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(Economist)   Turns out, natural gas energy is the cheapest and most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. And solar power is the most expensive, according to research by the Brookings Institution   (economist.com) divider line 80
    More: Interesting, solar energies, fossil fuels, present value, forms of energy, carbon dioxide, solar power, solar farm, renewable energy  
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1751 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Aug 2014 at 7:54 PM (16 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-04 06:51:17 PM  
"Gas not wind"? I thought they were the same thing?
 
2014-08-04 07:58:02 PM  
Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.
 
2014-08-04 08:11:00 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


This.
 
2014-08-04 08:18:22 PM  
Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.
 
2014-08-04 08:18:57 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


LNG tankers also make delicious targets for terrorists.
 
2014-08-04 08:22:20 PM  
img4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-08-04 08:30:17 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.



And I'd like to add that going by TFA (which is all I got time for tonight) I disagree with some of his assumptions on how these systems should be used. I'd say the transition to alternative fuels is going to either take the form of power from multiple generation types feeding in to a common "smart" grid (which is the one I would expect to be more likely) or a more distributed model (which I think is unlikely but potentially more game changing).

In the first case you have solar plants in some places, wind farms in others, wave/tidal power in others, and a couple of nuclear plants thrown in for a nice dependable core generating capacity. All of it feeding in to a national smart grid sending the power where it is needed from whatever place is generating it. That way you can try and maximize the power you get from each type for your dollar. Plus, you can actually also do clever things like storing wind/solar generated power in retention ponds that you pump up to or let flow to generate electricity. That way you store energy for use overnight or when the wind slows and etc. Smoothing the power output of the installations, making their output more constant both locally and by distributing geographically  - which is one of the things he's assuming you can't make these technologies.

In the other case solar and turbine tech is distributed more broadly, supply the lion's share of the power when needed most right there on site, lowering the overall national generation needs. Each house generates the bulk of its own power with small turbines and solar panels, vastly reducing the need for large generating plants in general. Combine that with some new smaller, fail-safe nuclear power plants and the math is vastly different there too.
 
2014-08-04 08:33:25 PM  

jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.


www.methaneproject.net

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

theenergycollective.com
 
2014-08-04 08:33:55 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


Yeah, I was coming here to say basically this, too.

Natgas is an improvement over coal and it's reasonable to have it be part of the overall energy plan, yes, but since it's literally a greenhouse gas in itself looking at it in terms of CO2 emissions is well past stupid and into fetal alcohol syndrome territory.
 
2014-08-04 08:42:19 PM  

drumhellar: kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.

This.


But that overlooks the benefits to the local environment of fracking.
 
2014-08-04 08:53:43 PM  

Kraftwerk Orange: jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.

[www.methaneproject.net image 550x428]

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

[theenergycollective.com image 500x332]


Which if we don't get the ocean's temps down or at least keep from rising RIGHT NOW is going to evaporate and release enough methane into our atmosphere to completely alter our landscape and environment.
 
2014-08-04 08:55:15 PM  
Hydro power is effectively a non-starter these days.  New nuclear plants would be nice, but thanks to the greens we're not going to get any movement in that direction.  So, fossil fuels, it is.
 
2014-08-04 08:56:54 PM  
"There are, of course, all sorts of reasons to choose one form of energy over another, including emissions of pollutants other than CO2 and fear of nuclear accidents. Mr Frank does not look at these."

/of course he does't. Fukushima? What's that?
 
2014-08-04 09:00:37 PM  
Thanks Fartbama!
 
2014-08-04 09:04:00 PM  

iq_in_binary: Kraftwerk Orange: jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.

[www.methaneproject.net image 550x428]

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

[theenergycollective.com image 500x332]

Which if we don't get the ocean's temps down or at least keep from rising RIGHT NOW is going to evaporate and release enough methane into our atmosphere to completely alter our landscape and environment.


Ah, the old Clathrate Gun theory.  That would make things interesting in a hurry. As in "Oh god oh god we are all going to die" type interesting.
 
2014-08-04 09:06:16 PM  
 
2014-08-04 09:09:31 PM  

State_College_Arsonist: Hydro power is effectively a non-starter these days.  New nuclear plants would be nice, but thanks to the greens we're not going to get any movement in that direction.  So, fossil fuels, it is.


There are options for low head hydro power, but apparently "fish strikes." I honestly think some folk think the only viable source of power is unicorn farts.
 
