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(Guardian)   Renewable energy now accounts for 22% of the total world energy   (theguardian.com) divider line 105
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1382 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Aug 2014 at 5:51 AM (2 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-30 05:14:12 AM
Yeah, I call bullshiat on that stat.

China is going to make a move (eventually) on the oil reserves in the South China Sea within the next 10 years and we'll see how much the rest of the world kicks back and says "meh, fark you, because renewable energy, biatches."
 
2014-08-30 05:58:38 AM
THORIUM2012!!!!!!
 
2014-08-30 06:54:57 AM
Shouldn't the headline include some small print?
 Electricity only. Including hydro. On sunny days in spring and autumn. Only where heavily subsidized Chinese solar panels are available. Purchased with subsidized loans against guaranteed revenues from buyback.
 
2014-08-30 06:59:43 AM
electricity != all energy.
bad subby.
 
2014-08-30 07:04:27 AM
Is this another thread where Republicans will lie about objective reality, and explain how America is full of idiots who can't lead the world any more, or even keep up with Germany?
 
2014-08-30 07:15:34 AM
My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power and no one wants to pay for it.  Would you be surprised to know my idiot friend the libertarian recently moved out to the oil fields and that's where he decided to be a libertarian and support big oil's agenda?  He's also sadly the only person I've known who moved to the fast money oil fields and still makes chump change.
 
2014-08-30 07:43:24 AM
Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.  But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.
 
2014-08-30 07:58:08 AM
BumpInTheNight:
My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power

When you end up paying more per kilowatt-hour for solar electricity than for regular sources, it's nowhere near "free."

If it was "free," then the per-kilowatt price for electricity in Germany would have gone down. It hasn't. It's about three times the price in the US.

You need to remember that solar (and wind) have lots of hidden costs - like having to keep online backup handy for when it's not available.
 
2014-08-30 08:00:09 AM
I'll be slightly satisfied when it's 4 times that amount.
 
2014-08-30 08:02:01 AM
Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are  non-renewable.  Or, all they are all  renewable, if you want to argue.  But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

img.fark.net
 
2014-08-30 08:18:20 AM

cirby: BumpInTheNight:
My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power

When you end up paying more per kilowatt-hour for solar electricity than for regular sources, it's nowhere near "free."

If it was "free," then the per-kilowatt price for electricity in Germany would have gone down. It hasn't. It's about three times the price in the US.

You need to remember that solar (and wind) have lots of hidden costs - like having to keep online backup handy for when it's not available.


That price is what people still relying on Germany's mainline power companies pay, the private co-ops, alternative companies and citizens who've deployed the renewable energy grid (not the major power companies, very important to understand this, they aren't the ones with most of the solar panels and wind) are dumping their excess back into the grid and the power companies are setting the price for everyone else, the same power companies that are still building more oil and coal plants to buy into america's fracking craze.

Backups are good of course and right now the oil & gas are the preferred method rather then raw storage of excess solar, we'll see what happens when the renewables are producing more then enough for the entire country and its opted to store that excess rather then use oil & coal to shore up the remainder.
 
2014-08-30 08:53:52 AM

cirby: BumpInTheNight:
My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power

When you end up paying more per kilowatt-hour for solar electricity than for regular sources, it's nowhere near "free."

If it was "free," then the per-kilowatt price for electricity in Germany would have gone down. It hasn't. It's about three times the price in the US.

You need to remember that solar (and wind) have lots of hidden costs - like having to keep online backup handy for when it's not available.


Germany is also burning more coal than they have in the last 25 years, because they have shut down all of their nuclear plants..

Renewables have tremendous potential, but for the near future, we will need some kind of backing, bulk base load power source..

Coal, Nuclear, or natural gas.. pick one...
 
2014-08-30 08:54:37 AM
BumpInTheNight:
and the power companies are setting the price for everyone else

No, that would still be the German government. The biggest issue is the feed-in tariff, which is subsidizing those "cheap" users of solar. And, of course, the government is now talking about taxing "self use," to take a piece of the electric power generated and used by each individual user.

