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Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half

Original post made by Mike on Apr 3, 2008

Web Link

Sooner or later, we're gong to knock fossil fuels and nuclear power out of the box. We have to learn to harness the energy that we get for free, from the sun, wind, water, etc.

Comments (39)

Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Apr 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm

"We think solar power can provide 20pc of all the incremental energy needed worldwide by 2040,"

Translation: 80% of increased energy, by 2040, will come from sources other than solar.

Nuclear power is the only realistic alternative. Get used to it, folks!


Posted by Spock, a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Is that so?
I guess that will be know at the 4th of the three greatest lies known to mankind.

You and Captain Kirk will do it alone, right?

What about this:
Web Link

or this:
Web Link

Dude you need to read up on wind power as well key words: "wind power dumping"
or Web Link

The more serious problem is wind not being there when you need it and solar is not functional at night.

Now where did I put my dilithium crystals?


Posted by EarthQuaker, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Spock -- thanks for the links. I'm with you on the ethanol scam (your second link). The wind power issue is less clear cut for me. I was just reading about the bird-killing part of the equation and there are a lot of people who see groups like Wind-Watch (your third link) as hyping that more than it deserves.

Your first link -- about pollution created by Chinese manufacturers of raw materials for solar panels -- was horrific. But I think it says more about capitalism working in an environment of criminally lax regulation than about the environmental costs of solar power per se. The story explicitly makes the point that the pollution can be avoided -- and is in many countries -- but that it adds to the manufacturer's costs. Given the huge demand for solar panels, manufacturers ought to be able to make plenty of money without polluting -- the ones who do pollute in the story are surely just being greedy at the expense of the health and environment of their fellow citizens.

There are environmental costs to solar power, though (see: Web Link).

It's never a clean win with any of the so called 'green' energy options. But we can still discriminate between them and try to employ them where they make environmental sense.


Posted by Another Engineer, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Solar energy generation is subject to a hard limit: on a bright day at the earth's surface the sunlight energy flux is about 1 kW per square meter on a surface fully broadside to the sun. It's all downhill from there. For example, existing solar systems can deliver only about 15% of that. The link does not say what efficiency Mr Sethi's film delivers but I'm sure he would brag about it if it was greater. What we really need is a brighter sun.


Posted by a long time resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm

It's wishful thinking. It would be great if happens.

There are a lot of issues that are not answered:

Protection for the film material. It will still need protection for the enviroment rain, wind ,dust, etc,

The cost of installation of panels. I suggested a friend put up a hot water solar collector and tank on their roof to replace a reg.gas hot water heater. Turns out the cost or bid price was $8000 for a small system. The parts probably cost well under $1000, but the labor was $7000 I guess.

This indicates the installation costs to homeowners will far exceed the cost of the materials. A do-it-yourself projec could pay off.

There is now leglisation in the works that could kill 1/2 of possible home installations. That is if people plant trees around their property the neighbors would probably not consider installing solar if the trees may grow up tall and block the sun to their house or roof. The trees will take priority over solar power. Plant a gallon or smaller tree to protect your view of solar panels. This is such a "Anti-Solar" law it is astounding.

I hope break-thru's will come, but have been waiteing? for them for a long time. There were announcements over 30 yrs ago and one was from Varian of Palo Alto.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 1:50 am

Great news!
Now cancel all subsidies on solar and cancel all disincentives on fossil fuel nd let the market decide.


Posted by jr, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:05 am




The Global Warming affair may be an informative way to look at the religious wars that devasted parts of Europe.

The articles of faith were never the issue but only the instrument used to identify allies and enemies.

If GW were purely a scientific issue then liberals and conservatives would split about evenly on it.

That only liberals are seeking massive political and social reordering to combat GW, by force if necessary, indicates that something else is going on.

Hopefully, as more people come to realize that Global Warming alarmism is a hoax, the Grand Narrative of liberalism itself will be harmed enough to shift the zeitgeist back into a more rationale mode.




Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:50 am

Isn't there an aphorism somewhere that says "the oppressed get used to their chains"? Looks like most commentators here are happy to keep forking over money to oil-producing states, denying strong science, or barking up the go-nowhere-ever-tinfoil-hat-nuclear-power-movement tree.

btw, here's the Solar Shade Control Act

Web Link


Posted by a long time resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 4, 2008 at 11:07 am

That was Jan. 2007.

I am referring to the new one that is being worked on or drawn up that says if trees are existing before the solar panels are installed the trees have preference over the solar panels.

If you don't like solar panels in your neighborhood get everyone that dosen't like their looks to get together and plant a lot of little trees on their property boundry lines and maybe as street trees.


