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(Slate)   National Coal Museum turns to solar power to save on energy bills   (slate.com) divider line 39
    More: Ironic, solar energy, coal, museums  
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3481 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Dec 2012 at 11:46 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-19 10:21:44 AM
1.bp.blogspot.com 
 
2012-12-19 11:47:30 AM
COMMIES
 
2012-12-19 11:48:49 AM
This is why we can't have nice things. They do something positive and people want to use it against them.

Its why people are afraid to be flexible.
 
2012-12-19 11:50:59 AM
I came for the Clean Coal.
 
Well,,,
 
2012-12-19 11:54:22 AM

snocone: I came for the Clean Coal.
 
Well,,,


Wow, clean coal doesn't even give me a boner.
 
2012-12-19 11:56:25 AM
Philip Bump of the environmental blog Grist suggests that the United States could stand to turn some of its own coal mines into museums: "See how life used to be, kids, in the terrible times of yesteryear."

How dare those dirty libs suggest that the Republican Golden Age was 'Terrible'! Unions were weak, those job-stifling 'minimum wage' or 'workplace safety' regulations were rare, everybody (including children) pulled their weight. It was truly the American Dream.
 
2012-12-19 11:56:51 AM
images1.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2012-12-19 11:58:45 AM
Sure.
 
2012-12-19 12:03:09 PM

max_pooper: snocone: I came for the Clean Coal.
 
Well,,,

Wow, clean coal doesn't even give me a boner.


you're not a Republican.
 
2012-12-19 12:05:33 PM
Yeah, but how much coal was used to power the plant that made those solar panels huh? That's right, See, we need coal. There just not enough solar energy available to meet the needs of the solar power plant industry.
 
2012-12-19 12:05:45 PM
I'm sure most solar panel plants run on electricity produced by coal, so I guess this only seems fair.
 
2012-12-19 12:06:49 PM
Brilliant minds simulpost
 
2012-12-19 12:07:00 PM
You wouldn't think a Spanish Inquisition Museum would have live witch burnings.
 
2012-12-19 12:07:25 PM
Can someone tell me why enviro groups like Tides and Tides Canada focus only on Alberta "dirty oil" when the coal fired power plants in the states are unapologetically pumping hundreds of times more green house gases into the atmosphere?

Is it the same reason Canadian indian bands are secretly being paid lots of money to protest the northern gateway pipelines, to stop us from selling oil to China for a fair price which the Americans are not currently paying?
 
2012-12-19 12:16:22 PM

Ohlookabutterfly: Can someone tell me why enviro groups like Tides and Tides Canada focus only on Alberta "dirty oil" when the coal fired power plants in the states are unapologetically pumping hundreds of times more green house gases into the atmosphere?

 
Is it the same reason Canadian indian bands are secretly being paid lots of money to protest the northern gateway pipelines, to stop us from selling oil to China for a fair price which the Americans are not currently paying?

Hey, we are just trying to be "Energy Independant", don't ya know?
How about a nice search for WMD up there?
 
2012-12-19 12:35:00 PM

ShoeKing: Yeah, but how much coal was used to power the plant that made those solar panels huh? That's right, See, we need coal. There just not enough solar energy available to meet the needs of the solar power plant industry.


Stupid sun is slacking!
 
2012-12-19 12:37:25 PM
Of course, they sort of gloss over the fairly substantial subsidy - higher than the cost of actually buying electricity - that comes with that installation.

"Gee, if we get paid more than the electricity is worth, we can save a lot of money!"

Ya think?
 
2012-12-19 12:42:15 PM
Can't they just park in downtown Cardiff and use energy from the Rift?
 
2012-12-19 01:04:22 PM
Well, to be fair, coal IS just really, really, really old solar energy...
 
2012-12-19 01:28:05 PM

Ohlookabutterfly: Can someone tell me why enviro groups like Tides and Tides Canada focus only on Alberta "dirty oil" when the coal fired power plants in the states are unapologetically pumping hundreds of times more green house gases into the atmosphere?

Is it the same reason Canadian indian bands are secretly being paid lots of money to protest the northern gateway pipelines, to stop us from selling oil to China for a fair price which the Americans are not currently paying?