Backups are good of course necessary

When you're running your country on solar and wind power, you HAVE to have backup power. Long term storage for solar and wind is way too expensive and impractical, so the only option is to have rolling backup power plants that can handle the shortfalls of the renewable systems. This ends up costing more per kilowatt-hour generated.
 
2014-08-30 09:10:46 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.


Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.
 
2014-08-30 09:24:37 AM
*Price of gas goes up*
 
2014-08-30 09:25:20 AM

cirby: When you're running your country on solar and wind power, you HAVE to have backup power. Long term storage for solar and wind is way too expensive and impractical, so the only option is to have rolling backup power plants that can handle the shortfalls of the renewable systems. This ends up costing more per kilowatt-hour generated.


Agreed it is a need not a nice to have, I should have worded my response a little more literally.  Meanwhile back to the reason Germany's power costs for the average user is so high I'd say the biggest culprit is...

dforkus: because they have shut down all of their nuclear plants..


That is indeed the dumbest move they could have made.  Public outcry backed by boogeyman fears about fukashima wrecked what was going to be a smooth and world-leading clean adoption of solar & wind.  Now its all fuddled in dirty power because ooga-booga.  There's a high price to pay for such fear mongering, literally in terms of the average German's power bill.
 
2014-08-30 09:33:02 AM
dforkus:

Coal, Nuclear, or natural gas.. pick one...


I'm gonna go ahead and say Nuclear.

I know it's not the popular opinion, but the lesson I learned from Fukushima (no small part from Fark's resident nuclear scientist) is that we really need to replace our aging Reactors with newer, more current models that are safer in just about every way.

Unfortunately, the take away for most other people was that we should never build a new plant, resulting in us continuing to use aging technology that almost guarantees another another incident.
 
2014-08-30 09:53:15 AM
This 22% includes hydro, which is fine, but the hydro numbers include pumped storage, which seems wrong to me.
 
2014-08-30 09:54:23 AM

dukeblue219: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.

Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.


Unless your claim is that Earth has changed in a substantial way to the point it would be impossible, even over millions of years to make new coal or new oil... those are renewable. Sure, you may be unhappy with the timescale, or the cost of murdering tons of animals or tress to begin the process... but both coal and oil are renewable.

There's also the possibility of making artificial coal and oil. Renewable isn't the right word here without some cavaet... Sustainable is much more accurate. The best part is that solar never is. Unless you think that after 4 billion years we can just make a new sun at no cost, it's a finite and dwindling resource too.

Words have meaning. The media and "green" industries need to stop abusing them.

\I prefer nuclear and sustainable energy
 
2014-08-30 10:12:34 AM
Once again, science has failed us.
 
2014-08-30 10:22:49 AM
Headline needs a lot of terms to be defined.
 
2014-08-30 10:44:29 AM

Quantumbunny: There's also the possibility of making artificial coal and oil. Renewable isn't the right word here without some cavaet... Sustainable is much more accurate. The best part is that solar never is. Unless you think that after 4 billion years we can just make a new sun at no cost, it's a finite and dwindling resource too.

Words have meaning. The media and "green" industries need to stop abusing them.


What point is there to making sure that the terms are accurate over geological times scales? That's just being pedantic, and adds nothing to the debate except confusing people.
 
2014-08-30 10:48:18 AM
Nevermind the empirical evidence that price of energy from renewables is now nearing or even below fossil or nuclear based electricity (based on total levelized cost, which includes factors such as transmission, distribution and capacity factor). It doesn't matter to the naysayers if the information is directly from the US Department of Energy or IEA. When it comes to solar power, for the past few years, capacity in the USA is more than doubling every year - with roughly half the growth coming from residential rooftops.

Meanwhile, I better get back to making sure I pay my utility bills, or else I wouldn't have the energy to power the entirety of my house and my electric car.
fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net

And I was excited to get this letter in the mail yesterday. I wonder what I should do with my sweet, sweet annual solar tariff money?
fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net

/never mind that I've been living a completely solar powered life in Seattle for years now.
//geothermal is the cheapest form of new electricity, hands down, @ $44.5 per MWh
 
2014-08-30 10:55:22 AM

Malacon: Unfortunately, the take away for most other people was that we should never build a new plant, resulting in us continuing to use aging technology that almost guarantees another another incident.

