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IPCC: 80% renewables is possible within 40 years

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"Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world's energy supply within four decades - but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.

 

[..]

 

Investing in renewables to the extent needed would cost only about 1% of global GDP annually, said Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC.

 

[...]

 

Ramon Pichs, co-chair of one of the key IPCC working groups, said: "The report shows that it is not the availability of [renewable] resources but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades. Developing countries have an important stake in the future – this is where most of the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity live yet also where some of the best conditions exist for renewable energy deployment."

 

No more excuses

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The establishment's narrative about renewable energy (RE) is "cool but it can only fill a small part of our energy needs. The technology isn't there yet and we still need to develop fossils and nukes".

 

The IPCC brings 120 of the most prominent experts in the discipline to review the literature and assess RE potential with existing technologies. They put out a report that tells us (as we have known for years already) that we have the tech, the only thing missing is political will to promote investment and development.

 

It's a huge development and you'd think the media would bring it to the fore especially in the wake of Fukushima. Unfortunately, our corporate media seems to have different design on the evolution of the narrative about renewable energy: Renewable Energy? That's Not News (Here)

 

 

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Economic prosperity is driven by cheep resources either materially or energy. It allows the common person to dream big. When basic necessity cost of living(food/shelter/transportation) is lowered for all, that means it raises the average person up to be able to use their available resources in the best manner.

 

Industrial revolution happened due to revolution in farming techniques lowering food cost for everyone. The industrial revolution was further fueled by cheep energy in the form of coal. Cheep energy in the form of fuel allows people to move and do what needs doing instead of being constricted to a very small portion of the world limiting their possibility of success.

 

Until solar power costs lower(the panels themselves, not even efficiency wise), I don't see any possibility that anyone will ever get even close to even half. Momentary spurts of 40% don't count when the wind decides to blow as the common person doesn't get to choose when they have to go to work. If the computers and lights in the office are not on, its rather pointless.

 

Intermitent power sources DO NOT match Coal/NG energy sources as those mainstay energy sources DO NOT turn on off quickly. Wind turns on off in a matte of minutes. Coal/NG turns on off in a matter of DAYS. Boiler heating/cooling. If one said add Nuclear to the equation as it can be turned on/off very quickly and doesn't have a Gigantic heat build up in its boilers like especially Coal does. NG not so much.

 

Yes, today, we could install the solar panels needed by covering the world with them. Of course that still only helps for 3-12 hours a day and since we have NO VIABLE ENERGY STORAGE SOLUTION TECHNICALLY FEASIBLE, it means at best we can obtain 40%-50% of our energy needs in this manner at a HORRENDOUS cost. Then add in gigantic population centers in northern lattitudes where for 6 months out of the year, even solar is not feasible it becomes a mediocre solution regardless of cost considerations! 3 watts of power collected in Florida becomes 1 watt in New York by the time it is run through the transmission lines!

 

What are you going to do, march everyone out of New York/Chicago/Boston/London/Seattle at gunpoint and force them to live in Mexico/Spain/Morocco/Jordan/India?

 

Until we find a practical energy storage solution or superconducting transmission lines, obtaining 50% renewable is out of the question let alone 80% regardless of how much money is spent. That is the bottom line.

 

Please do try to be somewhat informed about reality. Most see renewables as a wonderful goal(one can argue up front sunk cost verses imports in another thread etc) but right now there is no technical solution let alone a practical solution.

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Nuclear power plants can not be turned on/off quickly. As someone who worked in a navy nuclear pwr plant, I can say that those plants take about 4 hr to "turn on" and 6 hr to completely "turn off". Relative to your coal & NG, I suppose it might seem "quickly"

 

Isn't the point of achieving the renewable energy guidelines to be to use the renewables that fit for your area? It seems like part of your argument is based on that there is not one solution for the entire country. The real solution is to have many different technologies and then the local community picks the ones that work.

For a local example. In snohomish county there is a hydro electric project (something like 2000 ft water head pressure) just south of sultan. A dam you ask? Sort of. It is a small dam in a small creek and they ran big pipes down the hill for 2000 vertical feet to a small generator. That kind of head pressure can generate tremendous voltages with very little environmental impact. (except for the initial huge digging for the pipe and other construction) This works for us so we should use it as much as we can. This might work in the east coast, so they should use it also.

