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The cost of "green" electricity.

02/09/2008 7:58 PM

What will be the cost of "green" electricity? Will we be forced to pay higher rates and use less, lowering our standard of living. Check out the cost of the new tech here

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2007/2007-12-18-01.asp

This is a new planned coal generating plant using CO2 sequestration, which is likely not to work anyway. With all the added costs, what will be the price of the electricity?

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#1

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/10/2008 2:23 AM

One must consider all the impacts of any action.

The cost of electricity can then roughly be set at.

Capital + Running + Cost to nature - Discount from nature.

60 years ago nature was capable of discounting all the cost to it.

With the growing population and the reducing size of nature the discount offered by nature no longer cover the cost and the balance should be added to the price of electricity

At the moment nature pays for part of our electricity bill. (we are actually sequestrating nature)

It is therefore only proper to pay the additional costs for saving nature.

I have no idea if the sequestration of CO2 will work.

Note that I am not a global warming fan BUT "passionate" anti pollution.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/10/2008 2:12 PM

You are a source of pollution simply because you breathe, according to the anti-CO2 crowd. What is your capital, running, cost to nature and discount from nature and who then decides you should be stopped from breathing?

I do not consider CO2 to be a pollutant. Plants thrive in a higher CO2 atmosphere, producing faster growth, more food and more oxygen for us. I am for reducing the toxic pollutants and particulates. I am for planting and harvesting timber crops which will increase the number of trees and protecting, with good forest management, more forestlands to prevent wildfires and I can even see the reasons for letting great areas of rainforest alone.

I simply do not think it is justified to increase the cost of electricity and reduce my standard of living, because I can't afford it. Make everything that uses or generates electricity more efficient and the profit will come from the savings. The price could stay the same, with adjustment for inflation, forever and I would not complain. I would be happier if the cost of energy were to go down with more energy efficiency.

Sounds like you have been listening to too many Transnational Progressives - John Fonte "The Ideological War Within the West"

The idea that we can just pump CO2 underground where it will stay forever is flawed. There are too many geological processes by which it can all eventually escape, some of which are mentioned in the article, therefore the cost will be wasted and I don't want to pay that kind of cost. The idea that Man is producing so much CO2 that we are causing the Earth to warm is also flawed, which is the driving force behind the notion of sequestration. I think that even if we made no CO2 the Earth's climate would still change and get warmer.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 1:01 AM

we burn oil and coal because it is cheap. If we had to synthesize it, we would not do it.

In time all the cheap oil will be gone, so whatever you use to make electricity will be more expensive with time.

At some point it will be cheaper to use the 'green' methods. When that happens they will be used. Any other approach will be wasteful.

in 5 years oil will be $150 a barrel as it it getting scarcer all the time. There will be up and down spikes in this market. We recently nudged $100/barrel. we will get back there as soon as the summer driving season starts. what will we hit this summer? $125? or will the decline in the US economy halt htah? Or will China buy all the oil the USA does not use?

so no matter what happens we will pay more.

The best thing to do is super insulate all homes and factories. We can cut the amount of fuel used for heating and cooling by 80% with aggressive use of modern insulation and heat pump technology.

Solar power will reach 40% efficiency in 10 years for bulk product. Now at 15-20%.

Large southern desert areas will save the USA over the next 40-50 years as they ramp up solar. It has to come and will. Coal will last and endure foe 300 years or more, but a polluter.

sequestration is CO2 from burning will always be costly as the 80% nitrogen gets in the way.

You can pump CO2 into deep rock for long term storage. It has been there for 50 million years = long term. That is where the oil came from. Those impermeable areas will stay impermeable.

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#317
In reply to #3

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

11/08/2008 12:00 PM

Historical Note: oil hit $147 on July 11, 2008, not "five years from now" as you stated. It is now down to around $60 dropping perhaps to $50 some say. That gives new meaning to "spike" in oil prices, and it happened in less than 4 months up and 4 months down.

Such instability is reason alone to get off oil ASAP. Talk about a business killer...

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 10:31 AM

I simply do not think it is justified to increase the cost of electricity and reduce my standard of living, because I can't afford it.

Pull the other one it has got bells on!

An objection to coal-fired plant with "carbon sequestration" is valid - but not on those grounds: try complaining about the toxic pollutants produced by burning coal.

I would be happier if the cost of energy were to go down with more energy efficiency.

It has been demonstrated that increasing the cost of electricity encourages energy efficiency - you can check with ONS. You will not get both energy efficiency and reduced energy costs unless the latter follows the former and is caused by something quite separate.

The idea that Man is producing so much CO2 that we are causing the Earth to warm is also flawed, which is the driving force behind the notion of sequestration. I think that even if we made no CO2 the Earth's climate would still change and get warmer

The first sentence is not a logical consequence of the second: there are climate cycles, but there is evidence that the amount of CO2 produced by mankind's burning of fossil fuels over the last 10 years has affected the atmosphere so that the current warming is worse than it otherwise would have been. The cutting down of forests also contributes to the problem - as does the poisoning of the Scandinavian forests by the acid rain produced by coal-fired power stations in England.

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#155
In reply to #15

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 1:54 AM

John.

I have the answer to part of the problem...............Al would be pleased.

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#173
In reply to #155

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 7:41 PM

I like it

Why are the sabre-tooth tiger cubs green? Is that because it's "green" transport?

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#28
In reply to #2

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 3:28 PM

So we now create and industry that consumes CO2??

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#37
In reply to #28

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 2:40 AM

We already have an industry that consumes CO2. It's called living trees and is aka Zooloplankton .

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#56
In reply to #2

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 7:12 AM

<....Plants thrive in a higher CO2 atmosphere, producing faster growth, more food and more oxygen for us...>

Correct, though there may be a time delay to consider in this process.

<...I am for reducing the toxic pollutants and particulates. I am for planting and harvesting timber crops which will increase the number of trees and protecting, with good forest management, more forestlands to prevent wildfires and I can even see the reasons for letting great areas of rainforest alone....>

Praiseworthy goals and an admirable stance.

What the environmental lobby is worried about is the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration, which is unprecedented.

<...I simply do not think it is justified to increase the cost of electricity and reduce my standard of living...>

Fossil fuel combustion processes, that coincidentally release CO2 to atmosphere, remain a major component of most nations' stock of energy supply facilities. Energy supply companies are primarily interested in achieving a satisfactory supply of energy for their customers and concurrently a supply of dividend for their shareholders! And if smaller customers were to slip off their conveyor belt, well.....

There are always investments that both the individual and the organisation could make to reduce energy consumption, and concurrently enhance the standard of living: turn it off (nagging?); timeswitches and other demand management devices; energy-efficient lamps; extra insulation; solar capture; multiple-glazing, etc., etc. The attractiveness of these investments is determined by the rate-of-return calculation for a project, which is easily evaluated. In many cases, the rate-of-return is some way above the highest of the percentages of the bank borrowing rate, the mortgage rate, the savings rate, etc., and the certainty of that return some way above those on high-risk stocks, for example. These are the best bets, though every investment case has to be determined individually on its own merits. Many investments can be capitalised into the enhanced value of a building.

<...The price could stay the same, with adjustment for inflation, forever....>

Change is a certainty. The availability of fossil fuels is dropping with continuing consumption. Consumption per head is increasing and the world population is increasing.

If the kWh were to be considered a money currency unit instead, and the availability of money were dropping, what would happen to its value (illustrative, rhetorical question)?

<....can't afford it....>

Given a rising market energy price, could it be that the risk of not being able to afford it would be a major driver in invoking economies? Can any individual or organisation afford not to make such economies (rhetorical question)?

<...The idea that we can just pump CO2 underground where it will stay forever is flawed. There are too many geological processes by which it can all eventually escape...>

It compares well with the concept of "sweeping the dust under the carpet" in many people's eyes.

<...I think that even if we made no CO2 the Earth's climate would still change and get warmer...>

What the environmentalists are concerned about is the difference between a zero-emission model and the additional effect of today's high rate-of-change of CO2 concentration. The fossil record cannot give answers to the questions, so predictive models based upon various assumptions and projections are the only analysis tools available.

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#157
In reply to #56

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 3:10 AM

I posted a few quantitative numbers that I gleaned from raw data in Wikipedia that no one seems to want to show us. Blog address is http://cr4.globalspec.com/comment/193966

These are just some considerations, but I pulled average CO2 output from a human and did some scaling calculations (nothing complicated, but it shows the output of the human race as biological entities, the mass of the earth, the mass of he atmosphere, the mass of CO2, the percentages of CO2 as a green house gas. Interesting comparisons and they show orders of magnitude that are always left out of the main stream media's reports.

I made none of the raw data up, but used US Gov reports (which may lie), UN Reports(which will lie), and wikipedia volumetric data which may be old or somewhat inaccurate but is probably in the ballpark just based on the law of averages.

The one thing you never hear is that Oceans (I.E. 70% of the planet's surface and comprise 98% of the planet's water provides a self regulating system for CO2 containment. Would you believe that the ocean contains 12 times more CO2 than the atmosphere does. Now, since a warmer the ocean can sequester less CO2, it would stand to follow that Global temperature change drives CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The data Al Gore uses in his global warming fear scam, the misnamed "An Inconvenient Truth" shows a graph that is indexed in a scale of 100's of thousands of years. He points to the correlations that show the temperature rises as CO2 Levels rise. With the scale of the graph, it seems plausible. The data he used was gleaned from hundreds of scientists around the globe condensing the data from thousands of Ice Core samples showing the correlation of temperature and CO2 levels.

What he doesn't show you is that the CO2 rise follows the curve, not leads it, but 200-500 years later. The data is just data. But in no other scientific iteration does reaction precede action. Effect does not precede cause.

CO2 is not even the largest greenhouse gas. Water vapor is. By a large margin. Marketing and Special Interest has been driven by greed and an old P.T. Barnum saying...'There's a sucker born every minute". What he didn't explain to you was something he assumed "They are Progressives and Liberals"...new terms for Fascists.

I'm not going to go into all the conspiracy theories and social order rhetoric, but be warned. Own a gun, and know how to use it. It's in the Constitution for a reason, and if you read the Founding Father's writings about it, you'll see they understood.

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#159
In reply to #157

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 3:44 AM

Atmospheric carbon dioxide CO2 levels may not the global warming triggering event but an elevated level of atmospheric CO2 is not going to help and make the Earth warm faster than if the levels remained static an pre industrial revolution levels.

The really scary figure that comes from the ice cores is not so much the level of CO2, which is currently at it's highest concentration for at lease 800,000 years, but the rate at which it is rising. Currently atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing almost 60 times faster than they have over the same 800,000 year period.

During that period there has been an ice age and numerous large volcanic events and a couple of not insignificant extraterrestrial impacts but at no time did levels rise any where near as fast as they are currently.

Sorry folks the rising atmospheric temperatures we are seeing and if you don't believe temperatures are on the increase then you really need to get out and look around you more, lands squarely at our feet and our ridiculously wasteful and inefficient activities. CO2 may not be the trigger but it is and will be responsible for a increased level of trapped solar radiation and that can only mean a hotter atmosphere and oceans which in turn will lead to an even faster rise in atmospheric CO2 as the oceans capacity to hold it diminishes.

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#161
In reply to #159

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 5:11 AM

And in the 70's we were entering an Ice Age. Buy the hype if you will. I'm not saying e shouldn't focus on alternative energy sources. All hydrocarbons are manifestations of nature of sequestering carbon. You are a way of nature sequestering carbon. Hence the term Carbon-Based Life Forms.

You tossed out the rate of 60 times faster. Can you give me any data that supports that? You forgot to mention the time frames that were measured. You forgot to mention what was producing them or what measure you were using to interpret the numbers. 60 times faster than the average over 800 million years? Have there been any times in that 800 million years that the levels have been higher than exist now? Can you tell me that there have been no other significant jumps or dips in the levels. Can you link them to effects that could have no other cause.