When even the French have enacted policies that limit the construction of any new nuclear plants and the current plants in operation are nearing the end of their service life, you have to admit that the nuclear industry is in its twilight.

"The new bill would cut nuclear's share of France's energy mix to 50% by 2025 from 75% now, while the share of renewables should increase to 40% from around 15% by 2030. The move confirms Mr. Hollande's pledge during the presidential campaign of 2012."

With exception of one new reactor in the USA, only the crazy commies in China are building new reactors these days. We're now steadily closing done reactor after reactor in the USA. The nuclear age is slowing coming to an end.
 
2014-08-30 10:59:48 AM

Quantumbunny: dukeblue219: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.

Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.

Unless your claim is that Earth has changed in a substantial way to the point it would be impossible, even over millions of years to make new coal or new oil... those are renewable. Sure, you may be unhappy with the timescale, or the cost of murdering tons of animals or tress to begin the process... but both coal and oil are renewable.

There's also the possibility of making artificial coal and oil. Renewable isn't the right word here without some cavaet... Sustainable is much more accurate. The best part is that solar never is. Unless you think that after 4 billion years we can just make a new sun at no cost, it's a finite and dwindling resource too.

Words have meaning. The media and "green" industries need to stop abusing them.

\I prefer nuclear and sustainable energy


If you understood the meaning of words you wouldn't have made the post you did.
 
2014-08-30 11:01:27 AM
On a good day, with lots of sun and a slight breeze and a national holiday, I can see 22%.
(But then you'd still have to take the Gov
subsidises into account and you be closer to -32%)
 
2014-08-30 11:02:49 AM
MrSteve007:
Nevermind the empirical evidence that price of energy from renewables is now nearing or even below fossil or nuclear based electricity (based on total levelized cost, which includes factors such as transmission, distribution and capacity factor).

The only way they get "even or below fossil or nuclear" is by including the huge subsidies for PV plants, leaving out the variable costs of the solar plants, and pretending that the expenditures for things like backup power for PV don't exist.

For example, look at your bill there. They're paying you about SIX times the cost of electricity in Washington state. Which is ridiculous, and is left out of that "levelized" cost.

It's really easy to pretend something is cost-effective when you ignore the actual costs.
 
2014-08-30 11:06:11 AM

dukeblue219: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.

Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.


What is the reasonably expected life of human civilization?  And why should we limit it only to Earth?  Even still, I think the estimates are that we've got 4-5 billion years before the Sun expands to the point where life on Earth would be impossible.

But it only takes a dozen million years or so to make oil naturally.  Coal seems to work on a similar time scale.
If you have 4-5 billion years, a few hundred million years is a manageable amount of time.  As far as I know, the same processes that created oil in the first place are still happening.
And that's if we're talking about 'occurring naturally'.  There isn't any fundamental limitation that requires coal/oil to be produced naturally.

So coal and oil are absolutely renewable.  In fact, from what I remember, we already can produce oil in labs if we want to.

On the flip side - if you look at renewable energy forms, you'll see that aren't actually renewable though.  Solar/Wind power on Earth is only viable until the Sun craps out, and we know the Sun will crap out.  Same deal with Geothermal energy....it's not going to last forever.  4.5 billion years or so is a good long while, but it's not forever.  Given enough time, we'd even lose the tides from the moon (but in our case, it would take longer than 4-5 billion years the Sun has left, so it's not really a concern).

It's all just what time scale you are willing to consider.  On a VERY tiny time scale, solar power isn't renewable - you use it all up during the day and then you have none.  On a longer time scale, it is, because the next day starts.  On a much longer time scale, oil and coal are renewable.  On a much longer time scale nothing is renewable because the Sun will end.  On a much longer time scale than that, everything is renewable because stars are born and die all the time.  On a much longer time scale than that, nothing is (almost certainly) renewable because most of our best guesses for how the Universe works involves an ending.
 
2014-08-30 11:09:08 AM

cirby: The only way they get "even or below fossil or nuclear" is by including the huge subsidies for PV plants, leaving out the variable costs of the solar plants, and pretending that the expenditures for things like backup power for PV don't exist.

I take it you never actually read the link's definition on levelized cost then.

Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.3
 
2014-08-30 11:12:12 AM

MrSteve007: cirby: The only way they get "even or below fossil or nuclear" is by including the huge subsidies for PV plants, leaving out the variable costs of the solar plants, and pretending that the expenditures for things like backup power for PV don't exist.
I take it you never actually read the link's definition on levelized cost then.

Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.3


I take it you never read past that paragraph then. Because it goes on like this:

"Since projected utilization rates, the existing resource mix, and capacity values can all vary dramatically across regions where new generation capacity may be needed, the direct comparison of LCOE across technologies is often problematic and can be misleading as a method to assess the economic competitiveness of various generation alternatives."
 
2014-08-30 11:15:22 AM

cirby: MrSteve007:
Nevermind the empirical evidence that price of energy from renewables is now nearing or even below fossil or nuclear based electricity (based on total levelized cost, which includes factors such as transmission, distribution and capacity factor).

The only way they get "even or below fossil or nuclear" is by including the huge subsidies for PV plants, leaving out the variable costs of the solar plants, and pretending that the expenditures for things like backup power for PV don't exist.

For example, look at your bill there. They're paying you about SIX times the cost of electricity in Washington state. Which is ridiculous, and is left out of that "levelized" cost.

It's really easy to pretend something is cost-effective when you ignore the actual costs.


Counterpoint: the emission of CO2 and pollutants is currently "free".
 
2014-08-30 11:17:17 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: dukeblue219: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.

Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.

What is the reasonably expected life of human civilization?  And why should we limit it only to Earth?  Even still, I think the estimates are that we've got 4-5 billion years before the Sun expands to the point where life on Earth would be impossible.

But it only takes a dozen million years or so to make oil naturally.  Coal seems to work on a similar time scale.
If you have 4-5 billion years, a few hundred million years is a manageable amount of time.  As far as I know, the same processes that created oil in the first place are still happening.
And that's if we're talking about 'occurring naturally'.  There isn't any fundamental limitation that requires coal/oil to be produced naturally.

So coal and oil are absolutely renewable.  In fact, from what I remember, we already can produce oil in labs if we want to.

On the flip side - if you look at renewable energy forms, you'll see that aren't actually renewable though.  Solar/Wind power on Earth is only viable until the Sun craps out, and we know the Sun will crap out.  Same deal with Geothermal energy....it's not going to last forever.  4.5 billion years or so is a good long while, but it's not forever.  Given enough time, we'd even lose the tides from the moon (but in our case, it would take longer than 4-5 billion years the Sun has left, so it's not really a concern).

It's all just what time scale you are willing to consider.  On a VERY tiny time scale, ...


This guy thinks it could be possible to make artificial coal and oil after the sun goes out.
 
2014-08-30 11:19:01 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.  But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.


Yeah, Entropy is the real winner here.

MrSteve007: Nevermind the empirical evidence that price of energy from renewables is now nearing or even below fossil or nuclear based electricity (based on total levelized cost, which includes factors such as transmission, distribution and capacity factor). It doesn't matter to the naysayers if the information is directly from the US Department of Energy or IEA. When it comes to solar power, for the past few years, capacity in the USA is more than doubling every year - with roughly half the growth coming from residential rooftops.


Enjoy your subsidized profits. And the rich get richer.
 
2014-08-30 11:19:22 AM

cirby: For example, look at your bill there. They're paying you about SIX times the cost of electricity in Washington state. Which is ridiculous, and is left out of that "levelized" cost.

And if you look at the base of the "bill" you'll also notice that the state chose to give a large subsidy for solar panels & inverters that are made within the state, as an incentive to create a new, local industry. So far it's been working quite well, compared to a decade ago, we now have several PV production lines in place, one of the world's largest producers and refiners of PV-grade silicon, and many inverter manufacturers, including one of the world's largest.

That sweet annual tariff sunsets in 2020, so it isn't forever. Just for folks smart enough to be early adopters and willing to do the math on the return-on-investment (6.5 years). Since they put that incentive into place, the real cost of solar in the state has more than halved - while creating thousands of local manufacturing & industrial jobs.

