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(CNN)   Obama to nuke coal power plants   (cnn.com) divider line 295
    More: Interesting, Obama, coal power plant, climate change skeptics, coal-fired power plants, senior administration official  
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2411 clicks; posted to Politics » on 25 Jun 2013 at 1:17 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-25 02:22:22 PM

netizencain: I read an article that intermittent power (solar and wind) do not play well with the national power grid. What you're talking about is a local issue.


It's only existed since 1984 (sorry not the 70s) so I can see why to you it's so cutting edge that you would not know about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Energy_Generating_Systems

Yes and the power goes on the grid and things don't blow up like you seem to think.
 
2013-06-25 02:23:21 PM

AliceBToklasLives: FlashHarry: [i38.tinypic.com image 600x300]

THIS. (Good Cat)

Now can we license a few dozens new nuclear plants?  Pretty please?


I'd like to see most of the Western World all invest heavily into a Manhattan style project to develop fusion reactors
 
2013-06-25 02:24:40 PM

netizencain: I read an article that intermittent power (solar and wind) do not play well with the national power grid. What you're talking about is a local issue.


image.ec21.com

Like I said you really have no idea what you are talking about. You should stop now.
 
2013-06-25 02:24:49 PM

BarkingUnicorn: The entire world's energy needs can be met by a solar farm that would cover only half of New Jersey, still leaving room for Chris Christie.


Leaving the debate about that statement alone, the problem with power systems is not solely in its generation, but in its distribution. Jersey-Sun Inc might be a viable business plan, for twelve hours a day, and for about a thousand line-miles in any direction. Past that, you're going to run into coverage and availability issues.
 
2013-06-25 02:25:35 PM

jehovahs witness protection: Democrats are gonna lose a shiatload of voters in Pa.
Way to go Jobkillbama


We could just build some nuclear plants in PA to balance it out. And everywhere else while we're at it.

/disappointed that headline was not literal
 
2013-06-25 02:26:00 PM

netizencain: I read an article that intermittent power (solar and wind) do not play well with the national power grid. What you're talking about is a local issue.


Was it written on toilet paper by your elaborate wiping system?

Solar and wind are grid-connected all the time.  Denmark got 24% of its generation capacity from wind in 2008, and their plan is to hit 50% by 2020.  Spain gets more capacity from wind (20%) than it does from coal.  Germany's grid is already at 5% from PV, with a plan to go much higher, and they have shiatty weather.

Please expound upon the laws of physics and engineering that apply in Europe but not in the United States.  Is it the metric system?
 
2013-06-25 02:27:13 PM

AliceBToklasLives: FlashHarry: [i38.tinypic.com image 600x300]

THIS. (Good Cat)

Now can we license a few dozens new nuclear plants?  Pretty please?


Cool can you pay the "nuclear decommission tax" I pay for energy I don't use and is not being generated?

It's fun paying for nuclear plants after they close for centuries.
 
2013-06-25 02:28:27 PM

KellyX: AliceBToklasLives: FlashHarry: [i38.tinypic.com image 600x300]

THIS. (Good Cat)

Now can we license a few dozens new nuclear plants?  Pretty please?

I'd like to see most of the Western World all invest heavily into a Manhattan style project to develop fusion reactors


Most scientists these days think that practical fusion power plants are probably impossible.

Look, we have natural gas coming out of our fracking ears.  (Get it?  Fracking...never mind.)  It's almost as clean as nuclear/solar/wind and much cheaper than all of the above.  Substituting coal with natural gas is very doable with current technologies and would save the lives of thousands of people yearly.
 
2013-06-25 02:28:47 PM
But don't expect the regulations to take effect anytime soon. Obama will direct the EPA to come up with a detailed draft proposal by June 2014, and a finalized version one year later.

*yawn*

Commence with the faux outrage, conservatives.
 
2013-06-25 02:31:09 PM
Bad subby.

You had me thinking that Obama might actually follow through on something he said.

7/10, subster
 
2013-06-25 02:31:33 PM
www.eia.gov

Coal has been on it's way out for quite a while now that NG it cheaper.

