, I really believe that adaptation like the world adopting a significantly smaller overall population profile can happen. That should take a LOT of stress off the carrying capacity concerns if the total population is more like one billion than the 10 or 15 billion it could easily be by then if not constrained by policy. Also, if push comes to shove, wealthy (US middle class and above) CAN do with less. Whining about having less doesn't equate to doom. So between consuming less, having a much smaller population, and things being more efficient, the world might well run on only something like 4 to 5% of the resources it does today. That's not doom -- it is just very different.

d). I've been reading up on modern A/I and where it is likely going re computer technology. In 5 to 7 decades there should be intelligent robotic A/I and labor limited only by resources. This could be powered by batteries and green energy. If more labor is needed to do things more efficiently, it's not like more labor won't be available.

....

I'm not seeing realistic reasons humanity can't survive and even prosper. I'm just seeing reasons that normal BAU consume-all-you-can-afford-and-borrow can't happen endlessly. I'll opine that only the most corny will deny that BAU growth can continue unabated for, say, thousands of years.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 12:30:32

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Tanada wrote:The real kicker is the roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railroads used to transport all the materials from source to finished product before the done deal is shipped to the installer and begins producing energy. You can ignore this embedded energy all you want, but those roads and bridges need to be maintained and/or replaced at some point. If your 'renewable' system does not create enough energy surplus to do so the whole system starts decaying and falling apart pretty quickly.


True. So in 5 or 7 decades (or likely longer), when we might start to actually see truly "running out" or even "serious" scarcity of FF's like the combination of crude oil, coal, and natural gas (there is a LOT of that in total, even though it is dirty and harmful to burn), THEN we will need to take a look at the state of the world at that time.

1). Clearly, green energy will be hugely built out compared to now. We can't know to what extent, but with any luck, except for some air travel and some industry (including infrastructure building and maintenance) - green tech is handling the job.

2). When push comes to shove and real scarcity of FF's is consistently making the price high (as supply/demand surely will ensure, net of any government subsidies), then how much adaptation, substitution, and doing without can we manage?

a). For one example, I believe if push comes to shove, we can do without commercial air travel. It will be inconvenient, but with a little planning, if people have to wait a week instead of a day or two to get some item they want from overseas, few people will die. It might cause inventories of medical supplies, for example, to need to be larger, but inconvenience isn't doom.

b). I don't see why it would be impossible to recycle asphalt for roads and maintain current roads and bridges without using FF's -- or using little FF's. I'm assuming that the vast majority of the road materials can be recycled, reheated, and the roads can be largely repaved with that. In 5 to 7 decdes, solar, wind, batteries, and the systems that run on them should be extremely sophisticated. Roads might be significantly more expensive if it all the material can't be recycled. That's inconvenient, but not doom.

c). At some point, if things really get bad, but gradually, I really believe that adaptation like the world adopting a significantly smaller overall population profile can happen. That should take a LOT of stress off the carrying capacity concerns if the total population is more like one billion than the 10 or 15 billion it could easily be by then if not constrained by policy. Also, if push comes to shove, wealthy (US middle class and above) CAN do with less. Whining about having less doesn't equate to doom. So between consuming less, having a much smaller population, and things being more efficient, the world might well run on only something like 4 to 5% of the resources it does today. That's not doom -- it is just very different.

d). I've been reading up on modern A/I and where it is likely going re computer technology. In 5 to 7 decades there should be intelligent robotic A/I and labor limited only by resources. This could be powered by batteries and green energy. If more labor is needed to do things more efficiently, it's not like more labor won't be available.

....

I'm not seeing realistic reasons humanity can't survive and even prosper. I'm just seeing reasons that normal BAU consume-all-you-can-afford-and-borrow can't happen endlessly. I'll opine that only the most corny will deny that BAU growth can continue unabated for, say, thousands of years.


