What does attacking wind and solar power accomplish?
A few points to consider:
- (1) They are proven effective power generation technologies.
- (2) Like any technology, they have their strengths and weaknesses.
- (3) Due to their mix of strengths and weaknesses, there are certain situations where they are a good choice, and certain situations where they are not.
- (4) One of their strengths is very low pollution.
- (5) One of their strengths, especially for solar, is portability. (Solar calculators anyone?)
- (6) One of their strengths is "automatic" power generation; i.e., you stick a solar panel where it will catch sunlight, or a turbine where it will catch wind, and it will keep on generating electricity until you take it down or it breaks.
- (7) One of their weaknesses is for "power generation on demand". In other words, if you want power "right now, this minute", and rely solely on wind or solar, you may be out of luck as they rely on forces of nature to work, and you cannot control forces of nature, though you can often predict them.
- (8) Power generation capacity vs power demand is a known issue, and the solution for that is to have is combination of 3 things: batteries to store the generation capacity in times of excess and release it in times of need, a certain amount of effective "power generation on demand" technologies, such as coal, oil, or natural gas, and high capacity power transfer wires to transfer electricity from areas with excess production to areas with excess consumption.
- (9) All 3 of the methods listed in point #8 are already in extensive use by the power utilities, so they already have much of the infrastructure needed to add greater amounts of wind and solar power to their networks, if they choose. (And if it is reasonable to do so.)
- (10) However, integration into a large scale power grid is not the only possible use of these technologies; notice that one of their strengths is their portability and another is their relatively automatic operation; which makes them ideal for isolated areas and systems which require power. Some examples: mountain cabins, beach huts, as rechargers for electric tools and gadgets.
- (11) Solar especially, is incredibly portable, and so has many potential uses in portable devices and as portable rechargers for portable devices; the solar calculator is only the beginning.
- (12) What about solar panels on cars, for example? The two technologies seem made for each other; as cars have plenty of square feet of roof and hood space, and in the 21st century cars are intrinsically linked to electricity use.
Right now the main source of electricity in cars is the battery, which is regularly recharged by the alternator as you drive. But that recharge doesn't come for free; a percentage the mechanic energy generated from the burning of gasoline by the engine has to go to run the alternator to generate electricity. Thus, some of your gas is being used to power the radio, cd player, mp3 player, or whatever else you have running off of your car battery. Thus, running electrical devices in your car lowers your gas mileage. Thus, adding solar panels to your car will increase your gas mileage.
...And if you do that, you will be using oil and solar power at the same time, which would be cool.
- (13) Wind and solar power also have certain advantages for the United States as a country. They both rely on natural resources which we have alot of. We have a hell of alot of land area in this country--we're 3rd in the world in land area--which we can use to capture solar or wind power if we need to. Compare this to another power source, oil, of which we do have supply of, but our demand far exceeds our supply, which makes us vulnerable to international pressures, and in particular, international pressures from some countries which we do not like and which do not like us, like Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. (Which are 3 of the top 5 producers of oil in the world, and also 3 of our top 5 potential enemies.) So increasing wind and solar power can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is a good thing.
- (14) And listing and harping on wind on solar's weaknesses and disadvantages, such as the relative cost per watt of power from a solar or wind power plant versus an oil or coal power plant, does not take away their strengths or their advantages over fossil fuels in certain areas. Nor does harping on fossil fuel's weaknesses and disadvantages (as many in the environmental movement like to do), take away their strengths or their relative advantages over renewable sources of power in certain areas.
- (15) If people would act less emotionally and more rationally, we would use fossil fuel sources in some instances, and renewable energy sources in other instances, and choose wisely the best energy source for the job on a task by task basis, and be happy with our choices.
So... why can't "wind and solar" and "oil and coal" just "get along"?
The log is only for updates so I started a new topic for this discussion.
Wind and Solar are not used because they are not remotely cost effective or practical. The only reason they are being consider is for emotional "global warming" reasons and are highly subsidized. The levelized cost of a kilowatt hour was 3.53 cents for coal, 5.47 cents for gas, 5.94 cents for nuclear and 6.64 cents for wind unsubsidized, solar is much, much worse. We get only 0.28% of our energy needs from Wind and something like 0.07% from Solar for these reasons. The only thing they are proven is to not be practical. Solar is even less practical than Wind. There is no existing backup battery infrastructure BTW.
There is not enough square miles of space on a car to make solar panels remotely possible to power a regular car. Solar calculators does not equal powering a car. The alternator in your car is running to provide power to the ignition regardless of your radio. The only thing that remotely effects gas mileage is your AC.
The biggest energy resources we have are coal and natural gas. None of which replaces oil. Reducing foreign dependency on oil is an emotional position because if we don't buy the oil somebody else will such as China and they will be getting it a lot cheaper then they are now. We cannot replace our foreign dependency on oil anytime soon no matter how bad people want it and trying to force the change through government regulation is going to drive energy costs through the roof.