You ought to do a little research into how the oil market works.
 
2012-12-19 01:33:32 PM
At least the www.whalingmuseum.org still uses whale oil
 
2012-12-19 01:40:25 PM

snocone: Hey, we are just trying to be "Energy Independant", don't ya know?
How about a nice search for WMD up there?


No need to search, they are in Quebec. Go forth and liberate them.
 
2012-12-19 01:43:46 PM
I find it more shocking that there's enough sunlight in Wales for this to work.
 
2012-12-19 01:56:53 PM

Mr.Tangent: snocone: Hey, we are just trying to be "Energy Independant", don't ya know?
How about a nice search for WMD up there?

No need to search, they are in Quebec. Go forth and liberate them.


Errrrrrr, yeaaaaaaah, thats where they are! Those darn anti-anglophones who can't tie their own shoe laces without a map, a translator, and a seeing eye dog have alllll sorts of wmd's. Sic 'em, America!
 
2012-12-19 02:06:41 PM
It's all fine and dandy, until the clouds roll in..........
 
2012-12-19 02:19:58 PM
dennysgod:
I find it more shocking that there's enough sunlight in Wales for this to work.

That's the clever part: due to the subsidies for solar panels, they don't actually have to generate much power to be cost effective for the museum. All they have to do is exist, and the government gives them money

For a similar example, remember the solar installation in Spain that was making all sorts of money... by hooking up portable diesel generators to the system and running them at night. Yes, it was actually profitable to run smaller, inefficient conventional power plants to generate power at the rate the government was paying for "solar energy." And yes, the only reason they got caught was that someone noticed they were still delivering power all night long...
 
2012-12-19 02:23:25 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-12-19 03:28:15 PM

LordJiro: Philip Bump of the environmental blog Grist suggests that the United States could stand to turn some of its own coal mines into museums: "See how life used to be, kids, in the terrible times of yesteryear."

How dare those dirty libs suggest that the Republican Golden Age was 'Terrible'! Unions were weak, those job-stifling 'minimum wage' or 'workplace safety' regulations were rare, everybody (including children) pulled their weight. It was truly the American Dream.


Boy, the way Glenn Miller played!
Songs that made the Hit Parade.
Guys like us, we had it made.
Those were the days!
And you knew where you were then.
Goils were goils and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
Didn't need know welfare state.
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days!
 
2012-12-19 03:57:42 PM

cirby: Of course, they sort of gloss over the fairly substantial subsidy - higher than the cost of actually buying electricity - that comes with that installation.

"Gee, if we get paid more than the electricity is worth, we can save a lot of money!"

Ya think?


Without the subsidy it is never financially worth it to install solar panels. You will not save more per year off your initial cost than you could make in earnings on a conservative stock/mutual fund/etc investment. All you are doing is investing into the electricity commodity market, and with the huge downside of: i) never being able to exit it; ii) government may cut subsidies whenever they wish; iii) earnings ("savings" in this case) at the whim of the electricity commodity market; and iv) you can only spend your earnings on one thing: electricity bill.

The article alleges they'll be saving 650k over 25 years (or earning 26k/year that they MUST spend on electricity). With an initial investment of 115k, that's about 23% ROI. Not bad.
 
2012-12-19 04:28:03 PM
It's black fly ash in your chardonnay...
 
2012-12-19 05:00:22 PM
nickerj1:
The article alleges they'll be saving 650k over 25 years (or earning 26k/year that they MUST spend on electricity). With an initial investment of 115k, that's about 23% ROI. Not bad.

...except that "savings" isn't. It's a government-funded subsidy. It's not an actual return on investment - it's a loss, when the entire process is considered. It's just that the loss is spread across the whole population instead of just the locals who fund the museum. They're getting a 23% "ROI" that's based on the government giving them over 100% of the price of energy during that time.
 
2012-12-19 05:50:59 PM

cirby: ...except that "savings" isn't.


That's depends on where you draw the line for what's included in the cost of power. If you look at the market cost of coal power vs. photovoltaics power you're absolutely right. If you want to build the 3 million years of production time for the coal into the cost of coal, solar is a lot cheaper. If you want to price the cost of constructing a new star system into solar, coal is cheaper again.

