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Stephan Kohler, Head Of The German Energy Agency, Argues Against Green Energy Subsudies
Posted: 19 November 2012 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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And argues for a more reasoned, pragmatic approach that slowly integrates newer solar and wind plants with the existing models.

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Alright everyone, tear this old kraut a new one.  You know you want to.

EDIT
Fixed the title.

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 09:22 AM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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We have just passed 390 ppm for CO2 in the atmosphere.

That is almost 100 ppm higher than it has been for the last 800,000 years.

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html

The graph shows only 1 point above 290 ppm and that was 330,000 years ago.

So in terms of resulting weather alteration due to changed climate we are already in unknown territory.  Historically CO2 levels have never changed this fast before.  We have done in 5 decades what normally takes 1000 years.  So stored temperatures in ice versus immediate heating has never been this dynamic.

psik

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 11:03 AM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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1) Grid development should be aggressively pursued as a priority.
2) The problems of wind and solar power not poviding 24 hour a day/every day power, for purposes such as industry, can be overcome, through innovation, if not by invention of inexpensive storage capacity.

Address these issues rather than advocate slowing down the production of alternative energies.

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 03:46 PM by TimB ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The “let’s go slow” approach is one of the typical arguments conservatives have used for just about every social problem.  Next, is “let’s have a committee examine it”, even though the problem has been researched and examined for many years.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Solar power, especially PV systems, are going to wipe the board against other power sources. The rate of cost decline, efficiency increases, fast installation times, public and government support and rapid innovations for both harvesting and storing renewable energy paint a very clear picture.

Within five years we can fully expect any other proposed power source to be not competitive against solar systems. Including things like coal.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Robert Walper - 19 November 2012 12:55 PM

Solar power, especially PV systems, are going to wipe the board against other power sources. The rate of cost decline, efficiency increases, fast installation times, public and government support and rapid innovations for both harvesting and storing renewable energy paint a very clear picture.

Within five years we can fully expect any other proposed power source to be not competitive against solar systems. Including things like coal.

I hope you are right.  Do you have any sites you could cite, to back up your assertion?

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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An article in the Los Angeles Times this Sunday said the Hawaiian power company is concerned because so many people have installed solar panels (total of close to 140 megawatts) that they could de-stabilize their grid because of “non-uniform” power (e.g. clouds blocking the sun).  Another problem might be large input during the day, but shut down at night.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The Hawaiian power company is probably more concerned about profits.  I imagine that there could be technological and/or innovative work-arounds to address uniform power, if the incentive were there to do so.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TimB - 19 November 2012 03:49 PM

I hope you are right.  Do you have any sites you could cite, to back up your assertion?

Yes, countless sources of articles and news on the issue ranging from energy storage concepts, panel efficiencies and solar technologies, cost declines, subsidy reports, global solar parity with conventional power generation, growth rates of the solar industry, paradigm shift from centralized to decentralized energy infrastructure, etc, etc. However it’s a vast topic and has many things that have to be taken into account.

For starters, here’s an excellent source of what we can expect from future grid level battery storage technologies:

Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy

Summary: A easily built, scalable, cheap, earth abundant material based battery system that can storage any source of renewable energy. A shipping crate sized battery would be able to provide enough power for two hundred average American homes for a day.

Solar technologies (especially PV) are rapidly dropping in costs, going up in efficiencies, extremely fast to implement and can be integrated into just about any surface area. Photovoltaic glass, metals, fabrics, plastics, roads, sidewalks, roof shingles, even paints and sprays are all being developed and/or already being put into commercial production (all previous materials also have battery equivalents underway as well).

In ten to twenty years, people will look back on our current concerns about an energy shortage and simply laugh. Solar energy reaching the surface of our planet is over ten thousand times more than we need to meet all of our energy needs for the entire planet and it’s renewable for the next few billion years. All other forms of power generation are either too expensive, intrusive, polluting, dangerous, etc. Take your standard house and try imagining any place you could put a nuclear reactor, wind mill, coal plant, gas plant, etc. But any surface area of your house could be converted into a photovoltaic power generator, and will soon or already is cheaper to switch to as a source of energy. Building integrated photovoltaic technology is rapidly starting to take off.

Good times ahead for the energy sector, although not so much for the conventional models and businesses.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 07:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Robert Walper - 19 November 2012 06:27 PM
TimB - 19 November 2012 03:49 PM

I hope you are right.  Do you have any sites you could cite, to back up your assertion?

Yes, countless sources of articles and news on the issue ranging from energy storage concepts, panel efficiencies and solar technologies, cost declines, subsidy reports, global solar parity with conventional power generation, growth rates of the solar industry, paradigm shift from centralized to decentralized energy infrastructure, etc, etc. However it’s a vast topic and has many things that have to be taken into account.

For starters, here’s an excellent source of what we can expect from future grid level battery storage technologies:

Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy

Summary: A easily built, scalable, cheap, earth abundant material based battery system that can storage any source of renewable energy. A shipping crate sized battery would be able to provide enough power for two hundred average American homes for a day.

Solar technologies (especially PV) are rapidly dropping in costs, going up in efficiencies, extremely fast to implement and can be integrated into just about any surface area. Photovoltaic glass, metals, fabrics, plastics, roads, sidewalks, roof shingles, even paints and sprays are all being developed and/or already being put into commercial production (all previous materials also have battery equivalents underway as well).