No, you can't. If you actually looked a the graphs from the data accumulated from all of those ice cores, we're in a high point. Global temperatures will probably drop off over the coming centuries. That also correlates to the solar indications that we are entering a less active phase of our sun. Everyone in the Political realm tries to deny Sol's impact on the energy quotient of the Earth, but low and behold, the earth is a storage device, and it's only imput...come on, you can say it...our beloved SUN.

Yes, we get other energy inputs from the rest of the Universe, but they are statistically and mathematically insignificant. Relativity is a bitch even Quantum Mechanics has yet to bridle (nor has is managed to bridle my relatives, but I don't blame that on the mathematics, but them).

Pick a fact and exploit it makes you a snake oil salesman (not pointing fingers here, just creating a parable). Gather facts and come up with a theory that fits them makes you a scientist. Creating the facts makes you a God. Lying about them makes you a politician.

We're going to heat and cool. It's a proven pattern. Ask the Dinosaurs. I'm not against finding alternative energy sources, hell, I'd like to have my own, but crying wolf and ignoring information belies a political position not a scientific one. And you know what they call a bus load of politicians going over a cliff...

I would like to leave this portion of the discussion with one of my favorite pertinent poems about a relevant piece of Art in the 16th century by Pietre Breughel...

The poem is by Walter de la Mare and is entitled "Brueghel's Winter". Notice the misspelling of the artist's name. The poem is made in reference to two paintings, Mr. Breughel 1566 painting entitled 'The Numbering at Bethlehem' and the 1565 painting entitled 'The Hunters in the Snow'. Both paintings can be viewed here.

The Poem is as follows:

Brueghel's Winter

Walter de la Mare

Jagg'd mountain peaks and skies ice-green
Wall in the wild, cold scene below.
Churches, farms, bare copse, the sea
In freezing quiet of winter show;
Where ink-black shapes on fields in flood
Curling, skating, and sliding go.
To left, a gabled tavern; a blaze;
Peasants; a watching child; and lo,
Muffled, mute--beneath naked trees
In sharp perspective set a-row--
Trudge huntsmen, sinister spears aslant,
Dogs snuffling behind them in the snow;
And arrowlike, lean, athwart the air
Swoops into space a crow.

But flame, nor ice, nor piercing rock,
Nor silence, as of a frozen sea,
Nor that slant inward infinite line
Of signboard, bird, and hill, and tree,
Give more than subtle hint of him
Who squandered here life's mystery.

-----------------------------

So endeth the poem. But since when, in our lifetime, has Bethlehem been a snow covered winter wonderland? (homework required and will be graded)

...a good start.

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#164
In reply to #161

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 6:32 AM

Please try to forget Al Gore (I try to, and sometimes succeed).

Mankind cannot do anything about sunspot cycles. We can control, to some extent, our own impact upon the earth and its atmosphere. For all I know, our impact on global warming may be an order of magnitude smaller than that caused by other factors but I see no reason to doubt that mankind's actions are accelerating it (and, in many other ways, damaging the earth for future generations).

It seems obvious to me that we should, whenever reasonably practicable, cut down on waste of energy, destruction of the environment etc. [For instance, I walk to the shops, use public transport when it is practicable, even though it is more expensive, use email instead of letters when I can, set the heating to turn off when I'm alone in the house, but I drive a car when I need to - e.g. somewhere not served by public transport or if public transport does not start early enough in the morning to get me there on time]. Commonsense rather than hair shirts.

Incidentally, if Bethlehem had been covered in snow, the shepherds would not have been in the fields with their sheep, they would have gathered their flocks into sheepfolds for shelter. Those pretty pictures are based on someone's imagination.

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#166
In reply to #164

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 8:08 AM

I understand that. I am of the same mind. What I don't want is my government agreeing to idiotic and unfounded World Government Subsidy Programs like the Kyoto Protocol. Do you understand what the Kyoto Protocol is? It is a way for the UN to take money from the Industrialized Nations, that are already pushing the boundaries on implementing those same standards and leading the research and development or even better practices. The UN will then transfer that money to all their corrupt officials, commission dozens, if not hundreds of small panel 'expert' studies from pseudo scientists and then Hail Al Gore, commonly refereed to in scientific or preschool discussion groups as "The Grand Pooba of Scientific Morons" and the epitome of "Snake Oil Salesmen".

But the countries that are up and coming (lets see...China, all of Africa, most of Russia (again), and all of South America, that don't care, don't have to play.

Let me ask you a question. How much do you want to give the UN for this? Al Gore wants to give them 60 TRILLION Dollars over 5 years. Lets see...that's 200k for every person in the US. Do you have it? Can you write a cheque for it right now? Will you be able to in 5 years? Oh, and remember, you have to write the same cheque for your wife and each of your children.

All that for something that only a dozen countries are required to do. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, all of Africa, the Middle East, South America, Mexico and Spain are Exempt from.

Can we say con game?

The Cold War hasn't stopped. Not since 1945. The players change, the board changes, the tactics change, but the goal never changes. It hasn't since we first banded together in loose-nit groups of hunter-gatherers with lowbrow, hairsuit personal images.

Those that don't have enough want some, those that have enough want to be left alone unless you tell them they deserve more. Those that have more will do anything they can to increase their lead.

Global warming is just a tool for them to get you to voluntarily give up your power. Gun laws that restrict law abiding citizens are just another step in striping you of your ability to determine your own future.

Can you say "Yes'm Massa, No'm Massa, I be a good Nigger, Massa!" I'm not making fun of African's brought over to the US as slaves, I'm just using the most recent vocabulary to indicate slavery. I'm sorry but I don't know any other slave jargon, though Africans were both slaves and Masters long before America was discovered as the New World.

The really scary thing is, this time, we're doing it ourselves.

I'm going to quit now. I'm getting a little off topic. There's lots more, but you'll have to some reading. I suggest you start with the personal writings of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence and forged the Constitution. While I may be considered a decent writer in this limited audience, I have naught but adoration for the ability of our founding fathers to impart wisdom wielding nothing more that ink and quill.

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#170
In reply to #161

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 11:57 AM

Hi tomkaighin,

  • You tossed out the rate of 60 times faster. Can you give me any data that supports that?

This BBC Report gives an overview of the results from the ice core samples taken primarily in Antarctica but also Greenland and few other locations from within the arctic regions.

You go on to ask some perfectly valid questions, however, they have all been covered in considerable detail in my CR4 blog An Engineer's Look at the Future of Energy. The link will take you to the table of contents and has links to all the discussions that have taken place so far. Some of the threads have been dormant for some time but they are all still active and any participants will be notified of any new posts to the threads.

I recommend visiting the blog, but here are some short answers to some of the questions you raised: Before we go any further the period I was referring to

  • 60 times faster than the average over 800 million years?

First off my post clearly states that we are talking about the last 800,000 (eight hundred thousand years) not 800,000,000 (eight hundred million years) as referred to in your post. That's not only a thousand times longer than I quoted but something like 20% of Earth's total age.

As snow falls in places like Antarctica and Greenland where the temperature never gets above 0°C and allows the ice to melt it becomes compacted and builds up. The annual seasonal climatic cycles then form striations that like the rings in the trunk of a tree can be counted back to determine the year the layer was formed. As these layers form they also trap small pockets or bubbles of air which then remain isolated and are tiny samples of the atmosphere at the time the bubbles became trapped. You can then combine the layered striations and composition of the air in the trapped pockets to generate a profile of the atmosphere's composition and how it has changed over the time frame the ice sheets formed.

Now, getting back to where the sixty (60) fold figure. The analysis of the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice cores show that the current levels of atmospheric CO2 are higher than they have ever been over the 800,000 years covered by the ice cores.

If you compare the current level of atmospheric CO2 to the historical record from the ice cores the levels are now higher than they have been over the entire 800,000 years covered by the ice cores. Having a hitherto never occurring level of CO2 is bad enough but it's when you look at how long it took to get here that things start to get really perturbing.

Over the past 17 years[*] the level of atmospheric CO2 has increased by 500 PPM[†].

OK, what does that mean and how does it relate to the atmospheric composition profiles generated from the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice cores and where does the factor of 60 come from?

If you take the recent 30 PPM increase and look for a similar increase you will find that it tool at least 1,000 years to achieve. In other words in a mere 17 years we have managed to do what has hitherto taken natural forces and process at least a millennia (1,000 years) to achieve and that's where the factor of 60[‡] comes from.

Over the last 800.000 years there has never been a similar level of atmospheric CO2 and by comparison to previous events the extraordinarily rapid increase is so far off the scale it is frightening. It is possible that the change is a naturally occurring but you have to admit the nonexistence of precedent has to make us the prime suspect.

  • Can you tell me that there have been no other significant jumps or dips in the levels?

YES!.

Go back, look at the information in the links and read some of the threads in the blog and you will see that over the 800,000 years in question it not only has not happened but the any change was almost two orders of magnitude longer to take place..

Just look at what is happening with the weather patterns. In Australia it is currently autumn (fall for North American Readers) so the temperatures should be starting to drop. Yet Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, just recorded the longest heat wave on record. 15 consecutive days with temperatures in excess of 35°C (95°F) and for most days never going below 25°C (77°F) at night and a couple days hitting the 40°C (104°F). Then there are glaciers receding, ice shelves breaking up, two tropical cyclones (hurricanes or monsoons) hitting the same small city in a week with a third two weeks later, continent wide increases of median temperatures, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

During our tenure we have wantonly committed what can only be described as environmental vandalism. Our greedy and glutinous consumption of Earth's natural resources has pushed, stretched, distorted, twisted and strained the geo & biospheres several orders of magnitude greater than any natural process. If we don't take a serious look at our attitude and actions something is going to break and you can pretty much guarantee the consequences are not going to be desirable.



[*] 17 Years: These figures are around 18 months old and if the trend till that date continued it is likely that things could be even worse.

[†] PPM: Parts per million.

[‡] Factor of 60: 1,000 divided by 17 is 58.824.

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#175
In reply to #170

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 8:17 PM

Hallo Masu

There are plenty of folks out there measuring CO2. The best global data comes from Mauna Loa in Hawaii, where the most pristine air on Earth is sampled since the fifties. The sampling is so fine, that seasonal variations clearly show. But, THERE ARE NO 60_FOLD SIGNAL DISCERNIBLE ANYWHERE!!

I went into up to date data in the Antarctica drillings of Vostok and the two European Union ones. Their data shows modern time increase of CO2 allright. but THERE ARE NO 60_FOLD SIGNAL IN THEM ANYWHERE!!

You try to take an old BBC report as factual? I would not try to sell anything they say as facts to real engineers. That lot tends not to take something for the gospel, just because some "journalist" said so, if you did not notice that by now.

Sonny, whichever way you screw up your calculations, I don't care. They are just bad. And, obviously so are the conclusions drawn from them.

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#176
In reply to #175

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 9:49 PM

Masu is correct. he speaks of rate of change of CO2 per year for a long slow increase compared to the recent period.

If we went up 500 PPM in 60 years, say, and a comparable similar increase too 3600 years in the past = 60 times the rate. Not 60 times 500 PPM

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#177
In reply to #175

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/26/2008 3:08 AM

Hi leveles,

I went into up to date data in the Antarctica drillings of Vostok and the two European Union ones. Their data shows modern time increase of CO2 allright. but THERE ARE NO 60_FOLD SIGNAL IN THEM ANYWHERE!!

I didn't say there was a 60 fold increase in levels nor did and of the references I posted. What has increased by close to 60 fold is the rate at which atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing.

Since the commencement of the industrial revolution the levels of atmospheric have roughly doubled but the important factor is not the actual doubling but rather the extremely short time frame over which it took place.