Posted by Urban VIII, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2008 at 11:52 am

Hopefully, as more people come to realize that this business about the earth revolving around the sun is a hoax, the Grand Narrative of liberalism itself will be harmed enough to shift the zeitgeist back into a more rationale mode.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 4, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Urban, I happen to agree. We should encourage all the science-doubters to stop washing their hands, because - after all - germ theory is just a theory, right? Maybe they'll take our advice, and if any of them survive, they will have unwittingly proved Darwin as correct. Ain't science fun?


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Um, Mike, science can be fun, likewise science rhetoric, but some people would stop washing their hands if they found out it's based on the germ theory of disease, and you could be held legally liable for their misfortunes or those of unsuspecting but otherwise smart people who happen to shake their hands in friendship.

Personally, it took a load of worry off my mind when I found out that atomic bombs were based on the theory of relativity, and I could stop believing all those scare stories about terrorists getting them. Imaging trying to blow up a city with a theory. What a laugh.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Mike, I hope you do not consider me a science doubter. What I am is a scientist questioner. You have seen my challenge, here, to the warmies. Run the changes they want, in their own program, and demonstrate the difference in ultimate temperature their program predicts just to show that the sacrifice is worth it and not just tossing a virgin in a volcano.


Posted by mike w b, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm



Diesel cars get around 35% more miles per gallon than their petrol equivalents.
Diesel fuel is 15% heavier than petrol, and packs a bigger energy punch to start with.


Better still, a diesel engine has none of its petrol cousin's "pumping losses".
These come with throttling the air-fuel supply, which allows the engine to run at speeds less than flat out.
Instead, the diesel engine varies the amount of fuel squirted into its cylinders depending on the work load placed on it.

Unrestricted by pumping losses, diesels can achieve efficiencies of around 40%.



Posted by june, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm



Has anyone actually read Gore's autobiography, "The Assault on Reason"? it is a weird, weird book.

Gore is clearly a bright man, and he knows a little about a lot, and he ties together brain psychology, climate science, history, media criticism and who knows what other topics to produce a stream of consciousness that probably will appeal to partisan Democrats but to anyone else is just incredibly odd.

Here's a typical passage:

QUOTE

"When I was a boy growing up on our family farm in the summers, I learned how to hypnotize chickens. You hold the chicken down and then circle your finger around its head, making sure that its eyes trace your hand movement.

After a sufficient number of circles, the chicken will become entranced and completely immobile.

There's a lot you can do with a hypnotized chicken. You can use it as a paperweight, or you can use it as a doorstop, and either way, the chicken will sit there motionless, staring blankly. (What you can't do is use it as a football. Something about being thrown through the air seemed to wake the chicken right up.)

It turns out that the immobility response in animals is an area that has received some scholarly attention, and here is one thing the scientists have found: The immobility response is strongly influenced by fear.

A fear stimulus causes the chicken's amygdala to signal the release of neurochemicals, and controlled experiments show that they make immobility much more likely.

No, I'm not saying that television viewers are like hypnotized chickens. But there may be some lessons for us larger-brained humans in the experiences of barnyard hens." END QUOTE

Come to think of it, Gore may be uniquely qualified to serve as secretary of agriculture in Obamas cabinet.


The passage also shows where Gore got his Chicken Little philosophy from.

The Sky IS Falling, The Globe Is Warming.The Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost







Posted by Sherwood Schwartz, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Walter LOL --> tossing a virgin in a volcano.

So that is where the 72 virgins come from.
I knew it!
Another Al Gore plot.
Is he the fat professor on Gilligan's Island?


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm

The postings signed jr and june show the US is definitely losing its scientifico-technological standing in the world, and why. It's not the kids in the education system, it's allegedly educated grownups who cannot think in a straight, logical line. What's really scary is both live in the 'hood of the professors.

Walter: How does one quantify for science purposes the benefits of tossing a virgin in a volcano? Please seek professional help before you attempt any experiments.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm

"The Assault on Reason" is "An Insult to Reason"

There is no such thing as manmade global warming.


Posted by jr, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm




The Assault on Reason reestablishes Gore as America's premier besserwisser and moral scold: the politician who both warns that we are scaring people to death and argues that Manhattan will soon be submerged beneath the Atlantic.

besserwisser=Know-it-all, an epithet applied to any person who exhibits the belief that he or she possesses a superior intellect and wealth of knowledge, and shows a determination to demonstrate his perceived
superiority at every opportunity.








Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 4, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Aw, c'mon seekers. Get real. If Al Gore called himself a Republican you'd be hanging onto his every word and swooning at the mellifluity of his golden phrasings. US science is becoming a science filtered by politics, just like the "science" in Stalinist Russia, and just as respectable.