It's nice having local manufacturers. When I bought the panels for my house, I drove my truck and a U-Haul trailer to the local solar panel factory, and had the president of the company give me a tour of their assembly line, and then he even drove the forklift to load my panels. An amazingly clean, modern, and local industry.
fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net
 
2014-08-30 11:22:20 AM

SquiggsIN: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are  non-renewable.  Or, all they are all  renewable, if you want to argue.  But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

[img.fark.net image 625x625]


In theory, he is right. In only 4.5 billion years, the Sun won't be here anymore, nor will the Earth (so no wind, geothermal and hydro power anymore)
 
2014-08-30 11:22:20 AM

pup.socket: "Since projected utilization rates, the existing resource mix, and capacity values can all vary dramatically across regions where new generation capacity may be needed, the direct comparison of LCOE across technologies is often problematic and can be misleading as a method to assess the economic competitiveness of various generation alternatives."

Yep, because wind power doesn't work very well where there isn't wind (say urban environments, or deep forests, and solar power doesn't work very well in the arctic). Therefore, go ahead and ignored the average price of new power generation from the IEA.
 
2014-08-30 11:37:20 AM

Fark_Guy_Rob: dukeblue219: Fark_Guy_Rob: Technically speaking all energy sources are non-renewable.  Or, all they are all renewable, if you want to argue.

Yeah, I'll buy that in a very literal sense.

 But the idea that some are renewable and some aren't is pretty much b.s.

Over the reasonably expected life of human civilization on Earth, oil and coal are very non-renewable. They will run out. The renewable energy sources are largely powered by the sun, whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric. They will not run out as far as humanity is concerned. It's not "b.s." in any way.

What is the reasonably expected life of human civilization?  And why should we limit it only to Earth?  Even still, I think the estimates are that we've got 4-5 billion years before the Sun expands to the point where life on Earth would be impossible.

But it only takes a dozen million years or so to make oil naturally.  Coal seems to work on a similar time scale.
If you have 4-5 billion years, a few hundred million years is a manageable amount of time.  As far as I know, the same processes that created oil in the first place are still happening.
And that's if we're talking about 'occurring naturally'.  There isn't any fundamental limitation that requires coal/oil to be produced naturally.

So coal and oil are absolutely renewable.  In fact, from what I remember, we already can produce oil in labs if we want to.

On the flip side - if you look at renewable energy forms, you'll see that aren't actually renewable though.  Solar/Wind power on Earth is only viable until the Sun craps out, and we know the Sun will crap out.  Same deal with Geothermal energy....it's not going to last forever.  4.5 billion years or so is a good long while, but it's not forever.  Given enough time, we'd even lose the tides from the moon (but in our case, it would take longer than 4-5 billion years the Sun has left, so it's not really a concern).

It's all just what time scale you are willing to consider.  On a VERY tiny time scale, ...


There's no good reason to discuss humanity on a million year timescale. We can't predict anything on that timescale. The Stone Age lasted 3.4 million years. The Bronze Age lasted about 2,000 years. The Iron Age lasted only about 700 years. In the last 1,300 years since then, we've gone from very basic theory of flight to continuous presence in space. Predicting the next 1,000 years is practically impossible so there's no reason to even consider coal and oil a million years from now.
 
2014-08-30 11:42:25 AM

Hollie Maea: This guy thinks it could be possible to make artificial coal and oil after the sun goes out.


If you think about it, it certainly *is* possible.

We know of thousands of exoplanets.  Our best guess is that there are BILLIONS of planets that are similar to Earth.  We also have 4-5 billion years before the Sun goes out.

Humans as we know them are about .2 million years old.  Technologically, we've come a long way.  How much further will we go in another .8 million years?  And then we'd be 1 million years old...now imagine having 100x longer.  That's only 100 million years.  Now imagine 4 billion.

It's POSSIBLE that humans will outlive the Sun going out.  If they do, they certainly 'could' make coal and oil, if they wanted to.

It's also possible that, on one of those billions of planets out there, lifeforms like us, will be happily orbiting their local star.  They won't know or care that we're all dead...they'll be busy doing their own thing, which could certainly include artificially producing coal and oil.

So yeah, it's possible.
 