Prior to the current trend the maximum rate that CO2 levels changed over the last 800,000 years was 30 PPM over approximately a millennium. If you calculate the rate of change as shown below

T1COO = Natural CO2 trend
T2COO = Current CO2 trend
ΔC1COO = Natural CO2 change
ΔC2COO = Current CO2 change
ΔT1 = Time for natural change to take place
ΔT2 = Time for current change to take place

However if you do the same calculation using the recent measured changes you ger

So, prior to the current increase in atmospheric CO2 the fastest any naturally occurring events over the last 800,000 years could manage was a rate of change of 0.030 ppp.yr-1. However, when we look at the recent change, which you have to admit is almost certainly due to us, the rate of change is 1.764 ppp.yr-1 which is an increase of 58.824 fold.

Admittedly I have not described why the differential or rate of change is important as this is an engineering site and I would have assumed most readers would be familiar with PID[i] feedback or control loops.

Why is the differential or rate of change so important?

It's important because it tells you how far from normal the parameters that are causing the change have shifted from their normal level. You can also use it to calculate how far the parameter you are measuring will ultimately reach and stabilize if something is not done to alter the cause of the change.

An analogy would be a bucket with a hole in it that is being filled from at tap so the level in the bucket remains constant. If we were to partially block the hole the rate at which the water was flowing from the bucket will decrease. As a result the level of water in the bucket would steadily increase until the increased depth of water raised the pressure at the hole sufficiently to equalize the flows and reach a stable contrition.

However, by just looking at the level of water you can only state that the amount of water flowing from the bucket has decreased. If you wish to calculate the new flow rate you need to look at how fast the level is increasing and then in combination with the input flow you can ascertain the output flow and ultimately the percentage of the hole that is obscured.

You can also use the differential or rate of change to ascertain much the level of water in the bucket will rise before the flow rates again normalize and become stable.

What does an almost 60 fold increase to the rate at which atmospheric CO2 levels mean?

First off the non existence of a previous event with a similar rate of change tells us that something not witnessed before has taken place. Over the 800,000 years covered by the ice cores there has been an ice age, numerous cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, several pretty devastating extraterrestrial impacts, over 72,000 solar cycles and any other naturally occurring event that could cause the levels to rise. If there was a period when CO2 levels rose by even 10% of the current rate then there is a good chance the current change is natural but when the nearest recorded change is only 1.7% of the current change it pretty much a certainty that it is us somehow causing the change.

Regardless of the mechanism driving the sudden CO2 increase and results it will ultimately have, we are clearly in uncharted waters and mother nature isn't at the helm.

I have said it before, but people seem not to be paying attention so here it is again.

We are pushing mother nature far harder than she ever pushed herself and if we don't address the inefficient short term profit driven attitudes that have become the norm something is going to break. When it does it's not going to be pretty, but you can bet your last dollar that it's not the people causing the problem that end up paying for it.



[i] PID: Abbreviation for Proportional, Differential & Integral

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#182
In reply to #177

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 6:24 PM

Hallo Masu

You misquoted me yet again. It that a fixed habit with you?

What I said was, that I looked at the measurement data and THERE IS NO 60_FOLD SIGNAL IN IT. Let me emphasize: no 60 fold signal of any kind is to be found. Measurement data beats ideas without foundation any day. But, hey this is an open forum, and whatever warms you cockles......

There is a lot of ignorant talk about CO2, what it can and cannot do, so here is a recapitulation. The Sun, our main furnace radiates as a 6500degreeCelsius Black Body. Meaning, the radiation is well distributed over a very wide range of wavelenghts. The Earth radiates as a 20Celsius Black Body. Same distribution, just at much longer wavelenghts.

Now, take a comb, and break off 14 of every 15 tooth. That represents the Absorption Spectrum of the CO2 in the air. Existing tooth can absorb a small fraction of the heat radiation, but cannot keep it. As they reradiate it, some hits Earth and in the next round most of it is radiated at wavelenght where CO2 is unable to intercept. The bottom line is that this way CO2 is able to retain a few % more heat, than without. That's it!!

When you pile on more CO2, Its absorption spectrum does not change, hence IT IS RETAINING NO MORE HEAT, because it retained all it can long ago. That is the very reason that the UN Global Warming IPCC panel said:

present CO2 warming 1-2 Watts / square meter

future CO2 warming 2-4 W / m2 , maybe, max.

IPCC does specifically said so, because we are already in saturation and future CO2 increases CANNOT LEAD TO ANY TEMPERATURE INCREASES. For the uninitiated the 1-2 and 2-4 range indicates today's uncertainities in the data. No amount of polishing of that apple will lead to a different understanding.

Now, let see how large is the playfield for all living things now. Presently CO2 concentrations are measured in a few hundred ppm (part per million, that means exactly what it said). Plants require more for optimum growth, hence for optimum food, timber, grass and other agricultural products. Formally said: it is now a growth limiting fertilizer.

As I understand, the ocean's mixing layer (the top 100 - 150 meters) contains about 100 times more CO2 than air, acting as a buffer. Deeper waters absorb more, but the time factor is uncertain well over a magnitude.

How high can it go?? Well, you exhale a few % CO2, if my memory serves. You may not want to approach that limit in the air. Nor there is enough carbon to get there. But, 1% would be 10000 ppm. So we have a playfield from a few 100 ppm to over 10000 ppm, and still live to tell about.

SO, WHY SOME OF US ARE RUNNING AROUND LIKE HEADLESS CHICKEN SCARED OF THEIR OWN SHADOWS?!? (pun intended)

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#183
In reply to #182

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 7:07 PM

Did you mean that the ocean's mixing layer contains 100 times more C02 than oxygen, or air? CO2 is a vital component of air, that all plant life needs, as much as animals need oxygen.

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#184
In reply to #183

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 8:35 PM
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#186
In reply to #183

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 10:54 PM

The data I saw said, that the oceanic mixing layer (as I understand) contains about 100 times the CO2 than the air surrounding it. Knowing high school chemistry that makes sense. What is mixing up the picture is, that the lower the temperature, the more the water can absorb. So, if for sake of argument, you are sliding into ice age - as we did about 8 times in the last 800 thousand years - your temperature keeps sliding and you absorbe more. Then you are frozen. The picture of Iceball Earth.

Then something kicks the bucket. The temperature rises. And the Ocean Mixing Layer starts fizzing. It is warming time.Not much, just enough to start out of Iceball Earth.

Do I know this to be true? Naw. Nor does anybody, having different ideas. What I do hold firm based on DATA, that we are now at the warm end of the seesaw of the ice ages, and I very much like to keep it this way. For some reason, unfathomable for Green CO2 alarmists, I would very much like to keep my ass, and those of mine out of the next ice age. Anybody willing to freeze their loved ones should be free to relocate to Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica. For some reason I do not feel obligated to follow lemmings over the cliff. They should be free to, and I should be free to to cheer them on. I know, it is Darwin in action. Good.

There are Darwin books available, and excellent for bathroom "library" use. Funny too.

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#187
In reply to #186

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 11:56 PM

Hi leveles,

Who the hell is Darwin??????

I know of Darwin as the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia...............and also the Darwin Awards.

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#189
In reply to #187

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 12:06 AM

Shhh, no comments about the Darwin Awards please. My family has a tendency to not go gently into the great good night...but spectacularly.

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#197
In reply to #182

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 10:53 AM

Hi leveles,

  • What I said was, that I looked at the measurement data and THERE IS NO 60_FOLD SIGNAL IN IT. Let me emphasize: no 60 fold signal of any kind is to be found. Measurement data beats ideas without foundation any day. But, hey this is an open forum, and whatever warms you cockles......

OK, then what would you call the current rate that atmospheric CO2 is increasing being some 58 times greater than at any time over the previous 800,000 years?

  • How high can it go?? Well, you exhale a few % CO2, if my memory serves. You may not want to approach that limit in the air. Nor there is enough carbon to get there. But, 1% would be 10000 ppm. So we have a playfield from a few 100 ppm to over 10000 ppm, and still live to tell about.

I don't think you would be too pleased if the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 10,000 ppm.

While CO2 doesn't become toxic till somewhere around 30,000 ppm things start to change at levels that are dramatically less than that. It's not as simple as saying that a particular concentration will cause this or that and you need to take into account the period that you are exposed to the increased level. For example, over a normal working week you body will start to show problems at a constant level of 5,000 ppm.

Nobody has an exact figure of what sort of level we can cope with on a full time basis but it is more than likely considerably less than the 5,000 ppm level laid out as the maximum prolonged exposure during a working week. It also affects people differently depending on things like age, lung efficiency etcetera but even at levels as low as 500 ppm it is not uncommon to see a loss of peripheral vision and colour definition as well as s slight sedating effect not dissimilar to being intoxicated. Levels of 500 ppm can be achieved in poorly ventilated rooms and most people will have experienced the sort of drowsy mind smudging effect that is not dissimilar to being mildly inebriated.

Over the last half century the level of atmospheric CO2 has gone from around 320 ppm to 380 ppm and a level of 500 ppm is often thrown up as a real possibility in the next 100 or so years. Certainly it will not be come toxic unless something extremely drastic happens but I for one wouldn't be too pleased if it got to 500 ppm. Getting slightly inebriated every now and then is OK but feeling like that on a full time basis is something I find undesirable.

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#171
In reply to #159

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 3:15 PM

You will not be able to prove that mean earth surface temperatures are rising until ocean levels rise for a couple of decades or more. Present sea level rise is miniscule. This is not to say it cannot speed up. Any rational person can look for their own data on this. There is a satellite monitoring sea level rise, and it is very very slow. Of course there were times when a lot more of the earth's land was under the oceans, and it will happen again in many hundreds, thousands, or millions of years.

On the other hand, I am all for global warming concern, because it will lead to the use of less polluting and wasteful energy technologies. It will also lead to less dependence on Middle East oil, more jobs etc.

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#66
In reply to #2

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 6:38 PM

Okay, so lets figure out the cost of going green. I think we should define what that is first. But lets say that it means as purely natural as possible with the least consumption of things such as electricity and gas - since that has been the main emphasis. And lets say that it is from scratch, not retro fit. And lets say it is about housing. And lets say that it is something comparable in comfort, design, and style that we are used to living in - or even better, since that is the way it is supposed to be - progress. And we will say that it is taking into account proper design to take advantage of the solar warming in the winter and shaded windows in the summer. In other words, we are going to at least try.

Anyone can correct me on anything here and correct any wrong assumtions that I make and I encourage anyone to do that. Maybe we can come up with an actual cost.

Lets say we build a house that is pretty natural and does not require cutting down trees, milling them, transporting them etc, etc. So lets take a rammed earth home of say 2500sf. It's pretty energy efficient and can withstand earthquakes and such and lasts for centuries, which is a cost savings or energy savings that needs to be taken into account.

Current costs of building from various reporting agencies are about $110-120.00 per sf. Rammed earth is about 15% higher according to a book I read a long time ago, because of labor. So lets go with the high figure and add 15%, so we have $138 per sf. X 2500 = $345,000.

This is for the house, finishes can't really be added because it depends on tastes and requirement and has nothing much to do with being green.

Then, throw in some solar panels for water, with a floor heating system (I think that is pretty efficient - again, correct me if anyone has any actual numbers, I'm going to guess at some things. The last time I bought panels, they were $800 each. I have no idea now but lets say it is the same and we put up five panels =$4000.
Then to plumb in the floor heating before the foundation is poured, lets say another $2000. So we are at $6000. That's not bad, central heating and air would cost about $8000 for a house this size, but we haven't addressed cooling yet. According to some reports, these kinds of houses are naturally cool in the summer and retain their heat better once warmed up for the winter.

