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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby DesuMaiden » Sun 01 Feb 2015, 23:23:25

I found this list of 10 problems with solar and wind energy.

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/01/21/te ... a-problem/

This problem is especially important.

Both wind turbines and solar PV use rare earth minerals, mostly from China, in their manufacture.


And rare earth minerals are rare as the name implies. And we are running out of rare earth minerals. There is not enough rare earth minerals to make enough wind and solar energy collectors to replace fossil fuels as an electricity source. Quite simply, there isn't enough rare earth minerals to make enough solar and wind energy collectors to replace the electricity grid that is built by fossil fuels. We need to cover 100,000 square kilometers of land with solar panels to replace all of the fossil fuel energy with photovoltatic energy. But to produce enough solar panels to cover 100,000 square kilometers requires more rare earth minerals than we have.

So quite literally, we don't have enough rare earth minerals to build enough solar and wind energy collectors for our current energy demands. So solar and wind energy will not replace fossil fuels. So the statement on this website is correct.

http://www.oildecline.com/

Fossil fuels allowed us to operate highly complex systems at gigantic scales. Renewables are simply incompatible in this context and the new fuels and technologies required would simply take a lot more time to develop than available and require access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, putting the industrial adventure out of business.

In an interview with The Times, former Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer calls for a “reality check” and warns that the world’s energy crisis cannot be solved by renewables. “Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Just when energy demand is surging, many of the world’s conventional oilfields are going into decline. The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and placing too much faith in renewable sources of power”.

Alternative energies will never replace fossil fuels at the scale, rate and manner at which the world currently consumes them, and humankind's ingenuity will simply not overcome the upper limits of geology & physics.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby Ulenspiegel » Mon 02 Feb 2015, 03:33:39

Desu,

please do not repeat nonsense again and again, it does not make it better or true.

1) Rare earths are not rare, that is stupid propaganda, get a good chemistry book and read a little bit.
To produce them is very cheap in China, therfore, many production facilities in other countries have been mothballed, they are still available and in some cases new ones (even in Germany) are opened.

2) Recycling of reare earths is possible.

3) But the best is, you can build very fine wind turbines without rare earths, check Enercon wind turbines.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 02 Feb 2015, 04:17:16

DesuMaiden wrote:This problem is especially important.

Both wind turbines and solar PV use rare earth minerals, mostly from China, in their manufacture.


And rare earth minerals are rare as the name implies. And we are running out of rare earth minerals. There is not enough rare earth minerals to make enough wind and solar energy collectors to replace fossil fuels as an electricity source. Quite simply, there isn't enough rare earth minerals to make enough solar and wind energy collectors to replace the electricity grid that is built by fossil fuels. We need to cover 100,000 square kilometers of land with solar panels to replace all of the fossil fuel energy with photovoltatic energy. But to produce enough solar panels to cover 100,000 square kilometers requires more rare earth minerals than we have.

So quite literally, we don't have enough rare earth minerals to build enough solar and wind energy collectors for our current energy demands. So solar and wind energy will not replace fossil fuels. So the statement on this website is correct.
Desumaiden, that is not correct. Only a small portion of the Solar PV(thin-film) relies on rare earths. Thin-film makes up less than 10% of the market. It's like saying "Both cars and trucks require that you plug them in every night to charge them up." Except for the little fact that this only applies to EVs, which are a tiny subset of the car and truck markets.


5. Exotic Materials

Certain solar cells require materials that are expensive and rare in nature. This is especially true for thin-film solar cells that are based on either cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).
Solar Energy Pros and Cons

The market-share for thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) panels is forecast to decline each year to 2017 and will account for just 7% of new PV production during 2017.
Solar PV Thin-Film Share to Decline to 7% by 2017

The only rare earth in conventional solar cells is the silver used for the electrical contacts. However this can be substituted for another electrical conductor with minimal loss.

A criticism often leveled against renewable energy is that it is not really "renewable" because it uses elements which exist in limited amounts and cannot be recycled.

The question is complex and it depends on the kind of energy we are considering. For instance, in the case of solar cells, some use exotic and rare materials such as gallium or tellurium. However, the standard version on the market uses almost exclusively silicon and aluminum for the cell. The only rare element in it is silver for the back contact, but it can be eliminated with minimal or no loss. In several other cases of renewable technologies, rare metals are not used or can be efficiently recycled.