1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-06-25 02:32:06 PM

chimp_ninja: netizencain: I read an article that intermittent power (solar and wind) do not play well with the national power grid. What you're talking about is a local issue.

Was it written on toilet paper by your elaborate wiping system?

Solar and wind are grid-connected all the time.  Denmark got 24% of its generation capacity from wind in 2008, and their plan is to hit 50% by 2020.  Spain gets more capacity from wind (20%) than it does from coal.  Germany's grid is already at 5% from PV, with a plan to go much higher, and they have shiatty weather.

Please expound upon the laws of physics and engineering that apply in Europe but not in the United States.  Is it the metric system?


I bet it is the Mexicans and urban populations (wink wink)
 
2013-06-25 02:33:00 PM

Corvus: Also even if it can't run everything on solar (which you could) why does that mean we shouldn't do more solar? It's a BS argument. Are you saying that if something isn't the 100% solution we should not help it? That's a stupid argument.


I don't have any problem with solar and never made the argument that we shouldn't do more. I just said that we couldn't power a city off of solar, and went further to say that we couldn't even primarily power a city with solar power. That was not entirely fair because I'm sure there are some places, like Arizona, where you could feasibly power an entire city primarily with solar, but for most of population you wouldn't be able to primarily use solar power as the technology currently stands. They're making some great progress with solar thermal plants with their advances in heat storage for steam generation at night, which I think is very important and should continue to be advanced, but it's still a little ways away from being efficient enough to reliably provide continuous power 24/7. You would still, currently, have to rely on coal, natural gas, nuclear or something to maintain a sufficient and reliable base load. People won't tolerate the inconvenience of periodic outages. It will be there, probably fairly soon, and we should be moving towards that but it isn't fair to say that we're ready to make a switch today.

Corvus: No he did not he said it can't go on a grid, in fact he just said it again.


I never saw him say that it couldn't go onto the grid. As far as him saying that wind/solar don't play well, I have read of problems in Germany with their wind generators producing too much energy for the grid and causing damage. Perhaps that is what he was referring to. Not that I'm saying that is a huge problem, mind you. I have never heard of any such problem with solar, however.
 
2013-06-25 02:33:27 PM

Hollie Maea: I would gladly give up PA's electoral votes in exchange for an actual legitimate War on Coal.


Seconded.

Tommy Moo: We could just build some nuclear plants in PA to balance it out.


Also a good idea.  Handles base load nicely, reduces need for storage, goes in places that are suboptimal for wind.

My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass >  hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.  We're pretty much maxed out on hydro, but the top four are ramping up exponentially, especially in countries where the House of Representatives is not staffed by inbred mouth-breathers who think their electricity is breathed into their homes by Jesus.
 
2013-06-25 02:33:32 PM

Geotpf: Look, we have natural gas coming out of our fracking ears. (Get it? Fracking...never mind.) It's almost as clean as nuclear/solar/wind and much cheaper than all of the above.


If you have a way to produce power on a commercial scale from natural gas that doesn't result in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide (the subject of TFA), I'll be more than happy to kiss your Nobel Prize.
 
2013-06-25 02:36:25 PM

AndreMA: Geotpf: Look, we have natural gas coming out of our fracking ears. (Get it? Fracking...never mind.) It's almost as clean as nuclear/solar/wind and much cheaper than all of the above.

If you have a way to produce power on a commercial scale from natural gas that doesn't result in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide (the subject of TFA), I'll be more than happy to kiss your Nobel Prize.


The amount of such produced by natural gas is much less than coal for the same amount of electricity generated.  It's greater than zero, of course.
 
2013-06-25 02:39:29 PM

Geotpf: AndreMA: Geotpf: Look, we have natural gas coming out of our fracking ears. (Get it? Fracking...never mind.) It's almost as clean as nuclear/solar/wind and much cheaper than all of the above.

If you have a way to produce power on a commercial scale from natural gas that doesn't result in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide (the subject of TFA), I'll be more than happy to kiss your Nobel Prize.

The amount of such produced by natural gas is much less than coal for the same amount of electricity generated.  It's greater than zero, of course.


No argument on that, but not "nearly as clean" as the other sources you cited.