The economic argument is meaningless; the real argument is what you decide to include in your calculation. You're including subsidies but not other externalities -- that choice is just as arbitrary as not including subsidies in the first place.
 
2012-12-19 05:52:38 PM

ShoeKing: not enough solar energy


All power is solar power, for all things are stardust
 
2012-12-19 06:15:39 PM
profplump:
If you want to build the 3 million years of production time for the coal into the cost of coal, solar is a lot cheaper.

...except that there's no "cost" to that "production." Or, if you assume it has a cost to produce, then there's a really good reason to dig the stuff up and use it (it's sunk costs - literally).

When you start including externalities that don't have a measurable "cost," but exclude others with similar costs (like only worrying about the environmental costs of coal power while ignoring the pollution costs of solar cells), you're just fudging the numbers to try and make one side look better than it really is.

The tax money that pays for this sort of thing incurs an "energy cost" all its own. Since they demonstrably have to pay more for the actual "solar electricity" than it would cost from a gas-fired power plant (or even a nuclear plant), the opportunity cost of solar is horrible.
 
2012-12-19 06:18:51 PM
No surprise the coal is in a museum.
 
2012-12-19 07:02:42 PM

ShoeKing: Yeah, but how much coal was used to power the plant that made those solar panels huh? That's right, See, we need coal. There just not enough solar energy available to meet the needs of the solar power plant industry.


You might want to check with Germany...

...but nobody EVER said we should JUST move to solar. Solar, wind, thermal, kinetic, tidal, hydro. And the most important concept, not having centralized power plants. With solar, wind...you can have tens of thousands of generators feeding an enhanced grid.
 
2012-12-20 02:01:39 AM

cirby: ...except that there's no "cost" to that "production."


It's true that the current market pricing does not consider that cost, but it exists nonetheless, unless you've got a time machine (that doesn't run on coal). If you seriously want to argue that production time has no value there are a lot of service/knowledge industry employees that would like to have a word with you.

If we burn through most of the available coal eventually the price will shoot waaaaay up. At which point the costs the market is ignoring now will be realized in the spot pricing. But taking even a moderately long view on cost of burning coal it's still to ignore that eventual change; by the time it happens anyone still using coal will be screwed 6 ways from Sunday.

And that's not even getting into the costs of using coal that are not represented in the market price. The free market is a great tool for equalizing supply and demand in many instances, but it's really terrible at pricing long-term externalities, and always has been. You can ignore them if you want, but it's just as valid to ignore government subsidies -- neither model represents the actual long-term, wide-scale cost.
 
2012-12-20 02:05:21 AM

cirby: When you start including externalities that don't have a measurable "cost," but exclude others with similar costs (like only worrying about the environmental costs of coal power while ignoring the pollution costs of solar cells), you're just fudging the numbers to try and make one side look better than it really is.


My point was both sides are fudging the numbers. Coal is doing it by ignoring all the energy and time that went into producing coal, the detriments of using it (and the sunk cost of developing the infrastructure). Solar is doing it by ignoring the government subsidies and the detriments of building/destroying a solar infrastructure.

All I'm saying is you can't argue "solar pricing ignores externalities" while doing the same thing for coal. The analysis for both of them is much more complex the current net price-per-Joule.
 
2012-12-20 02:15:34 PM

profplump: cirby: When you start including externalities that don't have a measurable "cost," but exclude others with similar costs (like only worrying about the environmental costs of coal power while ignoring the pollution costs of solar cells), you're just fudging the numbers to try and make one side look better than it really is.

My point was both sides are fudging the numbers. Coal is doing it by ignoring all the energy and time that went into producing coal, the detriments of using it (and the sunk cost of developing the infrastructure). Solar is doing it by ignoring the government subsidies and the detriments of building/destroying a solar infrastructure.

All I'm saying is you can't argue "solar pricing ignores externalities" while doing the same thing for coal. The analysis for both of them is much more complex the current net price-per-Joule.


I just watched some bullchit rewrite of history on TV about the Sociopathic "Captains of Industry" in early 20th century and a lot of credit for the rail development was laid on kerosene.
Somehow coal never came up.
 
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