A recent (2014) study on this subject has been performed by the Wuppertal Institute. The conclusion is that the problem of mineral availability for renewable energy technologies is not critical if we choose the right technologies and we are careful to recycle the materials used as much as possible.
Renewable energy: does it need critically rare materials?
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 02 Feb 2015, 04:52:41

DesuMaiden, your post has similar problems with wind turbines. Rare earths are only used in Permanent magnet generators (PMGs) wind turbines. This is a small fraction of the wind turbine market.

The current use of rare earths for clean energy applications is actually rather low. Permanent magnet generators (PMGs) are still used only in a small fraction of new wind capacity. Not everyone is convinced that doubly fed induction generators (DFIG), the existing alternative to permanent magnet generators, are necessarily outclassed. A study conducted by Indar Electric found that DFIG systems showed “superior total efficiency performance over the entire speed range."

Manufacturers will pursue multiple technologies, and if increased demand for PMG turbines causes the price of neodymium and dysprosium to rise too much, these manufacturers will switch to whichever design (perhaps with ferrite magnets) makes the most economic sense. PMG turbines are more efficient, but also far more expensive, than ferrite alternatives. The growing momentum behind wind power and electric vehicles, however, will likely not be significantly slowed by rare earths.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 02 Feb 2015, 12:55:28

The problem is we don't have plugs when you need them.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby Surf » Tue 03 Feb 2015, 02:50:08

For the record the term rare earth elements refers to the following ellements:
Scandium
Yttrium
Lanthanum
Cerium
Praseodymium
Neodymium
Promethium
Samarium
Europium
Gadolinium
Terbium
Dysprosium
Holmium
Erbium
Thulium
Ytterbium
Lutetium

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_earth_element
None of these elements are rare. None are used in silicon solar cells. 200 years ago scientist called them rare because they could only find a few of them in one ore. Chemist simply could not find them simply because the methods they were using didn't work well. It took about 100 years for scientist to figure out how to separate them from other elements. Once they did they discovered that rare earth elements are actually very common.

The only concern with rare earth elements is that china developed a monopoly in the mining, purifying and selling these elements. All other mines in the world were shut down. However recently The government of china recently decided to stop exporting them. This caused prices to spike and a lot of articles were written about the shortage. Then the industry responded by opening up old mines and processing plants. Although the fear of running out of these element is still present, there is right now no shortage.

Most Rare earths are using in permanent magnets or in phosphors. Some wind turbine manufactures use permanent magnet generators because they are small and eliminate the need of a transmission. Other manufactures use induction generators optimized for low revolution rates to eliminate the transmission. Induction generators are larger but cost less. There is no big difference in efficiency between induction and permanent magnet generators.

the truely rare elements are clasified in Chemistry as Nobel metals. They are:
Gold
Platinum
Iridium
palladium
Osmium
Silver
Rhodium
Ruthenium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_metal

All but one of the nobel metals was discovered by 1803. It took anther 100 years to find all the rare earth ellements. Only one nobel metal is of concern in wind and PV, Silver. Silver is the most common of the Nobel metals and is used in solder and in solar it is used to collect the electricity generated by the silicon. In both cases there are practical alternatives to using silver.

Most electric cars use induction motors, not permanent magnet motors.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby Ulenspiegel » Tue 03 Feb 2015, 05:36:59

Surf,

I really admire your patience and willingness to educate people, who will in a few weeks post their same nonsense again.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 03 Feb 2015, 15:17:28

Yeah, thanks surf! I appreciate you going through the trouble and setting the record straight.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 03 Feb 2015, 21:08:35

The problem isn't so much rarity as the cost of accessing them, and not so much use in RE as use in various technologies that are part of the economy, including computers and smart phones:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/27/1312752110

There are additional problems raised in the article shared at the start of the thread.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby DesuMaiden » Tue 03 Feb 2015, 23:52:10

Even if we ignore the rare earth minerals issue, another issue with solar and wind energy is that they are intermittent meaning they can't be used all of the time. Solar and wind derived electricity cannot be always running unless you create giant batteries (which would be a huge technological challenge) to store the energy, so that you can use the energy when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.

I still don't think it is totally unfeasible to replace our grid with solar and wind energy, but you need to keep in mind of the limitations of solar and wind.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 04 Feb 2015, 00:39:09

Actually, there are alternatives to batteries. Pumped hydro is much cheaper than batteries so it is used much more frequently than batteries. Compressed air storage is another option. A next generation energy storage option could be underwater compressed air storage. Basically, giant bags are placed under water. They are then inflated when you have surplus energy. The pressure of the sea deflates the bag and generates energy in a turbine. As you can imagine, a giant bag is much cheaper than large numbers of batteries.