Of course the lack of Mercury and radioisotopes (as well as the lack of fly ash to dispose of) makes NG superior to coal. Sorry for my snark.
 
2013-06-25 02:41:25 PM

chimp_ninja: Hollie Maea: I would gladly give up PA's electoral votes in exchange for an actual legitimate War on Coal.

Seconded.

Tommy Moo: We could just build some nuclear plants in PA to balance it out.

Also a good idea.  Handles base load nicely, reduces need for storage, goes in places that are suboptimal for wind.

My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass >  hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.  We're pretty much maxed out on hydro, but the top four are ramping up exponentially, especially in countries where the House of Representatives is not staffed by inbred mouth-breathers who think their electricity is breathed into their homes by Jesus.


The thing is, costs are something like this:

Gas < coal < nuclear (expanding additonal plants, with very limited availablity) < renewables < oil < nuclear (building new plants)

The last two don't happen in the continential United States due to the high costs.  AFAIK, there are zero commercial oil power plants in the continential United States, and there hasn't been a new nuclear power plant built in many decades.
 
2013-06-25 02:42:10 PM

netizencain: Corvus: netizencain: there is still a need for a reliable energy source that can be transmitted over existing energy grid. Solar and Wind just aren't there yet.

Why do I know you have NO farkING idea what you are talking about.

Home solar DOES go on the grid you idiot. You have no idea what you are talking about.

I read an article that intermittent power (solar and wind) do not play well with the national power grid.  What you're talking about is a local issue.


The issue is load balancing, which comes in handy if you don't want infrastructure components damaged. Supply must equal demand, and variable sources of power require a very quick increase or decrease in base load generation, which is a real pain if you're not quick enough.
 
2013-06-25 02:42:16 PM

jehovahs witness protection: Democrats are gonna lose a shiatload of voters in Pa.
Way to go Jobkillbama


You think Democrats were getting a big chunk of votes from people even remotely related to the coal industry up to this point?
 
2013-06-25 02:43:27 PM

runin800m: I just said that we couldn't power a city off of solar, and went further to say that we couldn't even primarily power a city with solar power. That was not entirely fair because I'm sure there are some places, like Arizona, where you could feasibly power an entire city primarily with solar, but for most of population you wouldn't be able to primarily use solar power as the technology currently stands.


Based on what?  Your gut feeling?

Let's take somewhere that's really awesome for solar, like southern Arizona.  Pretend I put in a properly tilted standard 1 m2 (~200W) panel there, and I measure how much electricity it makes over the course of a year.  This includes night, weather, seasons, you name it.  I'll get ~475 kW-hr.

I also put one somewhere really awful for solar, like Buffalo, NY.  I do the same measurement.  That same panel will give me ~307 kW-hr.

So there's a drop off, but it's about 1/3.  Take a gander at the NREL maps of how much sunlight hits the ground each year.  It's not such a radical difference.
 
2013-06-25 02:44:18 PM

AndreMA: Geotpf: AndreMA: Geotpf: Look, we have natural gas coming out of our fracking ears. (Get it? Fracking...never mind.) It's almost as clean as nuclear/solar/wind and much cheaper than all of the above.

If you have a way to produce power on a commercial scale from natural gas that doesn't result in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide (the subject of TFA), I'll be more than happy to kiss your Nobel Prize.

The amount of such produced by natural gas is much less than coal for the same amount of electricity generated.  It's greater than zero, of course.

No argument on that, but not "nearly as clean" as the other sources you cited.

Of course the lack of Mercury and radioisotopes (as well as the lack of fly ash to dispose of) makes NG superior to coal. Sorry for my snark.


Natural gas is a compromise solution.  I have nothing against expanding renewables; it's just that if you were to shut down all coal power plants within five years (my preferred solution), you'd need natural gas to replace them; renewables would cost way too much.
 
2013-06-25 02:45:35 PM

runin800m: I just said that we couldn't power a city off of solar, and went further to say that we couldn't even primarily power a city with solar power.


That's not true. You can why do you think you couldn't don't you understand electricity once it hits the grid (inverted) it it the same electric as electricity made by coal or nuclear.