I have never doubted humanity surviving, I just don't believe the so called 'renewable' intermittent sources will be very much of that picture. Hydroelectric whether dam or tide or ocean current can be a good portion of the energy mix because they are steady and predictable. Nuclear is the 800 pound gorilla that will make up the vast majority of energy supply 50 years from now when fossil fuels are hard to come by and people get over their irrational fear of radiation.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 14:40:49

The 4WD road leading up to our place here in Panama is not maintained by the Ministry of Public Works who look after roads. The land owners who all use this road chip in every year to maintain it.

Anyway, there is a rock quarry half way down the road of a volcanic rock that a geologist once told me was an ash layer. The rock is gray and breaks with a sledge hammer. Every year at this time when the rainy season comes to an end we fill up our pick up truck with these gray rocks and boulders and deposit them in all the pot holes and a couple of my staff spend the day pounding the big rocks with sledge hammers until they flatten out on the road bed.

This just reminds me that muscle power is still the fall back in maintaining roads.

The Romans built very nice roads without diesel and back hoes and tractors.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 11:14:38

Despite my reflexive pessimism at the full extent of our plight, I think Renewable and Alternative energy sources are desperately needed to rev up. The longer we wait, the more implausible any effective in mass transition will be. We are too embedded in in a fossil fueled Economy. So that discontinuity and problems are bound to manifest but the longer we wait to attempt a full transition, the worse they will be. Pragmatism and sacrifice better supersede political
expediency and comforts soon. As one Oil Industry insider said we better leave oil before it leaves us
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby StarvingLion » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 12:23:17

LOL, you people can't even add 2 + 2. I just did it for you below. Spain is going Gulag with their Solar Paradise. I guess you fools will never stop believing in something-for-nothing that is *NOT* Solar. "Renewables" is a bug splat on the windshield.

Spain is one of the top ten countries by solar photovoltaics installed capacity and the first country for concentrated solar power (CSP) in the world. In 2016, the cumulative total solar power installed was 6,969 MW, of which 4,669 MW were solar PV installations and 2,300 MW were concentrated solar power.[1] In 2016, nearly 8 TWh of electrical power was produced from photovoltaics, and 5 TWh from CSP plants.[2]. During 2016 Photovoltaics accounted for 3% of total electricity generation and solar thermal an additional 1.9%

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Spain

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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 12:35:02

Ibon wrote:The 4WD road leading up to our place here in Panama is not maintained by the Ministry of Public Works who look after roads. The land owners who all use this road chip in every year to maintain it.

Anyway, there is a rock quarry half way down the road of a volcanic rock that a geologist once told me was an ash layer. The rock is gray and breaks with a sledge hammer. Every year at this time when the rainy season comes to an end we fill up our pick up truck with these gray rocks and boulders and deposit them in all the pot holes and a couple of my staff spend the day pounding the big rocks with sledge hammers until they flatten out on the road bed.

This just reminds me that muscle power is still the fall back in maintaining roads.

The Romans built very nice roads without diesel and back hoes and tractors.

So for a good yardstick on when meaningful AI, household robots, and cheap, practical green energy to free us from fossil fuels have "reasonably" arrived -- I'd say that when you can have your robotic crew do that job (including gathering the rock) without a lot of supervision (just lay out the parameters, like you would the human crew and they do a decent job), and the vehicles, robots, and equipment are powered by the sun, wind, and batteries and are affordable enough that you're willing to use them instead of human labor for such jobs, we've "arrived".

I think we'll easily be there within roughly 3 decades. That's one of the things I find attractive about the idea of the progress in AI. As I age, let the robots carry, stack, clean, etc. and free me up to do stuff that I'd rather spend my time on. The problem is early adopters will spend more time supervising and repairing broken stuff and redoing work than will be worth it.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby peripato » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 20:52:22

onlooker wrote:Despite my reflexive pessimism at the full extent of our plight, I think Renewable and Alternative energy sources are desperately needed to rev up. The longer we wait, the more implausible any effective in mass transition will be. We are too embedded in in a fossil fueled Economy. So that discontinuity and problems are bound to manifest but the longer we wait to attempt a full transition, the worse they will be. Pragmatism and sacrifice better supersede political
expediency and comforts soon. As one Oil Industry insider said we better leave oil before it leaves us

Assuming this is even remotely possible. Remember, FF's are the subsidy. Then what? What do we do for an encore after a couple more doublings of people, GDP and environmental destruction? Colonise Mars?
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby peripato » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 21:01:34

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Ibon wrote:The 4WD road leading up to our place here in Panama is not maintained by the Ministry of Public Works who look after roads. The land owners who all use this road chip in every year to maintain it.

