This is really good stuff
This is really good stuff
Looks like a good source of technical data
Renewable energy is the way of the future. The future is now. Sometimes we have to set aside economics and revolutionize the way we do things. Hell, once it was decided that men needed to be on the moon, it didn't take long to happen. When are we going to decide that alternative energy needs to be mainstream? Have we got the backbone to do it? Sometimes I wonder.
Guess I should give NREL a chance ... Looks like the days of my saying something intelligent are slipping. For intelligence, see PardigmShift's remarks, then my addendum, -j
rated 15 months ago [from 20081112 -j]
"Let's have a frank discussion about solar power. It is an under developed farce that exists only to please armchair environmentalists. Armchair environmentalists?? Really? Really. People that work around, with, or develop solar energy know the real truth that there is no future in today's solar technologies. You simply have to account that to fully understand the potential of solar power, economics must be factored in. Money matters. Recently, I visited the chief electrical engineer for an unnamed major utility in the southwestern US. She is in charge of the alternative energy program for that utility. They have several solar farms as well as smaller scale installations scattered about. When asked what kind of ROI she was seeing on an average solar install, she stated, rather matter-of-fact, that there was a 0 ROI. that's right. Z-E-R-O. The only two reasons that this multi-billion dollar company invests into solar energy is (1.) community involvement- trying to do what is perceived to be the responsible thing, and (2.) green credits. Yeah- good 'ol coal-fired offsetting green credits. You should read up on that a little bit. Bottom line, solar simply costs more than it's worth, uses significant energy to produce the panels, and is a continued liability for the owner. Solar has a carbon footprint- let's not forget about that. At the utility I work at, I have made a conscious effort to systematically decommission every bit of solar in our system that I can. It costs me more to maintain, eats up environmentally harmful batteries, and is a huge pain in the ass."
I wondering about the the general "innumeracy" of the US population, who, I presume, do not appreciate the enormous scale of oil production and consumption in the US. Nothing is more efficient and easy for meeting our massive energy needs than just pumping it out of the ground, allowing for the losses in extraction from the ground, transportation and refining of the crude, and transportation to the point of use. These production costs from a thermodynamic point of view means that a lot of the intrinsic chemical energy in petroleum is lost on its way to the consumer.
There is a big push now for alternative energy sources. Here is an interesting statistic: in the Dec 8, 2008 edition of C&E News (the newsletter of the American Chemical society), an article on biomass conversion to gasoline reported that at most 50 % of the available biomass could be converted by 2050 if "every scrap of that material were converted into transportation fuels and combine with the biofuels that can be made from available plant starches, sugars, and oils". That's significant, but that shows that there will still be a huge dependence on fossil fuels.
Will solar energy make an impact? In Pardigm's remarks, he does not indicate whether the idea was to pump electricity generated from solar cells directly in to the power grid; certainly not likely to provide a major source of power anytime soon. It is also unclear how big the carbon foot print of solar cell production and installation actually is. Probably not as big as for hydrogen fuel, which is generated by cracking natural gas or by electrolysis using ... electricity. So the question I have is whether on a much smaller, local scale, solar energy can provide a positive improvement energy balance for the typical home owner, or small business operator. The chemical engineers will have to work on that one; I'm sure a lot is already known, not doubt at NREL, but I, like most folks, am still naive and unclear about its potential contribution. -j
Its a good idea, less damaging to the environment.
Learn about NREL's research and development of renewable fuels and electricity that advance national energy goals to change the way we power our homes, businesses, and cars.
Digital rendering of NREL's planned Research Support Facility.
Rendering by Marjorie Schott
Major Construction Begins on NREL's Main Campus
NREL is in the process of designing and building key facilities to meet the nation's crucial research objectives for clean and sustainable energy technologies. A $101 million increase to NREL's budget makes it possible for NREL to move forward with the construction of new facilities. The budget increase, part of the 2007 appropriation approved earlier by Congress, supports President Bush's initiatives in solar, biofuels, and other renewable energy technology development...
I stole this link from itneverends. He's got some pretty interesting stuff. As anyone who has been here knows I'm an environmental freak. I had not seen this particular site yet. I like it. Thank you!
Now for the real truth, by far the most devastating targets in the United States are the 103 commercial nuclear plants that are online today. The number one terrorist target is Indian Point and its 3 nuclear power plants, 2 of which are online. What makes Indian Point by far the number one threat in the United States? First of all, put together, these 3 nuclear plants have accumulated 65 years worth of stockpiled highly radioactive waste, which is quite vulnerably stored. Then factor in the proximity of Indian Point to New York City. It is only 24 miles north of the New York City border. Indian Point is surrounded by the densest concentration of population in the United States, the northeast corridor.
Consider this, if 1, 2 or maybe 3 of those 4 hijacked Boeing 757 and / or 767 airliners that were full with fuel had hit Indian Point there would have been approximately 20 million people contaminated with deadly radiation. Thousands of square miles of our beautiful Earth would have been poisoned by the radiation and would be lost forever. With the prevailing winds west to east, the whole northeast corridor from New York City to Boston would have been history within a few hours. By the way, there are 101 other commercial nuclear power plants like Indian Point that are still online across the United States today.
The Department of Energy has many other nuclear facilities all across the United States, and is responsible for the nation's nuclear weapons complexes. This includes almost 60 tons of plutonium in various forms and an unknown amount of other highly dangerous radioactive wastes. Another simple mathematical equation for a place in the United States that is most susceptible to a terrorist attack via airliner would be the Pantex Nuclear Weapons complex near Amarillo, Texas.
Why, because the Pantex Nuclear Weapons complex has stockpiled more than 30 tons of deadly plutonium. This is 50% of all the plutonium that is stored in the United States. The plutonium is stored in 1940's, 1950's and 1960's designed above ground bunkers, which are quite vulnerable to an attack by a large airliner or airliners that are full of fuel. By the way, the Pantex Nuclear Weapons complex is only five miles from the Amarillo International Airport.
The Department of Energy analyzes and tests the security of its own nuclear weapons facilities by conducting simulations and mock force-on-force exercises, often using United States military forces as adversaries. According to experts who have conducted these tests in the past, the government fails to protect against these attacks more than 50 percent of the time, although the exact figure is classified.
All 103 of the United States nuclear power plants that are online and producing electricity should be shut down today. Through energy efficiencies we could quickly absorb the 18% of the electricity that is derived from these 103 nuclear plants. We should also shut down every Department Of Energy facility that deals with nuclear energy. These nuclear plants and facilities should be guarded at our highest level of alert.
By the way, if we wanted to put our minds to it, within three years we could be making back that 18% of electricity by generating it with the cheapest and cleanest way to create electricity, wind turbines. From start to finish a huge wind farm can be up and generating electricity within a year. Shouldn't we be investing in the cheapest to produce, fastest to market and a renewable source of energy, on land or offshore, wind turbine farms?
Two other major targets would be Fort Detrick in Maryland and Camp 12 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. (see link for the rest of this article)
EXCELLENT, WE NEED MORE OF THIS. IF WIND WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO BUILD THE ENTIRE COUNTRY OF HOLLAND, IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD.
Just don't like wind turbines, ugly and inefficient.