You saying something is true doesn't make it true. Why could a city not be 100% solar power for their grid?
 
2013-06-25 02:47:31 PM

jehovahs witness protection: Democrats are gonna lose a shiatload of voters in Pa.
Way to go Jobkillbama


What makes you think that most of Pa's coal goes to power generation

Dusk-You-n-Me: "Ten years ago, there were less than 2,000 turbines, and today there are over 20,000. These are not your father's turbines. These are efficient and are driving down the cost of electricity," Guyette said.

The wind industry also is good for Texas, good for Houston.

A study released by the Waco-based Perryman Group in May 2010 estimates the wind industry is responsible for nearly 10,000 manufacturing, headquarters, construction, and maintenance and support jobs in Texas annually.

Link

Clearly ruining the economy.


Don't worry, Perry will be sure to shut down those non-real American jobs.  Can't have them hippy communist socialism jobs going on in Texas.
 
2013-06-25 02:49:29 PM

runin800m: They're making some great progress with solar thermal plants with their advances in heat storage for steam generation at night, which I think is very important and should continue to be advanced, but it's still a little ways away from being efficient enough to reliably provide continuous power 24/7.


So them existing NOW is we don't have the technology yet to you?

http://phys.org/news/2011-07-gemasolar-solar-thermal-power-hours.htm l

The argument he is making is solar can't work as a commercial alternative. If that's not your argument then stop defending it.

Don't defend it and then say it's not your argument. If you have a different argument I don't care because that's not the point I am arguing.
 
2013-06-25 02:51:27 PM

Corvus: runin800m: I just said that we couldn't power a city off of solar, and went further to say that we couldn't even primarily power a city with solar power.

That's not true. You can why do you think you couldn't don't you understand electricity once it hits the grid (inverted) it it the same electric as electricity made by coal or nuclear.

You saying something is true doesn't make it true. Why could a city not be 100% solar power for their grid?


The only problem is energy storage for use when the sun isn't shining.
 
2013-06-25 02:52:18 PM

Geotpf: chimp_ninja: Hollie Maea: I would gladly give up PA's electoral votes in exchange for an actual legitimate War on Coal.

Seconded.

Tommy Moo: We could just build some nuclear plants in PA to balance it out.

Also a good idea.  Handles base load nicely, reduces need for storage, goes in places that are suboptimal for wind.

My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass >  hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.  We're pretty much maxed out on hydro, but the top four are ramping up exponentially, especially in countries where the House of Representatives is not staffed by inbred mouth-breathers who think their electricity is breathed into their homes by Jesus.

The thing is, costs are something like this:

Gas < coal < nuclear (expanding additonal plants, with very limited availablity) < renewables < oil < nuclear (building new plants)

The last two don't happen in the continential United States due to the high costs.  AFAIK, there are zero commercial oil power plants in the continential United States, and there hasn't been a new nuclear power plant built in many decades.


Those costs are distorted by economies of scale and market inertia.  Coal is only cheap because we hide $62B/yr in our hospitals.  Fracking is only cheap if we pretend the water isn't impacted, and exempt them from regulations that every other industry has to comply with.  Neither prices in the climate impact.

Also, look at the cost of PV as a function of time:

blogs.scientificamerican.com

Think coal and gas are going to do that as we dig deeper and deeper for that next score?

What side of this curve do you want the United States on?

blogs.scientificamerican.com

All I'm hearing from the far right is to wait for the right half of that chart.  Except if we do that, we'll be importing all of our panels from countries with better foresight, and we'll be building our new grid while they're already profiting from their investment.

Or, you know, we can go the route of creating jobs and start pounding out panels right now.
 
2013-06-25 02:52:43 PM

runin800m: never saw him say that it couldn't go onto the grid.


He did and that's what I am replying to. If you are going to jump in the middle of a conversation and defend someone it's your responsibility to understand what point you are defending.

He said that, you said he wasn't saying that and you were wrong. Now you are trying to make this about something different and to me I have no idea what your trying to make it about for sure.
 
2013-06-25 02:52:54 PM

chimp_ninja: My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass > hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.