2014-08-04 09:10:01 PM  

BigLuca: iq_in_binary: Kraftwerk Orange: jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.

[www.methaneproject.net image 550x428]

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

[theenergycollective.com image 500x332]

Which if we don't get the ocean's temps down or at least keep from rising RIGHT NOW is going to evaporate and release enough methane into our atmosphere to completely alter our landscape and environment.

Ah, the old Clathrate Gun theory.  That would make things interesting in a hurry. As in "Oh god oh god we are all going to die" type interesting.




Not just a theory anymore.
 
2014-08-04 09:16:46 PM  

iq_in_binary: BigLuca: iq_in_binary: Kraftwerk Orange: jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.

[www.methaneproject.net image 550x428]

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

[theenergycollective.com image 500x332]

Which if we don't get the ocean's temps down or at least keep from rising RIGHT NOW is going to evaporate and release enough methane into our atmosphere to completely alter our landscape and environment.

Ah, the old Clathrate Gun theory.  That would make things interesting in a hurry. As in "Oh god oh god we are all going to die" type interesting.

Not just a theory anymore.


So my takeaway from this is:

Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane.  Alternatively, we should start "quarantining" that methane hydrate immediately, at large scale, so that there's no chance of it melting.
 
2014-08-04 09:17:29 PM  
If we do get some sudden shift in the climate can we beat the conservatives to death before we all starve?

Alternatively if we do all this for nothing, I'd be happy to pay a "stupid librul global warming tax" and enjoy my cleaner air, water, and food.
 
2014-08-04 09:19:10 PM  

Kraftwerk Orange: So my takeaway from this is:

Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane. Alternatively, we should start "quarantining" that methane hydrate immediately


Nobody's stopping you. Keep us posted on your progress.
 
2014-08-04 09:24:38 PM  

jaytkay: Kraftwerk Orange: So my takeaway from this is:

Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane. Alternatively, we should start "quarantining" that methane hydrate immediately

Nobody's stopping you. Keep us posted on your progress.


If only I had studied engineering instead of wasting my time in a liberal arts college...
 
2014-08-04 09:36:16 PM  

jaytkay: Kraftwerk Orange: So my takeaway from this is:

Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane. Alternatively, we should start "quarantining" that methane hydrate immediately

Nobody's stopping you. Keep us posted on your progress.


I have a patent on underpants with a pilot light at the bung-hole to help burn off any methane production.  Well, patent pending i guess, haven't heard back from them yet.
 
2014-08-04 09:45:16 PM  
img.fark.net

natty ice, amirite?
 
2014-08-04 09:49:53 PM  

somemoron: drumhellar: kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.
This.
But that overlooks the benefits to the local environment of fracking.


Fracking? Just look at the benefits of all those big trucks and development to the environment! It's practically a pollution-free industry.

www.blogcdn.com
 
2014-08-04 09:51:25 PM  
There has been a theory that many of the odd things in the Bermuda triangle was a result of sublimation of methane at depth which can produce a bubble large enough for a ship to fall into when it reaches the surface.  Of course large areas of methane will displace enough oxygen to make it heard to think clearly while being somewhat flammable.
 
2014-08-04 09:57:32 PM  

Kraftwerk Orange: iq_in_binary: BigLuca: iq_in_binary: Kraftwerk Orange: jaytkay: Cuz the current low price of natural gas will never change.

[www.methaneproject.net image 550x428]

Also, 'cause it's a cool pic:

[theenergycollective.com image 500x332]

Which if we don't get the ocean's temps down or at least keep from rising RIGHT NOW is going to evaporate and release enough methane into our atmosphere to completely alter our landscape and environment.

Ah, the old Clathrate Gun theory.  That would make things interesting in a hurry. As in "Oh god oh god we are all going to die" type interesting.

Not just a theory anymore.

So my takeaway from this is:

Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane.  Alternatively, we should start "quarantining" that methane hydrate immediately, at large scale, so that there's no chance of it melting.


Or start making more use of This. I'm having trouble finding it but there was some German research group that was suggesting using shunts from the deepest parts of our oceans to recirculate the water from the bottom back up to the surface, both stimulating growth cycles in plant and small wildlife matter and bolstering the populations of species affected by overfishing. Increasing our food supply and slowly counteracting the heating of our oceans at the same time.