Anyway, there is a rock quarry half way down the road of a volcanic rock that a geologist once told me was an ash layer. The rock is gray and breaks with a sledge hammer. Every year at this time when the rainy season comes to an end we fill up our pick up truck with these gray rocks and boulders and deposit them in all the pot holes and a couple of my staff spend the day pounding the big rocks with sledge hammers until they flatten out on the road bed.

This just reminds me that muscle power is still the fall back in maintaining roads.

The Romans built very nice roads without diesel and back hoes and tractors.

So for a good yardstick on when meaningful AI, household robots, and cheap, practical green energy to free us from fossil fuels have "reasonably" arrived -- I'd say that when you can have your robotic crew do that job (including gathering the rock) without a lot of supervision (just lay out the parameters, like you would the human crew and they do a decent job), and the vehicles, robots, and equipment are powered by the sun, wind, and batteries and are affordable enough that you're willing to use them instead of human labor for such jobs, we've "arrived".

I think we'll easily be there within roughly 3 decades. That's one of the things I find attractive about the idea of the progress in AI. As I age, let the robots carry, stack, clean, etc. and free me up to do stuff that I'd rather spend my time on. The problem is early adopters will spend more time supervising and repairing broken stuff and redoing work than will be worth it.

You must live a very sheltered life to believe these things. And who's to say that you won't be doing the shit-shovelling, whilst "AI" gets on with the really important stuff, like building out suburbia for itself around Alpha Centauri?
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 31 Oct 2017, 21:07:24

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Tanada wrote:The real kicker is the roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railroads used to transport all the materials from source to finished product before the done deal is shipped to the installer and begins producing energy. You can ignore this embedded energy all you want, but those roads and bridges need to be maintained and/or replaced at some point. If your 'renewable' system does not create enough energy surplus to do so the whole system starts decaying and falling apart pretty quickly.


True. So in 5 or 7 decades (or likely longer), when we might start to actually see truly "running out" or even "serious" scarcity of FF's like the combination of crude oil, coal, and natural gas (there is a LOT of that in total, even though it is dirty and harmful to burn), THEN we will need to take a look at the state of the world at that time.

1). Clearly, green energy will be hugely built out compared to now. We can't know to what extent, but with any luck, except for some air travel and some industry (including infrastructure building and maintenance) - green tech is handling the job.

2). When push comes to shove and real scarcity of FF's is consistently making the price high (as supply/demand surely will ensure, net of any government subsidies), then how much adaptation, substitution, and doing without can we manage?

a). For one example, I believe if push comes to shove, we can do without commercial air travel. It will be inconvenient, but with a little planning, if people have to wait a week instead of a day or two to get some item they want from overseas, few people will die. It might cause inventories of medical supplies, for example, to need to be larger, but inconvenience isn't doom.

b). I don't see why it would be impossible to recycle asphalt for roads and maintain current roads and bridges without using FF's -- or using little FF's. I'm assuming that the vast majority of the road materials can be recycled, reheated, and the roads can be largely repaved with that. In 5 to 7 decdes, solar, wind, batteries, and the systems that run on them should be extremely sophisticated. Roads might be significantly more expensive if it all the material can't be recycled. That's inconvenient, but not doom.