Not a bad list, but just recognize that your first two are not baseload and will need to have backup with items 3 though 8.
 
2013-06-25 02:55:01 PM

simplicimus: Corvus: runin800m: I just said that we couldn't power a city off of solar, and went further to say that we couldn't even primarily power a city with solar power.

That's not true. You can why do you think you couldn't don't you understand electricity once it hits the grid (inverted) it it the same electric as electricity made by coal or nuclear.

You saying something is true doesn't make it true. Why could a city not be 100% solar power for their grid?

The only problem is energy storage for use when the sun isn't shining.


No that's not that big of a problem. Their are Bloom boxes and heating water to run generators, I have gone over this multiple times already.

But like I said it's a silly argument anyway no one is saying "We need to go 100% renewable now" it's a strawman argument.

Can I use this argument on other powers? Ok we can't go 100% X so lets never make a X plant!!! It's a bullshiat argument.
 
2013-06-25 02:56:08 PM

Geotpf: Natural gas is a compromise solution. I have nothing against expanding renewables; it's just that if you were to shut down all coal power plants within five years (my preferred solution), you'd need natural gas to replace them; renewables would cost way too much.


I'm in basic agreement with you, but I favor nuclear using modern reactor designs. I believe this can be done safely and made much more cost effective than the traditional LWRs the US has relied on.

I'm not sure how to get past NIMBY though. Even though present nuclear power has caused far fewer deaths than coal, the deaths tend to be clustered, identifiable, and associated with newsworthy accidents -- not the random guy in Africa who develops lung cancer from Radon exposure that we can only infer statistically but not point to and say "it killed him!"
 
2013-06-25 02:57:24 PM

AndreMA: Geotpf: Natural gas is a compromise solution. I have nothing against expanding renewables; it's just that if you were to shut down all coal power plants within five years (my preferred solution), you'd need natural gas to replace them; renewables would cost way too much.

I'm in basic agreement with you, but I favor nuclear using modern reactor designs. I believe this can be done safely and made much more cost effective than the traditional LWRs the US has relied on.

I'm not sure how to get past NIMBY though. Even though present nuclear power has caused far fewer deaths than coal, the deaths tend to be clustered, identifiable, and associated with newsworthy accidents -- not the random guy in Africa who develops lung cancer from Radon exposure that we can only infer statistically but not point to and say "it killed him!"


Well that and it destroyed like the entire fishing and farming industry for a region for maybe centuries. That is a little ignored in that calculation.
 
2013-06-25 02:59:54 PM

netizencain: Solar and Wind just aren't there yet.


Citations needed.
 
2013-06-25 03:00:49 PM
Only on FARK an can  people think the argument of "Solar power can't go into an electrical grid" is the same argument as "We don't have the technology to do 100% solar right now".

That's the "Oh, oh! Someone is saying something and I want to e involved, fark what actually people are saying!!"
 
2013-06-25 03:02:06 PM

chimp_ninja: Hollie Maea: I would gladly give up PA's electoral votes in exchange for an actual legitimate War on Coal.

Seconded.

Tommy Moo: We could just build some nuclear plants in PA to balance it out.

Also a good idea.  Handles base load nicely, reduces need for storage, goes in places that are suboptimal for wind.

My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass >  hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.  We're pretty much maxed out on hydro, but the top four are ramping up exponentially, especially in countries where the House of Representatives is not staffed by inbred mouth-breathers who think their electricity is breathed into their homes by Jesus.


I like to be optimistic, but I think you meant 'incrementally', not 'exponentially'.
 
2013-06-25 03:03:00 PM

simplicimus: The only problem is energy storage for use when the sun isn't shining.


US DOE has a few test sites for that.  They're using old salt and gypsum mines to compress air in when electricity is cheap or there's excess production and then bleeding off the air to spin turbines when there's increased demand.

(kinda the same concept/method that hydro dams use w/ water).
 
2013-06-25 03:04:24 PM

chimp_ninja: All I'm hearing from the far right is to wait for the right half of that chart. Except if we do that, we'll be importing all of our panels from countries with better foresight, and we'll be building our new grid while they're already profiting from their investment.