Combine that with some sort of SRM application while we work to cut our carbon emissions, such as this, and we just might be able to keep things from getting entirely pear shaped.

 
2014-08-04 10:02:26 PM  
Reading these things is very frustrating. People are so stuck in old ways of evaluating and evaluating that solar PV always looks more expensive and less useful than it is.

In fact it is simple math: Silicon PV is the cheapest source of energy we have today. Period. By a significant margin.
 
2014-08-04 10:06:53 PM  

State_College_Arsonist: New nuclear plants would be nice, but thanks to the greens we're not going to get any movement in that direction.


Really? I'm paying a surcharge on my electric bill every month for a nuclear plant under construction. Can you help me get a refund?
 
2014-08-04 10:08:48 PM  

Rambino: Reading these things is very frustrating. People are so stuck in old ways of evaluating and evaluating that solar PV always looks more expensive and less useful than it is.

In fact it is simple math: Silicon PV is the cheapest source of energy we have today. Period. By a significant margin.


It ain't got a hemi so it's some green socialist shiat. Rush told me so.
 
2014-08-04 10:11:22 PM  
I hate to break it to you, subby, but gas does not reduce carbon emissions when compared to wind or solar.
 
2014-08-04 10:24:05 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


Bears repeating.
 
2014-08-04 10:33:13 PM  

Kraftwerk Orange: Somebody should design and build a device that extracts atmospheric methane.


Yeah, you very definitely don't science.

No offense, but that's one of the most laughably implausible things I've read on the internet today, it's like saying "well, tidal power would be great if we just shifted the moon's orbit in about 50%".  The energy costs involved in that kind of extraction are absurd and would outweigh the benefits of removing the methane by five or six orders of magnitude easily, maybe more.

// I know I shouldn't hold not knowing how gas separation works against strangers on the internet but... holy shiat, man.  That's a 'reduce global warming by dimming the sun' type of solution, there.
 
2014-08-04 10:37:53 PM  

cryinoutloud: somemoron: drumhellar: kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.
This.
But that overlooks the benefits to the local environment of fracking.

Fracking? Just look at the benefits of all those big trucks and development to the environment! It's practically a pollution-free industry.

[www.blogcdn.com image 650x386]


The alternative is coal.  Stop the fracking and you put an end to cheap and abundant natural gas and all those power plants have to switch back to coal.
 
2014-08-04 10:38:16 PM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


So...we're back to rolling coal?

earthfirstjournal.org
 
2014-08-04 10:44:40 PM  

BigLuca: Ah, the old Clathrate Gun theory. That would make things interesting in a hurry. As in "Oh god oh god we are all going to die" type interesting.


Well, there ARE some rather, uh, drastic things that could be used if things do go south.

... They likely have their own serious negative side effects,mind, but there ARE emergency methods we can take to drop the earth's temp if we start hitting runaway global warming.

... Like a limited nuclear exchange.

(Okay, not all the solutions are quite that drastic, but they'd all likely have negative unforeseen consequences. I REALLY hope we don't wind up having to use them-)
 
2014-08-04 10:56:15 PM  
According to those hippies at the US Department of Energy, the absolute cheapest source of new electricity in the USA is geothermal, being about 50% cheaper than even dirt cheap natural gas. But what do those pin-head scientists know?

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

/posting this commie info from an off-grid solar powered computer & data connection.
 
2014-08-04 11:07:37 PM  

Jim_Callahan: No offense, but that's one of the most laughably implausible things I've read on the internet today,


I apologize for leaving off my sarcasm tag, in regards to an atmospheric methane extraction device.

Methane hydrates, OTOH, I do think we should tap into.
 
2014-08-04 11:11:54 PM  

State_College_Arsonist: Hydro power is effectively a non-starter these days.  New nuclear plants would be nice, but thanks to greens Fukushima excellently displaying how that shiat will never be safe, we're not going to get any movement in that direction.  So, fossil fuels, it is.



FTFY
 
2014-08-04 11:14:35 PM  

iq_in_binary: Or start making more use of This. I'm having trouble finding it but there was some German research group that was suggesting using shunts from the deepest parts of our oceans to recirculate the water from the bottom back up to the surface, both stimulating growth cycles in plant and small wildlife matter and bolstering the populations of species affected by overfishing. Increasing our food supply and slowly counteracting the heating of our oceans at the same time.