Posted by Been around the block, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2008 at 5:14 pm

"US science is becoming a science filtered by politics"

"BECOMING"? That is a laugher. From Albert Einstein to Edward Teller to Paul Ehrlich, and many others, U.S. science has been politicized. Just take it as a given, then make your own choices. Global warming is highly politicized, from all sides. Major science cannot become de-coupled from politics, becasue it relies on government funds.


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 8:47 pm

You hypnotize a chicken so itt will keep its neck on the chopping block while you go get the axe. After you chop, you put an inveerted wash tub over the chicken until it stops flopping.
Throwing a virgin into a volcano will have absolutely no effect on the condition it proposes to change - just as throwing the nation's economy in the dumper will have absolutely no effect on the climate.


Posted by Brack Al bin Clinton, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Now that bill and hill have told us how much they got ($109,000,000.00) paid on the back end of them selling out america and al gore is worth at least triple that bundle to play chicken little on the world stage.

I think it is high time for all of them to give it all back to the oppressed and under funded peoples to save the environment.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Make a wager on the price of a barrel oil in 2040. Hint: It's not going to be very close to $100. That energy better come from somewhere.

Solar is now about $5/W wholesale. Several technologies claim better than $2/W but they have yet to be proven. But even if they existed today, at the current manufacturing rates, it would take long past 2040 to even make the panels to replace current energy use.

Solar is part of the solution but there isn't enough information yet to determine what percentage it will be.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 4, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Perspective, A wager? by the time 2040 is here, nanotech and other technologies will have made oil obsolete. Manufacturing energy solutions have "a lot of room at the bottom", as Richard Feynman was fond of saying. Materials science has only just begun. Place an exponential multiplier on nanotech, stand out of the way, and watch our dependency on oil slip-slide away.


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:41 am

The processing of information will improve/increase exponentially, but the physical displacement of people and things will not. Perhaps in 2040 commuting will be a thing of the past except for the diminishing few who manipulate matter. Think VR glasses and audio implants for the O in I/O. Any predictions for the I?


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Just a link to another advance in solar energy generation people might be interested in reading

Web Link


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm

jr, "besserwisser=Know-it-all, an epithet applied to any person who exhibits the belief that he or she possesses a superior intellect and wealth of knowledge, and shows a determination to demonstrate his perceived superiority at every opportunity"

You mean like subsuming those you disagree with under some pejorative, like "besserwisser" that places you - in a metaphorical irony of major proportions - above them?


Posted by Jarred, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Ray Kurzweil, noted inventor and futurist, has calculated that we need capture only one hundredth of one percent of the solar energy that reaches the surface of the earth in order to supply all the electricity currently used worldwide. Furthermore, he predicts that the technology to do so efficiently and cheaply will be available within 20 years:
Web Link

However, nuclear power and flex-fuel vehicles seem like a good hedge in case it takes a little longer to get to a mostly-solar energy world.


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2008 at 8:45 am

No one is stopping solar advocates from following their choice. Why do they deny chouice to others?


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2008 at 9:13 am

Walter,

In what way are solar advocates denying you your choice?


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2008 at 10:29 am

Solar advocates are adding a surcharge to my utility bills to support their non-competitive habit. They deny me the option of all nuclear power and domestic oil.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2008 at 10:59 am

So you want to dictate the source of your electrons and not being able to do that you figure is the fault of solar advocacy. Not sure I follow that logic.

Where is that solar surcharge on my bill?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2008 at 5:49 am

The solar, and the wind surcharge is incorporated in your rate base, just ss those "inexpensive" CF lamps you got the coupon for and the endless twaddle of PSAs are also paid for in the rate. You also pay more taxes because of the tax credits given to silly Green fads.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2008 at 9:28 am


now answer the other question


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2008 at 9:47 am

Sorry I just reread what I wrote, it was implied, I'll make it more obvious.

So how do you figure not being able to dictate the source of your electrons is the fault of solar advocacy?


Posted by Not yo mamma's fool, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2008 at 11:32 am

the fault of solar advocacy?

Dude, seriously do you live in a box?
\
Media man has been hitting us over the head with all those "be green" print, radio and tv ads
I guess in your green world the guberment doesn't pay for it's own propaganda it must be free - - hahahahha. Dude wake up the electron user pays and that means me and you.

I am sick of all you 1% power people y'all hopping on the eco pin wheel like a tangled bunch of gerbils. Most of you have no clue what it takes to make electrons for the masses and you believe all this green nonsense.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2008 at 11:44 am

Home sick from school today?


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2008 at 1:56 pm

So Walter, I am guessing that what you really object to is subsidizing of solar; I think advocacy is just speaking in favor of something. Maybe this is where you and I didnt get one another.


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