Or, you know, we can go the route of creating jobs and start pounding out panels right now


They may end up cheaper than coal if you ignore solar's externalities
 
2013-06-25 03:04:26 PM

Corvus: Only on FARK an can  people think the argument of "Solar power can't go into an electrical grid" is the same argument as "We don't have the technology to do 100% solar right now".

That's the "Oh, oh! Someone is saying something and I want to e involved, fark what actually people are saying!!"


It's either ignorance or outright laziness.

Yeah let's just turn to more non-renewable harmful solutions like fracking or building nuclear reactors. Because we're so 1970s in the 21st century.
 
2013-06-25 03:05:36 PM

HeadLever: chimp_ninja: My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass > hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.

Not a bad list, but just recognize that your first two are not baseload and will need to have backup with items 3 though 8.


To an extent, but energy use also tends to track the sun's location-- peaks during the middle of the day when most businesses are operating, and declines at night when most people are sleeping.  As long as you're drawing less than ~20-25% of your power from PV, you can basically use it to absorb that "bump" with minimal storage.

Wind's intermittency is less of an issue if it's all grid-connected and you're smart about it, because the intermittency isn't nearly as synchronized, especially with a grid area as large as the US.  Again, multiple countries get 20%+ capacity from wind right now.  The engineering has been worked out.

We already get ~10% from hydro.  Throw in waste-derived biomass and a reasonable number of fission plants, and there's little need to go to fossil fuels.

There are also a lot of needs that could be reworked to use intermittency.  For example, pumping water is incredibly energy-intensive, but if you designed your system to work with an intermittent source, it would work out.  You'd pump more on a windy day, but with sufficient storage it was average out.  Ditto if you're dumping energy into making hydrogen for use in mass transit, agricultural machinery, etc.  (Hydrogen is a logistics disaster for individual motor vehicles, but makes sense for either big centralized stations, or very remote areas where you make it on site.)  That isn't most energy use, but it's another example of what you could do to fold in another 5-10% of intermittent resources without having to build chemical battery arrays and the like.

We're nowhere near that problem.  Worry about it when we get towards 25%.
 
2013-06-25 03:06:21 PM
I am aware we will need things like natural gas to bridge the gap. And that we are not turning off all nuclear plants and coal plants tomorrow.

But to pretend that because solar and wind is not going to solve all out problems 100% by tomorrow is a bullshiat argument. Nothing is going to solve all our energy needs by tomorrow. But solar and wind works as a great solution for most things today, and every year it gets CHEAPER. Nuclear gets more expensive every year and so does most other forms of energy. So why should we as a nation invest in the future with energy that will cost us more and pollute when we can invest in ones that will become cheaper and stay clean?
 
2013-06-25 03:13:54 PM
But Hannity tells me everytime gas goes up 10 cents a gallon that Obama pressed the EPA signal button in his office to bring about another round of "crushing regulations" on the energy industry...
 
2013-06-25 03:13:59 PM

Saiga410: They may end up cheaper than coal if you ignore solar's externalities


Such as?  I can power my whole house on about 20L of silicon, and the panels come with a 25-year or 30-year warranty.

I did some math on that yesterday.  1L of solar-grade GaAs = 20 L of solar-grade Si = 114 metric tons of coal.  I guess the silicon panels need some wires and glass, but I think we can handle that part since coal needs giant rail cars.

So yeah, you have to mine some silicon to make some panels.  And that gets treated with some chemicals that aren't especially pleasant.

But compared to 114 metric tons of coal, that's a very easy decision.  And it's not like processing and using coal doesn't involve a lot of ugly waste products.  The main difference, of course, is that the coal by-products tend to take the form of a heated, useless, valueless aerosol, partially injected into the atmosphere.  The PV by-products are liquids and solids that are generated in a centralized facility that has tremendous financial incentive to recycle them.
 
2013-06-25 03:14:11 PM
I didn't read TFA but if Obama wants to replace coal plants with nuclear plants, then I'm down.
 
2013-06-25 03:14:17 PM

HeadLever: chimp_ninja: My order: Solar > wind > geothermal > biomass > hydro > fission > gas > oil > anything else > coal.