Wait, WHAT? We do not increase fish populations by further messing up their environment. Fish live at certain temperatures, at certain depths, and they do not adapt well to other conditions. That's why we have enormous fish kills sometimes when lakes do their natural mixing thing once or twice a year. We have never, ever made an entire ecosystem work better by messing with certain parts of it. All we ever do is make one small thing, or a couple of things, work better for US.

Like the article says, Where there is an energy gradient, skillful application of science and engineering can harness that energy for productive use by humans.

yeah, that's a fantastic idea--we're not going to screw it up this time! We're going to make more major changes in a large ecosystem and this time, we'll do it right! Everything will be co---whoops! Hey, we didn't see THAT coming. But we can fix it!

/farking engineers and biologists do not mix
 
2014-08-04 11:20:16 PM  

nocturnal001: If we do get some sudden shift in the climate can we beat the conservatives to death before we all starve?

Alternatively if we do all this for nothing, I'd be happy to pay a "stupid librul global warming tax" and enjoy my cleaner air, water, and food.


This.

If it turns out to all have been wrong, I'll gladly pay a tax of 50% of my estate-- offset, of course, by the credits for cleaner air, water, and food. That should net me a profit of a few hundred thousand.

What? If industry can trade credits, why can't I?
 
2014-08-04 11:29:16 PM  

cryinoutloud: iq_in_binary: Or start making more use of This. I'm having trouble finding it but there was some German research group that was suggesting using shunts from the deepest parts of our oceans to recirculate the water from the bottom back up to the surface, both stimulating growth cycles in plant and small wildlife matter and bolstering the populations of species affected by overfishing. Increasing our food supply and slowly counteracting the heating of our oceans at the same time.

Wait, WHAT? We do not increase fish populations by further messing up their environment. Fish live at certain temperatures, at certain depths, and they do not adapt well to other conditions. That's why we have enormous fish kills sometimes when lakes do their natural mixing thing once or twice a year. We have never, ever made an entire ecosystem work better by messing with certain parts of it. All we ever do is make one small thing, or a couple of things, work better for US.

Like the article says, Where there is an energy gradient, skillful application of science and engineering can harness that energy for productive use by humans.

yeah, that's a fantastic idea--we're not going to screw it up this time! We're going to make more major changes in a large ecosystem and this time, we'll do it right! Everything will be co---whoops! Hey, we didn't see THAT coming. But we can fix it!

/farking engineers and biologists do not mix


Thank you for pointing this out.

/lowly liberal arts major and even I saw that
//almost like libarts taught me critical thinking skills
///snickers and runs away
 
2014-08-05 12:18:28 AM  
Here's something I'd like to ask :

I keep hearing that Solar Panels have a 'life span' and while I understand that many objects can suffer from 'normal wear and tear' It also seems like we'd want to build solar panel elements that can be re-used or where , for example, glass that gets scratched can get replaced, while the photovoltaic elements can be preserved.

Can any Far Scientific types help clear this up for me ?
 
2014-08-05 12:44:07 AM  

kyleaugustus: Meanwhile, natural gas production and transport leaks and emits enough methane into the atmosphere to entirely negate its advantage over other fossil fuels in terms of greenhouse effects.


[Citation Needed]
 
2014-08-05 12:51:17 AM  
Felgraf:
Well, there ARE some rather, uh, drastic things that could be used if things do go south.

... They likely have their own serious negative side effects,mind, but there ARE emergency methods we can take to drop the earth's temp if we start hitting runaway global warming.

... Like a limited nuclear exchange.

(Okay, not all the solutions are quite that drastic, but they'd all likely have negative unforeseen consequences. I REALLY hope we don't wind up having to use them-)


See, that right there makes me nervous as hell.  If we were all living in a Scifi movie the apocalypse would be caused by man taking active measures to combat climate change, rather than the climate change itself.  Seeding the oceans with iron, throwing up water vapor,etc ....  They just sound like bad idea to me.

Like when my friends wanted to get drunk and break into the abandoned amusement park.  I couldn't point out a specific flaw in the plan, but I just had a feeling it was not going to end well.
 
2014-08-05 12:52:39 AM  

rubi_con_man: Here's something I'd like to ask :

I keep hearing that Solar Panels have a 'life span' and while I understand that many objects can suffer from 'normal wear and tear' It also seems like we'd want to build solar panel elements that can be re-used or where , for example, glass that gets scratched can get replaced, while the photovoltaic elements can be preserved.