Hydrostor on Daily Planet

How the Hydrostor System Works

In 2011, Toronto start-up Hydrostor tested its underwater compressed-air energy-storage system in Lake Ontario. In August, it plans to deploy a commercial version, the world’s first.

Although the technology is still new, the need for this kind of energy storage is obvious, says Carriveau. Much of the world’s population lives near a coast, he notes. Garvey sees the underwater storage as part of a holistic system. “An offshore wind farm should not simply be a subsystem that produces electricity when the wind blows. It should be a system which takes energy from the wind and does whatever is needed to deliver energy to shore as that [energy] is needed.” The energy bags, he says, “are one very possible step toward that utopian view.”
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby Surf » Wed 04 Feb 2015, 00:41:25

I found this list of 10 problems with solar and wind energy.

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/01/21/te ... a-problem/


Back to the original post the link above states:

4. Even if wind is “renewable,” it isn’t necessarily long lived.

Manufacturers of wind turbines claim lives of 20 to 25 years. This compares to life spans of 40 years or more for coal, gas, and nuclear. One recent study suggests that because of degraded performance, it may not be economic to operate wind turbines for more than 12 to 15 years.


The Altimont wind far in California was built in the early 80's. Most of the original wind turbines are still there 30 years later. And there are other wind farms in California and Denmark that are just as old. There original estimated life time was 25 years. They are slowly replacing them now, but n not due to low power production. they are being replaced to reduce bird deaths. The Altimont wind farm kills more bird than most other wind farm in the world. The new turbines are expected to reduce bird deaths and will produce more power.

Gail Tverberg sites one paper study that fits her beliefs. She ignores the real world evidence that wind turbines last With proper maintenance wind turbines will have an indefinite life.

1. It is doubtful that intermittent renewables actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


many beople say that but that is not what is happpening in germany:
Image

Renewables started impacting the power grid in 1990. CO2 emissions in the German power sector dropped until about 2001 when German utilities started exporting the coal power they couldn't sell in Germany. This kept them out of bankruptcy until 2007 when they maxed out there export transmission lines. Then CO2 emissions started dropping again until 2011 when the Fukashima accident happened. The German government then shut down the oldest German nuclear reactors (The remaining nuclear reactors will started shutting down after 2020). This caused the much hyped "German CO2 emissions are increasing"
statement many people were making. However by 2013 the last 3 years of renewable additions had made up for the lost nuclear power. Then in 2014 with record renewable penetration, CO2 emissions dropped again. CO2 emissions now match the previous low set in 2009.

What will happen next in Germany? More record renewable penetration and less coal consumption. Renewables are reducing CO2 emissions in the German electricity system. Once German drivers start switching to electric cars CO2 emissions in the transportation will start dropping.

3. The high cost of wind and solar PV doubles our energy problems, rather than solving them.


Many government, business studies show renewables now cost less than fossil fuels. Gail again doesn't mention this and offers no evidence to support the claim. But if you look at Germany the lower cost of renewables shows. Electricitycost are have been falling since 2008:
Image

Source http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/01/analysis-shows-germanys-energiewende-right-track/
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby ralfy » Wed 04 Feb 2015, 20:54:55

Studies involving thousands of wind turbines should at least be considered as helpful as single examples.

In addition, one should consider not just the materials needed for the RE components but even the infrastructure and the resources needed for consumer goods that will use energy from the sources. These include not just FFs and rare earths but also copper, cement, fresh water, and more.

And all that will be taking place in capitalist systems which require continuous economic growth, lack of infrastructure in most countries, etc.

Finally, all of these points were explained several times in other threads.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby Surf » Thu 05 Feb 2015, 00:43:49

4. Even if wind is “renewable,” it isn’t necessarily long lived.

Manufacturers of wind turbines claim lives of 20 to 25 years. This compares to life spans of 40 years or more for coal, gas, and nuclear. One recent study suggests that because of degraded performance, it may not be economic to operate wind turbines for more than 12 to 15 years.



The Altimont wind far in California was built in the early 80's. Most of the original wind turbines are still there 30 years later. And there are other wind farms in California and Denmark that are just as old. There original estimated life time was 25 years.

Studies involving thousands of wind turbines should at least be considered as helpful as single examples.


Ralfy, The wind turrbines installed in california in the 80s were small typically 75 KW units that didn't use any rare earth magnets. In Addition to being installed at the Altimont pass, they were also installed inSan Gorgonio Passs, and Tehachapi pass.