But lets say we are going to air condition the place. You still would have to put in an air handler and a compressor. So we lost our savings in the initial installation but will make it back by hopefully not having to use the A/C. Maybe we should leave that optional. I'll leave it up to you guys.

I'm not going to address solar electric much, but it is a lot and depends on what you want - off the grid living, or just to get to the lower tiers on your billing. A system starts at about $25,000 after the converters. I don't know if it will run your wide screen. The average real life energy is under 100watts per hour per panel.

There are a couple of interesting little turbines, one that looks like a twisted up old T.V. antenna, runs about $5000, then with the converters again, lets say another $5000, we'll be high.

Then you would want to have low-voltage lighting. Someone else will have to throw some fugures in for that.

Then lets say you put a generator in your yard. someone here mentioned they have one and it would be great if they could put that in. There are all kinds of them.

Between the generator and the little turbine, hopefully the electrical will be taken care of. Then you would still need something for hot water for our folks in the North. Any ideas?

Really, it should be worked out backwards, like how much energy you are going to use, then figure out how to get it, but this is a start.

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 7:57 PM

Then to plumb in the floor heating before the foundation is poured, lets say another $2000. So we are at $6000. That's not bad, central heating and air would cost about $8000 for a house this size, but we haven't addressed cooling yet. According to some reports, these kinds of houses are naturally cool in the summer and retain their heat better once warmed up for the winter.

There is a push in Minnesota to go Geothermal for both heating and cooling. They're claiming less than $100 per year for both!!

Does anybody have any experience with this?

Thanks

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 8:26 PM

I can't imagine what they are talking about for $100. So what is it, do you put in their equipment, after rebates and tax credits and figuring the savings, they figure it is going to be a hundred bucks difference a year with a payback of 50 years or something?

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#69
In reply to #68

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:21 PM

they figure it is going to be a hundred bucks difference a year with a payback of 50 years or something?

No, they were talking 4 to 5 years. I heard people call in and say it was a no brainer. They had already installed these systems anywhere from 5 to 2o years ago. Some schools have them.

They drill holes below the water table, insert pipes, connect them. and run fluid thru them. Cool air in the summer time and warm air (with respect to the outside temperature in the winter time. Our average winter temperature is below freezing for 4 - 5 months.

Does anybody else have knowledge on this?

The more people we hear from the greater chance we will get factual information.

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#74
In reply to #69

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:44 PM

there are several ways to build geothermal heat exchange units.

the first way is a number of trenches below the frost line in cold areas, shallower in war areas, but still more than three feet down. The total square footage of the area determines the amount of heat it can absorb or release. Companies have charts that show the heat you can get/send from these networks and it varies with your geopgraph. In these trenches you make a network of pipes that form a long path through which you pump your collection fluid.

This can be water or salt water or glycol, and the pipes can be copper or plastic. copper is a better thermal conductor, but it also corrodes and get holes in time.

The second way is two paralle trenches 25 feet apart and a machine then drills dozens of holes from trench one to trench two through which you run the same pipe network described above. This saves trench digging, but the drilling contractor needs a machine.

The third way is to drill deep holes, 100 feet or so deep and put down a large pipe with an end capand a small well insulated pipe(to avoid counter current heat exchange) down the center of the large pipe. This takes less space on top, but the soil must be amenable to driling (clay gravel etc).

Those methods allow the use of the constant temperature earth mass for winter heat and summer cooling, vie heat pump.

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#160
In reply to #69

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 3:55 AM

It's not holes below the water table, it's piping beneath the frost line (the point at which atmospheric variables no longer have an impact on temperature). Average temperature of the earth in the 2-5 foot range, but beneath the solar or frost line is relatively constant in any area and ranges worldwide from approx. 45-75 degrees F, not accounting for Geothermal pockets. Temperatures in any one area rarely vary more than 3 or 4 degree's F seasonally.

Micro Geothermal systems use a heat pump to concentrate or dissipate heat into or out of the ground depending on your needs. The bonuses of the system come from the fact that no energy is required to be added to or subtracted from th system as far as heating or cooling. The only added energy required is for running the pumps pushing the heat exchangers, something that has to be done anyway.

Basically, you get the benefit of the average temp on the cooling side being around 65 degrees so that there is very little energy expended compressing a gas to get the cooling effect of gas expansion. On the heating side, you gain the benefit of having the original temperature around 65 degrees and have to expend less energy heating from much colder outside atmospheric temperatures.

Heat pumps are the basis for air conditioning, refrigeration and forced air heating. The concept has been around for quite a while, but is now being adopted as a replacement fuel source.

On a basic level, heat is energy. Heat over time is power. It's cumulative and transferable. It is also cumulatively compressible. Think of a candle. Pass your finger through quickly, you feel a little warmth. Slow down the passage, you feel heat. Slow it down more and you get burned. Concept worked for me, 3 band aids and 2 charred blisters later .

Fully integrated commercial systems are available. I know 2 people that have them with 2 different integration systems (one is a horizontal grid, the other is a water transfer- rare but if you have a subterranean ground pressure water source, it works the same without having to bury pipes).

I hope this helps as a non-technical explanation. Basically, ground has a certain level of heat and we can absorb and compress it to raise the temperature or we can dissipate heat to it to lower the temperature.

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#192
In reply to #69

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 12:54 AM

Hi ddk,

Our average winter temperature is below freezing for 4 - 5 months.

Do you mean people actually LIVE there.

Here in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, we have recently earned the dubious title as the hottest capital city in Australia. We have just had 15 consecutive days with the temperature over 350 C, quite a few of them over 400C. I start to shiver when it gets to about 140C.

Just a little trivia a small town in the North West of Western Australia, called Marble Bar had 160 consecutive days with the temperature above 37,80C. Now that is a bit tooooo hot.

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#194
In reply to #192

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 1:38 AM

I couldn't live there. (think sunburn quotient of a crossbreed of Irish and Norwegian). I don't think my family has 4 pigmenting capable cells between us.

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#70
In reply to #67

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:23 PM

Okay DDK, good one. I read a couple of sites on Geothermal heating/cooling. It looks like about $3000 per ton extra on one site. So, figure 1 ton per 500 feet, = 5 tons = 25000.

So that's $45,000 for the house itself (I've haven't built one of these yet but want to)

$8000 for the solar water heating

$25,000 for the geothermal (which I think is a hole in the ground and a bunch of hoses, probably really under $10000 DIY).

$10,000 for the turbine and converters/batteries.

What else?

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#72
In reply to #70

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:33 PM

Is about $15000 contracted

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#75
In reply to #72

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:45 PM

Are you talking $15,000 for a complete geothermal system?

That's good if it is..

Are you the one that said you were putting in a hydrogen generator in your backyard? How much and how much output?

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#79
In reply to #75

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 11:24 PM

Yes $15000 pokes the tubes into the house or basement wall, + heat exchanger/chiller etc..

But the vertical set up is anywhere from 100' to 1500' depth with the tube type you described or a loop. I heard of communities in New England using geothermal on a municipally managed basis.

Makes good sense huh? Use less energy to cool or heat, the earth remains about 65° year round at 6" or more feet depth. Chill air from 65° to 40° instead of from 105°.

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#178
In reply to #67

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/26/2008 7:23 AM

It all depends on the level of insulation in the house. With 12" of foam and a sealed envelope and high efficiency windows and counter current air/heat exchangers you can heat the place with body heat alone. Cooling takes more energy as you must export the body heat...They use a term 'figure of merit' or The coefficient of performance that quantifies the amount of heat exported per unit of power consumed.

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

http://www.canren.gc.ca/prod_serv/index.asp?CaId=169&PgId=1023

Typically these are in the 3 to 5 area, but depend on the temperature differentials.

Using vertical pipes drilled deep into the ground with an insulated feed pipe you can use the earth to source or sink thermal energy. SInce the ground is 40-50F year round(varies with latitude and far enough north you have perma frost) as long as you have the heat exchange area this works very well. Of course, these holes can be costly in rocky ground. Clay is a lot easier.

In summation you can make it work for $100/year of electricity with the highest efficiency heat pumps and very well insulated houses with LED lights etc as long as you minimize cooking/lighting heat etc.AND as long as you ignore the capitalized cost of the installation which will be well above $100/year even over 50 years.

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#185
In reply to #67

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 9:36 PM

Yes, I do, knowing 2 people that retrofitted for the systems.

Call it about 8000. Installed but not relandscaped. It handles both heating and cooling with only two operating parts.

First one is the heat exchanger/pump that circulates the antifreeze (thermal exchange liquid) through the piping and either adds head from the house to be disipated or absorbs head from the ground to use for heating. Then there is the air circulation fan that blows the warmed or cooled air around the house.

Depending on climate, the exchanger runs about 8 months out of the year, give or take as there are times in the spring and fall when you don't need heat or a/c. The fan is fairly constant as with a decently sealed house you need the air flow.

Average cost to run, in the Utah mountains...about $45 a month.

I hope that clears it up a little. Prices will fluctuate in different areas based on electricity ratings to run the pump. I've emailed him for some of the statistics on the unit (pump size / power usage, etc) but that should be enough hard data to get this conversation moving in the right direction. I hope I've been helpful.

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#4

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 3:27 AM

The governments will keep a close eye on the price of energy. Because of the huge commissioning and decommissioning costs, nuclear power is not financially viable but is hugely subsidised by governments.

I think a similar thing would happen/is happening with renewables.

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#169
In reply to #4

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 11:50 AM

Actually, that's sorta the opposite of the Roi model for a nuclear power plant. It's the government's inability to create stable laws, regulations, codes and permits that stops construction of Nuclear plants. Several companies have attempted to start nuclear power projects only to have the rug pulled out from under them. And in the end, after years of expensive litigation, the companies got their money back, and the governments just took it out of our pockets and we got nothing in return for it.

Renewables are much tougher to govern on that scale. Yes, you may need some local zoning and building permits, but most those are minor municipality issues. The Government, right now, wants individuals and major power companies to work together. It's called co-generation. It's the laws on the books that require power companies to buy the excess electricity that you produce. The power companies make it hard for you by requiring you to use their equipment to ensure that the power coming back into their system meets their standards.

I'm not overly happy about nuclear plants, but they've been around for years and there is now a substance that can molecularly bond with nuclear waste and render it inert (don't ask me for a link as I have forgotten which tech newsletter it came in on). It's still in the experimental phase, or so I understand, but damn, it would be nice.

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#201
In reply to #169

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/29/2008 11:58 AM

It's still in the experimental phase, or so I understand, but damn, it would be nice.

It sure would be nice. I think, rightly or wrongly, that nuclear power is the way to go, at this point in time. I feel it is the only option to provide base load power. I think there is more chance of finding ways to completely "burn" the fuel, so there is no waste..................or neutralise the waste, than there is of finding 'green" energy suitable for base load power generation.

I think that this should be "top priority"...............Irrespective of whether one believes in "global warming" or not, when one looks at what is happening in the polar regions and many other strange phenomena.

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#204
In reply to #201

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/30/2008 3:25 AM

Hi MOBI & CR4 participants,

The biggest problem with 235U (uranium 235) powered reactors is the waste they generate. Not only is this waste highly toxic and radioactive but it remains dangerous and must be isolated from the biosphere for something like 250,000 years. It also requires constant monitoring so you can't just bury and forget it. That's before you take into account the amoeba brained terrorists that would love to get their hands on it to construct a dirty radioactive weapon.

Realistically we havn't got a snow balls chance in hell of ensuring the safe storage and monitoring of this waste for, and here's the crunch, 50 times as long as the pyramids of Giza have existed. Just look at how the pyramids have deteriorated over the 5,000 years they have existed and multiply that by 50.

One of the major problems with the energy industry is that it doesn't even remotely resemble a level playing field as the price we pay does not include the hidden costs of things like repairing the damage the mining operations cause or the damage from global warming.