The one thing we are doing is being rational which is why we don't use costly and inefficient sources of energy like wind and solar. Mandating using them is an emotional position not a rational one.
|Wind and Solar are not used because they are not remotely cost effective or practical. The only reason they are being consider is for emotional "global warming" reasons and are highly subsidized. |
I agree with you on the emotional nonsense regarding global warming, and I think your resource does an excellent job cataloging the fallacies in the global warming alarmist's arguments.
But wind and solar were being considered long before global warming became a fad. Wind and solar got major natural attention as renewable alternative energy sources as far back as the 1970s oil crisis. I also know that historically, on large scale power grid usage, they have not been as cost effective per kilowatt hour as gas, nuclear, or wind. Which is why I agree that energy sources like coal or gas or nuclear make more sense for that. And I am not against using, say, coal, as our primary source of energy in power plants if coal is the most cost effective (as your numbers indicate), as long as we can keep the pollution under control. (And I think we can.)
Incidentally, your numbers say that nuclear power plants are less cost effective then wind or natural gas. I had thought that the newer nuclear technologies were cheaper. So was France being dumb when they decided to go nuclear as their primary electricity generation source?
Even though solar or wing power plants aren't cost effective relative to other options right now, my research indicates that there are many other uses where the natural advantages of solar or wind power make them a logical choice.
I tried to point out some above of those uses above. Another existing (and quite smart) use of solar panels is in emergency phones... which are placed in isolated locations away from the power grid and have a solar panel to maintain power. I think trying to convert them to remove the solar panel and powering with some other method cause because one is against solar power would be an emotional response.
|There is not enough square miles of space on a car to make solar panels remotely possible to power a regular car.|
Not to power it, but to supplement the power, and to help recharge the battery. On gas powered cars, I think a strip of solar panels to keep the battery charged would be an intelligent (and fashionable) addition. And on HYBRIDS... well, they have an electric motor already... so covering the upper body in solar panels could give a significant mileage boost. And on on pure ELECTRICS... covering the body in solar panels means that your car recharges itself! :shades: (Granted very slowly compared to the amount of energy a pure electric needs... but still a logical pairing, and very very cool.)
|The biggest energy resources we have are coal and natural gas. None of which replaces oil. Reducing foreign dependency on oil is an emotional position because if we don't buy the oil somebody else will such as China and they will be getting it a lot cheaper then they are now. We cannot replace our foreign dependency on oil anytime soon no matter how bad people want it and trying to force the change through government regulation is going to drive energy costs through the roof.|
OK, I guess to do it for "global warming" reasons would be stupid. But for national security reasons, and for pure economic reasons, it makes sense to reduce our oil inputs. I saw campaigns for that back before the first Gulf War. And here's an analysis of the issue as of 2007:Why the U.S.' Oil Dependence is Bad for the U.S. Economy
I like the article's conclusion:
|So what do we do about this? The answer is simple. The U.S. must develop alternate energy. |
Not "switch everything we can to alternative energy right now", but develop it... and use it as it makes sense to do so. That seems rather sensible to me.
I think that, if we had stayed focused on researching and developing alternative energy sources like wind and solar after the oil crisis of the 70s.... we would be in a much better energy situation then we are right now.
Many failed energy policies were brought up during the 70s oil crisis it does not mean they are practical today.
Yes Nuclear is not as cost effective as Coal or Natural Gas but it is the most cost effective in terms of CO2. If you don't care about CO2 but regular pollution then Natural Gas is the most cost effective. Otherwise Clean Coal should do too.
France is brough up to make the argument to environmentalists that Nuclear is obviously considered environmentally safe if France would choose to mandate over 80% of it's electrical generation from it. France's government is making that choice not their market. If your goal is no CO2 then Nuclear is the only practical choice. Anyone doing the math and looking at the facts will quickly realize that it is not possible to replace our electrical generation with Wind and Solar.
No one is talking about emergency phones, calculators, buoys, satellites or any of the other practical uses of solar power. Solar Power by far is the most emotional recommendation of alternative energy that is no where near practical or cost effective yet for commercial use on a large scale. Wind via government subsidies has come close but it has many legitimate problems that people are ignoring in the race to be "green".
I don't believe replacing the alternator in a car is going to be practical or do much if anything for fuel economy. I have not seen any remote evidence of solar power being practical with cars or hybrids.
Wind and Solar has nothing to do with replacing our use of oil since we generate next to no electricity with oil. This is why biofuels are being pushed but what people do not understand is that when oil gets expensive enough biofuels will become economical on their own. This is if the government refuses to remove the ridiculous taxes that they have on oil. IMO Government needs to get out of the energy business.For Now, Gasoline Is Our Only Cheap Fuel
)Myths About Breaking Our Foreign Oil Habit
(The Washington Post
The Huffington Post is a far left-wing publication all of which are filled with economic illiterates who do not understand our nation's energy supply, consumption or costs. They just want to wave a magic wand and ignore reality. To them it is all so "simple" yet they refuse to look at the facts.