 

The storage and transmission is the biggest problem, like you mentioned.

 

What is wrong with the geothermal option? Seems like a 24hr/day energy source.

 

renewables is not a "wonderful goal" but a complete necessity goal. We can't keep burning oil, coal and NG. The days of cheap fuel are gone. Someday, those fuels will just be gone. Add in the climate change. Add in the political ramifications of importing fuel. (what has the war for oil cost?)

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it's too bad we can't harness all of the hot air from spray. Limitless power!

 

 

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The point is setting a goal knowing you can't just flip a switch tomorrow to achieve the goal. Once you set the goal you devote time, energy, and money to achieve the goal. Kind of like alpine climbing a difficult route on a far off peak, or all kinds of things humans do.

 

I agree wind and solar power have some major problems when it comes to storage. That doesn't mean we shouldn't make use of them and devote some resources to overcome storage problems.

 

I've read a couple articles regarding the use of ocean buoys using waves to generate power. In the right location you get a constant power source. The idea needs some work, and it may be of little use to folks in Nebraska, but it sounds like a worthy investment. Most of the US population lives near coastlines. http://cleantechnica.com/2008/09/25/ocean-buoys-to-provide-10-of-us-energy-requirements/

 

Private companies can do some of the work, but it takes public money too. A Swiss guy discovered velcro in 1941 without public funding, but it received little use till NASA astronauts started using it. The next thing you know velcro is a everyday useful product. It's an indirect spin-off of a bunch of taxpayer dollars. I'm not sure how Tang fits in, but there are other items that came from the idea of traveling into space at taxpayer expense.

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Prosperity ends once the environment which produces is destroyed, as our fossil fuel based population is doing now. That shouldn't be too much 'reality' for most folks to get a grasp of.

 

Deep geothermal will probably be in our future. It's almost unlimited. Eventually, exploration costs for fossils will exceed that for deep geo (do they now?), and we'll go there.

 

The storage issue is minimized when transmission losses are minimized, which can be done with today's technologies by switching to DC long lines, higher tech transmission wires, changing transmission voltages, and smart grid systems. You can redo the whole country's grid for about $60 billion, a ridiculously low figure when you compare it to what we've blown via the Bush tax cuts and two failed wars - about $4 trillion.

 

We need electric cars. Oil exploration is really bad for the environment - I invite anyone to visit the tar sands if you wish to dispute this point. The real damage is done we burn more energy (using cheaper nat gas) refining refining such sources into gasoline than we get from the gasoline - a double carbon emissions hit. I've heard some idiots claim electric cars will never measure up - apparently unaware that electric cars with ranges in the hundreds of miles were common just after the turn of the (20th) century - using shitty batteries, heavy materials, and no smarts. Yeah, not possible at all....

 

In the end, low carbon or carbon free energy sources are a political choice. So far, we've chosen to concentrate wealth to fewer folks and fight wars instead of doing the responsible, work ethic thing of keeping our house, and its energy needs, in order - using precisely the same kind of ignorance that some of the more verbose and vacuous poster exhibit right here. These folks cry 'sustainability will never happen!' for a variety of reasons limited by their skin deep knowledge, lack of imagination, and - the big reason, hatred of all things 'liberal'. Apparently, not destroying the environment we depend on is just another 'liberal' conspiracy or something. Whatev.

 

Sustainability, by its very definition, is inevitable. It MUST happen. The only question is whether it will be forced on us by a really shitty environment or chosen by us before that happens.

 

The DRILL DRILL DRILL folks would prefer to pass the buck to future generations and party on. That's a natural human tendency. Low rent, self centered, and ignorant, perhaps, but natural.