The nuclear power industry is no exception and if you were to include the costs of storing the spent fuel for the quarter of a million years it will remain dangerous it would be so expensive it would bankrupt the world in a couple of days.

So far there is not even a single long term storage facility for spent nuclear fuel on Earth. There is one under construction in the USA but that's not going to solve the problem in the remaining 30 nations that use nuclear reactors to generate power. As a result nearly all the spent nuclear fuel is being stored in temporary holding facilities at the reactors. These temporary storage facilities are dangerously overcrowded with spent fuel and there have been several near cataclysmic disasters due to cooling equipment failures, unexpected chain reactions and a host of other reasons.

OK, having ranted about the down side there is one reactor design that shows great potential and could not only supply us with clean electrical energy but also sort out the problems of long term storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Rather than using 235U as the fissile material these reactors use Thorium 232Th. The difference between the two is that in the 232Th reactors the core will not produce a self sustaining fission reaction. Unlike in 232U fueled reactor where the natural state with the control rods removed is a runaway chain reactor in a 232Th reactor the natural state is stable and inactive.

So, if it doesn't produce a chain reaction how does it work?

It's quiet simple really. Instead of relying on the 235U nuclei in the fuel to supply the neutrons the fission of the 232Th nuclei is induced by an external source of neutrons. The rate of 232Th fission is then directly proportional to the intensity of the neutrons being injected into the core and by varying the intensity of the bombardment you can regulate the output of the reactor.

There are several really neat things that go with this design of fission reactor:

  1. Source of 232Th Fuel: 232Th is considerably more abundant that uranium ores and is also safer to mine. Naturally occurring uranium is made up of several isotopes and the fissionable 235U only makes up a very small component of the raw uranium. As a result you need to refine it in order to get a sufficiently high enough concentration of 235U to sustain a chain reaction. However, naturally occurring thorium ores are primarily made up of 232Th isotopes and do not require enrichment in order to be useful in fission reactors.
  2. Intrinsically Stable Failsafe System: In 235U reactors the chain reaction is moderated with control rods and heavy water D2O that absorb the neutrons being produced in the fission process. If you were to remove all the control rods you end up with an out of control chain reactor that will ultimately melt the core and have serious consequences. In a 232Th reactor the natural state is stable as it requires the deliberate addition of neutrons from an external source. As a result the core can never produce an out of control chain reaction as all that needs to be done to shut it down is to stop bombarding the 232Th core with neutrons.
  3. Breakdown of 235U Spent Fuel: This is the really neat bit with 232Th reactors. If you add a proportion of the spent fuel from the existing 235U reactors it not only extracts more energy from it but dramatically reduces the time the spent fuel remains dangerous. Currently it is only in the development phase but if thorium reactors work the way scientists believe they will the existing spent nuclear fuel from the 235U reactors may be render safe in as little as 100 years and that really is big improvement.

There are a host of other advantage to 232Th reactors but the fact that they can be used to get rid of the existing stock pile of spent 235U fuel and the surplus plutonium from nuclear weapons is to me enough reason to start building 232Th reactors right now.

One final point on fission reactors is that it only takes one amoeba brained, greed driven, profit chasing, corner cutting idiot to mess it up for everybody. Just look at the long term effects of Chernobyl and then ask the question:

Can we really trust the governments of the 31 nations that possess nuclear reactors to do the right thing with the spent fuel for the next quarter of a million years?

Global warming is a real threat and the ultimate costs could bankrupt the developed nations of the world and we need to start thinking and developing new sustainable energy sources that environmentally sound. To put it in perspective, if the amount of money spent on just one deep sea oil platform or one years worth of cosmetic changes to the cars produced by the auto industry were channeled into the research of new energy technologies we would more than likely be able to negate the effects of global warming.

PS: Thorium 232Th reactors were discussed in detail in the CR4 thread Future Energy Sources 1.9.1.3 Thorium Reactors.

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#5

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 4:26 AM

What will be the cost of not using green electricity? Destroying our lakes, polluting our lungs, Possibly flooding lowlands worldwide. What we could get away with in the past, with a smaller worldwide population and few industrial nations will not work in the future. We will have billions of people living a high consumption lifestyle and a worldwide electricity and fuel consumption many times that we had fifty years ago. We cannot rely on the tried and true crude technologies of yesterday. We must move forward to a more complex and yet promising future.

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#6

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 6:01 AM

In the USA there is more oil than the rest of the earth combined. Since World War 1 we have been paying Penn Oil not to pump from their first well. There simply is no shortage for at least 3 hundred years or more. Jim Faulkner

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 6:13 AM

As far as "green" electrical energy goes, what I want to know is, if I pay for "green" energy who is it that ensures that I only get "green" electrons............after all that's what I payed for. I certainly would not want any of those "polluted" electrons?????

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 7:22 AM

RE: Jim Faulkner

"In the USA there is more oil than the rest of the earth combined. Since World War 1 we have been paying Penn Oil not to pump from their first well. There simply is no shortage for at least 3 hundred years or more. Jim Faulkner"

Prove that

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 9:11 AM

Without using quotes from fox news please...

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#16
In reply to #9

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 10:35 AM

There is a proof, sort of, in north America.

The Athabasca tar sands, in Alberta I believe contain more than the saudis, and just starting up. The oil shales, mostly in Utah, have the same again. Extraction technology uncertain. I was quite baffled learning, that at present technology 60 - 85% of all oil is still in the well, when the pumping stopped for economic reasons. I can see that at 10-20$/barrel. but at present prices?

" There is a real difficulty with predictions, especially about the future. Yogi Berra"

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#21
In reply to #16

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 12:36 PM

The tar sands in Canada are rapidly expanding. I think their cost have fallen from over $40 dollars a barrel to $17.00. Its a safe supply so far. Its in the news in Canada all the time, not so much here in the USA.

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#162
In reply to #16

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 6:07 AM

Until very recently, shale extraction had been economically prohibitive, but a Brit group recent came up with a much more feasible way of doing it. I haven't researched it as it doesn't really interest me and it's a 10-20 year upramp phase.

There is a lot of oil "still in the Well" Most of the northern US is drilled and capped, ready to exploit, but it is being held back because of the first promise of the US Constitution. It's not the "We, the People...' thing, it's the 'provide for the common defence" portion. Military runs on oil. Has since the middle of WWI. The Middle East Oil Deposits have just been the easiest to harvest, as they were mostly under pressure and therefore pushed themselves out of the ground.

Problem is, with the attack on Pearl Harbor, America could no longer stay out of European and world affairs. We tried, we hid, we lied, we failed to support those in need. And the Japanese kicked us in the head with big, steel toed boots. The only reason they didn't take Pearl Harbor and basically completely stymy our entrance into WWII was threefold.

One, they never thought it would be as successful at it was, the surprise at being that successful cost them was just missed planning. The attacking fleet had expected to have to fight a running battle on the way home. They never thought to bring a division or two of invasion troops.

The second was missing the Enterprise Battle group as they were out on maneuvers at the time.

The third mistake was seriously underestimating the American production capabilities. Not a military mistake but a philosophical one. While we did learn from WWI and the brilliance from some of our Generals throughout the war, the deciding factor was our economic power. Even the Marshall plan had not impressed on our enemies the capabilities of a free society.

But now we are losing the next invasion. It is subversive, divisive and unrelenting. It's not from Russia (though they have joined), it's not from the Middle East, though they are the active pawns right now. It is from China. Want an example? Go to Walmart. Buy something that's made in the USA. Good Luck.

Anyway, this is about oil. We're over a 100 dollars a barrel. It's not really that the price of oil has gone up, but the fact that the value of the American Dollar has gone down. We, as a whining spoiled bratty group have thought that we deserved more than we were worth for too long. And the politicians have bought our approval by selling us to the rest of the world.

It doesn't help that most of the rest of the world has tied itself to the US Dollar. Our government also lies to us about all things economic. They have changed what's reported for inflation. They keep 3 separate sets of books. Officially, in the Report to the US People we are just under 9 Trillion in Debt. But if you add the the 2 other books in, we are just over 40 Trillion. Divide that by 330 Million People. How much do you owe? Your wife? Each child? Who's winning this war?

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#47
In reply to #9

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 4:31 PM

Every president since Woodrow Wilson including Republican presidents have not vetoed Congressional bills that state there is no oil where whence it was proven to be found, Long Island sound under Bill Clinton, Florida under Bush 2, California under Bush 1 and so forth. Just do a history channel Google on Bills Congress Oil.

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#53
In reply to #47

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 5:46 AM

That is not a proof of anything except that there is some untapped oil in the USA.

It does not go very far towards demonstrating that this exceeds that underneath the other 98% of the earth's surface, much of which is unexplored.

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#163
In reply to #53

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 6:30 AM

Based on what fairytale do you live your life? All of the known world's oil supplies have been categorized, and most have been drilled and capped. The rest have been cataloged and are awaiting either the technology to economically withdraw it or for the TreeHuggers to finish their cases in court protecting some single or multi celled organism.

After some billions of dollars, and almost as long in court, the said species will have reverted to Oil again, something which the next dominant species will be able to exploit. May they do better with my carcass.

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#165
In reply to #163

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 7:25 AM

The fairytale that most of the earth's surface is ocean and only some of that has been explored, that the USA is only 2% of the earth's surface and that some people who live outside the USA matter too.

Hey, I can find Canada on a map (and have been able to since I was six or seven years old). Lookee - it's bigger than the USA. So is Russia.

There are parts of the known world outside the USA and quite a lot of them have oil reserves that have not yet been identified, let alone categorised. Ten years ago no-one had identified any oilfields offshore Angola, merely that there was a chance they might, repeat might, find oil there. Improvements in seismic mean that the oil companies are gradually extending the areas in which they explore, but a lot of the ocean floor will never be explored because any oilfield discovered there would be uneconomic.

It is acceptable to say that there is more oil under the USA than has been extracted in the USA (it just isn't economic to extract most of the rest at $35/bbl). It is not acceptable to tell a group largely comprised of engineers who can do simple arithmetic that there is there is more unextracted oil underneath the USA than in the rest of the world. At the end of 2006 "Proven reserves" in the rest of the world amounted to 1178 million barrels compared to just under 30 million in the USA. That excludes all the unexplored areas that make up more than half the surface of the planet, not to mention dozens of oilfields in Siberia that are ignored because they are too far from a refinery or a trunk pipeline. On the other hand onshore USA has been almost entirely (apart from the Arctic Wildlife reserve) explored and so has the overwhelming majority of its territorial waters.

I am not sure whether you think I'm advocating reckless use of a limited resource: if so, read my other posts; if you are just USA-centric, grow up.

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#168
In reply to #165

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 11:28 AM

Interesting. Not unusual, just interesting. You're inference about me being USA-Centric is completely correct. Spent 6 years in the US Navy, have had 3 passports issued from the United States and one from Canada. I currently maintain dual Citizenship as both an American and a Canadian. I have both a valid Social Security Number and a valid Social Insurance Number. I spent most of my formative years (6-16) in London, Ontario. I left there at 16 to finish high school in Savannah Georgia. I've travelled to 26 different Cities, in 14 Countries on 6 Continents.

The fact that you can find Canada on a map and are proud of it, does not instill any confidence in either your intellect or your writing ability. You used the one stereotypical construct that Canadians have of Americans and used it poorly. We be dumber than rocks. Well shucks, since y'all dun be so galdurned sures of youses intellectual superiority, I would like to use some of the information that you cut and pasted from an extremely outdated websites or dredged out of the hazy, cartoon-saturated and Fruit Loop powered pea of a thing you call a brain, to show that I would rather have a genetically deviant pig with me on a version of "Team Jeopardy" than have you as a partner. (Notice, that while extremely wordy for a normal sentence, the grammar works and has a faint hint of Tolstoy in it).