2014-08-30 11:46:34 AM

BumpInTheNight: My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power and no one wants to pay for it.  Would you be surprised to know my idiot friend the libertarian recently moved out to the oil fields and that's where he decided to be a libertarian and support big oil's agenda?  He's also sadly the only person I've known who moved to the fast money oil fields and still makes chump change.


Somebody has to make the fast food, even in the fast money oil fields.
 
2014-08-30 11:46:38 AM

Tobin_Lam: There's no good reason to discuss humanity on a million year timescale. We can't predict anything on that timescale. The Stone Age lasted 3.4 million years. The Bronze Age lasted about 2,000 years. The Iron Age lasted only about 700 years. In the last 1,300 years since then, we've gone from very basic theory of flight to continuous presence in space. Predicting the next 1,000 years is practically impossible so there's no reason to even consider coal and oil a million years from now.


I'd argue predicting the next 10 years is practically impossible too.

The thing is, without human intervention, the Earth will continue to produce coal and oil.  So, I would argue that meets the criteria of renewability.
 
2014-08-30 12:00:54 PM
 
2014-08-30 12:11:11 PM
What fraction of a percent is wind power? Or is it in the negatives?
 
2014-08-30 12:12:17 PM

Fark_Guy_Rob: The thing is, without human intervention, the Earth will continue to produce coal and oil. So, I would argue that meets the criteria of renewability.


We're talking on a human timescale. Coal and oil are not renewable on a human timescale. Manipulating the timescale can show many things that aren't relevant and doing so is disingenious.
 
2014-08-30 12:13:57 PM

MrSteve007: Destructor: Enjoy your subsidized profits. And the rich get richer.
Solar power is a middle-class thing, with a vast majority of residential installs going to households between $40k and $90k.
[media.treehugger.com image 662x442]
/time to get a new angle.


First, I was a little harsh there. But, you have to understand, not everyone can enjoy the subsidized benefits of solar panels. I would love them, but I'm forbidden by my HOA to install them. (Why don't you move, Destructor? Why don't I have a million dollars? Same basic reasons, I guess.)

Only about half the US population live in detached dwellings. Of those, only a fraction aren't renters, or bound by HOAs. And then of those, you have to cull financially stressed households. (Are there local government issues? Probably) This is not a slam-dunk.

The amount of subsidies the solar panel club gets is not insubstantial at $.96/kw. That money comes from somewhere... Some of it comes from me.
 
2014-08-30 12:25:18 PM

Tobin_Lam: Fark_Guy_Rob: The thing is, without human intervention, the Earth will continue to produce coal and oil. So, I would argue that meets the criteria of renewability.

We're talking on a human timescale. Coal and oil are not renewable on a human timescale. Manipulating the timescale can show many things that aren't relevant and doing so is disingenious.


I get that I'm being a little pedantic, and my Boobies admitted that....but it's not really about the timescale.

The Earth is producing coal and oil *right now*.  Just like it has been for millions of years.  Whether or not we run out is a question of how much we use.  If we use more than is being created, yes, we will run out.  With oil and coal, it seems pretty clear that we will run out unless we

1.)  Use less
2.)  Create more

But it is totally renewable.  We can create more.  We can do nothing and more of it will come into existence.  And we can artificially create more - just like we can create gold (if we want to).

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/18/scientists-produce-bio-cr ud e-oil-in-less-than-60-minutes/
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4732398/ns/technology_and_science-science/ t/ researchers-turn-manure-crude-oil/#.VAH52fldVIo
 
2014-08-30 12:30:52 PM
The anti-renewable energy sentiments in this thread is causing me to seriously consider recommending psychiatric evaluation to a few derping farkers.  When you have no valid argument you extend the argument to ridiculous proportions by claiming the counterargument is invalid based on your new extended parameters.  I think I've heard that called a strawman before.

The sun is the largest nuclear reactor that mankind currently can harness energy from.  The energy from the sun travels 93 million miles and takes 8 and a half minutes to reach us without any intervention from us. This energy, regardless of conditions on Earth, will continue to be delivered, for free, to this planet for billions of years.  Yet, people are still wanting to dig in the dirt out of old habits...  Old habits which are responsible for everything from deforestation to pollution to habitat destruction to the toxic buildup of chemicals in our water, air, and food supply.