4930 were installed at the Altimont pass, 3218 at San Gorgonio pass. the number of installed units at Tehachapi passs is not listed but the same 75kw turbines were using and the total generating capacity is listed at 705 MW. That works out to about 9000 units for Tehachapi.

that works out to about 17148 wind turbines in the first 3 wind farms in California. These are old with a lot operational hours on them. I have driven through all 3 of California's wind farms. Although I haven't stopped and tried to count them, the number doesn't surprise me.

In contrast the study Gail uses to support her claim used:
The onshore wind data sets for the UK
and Denmark used for the analysis are large with monthly observations on 282 installations in the UK and 823 installations in Denmark with an age range from 0 to 19 years. The offshore wind data set for Denmark is rather smaller, covering only 30 installations, but it can be used to obtain reasonable estimates of performance up to age 10.


Additionally the wind farms used in that study are newer and use much larger 1 to 2 MW turbines. Meaning fewer individual wind turbines were involved and power output levels were higher. At the time of the study the UK had just gotten to 8000 MW with only 12 year of wind experience while Denmark was at just under 4000 MW and had experience dating back to the 80's. If you assume all were 1 MW units, then the study looked at fewer wind turbines then those that exist in California.

They only looked at the power plant output data for farms in the UK and Denmark. The study also noted that the Denmark's turbines did better than the UK turbines. The study also didn't check for any changes in the wind resource and didn't check for any changes in operational availability. Denmark's longer experience maintaining wind turbines may be the biggest reason the poor performance of UK wind turbines.

Gail's one study has several shortcomings, and doesn't actually look at wind turbine reliability. It only looks at power output of wind farms over time. The fact that the old wind turbines in California are still operational after 30 years is a good indication that they are sufficiently reliable to make it cost effective to keep them running.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Pass_Wind_Farm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gorgonio_Pass_Wind_Farm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehachapi_Pass_Wind_Farm

Gail's source for your reference.
http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/280/ref.hughes.19.12.12.pdf
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 05 Feb 2015, 11:50:32

Surf wrote:
4. Even if wind is “renewable,” it isn’t necessarily long lived.

Manufacturers of wind turbines claim lives of 20 to 25 years. This compares to life spans of 40 years or more for coal, gas, and nuclear. One recent study suggests that because of degraded performance, it may not be economic to operate wind turbines for more than 12 to 15 years.



The Altimont wind far in California was built in the early 80's. Most of the original wind turbines are still there 30 years later. And there are other wind farms in California and Denmark that are just as old. There original estimated life time was 25 years.

Studies involving thousands of wind turbines should at least be considered as helpful as single examples.


Ralfy, The wind turrbines installed in california in the 80s were small typically 75 KW units that didn't use any rare earth magnets. In Addition to being installed at the Altimont pass, they were also installed inSan Gorgonio Passs, and Tehachapi pass.

4930 were installed at the Altimont pass, 3218 at San Gorgonio pass. the number of installed units at Tehachapi passs is not listed but the same 75kw turbines were using and the total generating capacity is listed at 705 MW. That works out to about 9000 units for Tehachapi.

that works out to about 17148 wind turbines in the first 3 wind farms in California. These are old with a lot operational hours on them. I have driven through all 3 of California's wind farms. Although I haven't stopped and tried to count them, the number doesn't surprise me.

In contrast the study Gail uses to support her claim used:
The onshore wind data sets for the UK
and Denmark used for the analysis are large with monthly observations on 282 installations in the UK and 823 installations in Denmark with an age range from 0 to 19 years. The offshore wind data set for Denmark is rather smaller, covering only 30 installations, but it can be used to obtain reasonable estimates of performance up to age 10.


Additionally the wind farms used in that study are newer and use much larger 1 to 2 MW turbines. Meaning fewer individual wind turbines were involved and power output levels were higher. At the time of the study the UK had just gotten to 8000 MW with only 12 year of wind experience while Denmark was at just under 4000 MW and had experience dating back to the 80's. If you assume all were 1 MW units, then the study looked at fewer wind turbines then those that exist in California.

They only looked at the power plant output data for farms in the UK and Denmark. The study also noted that the Denmark's turbines did better than the UK turbines. The study also didn't check for any changes in the wind resource and didn't check for any changes in operational availability. Denmark's longer experience maintaining wind turbines may be the biggest reason the poor performance of UK wind turbines.