Now, let's take your statements and break them down chronologically, though the first of your statements would probably qualify as the one least thought out, as well. I have faith that even you have learned more than this and are only venting because you have made some false assumptions about me.

That's fair enough. You are trying to express your hatred and contempt of me based on your failed interpretation of one of my posts. This is based on my empirical knowlege of the education system in Ontario. If you are not from there then I will grant you excuses for not having received much edumacation past yer gozintas. Oh, I'm sorry, you also won't have the cultural references to know that 'gozintas' is a reference to Jethro's (Beverley Hillbillies) incredibly extensive educational prowess in having entered the 6th grade and knowing that 2 gozinta 2, 1 time...ad nauseam.

Since you failed to separate the 4 ideas in your first sentence into their proper individual components, I will take the liberty of doing so for you. Your first untrue accusation is that it is a fairytale that most of the earth's surface is ocean. Not only did I learn in school from the accumulated wisdom and observations of persons who's opinion I would trust much more than yours, there is also the actual empirical knowledge I have from having spent 6 years in the US Navy and having sailed many of those seas and oceans. So, that being said, I suggest you try this site out to find out how much of the surface area of the Earth is water.

Your second inaccurate statement was is that some of the earth's surface has not yet been explored. All of the earth's surface has been explored. It's called satellite imaging. I would point you to Google Earth if you still have doubts that this miracle has been performed. There are many areas of of the oceans that have not been explored. I'll not bother to list the biggest of them, but I'll give you two hints. It's off the coast of Japan, and it starts with an M.

Now, as to the land area of the United States, expressed as a percentage of the global land area, being 2%, you are, again, wrong. I would think you could at least take the time to look up the information so that you know it before you accuse someone else of being ignorant of it. You did, however, manage to get one thing right. Both Canada and Post USSR Russia are larger than the United States in land area. But did you know that China, if you include Hong Kong, which is now officially an autonomous territory of China, is also larger than the United States. You can check that out here.

Your fourth statement is correct. I commend you for being aware of this, even though you don't qualify. Ok, that was a cheap shot and, in my opinion, fair game since it is only a response to your vitriol, but I figured I'd have the decency to call it what it was.

Moving on...

We've already covered the fact that there is a "known" world. We've also covered the fact that I have visited more of it before I was thirty than you will probably ever even dream of (and trust me, there are some places you don't want to go). That they have existing, known but untapped and unknown deposits I will give you. I am as sure as you, which means I would expect there to be, but, since they haven't been found, they may not exist.

As for your use of the word seismic, well, the actual improvement is in seismology and seismic detection capabilities. The waves themselves are just a bi-product of the method of generation and our ability to discern meaning from the echos. I'm actually hoping that there are massive deposits that we never need to attempt to exploit.

I probably know more about current energy production and non-detrimental power production techniques that you will learn in the next 10 years. A lot of it I'm hoping will go the way of the dodo so that you never need to learn about it except as an object lesson from a historic perspective as I learned of the early industrial revolution.

I'm going to now as you a question. What is the biggest hurdle to emission free power at present. To get as angry at me as you did, means that you have one or both of the following attributes:

  1. You have an actual desire to be part of the Energy Independence Solution.
  2. You're just as annoying a sot as I am, you just haven't had the years of experience honing a truly scathing diatribe.

Nice to meet you, BTW, and I look forward to seeing your response.

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#172
In reply to #168

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/25/2008 3:42 PM

Cool down and think before blowing your top.

You responded to a sensible valid, off-topic, post with:

"Based on what fairytale do you live your life?"

That seems to imply that reality is that the USA has more oil left than the rest of the world despite having run through a larger proportion of its known reserves and anyone who thinks otherwise is in a fairytale. Based on your assumption that it is a fairytale, the points I mentioned are merely a few pertinent aspects.

The world in which I live my life has more than two-thirds of its surface covered by water. Much of my world is unexplored - satellite photographs of the surface of the ocean are not the same as exploration of the seabed.

"All of the earth's surface has been explored. It's called satellite imaging. I would point you to Google Earth if you still have doubts that this miracle has been performed. There are many areas of of the oceans that have not been explored." seems to be self-contradictory.

If you had read my post before blowing your top you might have noticed "the USA is only 2% of the earth's surface" did not say land surface. Whitaker's Almanac says that the earth's surface area is 510.069m sq km and that of the USA is 9.159m sq km. That is slightly less than 2%, but 2% is a reasonable approximation.

I am not expressing hatred and contempt - that does not belong on CR4. I was merely trying to make you see that your initial remark was ridiculous as well as pointlessly and needlessly offensive.

If I lived in Canada, I should not need to find it on a map - I should just look out the window. I don't know how the comment is used in Canada but I have generally heard it used to describe how little importance US citizens attach to the rest of the world. (The "World series" includes one Canadian club but when I was very young the "World Boxing Association" comprised the professional sport in 46 out of 48 states of the Union).

I am happy to say that I don't have the cultural references to which you allude - part of my privileged lifestyle is that only occasionally am I obliged to watch American TV.

If you look you may see that there is only one idea in the first sentence of my previous post, the other three items are simple, and well-known, facts.

Whether China is bigger than the USA depends on whether Tibet is a part of China or is a territory illegally occupied by its army: this is a disputable point, so I chose not to introduce an unnecessary red herring. I mentioned Russia because its "proven reserves" are more than double those of the USA, which could be relevant to the question as to whether the USA has more oil than all the rest of the world combined.

I do not see how you come to the conclusion that I have used out-of-date websites as the only website that I was using at the time was CR4 itself. Nor how you know how far I have dreamed of travelling [I have only visited 4 continents so far but 20 countries and I've long ago lost count of the number of cities I've visited: what I can remember is that, excluding my home towns, I have worked in twelve cities in eight countries in three continents. My dreams extend much farther.]

"Seismic" is quite commonly used as shorthand to cover seismic data, the analysis of it, the process of obtaining it, the technology used and even the theory underlying its use. If you know as much about energy production as you claim, you must surely be aware of this.

I don't expect to learn much about current ... techniques in the next ten years: I hope to learn some new stuff. Your comment could be interpreted that you know almost everything about them, or that I do - if there is any evidence of the former, it must be in one of your other posts: I make no claim to the latter. The use of the royal "we" by a Canadian subject of Her Majesty is inappropriate.

Where is your evidence that the USA has more oil left than the rest of the world? Your rant contains not a shred of such evidence. Nor has any other post on this thread - all they say is that there is a lot of untapped oil in the USA.

Your last question can be interpreted in several ways, depending on the meaning of "hurdle".

For one interpretation the answer is "selfishness": vested interests, the unwillingness to give up the convenience of the car, the air-conditioning, super-heated offices so that female staff can wear very little or fashionable rather than practical clothing etc

A second interpretation would get economics - PV cells are not yet as cheap or as plentiful as fossil fuel for power stations and wind is unreliable. Most of the best sites for hydroelectric power stations are already in use and the remaining ones get progressively less economic.

I do not think "technology" is a correct answer: a 37% conversion factor is not at the level I should like to see but it's good enough for installing PV cells in a large number of locations - nearly a decade ago I was sporadically and ineffectively lobbying for the use of PV cells to provide power for air conditioning.

The post starting this thread was about applying "carbon sequestration" to reduce the CO2 emissions from a coal-fired plant at vast cost. Like "clean coal" that reduces the amount of toxic pollutants compared to normal dirty coal, it is little more than a sales pitch - the plant will still be dirtier and less efficient than a modern plant using natural gas and kill more miners than a nuclear power plant (possibly than all nuclear power plants if it's in China). So I suppose you might like "politicians" as an alternative answer - which includes PR firms, company lawyers, corporate financiers trying to get a deal agreed as well as elected representatives and the army of unelected government officials.

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#188
In reply to #172

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/27/2008 11:59 PM

Alright, I'm going to agree to disagree at this point, as we are not going to come to any resolution in this venue. Deal?

Post is about cost of green electricity. Pick a generation model and I will discuss it with you. Pick a fight and I will oblige you, but in another forum. Send me an email and one of us can start a question. I'm sure there will be lots of fans of both of us watching the verbal diatribes. Sending this to you in the mail as well, as I don't want you to miss it.

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#57
In reply to #6

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 7:19 AM

Oh good. That would feed the USA's addiction, then. Stuff everybody else.

Wars have been fought over less.......

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#202
In reply to #6

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/29/2008 12:32 PM

I can tell you do not live in the USA or anywhere near an oil field.

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#203
In reply to #202

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/29/2008 2:38 PM

Er, yes. You can read the "location" tag unlike a certain annoyiing third party

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#8

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 6:33 AM

The highest cost of any electricity will be to continue it's use as is. America has been on an energy binge for 50 years. It's time to get on the wagon.

Bob G

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#190
In reply to #8

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 12:11 AM

While, yes, we have. When was the last time you wen't out and killed your own food?

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#10

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 8:05 AM

Old school sequestration = plant a tree!

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#11

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 8:20 AM

I think over-consumption is primarily the result of the advertisement industry successfully warping our collective consciousnes. We've confused happiness with consumerism, and regard burdening future generations as an entitlement.

Wouldn't a great monument to Mr. Bic be for everyone to put one dead pen on his grave?

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#60
In reply to #11

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 8:36 AM

<Wouldn't a great monument to Mr. Bic be for everyone to put one dead pen on his grave?>

Some might suggest that this would constitute a major waste disposal problem....

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#13

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 10:20 AM

This discourse is getting curioser and curioser. Now, that Hendrix rightly separated the pollution issue from CO2, we can take a fundamental look at it.

Let us go back to the basics, look at them, then reason together.

Solar energy reaching Earth 1360 W / square meters

Remaining for energy balance 260 W / m2

Raincloud effect (cooling) 17-40 W / m2

CO2 contribution (warming) 1-2 W / m2

These are textbook numbers, not much argument about them. Why are we futzing around and getting anal retentive about the smallest of all?!? Maybe, because that it is obvious to all, that we essentially cannot control the rain clouds, which are the real big elephant in the room??? So then we allow the discussion swirl around a gnome??

Besides, the oceans are excellent sinks of CO2, containing somewhere 50 - 90 times more CO2, than our atmosphere at any given time.

Since CO2 is a growth limiting (scarce) plant food, plant trees and use timber for construction. But then again this is just a simple engineer speaking. What do I understand about those beautiful minds, who dream up the complex (and expensive) solutions for simple problems?!?

Just a note to our poster: I saw a program from England, in which power plant designers discussed, that a CO2 sequestering plant costs 2-3 times more to build and maybe twice the cost to run. That just proves again, that any fool can change things to more expensive. The real genius of engineering is to produce better, more and cheaper.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 10:36 AM

Maybe that is why the Energy Dept. just withdrew funding from the FutureGen plant to be built in Mattoon Illinois. Or maybe because a Texas location was not picked. This was to be a carbon sequestering plant.

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#38
In reply to #17

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 2:55 AM

Are you absolutely sure about this? The last time I looked (yesterday) funding for the FutureGen plant was buried in supplemental reports to Bush's trillion dollar budget.

If it is true than it was cancelled because the plant wasn't in Crawford, Texas.

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#73
In reply to #13

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 9:40 PM

The Navajo mythology predicts a time when man will tap the earth for electricity...it is a very large battery. Just one hundred average lightening bolts would supply my family and yours forever.

Try this dig hole 4'x4'x6' put in metal plates separated by pea gravel; like in a battery and experiment. This was the power source of the telegraph so we know it works.

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#193
In reply to #13

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

03/28/2008 1:02 AM

Hi leveles,

The real genius of engineering is to produce better, more and cheaper.

You will probably find that I will not be in agreeance with you many times, however on this point, I certainly do agree..