 

 

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Yes, run of the river/creek solutions can be and should be emmplaced. If one goes to Switzerland, you will find them Everywhere. Even on small creeks. I was staying working with horses watching a creek descent 2000 feet to the skagit river on the opposite side of the valley and was calculating how many kwh said creek would produce. Near a MW. The reason its not being used? Government regulations, namely the astronomical price of hooking up a power source to the grid. Just the "permit" costs over $400,000 before you even think of touching the environmental folks. If reality was kicked into the energy commisions heads they would take that $400k number and dump it down to 20k or less so folks who own said creeks or part of said creeks can actually use them.

 

GeoThermal, currently has issues regarding salt/mud eruptions. We have no current models to adequately find such problems before we drill all the time. Here I am thinking the very large holes needed for such energy solution. The best folks for doing this would be the oil companies that so many like to deride. Why folks do this is beyond me. Deride the folks using all the oil instead. One will note that it is the oil companies 'leading' the charge with geothermal as they are the only ones with experience and readily available holes to use.

 

Don't know about you but, I bet if one tapped into Yellowstone Volcano, it would solve quite a few energy needs, of course to extract said energy you need a giant sump of cold water and the only close sump is the Snake?Yellowstone Rivers and all the environmentalists will cry foul. The other option to make such Temp COld possible is gigantic "nuclear" cooling towers that most folks associate with nuclear energy as they use differences in pressure to condense said water back into liquid form thus decreasing the amount of cold water they need to operate.

 

Your hundreds of miles on an electric vehicle at beginning of 20th century was a joke comment right?

 

"upgrading" electric grid will get us 15% at most is what I have read. Still that is 15%. Lets see USA uses 4k TWh/year. 15% is about 0.6TWh per year or enough energy for another 50Million people or so. The $60B number is hopelessly low, but I agree it still needs to be done. Just the easements to erect the new lines in conjunction with the old will require the $60B. Just turning all those power stations from AC to DC will take $60B. You know how many giant power stations there are? Thousands, multi thousands.

 

Its a daunting task.

 

Pretty much those living out west have it made. Those on the east coast are screwed when it comes to renewables in ANY form wind, solar, geo, hydro. Thus, my comment regarding the need for superconducting power transmission lines.

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This is what happens when wind farms aren't willing to pay for transmission lines. They expect to use "existing" transmission lines built on other utilities dime. This is a giant hidden cost making wind power "look" nearly viable. See the giant fight in California over same such issue. A perfectly good place to build a giant wind farm out in the dessert, but the local utilities cannot accomodate them and they need to build a 250 mile transmission line and the environmentalists are busy worrying about dessert rats.

 

That and the minor fact that to produce enough renewable electricity with wind power would require the entire worlds iron mining rights for five years to make said wind turbine towers for the USA alone. This doesn't even address the rest of the world.

 

As far as I am concerned, any wind farm that is built MUST build in equivalent power sources for when the wind is not blowing. As our daily lives are not centered around the wind, rather they are centered around planning that power will be there when we turn on a switch. They can't continue to mooch off others and expect to be accomodated. Just like if a Giant Coal or NG power plant goes in they have to pay for upgrading the transmission lines to the power drain(cities). Why are Wind Farms that can produce a GW of power not subject to the same financial burdens(responsibilities of not overbalancing the electric grid)?

 

To read about such giant problems that have taken huge resources to use, look at Europe. They have made Gigantic phase lag/lead stations with quite often 2nd sets of transmission lines to address the issue. If we think Wind power has any future, then this issue of over/under burdening the electric grid system must be integrated into the final solution.

 

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Our grid system is old, the [regional] politics surrounding it substantial, and while the power and technical issues around both balancing the system and integrating wind / solar are significant, they pale compared to the politics.

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This is what happens when wind farms aren't willing to pay for transmission lines. They expect to use "existing" transmission lines built on other utilities dime. This is a giant hidden cost making wind power "look" nearly viable. See the giant fight in California over same such issue. A perfectly good place to build a giant wind farm out in the dessert, but the local utilities cannot accomodate them and they need to build a 250 mile transmission line and the environmentalists are busy worrying about dessert rats.

 

???!!! The fight's not about the Endangered Species Act...at all, but nice try to tea bagg-ize the issue.

 

That and the minor fact that to produce enough renewable electricity with wind power would require the entire worlds iron mining rights for five years to make said wind turbine towers for the USA alone. This doesn't even address the rest of the world.