Gail's one study has several shortcomings, and doesn't actually look at wind turbine reliability. It only looks at power output of wind farms over time. The fact that the old wind turbines in California are still operational after 30 years is a good indication that they are sufficiently reliable to make it cost effective to keep them running.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Pass_Wind_Farm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gorgonio_Pass_Wind_Farm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehachapi_Pass_Wind_Farm

Gail's source for your reference.
http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/280/ref.hughes.19.12.12.pdf


What you shared are wiki entries. What was used in the article is a study.

In addition, one has to consider the lack of infrastructure to install RE systems and distribute electricity in many countries, the need for cement and many other materials for the systems and infrastructure, the energy and materials needed (including FFs) for the various consumer goods that will use energy generated, and more.

These are discussed in other threads about the same topic.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Thu 05 Feb 2015, 15:54:45

Ralfy, the study you linked to used a statistical model to get their numbers. A new study using real data found the actual power produced by old wind turbines was twice as much as the model predicted.

There has been some debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation.

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 05 Feb 2015, 21:03:32

kublikhan wrote:Ralfy, the study you linked to used a statistical model to get their numbers. A new study using real data found the actual power produced by old wind turbines was twice as much as the model predicted.

There has been some debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation.

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry.
New research blows away claims that ageing wind farms are a bad investment


This new study does not prove that wind turbines can be used indefinitely.

In addition, if wind power is seen as an investment, then it is expected to generate returns. In capitalist systems, that means increasing energy returns needed to meet increasing demand, both of which require increasing material resources (from copper to cement to fossil fuels) to support manufacture of components for RE systems, infrastructure, and consumer goods.

Part of these concerns are raised in the second paragraph of point No. 4 of the article shared by the OP.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Thu 05 Feb 2015, 21:45:17

Nothing lasts forever Ralfy.

As for the material needs, studies that examined high growth scenarios for renewables have found no problem meeting the material needs.

Steel: The steel needed for additional wind turbines is not expected to have a significant impact on total steel production. (In 2005, the United States produced 93.9 million metric tons of steel, or 8% of the worldwide total.) Although steel will be required for any electricity generation technology installed over the next several decades, it can be recycled. As a result, replacing a turbine after 20+ years of service would not significantly affect the national steel demand because recycled steel can be used in other applications.

Copper: Although wind turbines use significant amounts of copper, the associated level of demand still equates to less than 4% of the available copper. This demand level, would not have a significant impact on national demand (U.S. refined copper consumption was 2.27 million metric tons in 2005). Although copper ranks third after steel and aluminum in world metals consumption, global copper production is adequate to satisfy growing demands from the wind industry.

Experiences with natural-gas-fired power plants over the past decade also provide important perspectives on the ability to rapidly expand manufacturing capability for wind power. From the early 1990s through the first half of the current decade, the U.S. electric sector experienced a rush toward new gas combined-cycle and combustion-turbine generation. From 1999 through 2005, tens of gigawatts of natural gas power plants were manufactured and installed in the United States each year, with installations peaking in 2002 at more than 60 GW (Black & Veatch 2007). The experience with natural gas demonstrates that huge amounts of power generation equipment can be manufactured in the United States if sufficient market demand exists.
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby ralfy » Fri 06 Feb 2015, 20:54:39

kublikhan wrote:Nothing lasts forever Ralfy.

As for the material needs, studies that examined high growth scenarios for renewables have found no problem meeting the material needs.

Steel: The steel needed for additional wind turbines is not expected to have a significant impact on total steel production. (In 2005, the United States produced 93.9 million metric tons of steel, or 8% of the worldwide total.) Although steel will be required for any electricity generation technology installed over the next several decades, it can be recycled. As a result, replacing a turbine after 20+ years of service would not significantly affect the national steel demand because recycled steel can be used in other applications.

Copper: Although wind turbines use significant amounts of copper, the associated level of demand still equates to less than 4% of the available copper. This demand level, would not have a significant impact on national demand (U.S. refined copper consumption was 2.27 million metric tons in 2005). Although copper ranks third after steel and aluminum in world metals consumption, global copper production is adequate to satisfy growing demands from the wind industry.