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#14

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 10:29 AM

For what it is worth, I have elected, not through any high moral motivation, a low-energy life style. I live in a tropical city, but the apartment building was built before the advent of air conditioning: ergo, no air conditioning required (indoor temperature is a constant 82-84 degrees Fahrenheit, day and night, year round). The point is that there are construction practices in addition to insulation, that can reduce energy consumption. I am not overly aggressive in conserving electricity, leaving my computers running 24/7, and I do use ceiling fans during the heat of the day. Monthly electrical bill is about $35.00, compared to an air-conditioned neighbor at $200 per month. Furthermore, due to a personal aversion to driving (not, again, due to any high moral motivation), I do not own a car, but rely on public transportation (or, when appropriate, I walk- my preferred mode of transportation). TOTAL transportation costs per month are on the order of $80.00. I don't think I could purchase insurance for that amount, let alone fuel and maintenance for an automobile.

The point of this post is that a good deal can be done, if one is really concerned about global warming (I am personally in favor of global warming- the alternative is global cooling, and I would much rather live in a warm world than in one covered with ice).
Polution is another matter, and is more confounded by the trend worldwide to urbanization. I don't know what the ansswer for that is, but if we each re-evaluate our priorities on a personal basis, it is possible to contribute. Also, plant trees.

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#48
In reply to #14

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 4:44 PM

For what its worth I grew up in Florida and in the 50's it was just plain hot and my house was built in 1919. In Yonkers NY where I now live bus fare is $2.00 but the subsidiary that the Bee Line Bus Co. gets adds up to the tax payers paying $14.00 for each paid customer. For one, I am a Car owner and think that buses should pay their own way. The MTA or commuter train charges my niece $6.50 to go to Grand Central Station in NYC from Croton On Hudson NY. Again the true cost is $90.24 each way. Look up budget for MTA and divide by rider-ship minus tickets.

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#18

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 12:10 PM

My confusion grows daily with this sort of "thing". I'd like to find some answers to my lingering questions on this very matter and I can't think of a better forum than this one.

First; if CO2 & NOX is causing such a catastrophic impact on our environment as some believe, why are we still mining CO2 gas from deep wells in several states in the US, manufacturing NOX, and selling them on the market?

Second; Why not extract the CO2 and NOX gasses from our emissions and sell the products to those who use these gasses in their manufacturing process?

That way, the consumers using these products would be responsible for the associated costs and at the same time we could severly limit mining/manufacturing by "re-cycling" the gas that has already been created/mined. The same should be true for all hydro-carbons (freon) compounds. I realize we cannot supply our total demand for these types of products, but it would make a significant impact.

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#19

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 12:31 PM

The "four" biggest sources of pollution where I live on the west coast:

1. China

2. China

3 China

4. Cars, Energy productions and Industrial (you thought I was was gong to say China didn't you).

We need energy bridges to the future.

By the way, why did nine times more Republicans vote 'against' the "Bridges to Nowhere" than did Dem's. Those bridges were special earmarks of Republican Senator(s) from Alaska. Why did so many Dem's want to enrich these Senator(s) in such a blatant and irresponsible manner.

Sorry to digress.

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#20

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 12:35 PM

It's good to see a separation of fact and fantasy now and then, as in Leveles and a few others when it comes to oil, energy, and costs.

There is as much oil in the Gulf of Mexico as Saudi Arabia has. Are we pumping it? No. But China is. Our "conservationists" and "environmentalists" saw to it that we, the United States of America, can't pump it. There is as much oil in Alaska as in Saudi Arabia. Are we drilling for it anymore? No. But Russia is now in the North West passage looking to angle drill for it. Again, the same boys put a stop to it. Have we built any new refineries, any new hydro electric dams, any nuke plants? No, not in a long time. The mighty environmentalists have somehow gotten such control and power that they can sway congress to the detriment of all the citizens of every country of the west. How is that for your voting power?

So who are these people and who do they really work for? How does a small group of seemingly insignificant people, who have usually been classified as treehuggers and considered to be nuts have so much power that they have put the squeeze on the entire West - to the benefit of the East and Middle East? I wonder where they get the money to do all this noble work. A fact I would like to know.

Somebody mentioned the sun belt and solar energy. Again, fact and fantasy. Here is a minor fact: Solar is less efficient when it is hot. So we would not be being efficient in the sun belt. So we would put it more North. But then there are clouds and it is less effiicient in clouds. So we would put it way north. But then the angle of the sun is....on and on. Solar is pretty inefficient and costly. That's a fact.

Here is another fact. A long time ago I had a Triumph (TR7) It was larger and heavier than most cars are today. It went faster, and was a hell of a lot more fun. It also got 44 miles per gallon. Why do we have cars now that are junk that get half the mileage with all the smog equipment on it? It's really important to separate fact from fantasy. Does it produce less smog to get half the mileage if you put all the controls on the car? Is co2 output calculated by the gallon or by the mile? This is something I really don't know. But it seems to me that I would be putting out less smog by using half the gas by getting twice the mileage, like I used to, without lowering my standard of living or lowering my lifesyle. But who am I? I'm just guessing here. But there is still a fact that I do know. A lot of people are making a lot of money when we pump that gas and the more I pump, the more they make.

I cringe every time I hear or read somebody telling the world how we are going to have to lower our standard of living and change our life style to save energy. I would rather raise mine. I want it to increase. Especially since there is more energy around than ever before and it is largely based on fantasy that we are being told how bad we are for using energy. How dirty we are for using energy. How guilty we are of being. These people are making a lot, lot, lot of money off our guilt.

So, what will be the cost of "green" electricity? It will cost our independence, our freedom, our right to chose, our life style, our progress as mankind - if we do it for the wrong reasons. If we do it because, as an example, I don't want to pay "the man" for electricity anymore and I can afford an alternative, well that's not bad and would be done based on a possible fact. If it's being foisted upon us by profit mongers, that's bad and seems to be largely based on fantasy.

So long as a lot of people are making a lot of money, there may be no alternative-green energy made easily accessible and affordable for the masses. If there were, we would see our energy costs go down to below the cost of our alternative and all of a sudden we would be hearing how good our green-house gasses are for the environment, and possibly how our very survival depends on our driving our gas sucking 4WDs through the streets of Los Angeles.

So let's do it for the right reasons and not just to put money in some elitist's pockets. I would love to have a little turbine on my roof the size of an A/C unit. Or a little generator humming in the yard. I would love to have that stuff, as long as it meant that we don't go backwards as a culture. I want to drive - a lot - and really fast - in a big car - with A/C. I know we have the technology to allow it. Had it a long time ago. Where did it go?

Whoah, long rant, sorry.

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#24
In reply to #20

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 2:34 PM

Ron H - you said it better than I. As for those pushing this agenda do a SEARCH on John Fonte "The Ideological War within the West". They are a bunch of Transnational Progressives that want to control the world. Elitists all of them.

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#45
In reply to #24

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 11:35 AM

Read the article. Interesting. Scary. I'm gonna have to chew on that one. These people organize and have funding. We (the lowly people) are too busy working and slogging it out to even pay attention. Too busy paying taxes and fees. Typical legislation without representation on a global basis.

If I recall my history properly, don't these people eventually get lined up in the streets and shot, or strung up in public? Will that happen again, or will they put an end to world wars with a world government or end world hunger? It's kind of the ultimate communism. I don't see them doing much for Darfur and places like that. I guess they don't really care about them. Interesting. Excuse me, I'm kind of thinking out loud here, or out P.C.

This is the most exciting time in history, I think, except maybe around 1 B.C., but they didn't have cell phones then.

I can see why the elite would want to see the West and it's strength dissipate. Big problem for them. England and America and their allies seem to have been the ones who have stopped tyrants from slaughtering the masses. Since they can't be beaten, I guess this is just an easier way for them, take them over with another form of government, or replace the system with their own people. I'm not worried, Australia will come and save us, right?

So how much of the population depends on oil to eat? It's huge. Entire countries. Almost all the Middle East. So what are they going to do if we go green. Work for a living? Make rugs? All they have of value to export other than oil is heroin and terrorism. Most of the world doesn't want that. Then there is America. All the gas stations and employees of oil and oil related companies. If we went green, wow, what would happen.

It was a thought evoking article. But this post is about the cost of going green, I'm getting way off topic, this is a whole different discussion. It needs a lot of discussion - by people smarter than me, not people that just think they are. Thanks for the article.

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#25
In reply to #20

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 2:34 PM

If you sit on a large supply of oil and gas, on which you make enormous profits, or if you are an Arab country that has great supplies and great wealth, you wouldn't welcome some crazy guy who comes up and says that mankind can have an ultimate solution which would not be dependent, anymore, on what nature put under your soil.

The hydrogen economy offers a massive separation from our dependence on fossil fuels. Hydrogen fuel scientists have a deep and unconscious desire to reveal energy independence; a basic instinct to transform the world's civilization. If we don't do it, Mother Nature will.

The same goes for solar power. The government has NOT found a way to put a meter on the sun. Thus, solar power research and development suffers the fate of the uneducated, short term politician.

As it has in the past, science will prevail and the balance of power or energy will shift.

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#32
In reply to #20

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 7:39 PM

Concentrated solar which heats a solution and runs a Stirling engine or turbine is the technology most used in the desert. No photovoltaics needed. Dubai just committed 15 Billion dollars to alternative energy technology. It is time to move on to new technology, whatever it may be. So long as it is safe. Keep up with the latest energy tech at freeenergynews.com. It covers all the technologies and has a top 100 list of most promising technologies.

A combined heat and power (CHP) generator run on natural gas might be a good solution for your needs. The tech is here, the politics is wating for the people to educate the politicians, and get them off the corporate teat. That will take some doing. They tend to like the technology that their largest corporate donors like.

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#39
In reply to #20

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 3:56 AM

Ron H wrote:

"A long time ago I had a Triumph (TR7) It was larger and heavier than most cars are today. It went faster, and was a hell of a lot more fun. It also got 44 miles per gallon."

A good post but I can't let this lie, Triumph TR7 larger and heavier! It weighed 1000kg - the same as a modern supermini (not much more than a Ford Ka!) I do agree with the point though.

SUV's/4x4's are much larger and heavier than necessary and pointless to all but a few. The sooner they're paying $10 per gallon in the US (like in the UK) the better.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/12/2008 7:03 AM

SUV's/4x4's are much larger and heavier than necessary and pointless to all but a few.

Her, here. I'll drink to that!!! Probably 90% of them have never been off road and not likely to. I think that they are used as a status symbol..................on roads and in car parks especially they are an absolute menace...............and gas guzzlers.

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#129
In reply to #40

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/22/2008 2:41 PM

Seconded

The current favourite video of the younger of my teenage sons is from BBC's "Top Gear" wherein Jeremy Clarkson derides urban/suburban drivers of 4x4 vehicles while he and his co-presenters drive OLD two-wheel-drive cars all the way across Botswana, including a few miles of road - the camera crew drove a Beetle

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#62
In reply to #39

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/13/2008 11:18 AM

Right, not to split hairs or anything. The fuel economy, as they call it, doesn't make sense anymore.

My Crown Vic gets average 22 MPG with the interceptor package. I really like it. It weighs almost 2 tons. The Mazda Miata, weighs about 2000lbs (2070), gets 20-22 city and 27 (they say) hwy. The TR7 weighed 2205 and got 44 mpg. Spider 2150lbs and gets 26-32.

I have no truck with people driving their 4wds to get over the speed bumps and bumper curbs in the city. I don't think it's needed, but then maybe they don't need their money as much as I need mine. It is part of a lifestyle they have chosen and I have no right to deny them that.

Some people buy little cars. It is a lifestyle they chose. Me, I have a big car. I drive so much that I really need it. I considered getting a Suburban 4wd. I really needed a 4wd a few times. But the Vic has been a winner so far for mileage and dependibility.