In ten to twenty years, people will look back on our current concerns about an energy shortage and simply laugh. Solar energy reaching the surface of our planet is over ten thousand times more than we need to meet all of our energy needs for the entire planet and it’s renewable for the next few billion years. All other forms of power generation are either too expensive, intrusive, polluting, dangerous, etc. Take your standard house and try imagining any place you could put a nuclear reactor, wind mill, coal plant, gas plant, etc. But any surface area of your house could be converted into a photovoltaic power generator, and will soon or already is cheaper to switch to as a source of energy. Building integrated photovoltaic technology is rapidly starting to take off.

Good times ahead for the energy sector, although not so much for the conventional models and businesses.

Nice.  But I would not underestimate the forces that advocate and promote the status quo.  Perahps in 10 to 20 years we could be in a new age of energy production and usage, but it remains to be seen if we will be.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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TimB - 19 November 2012 07:07 PM

Nice.  But I would not underestimate the forces that advocate and promote the status quo.  Perahps in 10 to 20 years we could be in a new age of energy production and usage, but it remains to be seen if we will be.

It goes without saying that the current business models and energy players would have a vested (and let’s face it, logical) interest in downplaying upcoming replacement players and would actively do their best to undermine the competition.

The good news is they are losing, and badly, even if most people can’t really tell at this point. The widespread adoption of solar power being the primary energy infrastructure of civilization is going to be very much like smartphones. It will seemingly pop up out of no where and blow people away with how fast it takes hold. Look back no more than less than six years ago. Smartphones weren’t even around, and today hundreds of millions are sold every year and we’re quickly approaching the billions number mark.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The analogy to portable phones has a flaw.  The best that we had for portable communication before satelite phones was CB radios or walkie talkies.  The portable phone was competing with that inferior product capability.  Solar power will be competing as an alternative to an energy production and delivery system that is ubiquitous and which is effective despite its long term problems.

To take hold, it will need to be MUCH more affordable, than what we have now.  And the producers/providers of the current oil market will have a lot of room to lower their prices, in order to keep any affordability gap to a minimum.

Again, I hope you are right.  But I am not as optimistic as you about the time frame.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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TimB - 19 November 2012 08:55 PM

The analogy to portable phones has a flaw.  The best that we had for portable communication before satelite phones was CB radios or walkie talkies.  The portable phone was competing with that inferior product capability.  Solar power will be competing as an alternative to an energy production and delivery system that is ubiquitous and which is effective despite its long term problems.

To take hold, it will need to be MUCH more affordable, than what we have now.  And the producers/providers of the current oil market will have a lot of room to lower their prices, in order to keep any affordability gap to a minimum.

Hence the issue of how rapidly solar prices are dropping, combined with environmental concerns and politically viable goals of cutting subsidies for conventional and increasing penalties for pollution and environmental hazards (like carbon taxes). Economic incentive alone will be the crushing force and this is already happening. The other factors will have an impact, but we know saving money is going to be the big guns on the issue.

Out of curiousity, what do you think the current average price of solar is right now? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you think it is much higher than it actually is.

Again, I hope you are right.  But I am not as optimistic as you about the time frame.

This is do to the counter intuitive nature of exponential curves resulting from growth rates for the model. As an off hand example, most people think they won’t have much money at the end of a thirty day month if they get paid one penny the first day and get their pay doubled every day after for the entirety of the month.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 10:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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As I suggested, I don’t think that you can count on exponential growth as has been the case in the cellular phone industry.  (Though I am not saying we shouldn’t consider ways to promote that happening.)

I don’t know the current cost of solar power.  But I am guess-timating that when solar or some other enviromentally friendly form of energy can, as effectively and consistently, as current options, (without significant maintenence hassles) power a 2000 sq. ft. home for significantly less than $2000 a year for the first 5 years, and significantly less than that for subsequent years, MAYBE that alternative could take off.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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TimB - 19 November 2012 10:11 PM

As I suggested, I don’t think that you can count on exponential growth as has been the case in the cellular phone industry.  (Though I am not saying we shouldn’t consider ways to promote that happening.)

The cellular phone industry is an information technology and part of the electronics industry, which is why in can achieve this kind of growth potential. Solar technology is also an information technology and has been taken over by the electronics industry. There is zero reason to believe solar will be much different given this is the trend that has been established and we have other models to see the results (mobile technology being one of these models).

I don’t know the current cost of solar power.  But I am guess-timating that when solar or some other enviromentally friendly form of energy can, as effectively and consistently, as current options, (without significant maintenence hassles) power a 2000 sq. ft. home for significantly less than $2000 a year for the first 5 years, and significantly less than that for subsequent years, MAYBE that alternative could take off.

Suffice to say solar power is already well below a dollar a watt and is actually closing quickly to 50 cents per watt. Solar is going to be an energy technology that, unlike previous claims of other power sources, will indeed be too cheap to meter. Sunlight is free and the costs of harvesting it only go one way.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Robert, you ignored the point that I made previously:

The portable phone was competing with an inferior product capability (e.g., CB radio and walkie talkies).  Solar power will be competing as an alternative to an energy production and delivery system that is ubiquitous and which is effective despite its long term problems.

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