This is not a liberal versus conservative argument.  It's a rational versus irrational argument and the rational argument is the one to act toward CONSERVING the planet's ecological balances.  If you can't get solar panels where you live then instead of trumpeting false narratives discouraging their use, put your energy into ameliorating the backward situation that has put you in the predicament where your neighbors and community members have denied that ability to you.

Solar energy could power all of humanity's needs a thousand times over with plenty to spare.  Stop trying to suggest otherwise.
 
2014-08-30 12:42:57 PM

MrSteve007: Nevermind the empirical evidence that price of energy from renewables is now nearing or even below fossil or nuclear based electricity (based on total levelized cost, which includes factors such as transmission, distribution and capacity factor). It doesn't matter to the naysayers if the information is directly from the US Department of Energy or IEA. When it comes to solar power, for the past few years, capacity in the USA is more than doubling every year - with roughly half the growth coming from residential rooftops.

Meanwhile, I better get back to making sure I pay my utility bills, or else I wouldn't have the energy to power the entirety of my house and my electric car.
[fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net image 681x115]

And I was excited to get this letter in the mail yesterday. I wonder what I should do with my sweet, sweet annual solar tariff money?
[fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net image 800x486]

/never mind that I've been living a completely solar powered life in Seattle for years now.
//geothermal is the cheapest form of new electricity, hands down, @ $44.5 per MWh


Getting paid 54 cents per kWh while most consumers pay their power company a bit over a dime undermines everything. It is actually very difficult to calculate if solar is really a good value because capital/finance costs need to be calculated as well as average annual energy production. Since not everyone has the same subsidies that you received it makes little sense using yourself as a model. It is like asking a lottery winner if it is worth it to play.
 
2014-08-30 12:47:14 PM

Destructor: First, I was a little harsh there. But, you have to understand, not everyone can enjoy the subsidized benefits of solar panels. I would love them, but I'm forbidden by my HOA to install them. (Why don't you move, Destructor? Why don't I have a million dollars? Same basic reasons, I guess.)

Only about half the US population live in detached dwellings. Of those, only a fraction aren't renters, or bound by HOAs. And then of those, you have to cull financially stressed households. (Are there local government issues? Probably) This is not a slam-dunk.

First off, I'm curious what state you're in? Many states have rules against HOA limits on solar.

Second, even if you're a renter or in an area without solar access, there can be options for community based solar projects, run by the local (public) utility and owned/invested by ratepayers. Up here in Washington, they're becoming fairly common and numerous. It's simply a matter of local policy and leadership. We're closing in on a decade of community based solar projects being in place, with more popping up all the time.

Seattle Community Solar: cost of investment, per share, $150. Very affordable, good ROI (about 4-5 years) and available to any Seattle City Light ratepayer. My office has invested in community solar projects at the local park, aquarium, zoo and community center. My parents have invested in the Ellensburg community solar array, on top to putting rooftop solar on their house.

Local park:
www.silicon-energy.com
www.silicon-energy.com

Local aquarium:
www.seattleaquarium.org

Local zoo, carousal
cospowerlines.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

And remember, this is working in cloudy Seattle, which is why we have incentives in place and larger incentives for locally made solar products. In an area like Texas, Florida, Arizona, or California - you could do all of this, without any subsidy what-so-ever, and it would be profitable. Why those states aren't doing something similar is simply mind-boggling.
 
2014-08-30 12:49:11 PM
Hollie Maea:
Counterpoint: the emission of CO2 and pollutants is currently "free".

And the pollution from manufacturing solar panels is also currently "free."
 
2014-08-30 12:50:25 PM

BumpInTheNight: My idiot friend the libertarian keeps going on about how Germany has sunk itself because now its got all this free yet some how very expensive power and no one wants to pay for it.  Would you be surprised to know my idiot friend the libertarian recently moved out to the oil fields and that's where he decided to be a libertarian and support big oil's agenda?  He's also sadly the only person I've known who moved to the fast money oil fields and still makes chump change.


I saw a late 90s Eddie Bauer Explorer the other day with a giant decal in the rear window.

"Spoiled Oil Field Wife"

I threw up in my mouth a little.
 
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