Here's the thing. If I could get a Hummer, I probably would. I go places that have roads that are sometimes just dry washes and riverbeds. But there is no way that I could afford it or the gas. What is difficult about this is that if the TR7 got 44 mpg back then, and we have had many advances since then, why has the MPG not gotten better with it. I am thinking that we probably could be getting 44 mpg or better in the Hummer, but the technology is being sat on. Instead, the mpg, or the fuel economy has not gotten better in the above couple of examples - it got worse.

True, I could get a Prius. I would have to call in a hellicopter now and then to get airlifted out (car and all) and I would need to become very close freinds with a Chiropractor. I would have to change my lifestyle because of falsehoods, like that there is an oil shortage or that they can't get good mileage or that we are causing global warming. It's just wrong. If it were true, I would have no problem changing. I think most people would feel the same way.

I vote we waterboard Al Gore to get the truth. You do it first and let me know how it goes, alright?

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#81
In reply to #39

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/14/2008 12:04 AM

Thank your govt taxes for $10/gal gasoline, nothing else. You feel good giving so much of your cash to your govt? What have they done for you lately?
That kind of tyranny will not happen where free people live.

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#84
In reply to #81

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/14/2008 6:13 AM

Just where exactly is it in the world where free people live? Venezuela? I understand they pay only pennies for there fuel...I haven't been there myself to verify this, but that is a common perception in this part of the world...

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#95
In reply to #84

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/16/2008 11:43 AM

To be exact- Free people live anywhere in the world they choose. Thus the formula for the freedom scale.

F= # Immigrants/# emigrants

Some countries need fences to keep people out while others use them to keep people in. Look around- I see freedom everywhere some cannot see it anywhere.

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#96
In reply to #81

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/18/2008 3:38 AM

"You feel good giving so much of your cash to your govt? What have they done for you lately?
That kind of tyranny will not happen where free people live."

Of course the government takes 70% of that but then we have a free national health service. Your poor cannot get treatment. Also, Mr Bush will be leaving you with a $1trillion deficit, enjoy your recession.

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#101
In reply to #96

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/18/2008 8:03 PM

"we have a free national health service."

There is an old but still very relevant truth: "You get what you pay for"

I will pass on your "free" health care and instead continue living with the 'best' health care. After all, where do your Govt officials go when they need expert treatment? Would they subsidize your trip here? Doubt it.

And by the way, in both our countries the 'poor' do get free health care. We just simply have less of them.

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#105
In reply to #101

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/20/2008 4:56 PM

Actually (if one believes the news reports) more foreign government officials (and monarchs) come here than to the USA for health care.

You do have more 'poor' - a lot more, mainly because you are a bigger country with a bigger population. Of course many people use 'poor' as a relative term and anyone on the social security network in the UK or USA has a higher income than the average citizen of a non-OECD country (I was shocked to learn in my first project in post-communist Eastern Europe that I earned more in a month than an investment manager for the leading mutual fund, with a bigger market share than Fidelity and Vanguard combined, did in a year).

The USA has the most expensive health care - but I thought that only an advertising executive would interpret that as 'best'.

There is an old but still very relevant truth: "You get what you pay for"

We pay for the NHS, but through taxes rather than at the point of need. As a result we get a far higher standard of basic care: the average mother could not pay the amount spent by the NHS on the average childbirth; the rich may moan about benefits to the unemployed and the amount wasted on bad teaching but they put up with money spent on the NHS and with money well spent on education.

The question about taxes on fuel is a whole separate question and my views are affected by economics, health questions and global warming, among others although global warming is a very small factor.

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#106
In reply to #105

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/20/2008 6:34 PM

The fuel taxes are interesting in the sense, that some are fixed per liter or per gallon, but the majority are in percent both on federal and state level in US. Additionally the corporate tax and the tax on the shareholder is in percent too. It produces perverse disincentives for the governments AGAINST working to lower prices, after all they automatically get more of my money thru these diverse channels as long as prices go up.

After all who has the money ready for taxation: you and me, you peons! All the other taxing ways are just various means to collect it from you.

There is a fundamental difference in two different worldview:

1,.Let me pay whatever taxes and let the government take care of me whichever way. One size fits all, usually.

2,. I find and tailor an insurance fit just for me. I get, what I pay for, unless I opt on an upgrade on the spot, when I use it.

3,. Basic basics are fixed, beyond like 2,.

I "enjoyed" each system for large parts of my life. In my assessment number 2 wins with number 3 close second. Number 1 is a distant runner only. Reason is simple: it is run by bureaucracies, with absolutely no interest in anything but covering their fat behinds, no business sense, no interest in innovation (oh, risk, oh NOOO), spending my money. Not even letting me see, what goes behind the curtains.

I firmly believe, that nobody can spend our own money as ourselves. No do not come back with the flippant answer, that the opposite is then a virtual anarchy. I just renewed my car insurance, personally, as a number of things had to be changed. The agent was very good, in 20 minutes we adjusted everything to my satisfaction, and at the end he even asked me to evaluate his performance. Anything lie that from a bureaucracy? Don't make me laugh!

But I guess, some of you like that way, so enjoy. I am not starting a: mine is bigger than yours bragging competition here. No profit there.

A parting question: Why is it, that among my insurances, and many others I can think of, the ONLY one is the health insurance, where the steam and steel mill era one size fit all (and better not step outside, or else!) Third party payer system (where you do not who bills what, and who pays what to whom)??? Why are you adult enough to take care of your affairs elsewhere, but here you have to be treated as an unemancipated chattel?

--------------------

This is a vivid description, for the purpose of the discussion, not a political statement. That certain systems tend to prefer certain solutions, if for an entirely different thread.

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#130
In reply to #106

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/22/2008 4:38 PM

Delayed response because this is a complex question and not to be attempted when exhausted (as I was when I read your comment) or in a hurry (as I tend to be except at weekends).

I haven't discussed fuel taxes because they are off-topic and because the UK and USA rates both reflect a very out-of-date position, The UK has high taxes because the UK used to be a net importer of oil and a nearly self-sufficient producer of coal; the USA has low oil taxes because it used to be a net oil exporter so it wanted to encourage use of oil. During the period when the UK was exporting oil to the USA the tax rates did not change much due to the massive vested interests that had built up in the previous 100 years. I do not even know how much masu and mobi are paying in Australia because it does not directly affect me and there is nothing I can do about it.

Unless you really want police forces and sanitation to be privatised (the former by the Corleones/Sopranos, I assume) may I suggest that you read or re-read Adam Smith's theories. Most things are better done by individuals taking personal responsibility, but many are better done by a group, for whom they provide a significant benefit although none of them would be better off if he/she paid the full cost.

Healthcare: we don't have a "one size fits all" system - we have a safety net paid for by the taxpayer, on which the overwhelming majority of the population rely. Individuals have the option of paying extra for optional benefits. Private medical insurance as in the USA introduces an extra layer of bureaucracy compared to the UK's NHS. The NHS is not perfect, but you can opt to buy private treatment, as long as you also pay your share of the cost for the safety net for everyone. If I walk into a hospital in the UK I can expect to receive care - sometimes after a 2-hour wait - without having to produce umpteen pieces of paper to show that the hospital can reclaim the cost from a third party. You can only justify a national private-insurance-financed system if you can demonstrate that the insurance companies pressurise the healthcare providers to reduce their bureaucracies by more than the total size of the insurance system. That seems to me (admittedly 5000 miles away) a tall order.

I am not a dogmatic opponent of private choice: 30-odd years ago when I was taking actuarial examinations I took out private medical insurance so that if I needed a non-urgent operation I could have it timed to avoid exam dates; when I stopped taking exams I cancelled the insurance as I no longer needed it. In general, I am in favour of personal choice (even over smoking although I am a life-long non-smoker).

"Why are you adult enough to take care of your affairs elsewhere, but here you have to be treated as an unemancipated chattel?" Bluntly because unless you are a medical professional, you don't know what you are talking about when signing up for a tailored medical insurance. What 99.9% of the population wants is to know that if they fall ill or have an accident someone will cure them. Most people have no idea what illness might strike. If an insurance company sells cover for the top four diseases but the next year the number 4 drops to number 5 while the former number 6 moves up to number 3, you can bet that all hell will break loose with numerous trial lawyers pocketing a fortune while innocent people die.

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#133
In reply to #130

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/22/2008 8:06 PM

John77, Maybe we should follow that line from Shakespeare "First kill all the lawyers"

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#103
In reply to #96

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/19/2008 5:12 PM

For sake of perspective...we have corporate wealth of $61 trillion, that is of what is deposited on behalf of our municipalities not including personal wealth or that of business. Divide $61 trillion by 70,000 is approximate value of all taxable income of all whom file.

What is answer to $1 trillion is what % of $61 trillion?

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#104
In reply to #96

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/20/2008 2:54 PM

TheZorses: Since most of the worlds money passes through the banks of the U.S. at one point or another the recession with be enjoyed by most of the world.

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#22

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 1:19 PM

Instead of looking at the cost of energy, look at the return on investment. As of today most alternative energy sources are subsidized by some controlling entity.

In the eighties Honeywell had installed solar collectors on its main headquaters building. When the subsidy ended the solar collectors disappeared.

Recently, a Minnesota company that had a biofuel plant caused local water levels to

decline at a faster rate than anticipated.

Greenpeace gathered in protest in Brazil because Brazil was clearing land to grow sugarcane to supply biofuel plants.

A Canadian oil company recently started drilling for oil in Uganda.

Some companies are considering building water recirculation systems to contribute to energy production and cost savings.

Alternatives are always welcome, but if I cannot justify the investment it does not happen.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 2:03 PM

You seem to define "alternative" as only those forms of energy production that are uneconomic.

Have you noticed that hydroelectric power stations generate more electricity than nuclear ones; Iceland has geothermal power; the Netherlands uses wind power sensibly so that it is economic; photoelectric cells are (and have been for several years) economic compared to the retail price of electricity in California; solar water heating units are economic even in rainy cloudy England?

Hydroelectric power is economic - most Aluminium smelters build their own hydroelectric plant because buying power from generating companies would be too expensive.

BP (yes, the oil company) manufactures photoelectric cells that provide power to villages in the third world outside the areas covered by the transmission grid. The main constraint at present on the spread of solar photovoltaic cells is the availability of high-purity silicon - they will not be competitive as suppliers to the grid for several years but for on-site supply with no transmission losses or distributor mark-up they can already justify the cost of investment in many regions.

I personally distrust the salesmen for using ethanol from "corn" (maize) as a supplement to petrol/gasoline (but remember that is not the only or best biofuel, merely the most heavily lobbied and hence most subsidised and hence profitable) or for wind power supplying the grid - which relies on putting the most efficient power stations on standby, burning gas but producing no electricity, so that they can be switched on virtually instantaneously when the wind drops. However that does not mean that I disregard the contribution that can be obtained by sensible use of alternative energy sources.

It is not up to you, mi3865, to justify the investment but the individual who is paying for the investment. If you include the cost of adequate anti-pollution measures for a new coal-fired power station, you will find that it is uneconomic compared to nuclear power or hydroelectricity - most of the alleged cost benefits of coal are due to the lower safety and environmental standards.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: The cost of "green" electricity.

02/11/2008 2:54 PM

The government is shutting down hydroelectric dams to please the fish fanatics.

There are many sources for photovoltaics, the technology gets better daily.

I just meant that if it is viable then there is no need for rebates or any other assistance.

There is a cost to solar but if it is used on individual applications where the excess of transmission cable is not needed then it is a viable system.

The current trend seems to be to protest the problem and the solution.

In response to your examples you merely point out the small solutions.

Perhaps we should split up large countries so that each smaller country can supply its citizens with small solutions.

http://www.jointhesolution.com/nlvsolar

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