[nSLUG] Measured wattage of atom system

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 15:47:56 ADT 2008


2008/9/16 D G Teed <donald.teed at gmail.com>:
> On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 1:58 PM, Daniel Morrison <draker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Myths of Renewable Energy:
>> #2 The current cost of wind and wave energy is higher than fossil fuels

> This is getting off topic

Yes.

> but I don't think wind, tides and sun will be able to power our future,
> unless we go back to using electricity like we did in the 1940's (or perhaps
> 1910's).

Hmm, how to approach this...

Option 1) we won't know unless we try.  With such a sparsely populated
country, I wouldn't be surprised if Canada were able to produce all its
electricity from renewable sources (I'm including hydro electricity in this).
Don't forget also that the next generation of PV solar cells might be either
dirt cheap, or highly (75%) efficient.  If we're lucky, the generation after
that will be _both_ cheap and efficient.

Option 2) The 20th century will be remember as the time of plenty.  We WILL be
returning to usage patterns closer to those at early part of this century (per
capita)... no choice about it (except for the elite few).

> Electricity is going to power cars,

> home heating,

Man, I hope not.  Electricity is a high-grade energy; using it for heat is a
poor choice.

> and lots of stuff in the future (whether hydrogen cells are involved is
> mute, as hydrogen will be produced by electrolysis).

'moot'.

Electrolysis is a darn sight better than fossil fuel extraction, which is the
dead end being touted now.  Still, it's incredibly energy inefficient.  I've
seen proposals for direct solar water splitting.  Very slow at present, but if
worked on, could be miles more efficient than electrolysis.

> We are going to need, I would guess, double the current electricity in the
> coming decades, and the only path to

Sorry I'm being such a stick in the mud... we do not "need" that much
electricity.  We "want" that much electricity.  After the green revolution
(whether it be violent or peaceful) the attitude that we "need" relatively
unlimited supplies of cheap energy will be regarded as the backwards thinking
that got us into this mess.

> doing so is nuclear.  I don't like nuclear, but I think it is the only
> practical solution.

   "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I
   hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle
   that." - Edison to Ford and Firestone in 1931
           (from "Uncommon Friends" by J.Newton)

> I just wish the 3 trillion pumped into the Iraq war had been put into
> this instead:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEMO

Nevertheless, this is something I can wholeheartedly agree with.  I haven't
heard any serious arguments against fusion apart from the nay-saying "too
expensive, too hard, can't be done" sort.

Still, why spend trillions on fusion power when we have the largest, most
spectacular, and most reliable fusion power plant ever imagined just sitting
on our doorstep?

(The Sun, in case it isn't obvious...!)

-D.



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