 

 

Also a fantasy non issue you either made up or parroted. What scarce mineral are you referring to?

 

Wind turbines are made primarily from composites - petroleum. I think the mining rights for that have been secured for that already. The amount of oil needed to build, say, 3 million of them is negligible compared to our daily use of the stuff. The rest is just a standard generator - common materials (you'd need one anyway, wind powered or not).

 

As far as I am concerned, any wind farm that is built MUST build in equivalent power sources for when the wind is not blowing. As our daily lives are not centered around the wind, rather they are centered around planning that power will be there when we turn on a switch. They can't continue to mooch off others and expect to be accomodated. Just like if a Giant Coal or NG power plant goes in they have to pay for upgrading the transmission lines to the power drain(cities). Why are Wind Farms that can produce a GW of power not subject to the same financial burdens(responsibilities of not overbalancing the electric grid)?

'For every windmill you build you need to build a coal fired plant'. OOOOKEE DOKEE! That's almost as good a teabagger proposal as passing a balanced budget amendment that makes the tea bagger's own budget unconstitutional.

 

Somehow you crackers always seem to work the 'mooching' idea into every topic I've noticed. "SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE, IS SCREWING ME! I JUST KNOW IT!!!!" The 'live by the wind' comment...also awesomely stupid.

 

The solution is a nationwide smart grid the balances intermittent with continuous supplies with demand. Some storage will undoubtedly be needed. The problem of designing transmission lines with enough capacity has been with us since day one. Intermittent power sources aren't new, nor are spikes in demand. Here's an update: Wind power doesn't 'have a future' - it's here know and growing very rapidly.

 

It's also kind of telling that you failed to mention the most glaring economic issue with wind power....oh well. FAIL.

 

 

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Until we find a practical energy storage solution or superconducting transmission lines, obtaining 50% renewable is out of the question let alone 80% regardless of how much money is spent. That is the bottom line.

 

Please do try to be somewhat informed about reality. Most see renewables as a wonderful goal(one can argue up front sunk cost verses imports in another thread etc) but right now there is no technical solution let alone a practical solution.

 

I find it rather amazing that an eminent group of 120 experts get together to say there are no technological or cost barriers to reaching 80% renewables within 40 years, yet some blowhards mysteriously claiming to be "informed about reality" feel they can bring up the same old canards that have been repeatedly debunked, and of course, without ever accounting for whether we have the choice of not of implementing sustainable, not-polluting energy systems.

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I find it rather amazing that an eminent group of 120 experts get together to say there are no technological or cost barriers to reaching 80% renewables within 40 years, yet some blowhards mysteriously claiming to be "informed about reality" feel they can bring up the same old canards that have been repeatedly debunked, and of course, without ever accounting for whether we have the choice of not of implementing sustainable, not-polluting energy systems.

 

This sounds more like ideological crap from someone who can't argue his points with facts so resorts to "ad-hominem" (sounds smart doensn't it?) attacks. See how that works? This is the same person who believes internet quacks with blogs over professional journalists with years of investigative experience when his President says the boogie man is dead. See how that works?

Edited by E-rock

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needless to say that my argument wasn't ad-hominem because it specifically addressed the lack of evidence provided to dismiss a report written by experts

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oooh, a gay joke. You can really run the gamut of awesomeness, can't you?

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a gay joke because I asked if the ass kicking hurt? you are some piece of work.

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so what's your argument again? do you actually have any argument at anytime besides personal attacks?

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This sounds more like ideological crap from someone who can't argue his points with facts so resorts to "ad-hominem" (sounds smart doensn't it?) attacks. See how that works?

 

you need to learn what ad-hom means. It's not equivalent to "insult". As a matter of fact, calling a "blowhard" someone who ignored all the evidence presented to spew the same old unsupported garbage despite a panel of experts saying exactly the opposite, may be insulting but it isn't ad-hom.

 

This is the same person who believes internet quacks with blogs over professional journalists with years of investigative experience when his President says the boogie man is dead. See how that works?

 

it'd work better if it were true. Do I really have to debunk this tripe?

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