c). At some point, if things really get bad, but gradually, I really believe that adaptation like the world adopting a significantly smaller overall population profile can happen. That should take a LOT of stress off the carrying capacity concerns if the total population is more like one billion than the 10 or 15 billion it could easily be by then if not constrained by policy. Also, if push comes to shove, wealthy (US middle class and above) CAN do with less. Whining about having less doesn't equate to doom. So between consuming less, having a much smaller population, and things being more efficient, the world might well run on only something like 4 to 5% of the resources it does today. That's not doom -- it is just very different.

d). I've been reading up on modern A/I and where it is likely going re computer technology. In 5 to 7 decades there should be intelligent robotic A/I and labor limited only by resources. This could be powered by batteries and green energy. If more labor is needed to do things more efficiently, it's not like more labor won't be available.

....

I'm not seeing realistic reasons humanity can't survive and even prosper. I'm just seeing reasons that normal BAU consume-all-you-can-afford-and-borrow can't happen endlessly. I'll opine that only the most corny will deny that BAU growth can continue unabated for, say, thousands of years.


Five to seven decades? As it is, ave. ecological footprint is above biocapacity, and the former is not that high. And that's for the current population. And then there are the effects of global warming.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 01 Nov 2017, 15:31:18

ralfy wrote:Five to seven decades? As it is, ave. ecological footprint is above biocapacity, and the former is not that high. And that's for the current population. And then there are the effects of global warming.

And? I clearly said at the end of my post that ignoring BAU growth for the long run leads to total disaster.

I'm not saying anything like we can sail along with no problems. I'm saying it doesn't look to me like we will run OUT of fossil fuels for at least 5 to 7 decades, given the abundant supplies of coal, natural gas, and oil we know about. And let's face it -- people will go after those supplies for the right price when they're in demand -- unless enough green energy radically lowers that demand (which I'm rooting for over the next few decades, but we'll have to see).

Meanwhile, AGW will have truly nasty effects by 2100, but aside from arm waving, I'm not seeing much in the way of credible mainstream stuff to confidently predict humanity can't last 50 or 70 years -- as bad as AGW is.
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Re: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Unread postby ralfy » Wed 01 Nov 2017, 21:55:56

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
ralfy wrote:Five to seven decades? As it is, ave. ecological footprint is above biocapacity, and the former is not that high. And that's for the current population. And then there are the effects of global warming.

And? I clearly said at the end of my post that ignoring BAU growth for the long run leads to total disaster.

I'm not saying anything like we can sail along with no problems. I'm saying it doesn't look to me like we will run OUT of fossil fuels for at least 5 to 7 decades, given the abundant supplies of coal, natural gas, and oil we know about. And let's face it -- people will go after those supplies for the right price when they're in demand -- unless enough green energy radically lowers that demand (which I'm rooting for over the next few decades, but we'll have to see).

Meanwhile, AGW will have truly nasty effects by 2100, but aside from arm waving, I'm not seeing much in the way of credible mainstream stuff to confidently predict humanity can't last 50 or 70 years -- as bad as AGW is.


Problems don't start only when we run out of fossil fuels.

The issue with oil isn't price but energy return. That's seen in green energy, which also isn't exactly "green."

The point isn't how long will humanity last but how bad it will get.
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Can We Skip Straight to Renewable Energy Without Natural Gas

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 05 Dec 2017, 11:14:39

By Heather Goldstone & Elsa Partan Living Lab Radio Francis O'Sullivan, MIT Energy Initiative A protest this weekend at the site of a proposed natural gas power generator on the Cape Cod Canal highlights the controversy surrounding the rise of natural gas. Some say it’s an improvement over other fossil fuels, and a necessary bridge to a more renewable energy system. Others say it’s still a fossil fuel, and we should be investing in solar instead. The director of research at MIT’s Energy Initiative, Francis O’Sullivan, says neither side is completely right – or wrong. In a 2011 report on the Future of Natural Gas, O’Sullivan and colleagues predicted that natural gas would play an increasing role in energy generation and could provide deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to coal. Then, in a 2015 report on the Future of Solar Energy, the


Can We Skip Straight to Renewable Energy Without Natural Gas?
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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