Not a bad list, but just recognize that your first two are not baseload and will need to have backup with items 3 though 8.


Power cells like bloom boxes, or heating up water to run generators can make them 24/7 power generation can solve much of that.

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/05/22/first-large-scale-247-solar-plan t- to-be-constructed-in-u-s/


The SolarReserve power plant utilizes what is called thermal energy storage to store heat collected from the sun, which is then utilized by the power plant to boil water and produce steam. The steam then turns a steam turbine which generates electricity. This is a how a solar thermal power plant generally works, but keep in mind that there are different types of solar thermal power plants, some of which are not steam.

...

You might have guessed by now that this type of power plant is able to provide electricity at night, and all week, because it stores heat in the form of salt that is released in the evening so that the plant can continue to generate electricity when it is dark, cloudy, or stormy. "This solar technology is a genuine alternative to baseload coal, nuclear or natural gas burning electricity generation facilities," Kevin Smith, SolarReserve's chief executive, said in a statement.
 
2013-06-25 03:16:05 PM

MyEnamine: I didn't read TFA but if Obama wants to replace coal plants with nuclear plants, then I'm down.


I'd love for this to happen but the overnight costs of nuclear power are very high. It looks like we're going to have to accept natural gas as a bridge between coal to whatever alternative energy becomes economically viable first. Could be worse.
 
2013-06-25 03:18:53 PM

Corvus: The SolarReserve power plant utilizes what is called thermal energy storage to store heat collected from the sun, which is then utilized by the power plant to boil water and produce steam. The steam then turns a steam turbine which generates electricity. This is a how a solar thermal power plant generally works, but keep in mind that there are different types of solar thermal power plants, some of which are not steam. ...  You might have guessed by now that this type of power plant is able to provide electricity at night, and all week, because it stores heat in the form of salt that is released in the evening so that the plant can continue to generate electricity when it is dark, cloudy, or stormy. "This solar technology is a genuine alternative to baseload coal, nuclear or natural gas burning electricity generation facilities," Kevin Smith, SolarReserve's chief executive, said in a statement.


Yup.  Flywheels, making hydrogen, pumping water uphill (fake hydro), and various chemical batteries all do this job well enough.  You're generally looking at ~60-80% efficiency if you have to 'bottle' the energy somewhere, compared to directly using it, but that's not a showstopper.

Making-then-using hydrogen has additional appeal in places that need to desalinate water for drinking.
 
2013-06-25 03:19:22 PM

nekom: jehovahs witness protection: Democrats are gonna lose a shiatload of voters in Pa.
Way to go Jobkillbama

Yeah, I bet he doesn't even carry PA in 2016!


Of course not. Do you have any idea how big Pennsylvania is?

Besides, the corners would keep catching on New Jersey, and he'd have to drop it. Bam! Counties everywhere!
 
2013-06-25 03:19:55 PM

MyEnamine: I didn't read TFA but if Obama wants to replace coal plants with nuclear plants, then I'm down.


Yay ignorance.
 
2013-06-25 03:20:41 PM
GOOD. I have asthma and I have a strong suspicion it's partially coal related, based on where I live.

Yes it costs more to tamp down on pollution, however keep in mind -- all you guys on my big health insurance plan are helping to pay for my inhalers and Singulair. Also I'm turning into a fatty partially because I can't exercise well due to asthma. You'll pay for the consequences down the road.

coal -> fatty -> profit?
diabeetus profit
 
2013-06-25 03:25:00 PM

chimp_ninja: Wind's intermittency is less of an issue if it's all grid-connected and you're smart about it, because the intermittency isn't nearly as synchronized, especially with a grid area as large as the US. Again, multiple countries get 20%+ capacity from wind right now. The engineering has been worked out.


The problem with that is the line losses (transmission) really drives up the inefficiency of this issue.  Sure you can get the power from Wyoming if you want, but your losses might be as high as 50% or greater. That is why it is typically better to have some sort of baseload source as a backup.

Other than that, I mostly agree with your following points.  There are some great ways as to work around the intermittency issues, especially when considering the big electrical users.  However, the bottom line is that when the public flips on the light switch, they will expect it to work.
 
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