Experiences with natural-gas-fired power plants over the past decade also provide important perspectives on the ability to rapidly expand manufacturing capability for wind power. From the early 1990s through the first half of the current decade, the U.S. electric sector experienced a rush toward new gas combined-cycle and combustion-turbine generation. From 1999 through 2005, tens of gigawatts of natural gas power plants were manufactured and installed in the United States each year, with installations peaking in 2002 at more than 60 GW (Black & Veatch 2007). The experience with natural gas demonstrates that huge amounts of power generation equipment can be manufactured in the United States if sufficient market demand exists.
Manufacturing, Materials, and Resources


I think this refers to the U.S. What you want is a study that looks at the world economy. Also, factor in the points I raised in various messages posted here and in other threads about RE.
http://sites.google.com/site/peakoilreports/
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Re: Problem with solar and wind energy.

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 06 Feb 2015, 23:50:14

Here you go Ralfy. This 2 part study is 37 pages long and delves into many of the issues with providing the world with 100% renewable energy. I will highlight a few portions, but I recommend the whole thing if you are really that interested:

In Jacobson and Delucchi (2009), we outlined a large-scale plan to power the world for all purposes with WWS (no biofuels, nuclear power, or coal with carbon capture). The study found that it was technically feasible to power the world with WWS by 2030 but such a conversion would almost certainly take longer due to the difficulty in implementing all necessary policies by then. However, we suggested, and this study reinforces, the concept that all new energy could be supplied by WWS by 2030 and all existing energy could be converted to WWS by 2050. The analysis presented here is an extension of that work.

Here, we analyze the feasibility of providing worldwide energy for all purposes (electric power, transportation, heating/cooling, etc.) from wind, water, and sunlight (WWS). In Part I, we discuss WWS energy system characteristics, current and future energy demand, availability of WWS resources, numbers of WWS devices, and area and material requirements.

5. Material resources
The manufacture of four million 5 MW or larger wind turbines will require large amounts of bulk materials such as steel and concrete (USDOE, 2008a). However, there do not appear to be significant environmental or economic constraints on expanded production of these bulk materials. The major components of concrete – gravel, sand, and limestone – are widely abundant, and concrete can be recycled and re-used. The Earth does have a somewhat limited reserves of economically recoverable iron ore (on the order of 100–200 years at current production rates (USGS, 2009, p. 81)), but the steel used to make towers, nacelles, and rotors for wind turbines should be virtually 100% recyclable (for example, in the U.S. in 2007, 98% of steel construction beams and plates were recycled (USGS, 2009, p. 84)).

The power production of silicon PV technologies is limited not by crystalline silicon (because silicon is widely abundant) but by reserves of silver, which is used as an electrode. If the use of silver as top electrode can be reduced in the future, there are no other significant limitations for c-Si solar cells with respect to reaching multi-terawatt production levels.
Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials

Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies

About the silver issue mentioned in the study, there is already work being done to replace silver in solar cells with metals like copper, nickel, tin, etc:

Typically, silicon PV cell manufacturers add a grid of thin silver lines to the cell via a screen-printing process to form the front contacts.

The TetraSun cell instead loads 50-micron-wide copper electrodes on its front contacts in a way that prevents diffusion of the metal—which can degrade performance. The new process exceeds the performance of traditional heterojunction cells without the need of any special equipment, complicated module assembly, or costly transparent conductive oxides. That adds up to a significant cost advantage when it comes to high-volume manufacturing.

"It's a potentially disruptive technology. This shows we still have innovation in the United States. People thought there was nothing left to be done in silicon, but there is something left to be done. By 2020, this technology could potentially reach the Energy Department's SunShot target of one dollar per watt for PV systems and about 6 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generation."

TetraSun technology also saves costs with its large-format wafers and by eliminating the need for expensive silver and transparent conductive oxides. "There has been tremendous focus in the solar industry on improving cell efficiency and cost," Ullal said, noting that often technical advancements that offer efficiency improvements are more complex and costly. "This technology is special because it offers improvements in both performance and production cost at the same time."
New Solar Cell Is More Efficient, Less Costly

Of late possible substitutes like copper, nickel and tin, among others, have been seeing success. Toor brings attention to Meyer Burger Technology’s group member Roth & Rau AG developing a new tool which uses nickel in busbar metallization for electrical contacting of solar cells. innovative new technologies, Including copper metallization, nickel phosphide and non-contact printing techniques, which can replace silver, could reduce costs by up to 50%.

Another material, tin, really came on to the crystalline PV scene with Schmid and Schott Solar winning the Intersolar Award 2012 for the TinPad. The TinPad system was recognized by the jury in Munich for its ability to apply tin contacts to six inch solar cells. The Schott-patented technology allows the production of completely silver-free backside contacts. What the TinPad does is deposit tin busbars instead of silver on the backside of the solar cell.
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