Can any Far Scientific types help clear this up for me ?

Typically, the death of a typical solar panel comes from moisture intrusion into the circuit, which causes corrosion of the connections involved. In typical panel construction, this happens when water enters from the edge of the frame or after UV eventually damages the plastic on the back of the panel. This will usually start to take effect in about 30-40 years, if the panel is constructed properly and not damaged by local conditions (like rodents or tree branches). Some panels from the 1980's used encapsulation material that slowly hazed over from UV damage, but we've gotten pretty good with glass technology since then.

I have 48 standard type, 208 watt PV panels from Sharp that have been performing flawlessly on my office's rooftop for 8-years now. I'll report back how well they're doing in 22 years.

Depending on construction type, panels that are encapsulated in glass on the front and back, estimated, tested lifespans are in the 60-80 year range. I have some 58 of these panels on my house and the front of my office. They've performed quite well over the past 4-years, and will likely long outlast my lifespan (I'm 32 now).

Unless physically damaged or suffering from corroded wiring, there's quite a few examples out there of 30-year old panels performing at or above original specs. I'm sure you can find a several decade old "solar powered" calculator that still works when placed in the sun, even though its internal battery died long ago.

Printed "thin-film" panels are a whole different beast. Since they're all less than 10 years old, it's frankly quite hard to estimate how long they'll last. There isn't much long-term data out there concerning them.
 
2014-08-05 01:54:56 AM  

rubi_con_man: Here's something I'd like to ask :

I keep hearing that Solar Panels have a 'life span' and while I understand that many objects can suffer from 'normal wear and tear' It also seems like we'd want to build solar panel elements that can be re-used or where , for example, glass that gets scratched can get replaced, while the photovoltaic elements can be preserved.

Can any Far Scientific types help clear this up for me ?


A well encapsulated panel will slowly undergo microscopic mechanical damage due to thermal cycling. After thirty years efficiency has generally fallen to 85 percent of nominal, and panels are warrantied accordingly. By that time, the efficiency is falling very slowly, and no one really knows for sure how long they can ultimately last.

Needless to say, a thirty year old panel is quite obsolete, and it might be replaced for that reason.
 
2014-08-05 02:24:40 AM  

Hollie Maea: rubi_con_man: Here's something I'd like to ask :

I keep hearing that Solar Panels have a 'life span' and while I understand that many objects can suffer from 'normal wear and tear' It also seems like we'd want to build solar panel elements that can be re-used or where , for example, glass that gets scratched can get replaced, while the photovoltaic elements can be preserved.

Can any Far Scientific types help clear this up for me ?

A well encapsulated panel will slowly undergo microscopic mechanical damage due to thermal cycling. After thirty years efficiency has generally fallen to 85 percent of nominal, and panels are warrantied accordingly. By that time, the efficiency is falling very slowly, and no one really knows for sure how long they can ultimately last.

Needless to say, a thirty year old panel is quite obsolete, and it might be replaced for that reason.


Do you

rubi_con_man: Here's something I'd like to ask :

I keep hearing that Solar Panels have a 'life span' and while I understand that many objects can suffer from 'normal wear and tear' It also seems like we'd want to build solar panel elements that can be re-used or where , for example, glass that gets scratched can get replaced, while the photovoltaic elements can be preserved.

Can any Far Scientific types help clear this up for me ?


It's a pretty academic question. Would you even consider replacing the glass in the windows on your house? Your car? Do you think either of those need a 30 year lifespan to be effective?
 
2014-08-05 02:26:11 AM  
Damn I really screwed up that post.
 
2014-08-05 03:05:58 AM  

Rambino: Reading these things is very frustrating. People are so stuck in old ways of evaluating and evaluating that solar PV always looks more expensive and less useful than it is.

In fact it is simple math: Silicon PV is the cheapest source of energy we have today. Period. By a significant margin.


Coal in the fireplace is cheaper - but I wouldn't recommend it.

We recently spent about AU$3,300 get in some panels installed.  $1320 of that was the panels and the rest was the frame, wiring and labor.  We already had a battery charger since this runs our computer systems and keeps 8 truck sized batteries charged but we can add modules for about $1000 per 1500 watts.  The actual solar cell cost is a small part of the equation.

I find it odd that I can buy a solar panel cheaper than I can by a glass picture frame of the same size now.
 
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