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California to build 800MW solar power plant

Post in 'The Green Room' started by got wood?, Aug 18, 2008.

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  1. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/business/15solar.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    "The plants will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, and in the middle of a sunny day will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant. A megawatt is enough power to run a large Wal-Mart store."

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  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    While I applaud the move I have to wonder how many tax dollars are being funneled to support the project that is privately owned. Renewables need to stand on their own if they are ever going to compete with conventional sources.
  3. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    I really don't know if I agree that renewables have to stand on their own financially to be an effective alternative. The simple fact that by many accounts we are running out of oil while at the same time increasing our demand for it (china/india/us) should be sounding huge klaxon alarms throughout the industrialized world. We don't have the luxury of waiting around for these alternative energy sources to be profitable. As oil is getting more and more difficult to drill and with the last of the huge wells tapped last century, the struggle for what remains will likely fuel not only incredible prices for crude, but potentially wars.

    Let's also be realistic about subsidies too...oil and coal are largely `unofficially' subsidized through sweetheart backroom deals and lobbyists who secure special treatment and terms for their constituents to ensure they are and remain competitive.
  4. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if the NIMBY crowd will allow this to happen? And don't forget about the crowd that doesn't want the extra transmission lines running thru the neighborhood. Oh yeah.. how about the hikers and ruining their view? Don't forget about the animal/bug/etc activists .They'll have a say about this. :smirk: I'm just sayin'....... :coolsmile:
  5. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Drove by one of those last year just south of Vegas in California last Dec. while visiting the inlaws. It was in the middle of the desert and didn't affect anyone. Was a massive installation. Build them I say.
  6. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Bring em on, the more the merrier. Then use some of the electricity to crack water into hydrogen, compress it, and use that for automobiles, if you must have an internal combustion engine. That would be the only truly green fuel for cars. About subsidies, don't you think the oil companys are subsidized even today? Ever heard of Dick Cheney? Whatever subsidizing it takes, lets do it. Its a little late for standing on principles here.
  7. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Tell the environmentalists that protest a solar installation that their proposal will not receive any hearing unless they first eliminate the need for such a plant, ie they stop using all electrical power. Once they stop using any electrical power, and that includes the use of any electrical device like a TV camera that gets their view out, we won't hear from them anymore.

    I welcome this, would welcome such an installation in my area, and feel that there's plenty of views to be had that we can afford to give some up. That being said, I say why waste the land on JUST a solar installation? Nothing I saw there would prevent them from setting them underneath a large building. Multiple office buildings would work great here. Any industry that does not require in the air emissions would work. Building such installations on top of buildings would be a twofer. Imagine if every Wal Mart Super Center, if every strip mall, if every large factory had a solar installation on top of it. Imagine if these solar installations covered not only the buildings, but the parking lots. We'd have more power than we'd know what to do with then, if 12 acres makes 800MW. We'd have to come up with a way to store it at night.

    As far as NIMBY goes, I wouldn't mind seeing a nuke plant built in the Tulsa area where I live. A few of these solar installations would be better though.
  8. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    I doubt the oil companies are that highly subsidized, at least the good guys who are US based(Exxon/Mobil SHell etc) not the bad guys like Citgo who were stolen from their stock holders buy Chavez when he nationalized errr took over Citgo.

    Anyhow do you mind paying 5x for your electric to subsidize all the capitol cost for all these renewables??

    I think we need cost competitive alternatives. Also just so you know, Solar, wind etc cannot be counted on for peak load so the amount of generation really doesnt go down. When you get home and the sun sets and you have your AC cranked and the wind isnt blowing, there had better be enough generation capacity(nuke, oil, gas coal) to meet the peak demand or faster than you can say load sheading you will be in a hot, dark house :)
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Turbo, the oil companies have been HIGHLY subsidized, by everything from the construction of highway systems (with public money and often by eminent domain) to the current ethanol craze (ethanol is added to gas and makes the cost less due to the 50 cent per gallon the government gives them).

    More directly, there are tax credits which are quite massive - put in force when oil was 25-30 a gallon - to promote domestic drilling. The idea was to remove these credits if oil went up in price....because you certainly don't need the taxpayers paying the oil companies to drill for $120 oil.

    But, guess what? The tax credits are still in force today!

    After we get done with all the direct subsidies, we get to a long list of indirect ones. The oil companies do not have to pay the real cost for the air and water pollution they cause, nor for the deaths and suffering caused by associated disease. A look at the abandoned fields will show you that they don't have to put land back in pristine condition after they are through. When our leaders tell us they must protect the pipelines and shipping routes, who is paying? We are! In fact, some have estimated the real cost of oil at over double what we currently pay.

    I have relatively few complaints about oil companies - they do exactly what is in their best interests...and that is to lobby to get their way and make as big a profit as possible. But for us to say that a new technology - out of the box - has to immediately beat one which has been subsidized to the tune of TRILLIONS of dollars of infrastructure and tax credits....is just plain silly.

    If you or I endeavor to start a new business, a new family, a new life or any other major change - we generally need some help and some time to do so. It's pretty clear that solar is on the brink of being competitive - to get over the top we need massive projects like that which allow economy of scale (production, R&D;, etc.) to kick in.

    I've seen the solar credits yanked before - Ronald Raygun did it in 1981 and destroyed an industry which had already installed millions of square feet of panels. I would not be surprised to see it happen again....remember, the oil companies (and by extension, Bush, Cheney, etc.) don't like renewables, especially solar. There is very little chance that the same oil companies will be the leaders in the new technologies.
  10. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    However two wrongs don't make a right Web. Not to mention solar does not compete with oil because it's not a transportation fuel. I agree that subsidy has to end for all companies, but to make the same mistake again is to do the same thing and expect different results.
  11. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    Please tell me how much direct $$$ the oil companies receive??? Or are you implying without these subsidies oil would not be competive agains solar??

    Maybe they(big oil) get tax write offs when they drill dry holes in those awesome leases they currently receive;)

    Per solar, why hasnt all the R&D;money poured into them payed off where they would be cost competive with oil, coal, nukes, NG genration etc

    Bottom line is the taxpayer cannot subsidize a technology into profitability.

    Reagan was dead right pulling the subsidies, in 27 years the solar industry has not gotten its act together where the technology is cost compettive.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Solar produces electric, which by any measure will be a part of future transportation (electric cars, trains).....

    As far as different results.....well, the oil subsidies helped build us the largest networks of roads in the world, amazingly affordable cars, etc. - so if solar can provide those same results for a subsidy, that would be great.

    Turbo, there is a lot of reading on the web and elsewhere about the true cost of oil.......here's one by a former member of Mr. Rayguns cabinet:
    http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1018

    Obviously it does not matter if you give Exxon cold hard cash or protect their shipping lanes for free......or give them large deductions and credits for dry wells, etc. (last time I heard, when I fail at an endeavor, I have to pay for it myself).......any way you look at it, it is the government favoring one industry over another.

    I happen to believe in the idea of graduated tax credits in order to help create technologies which benefit our society. My point is that these should not be yanked from solar and wind, etc. because of oil company lobbyists (who are the ones pushing the GOP for drilling). That's no way to make national energy policy.
  13. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Funny, people point towards Bush as being an oil man and anti-renewable, yet his personal home is one of the most earth-friendly places you'll find outside the Begley compound. Bush in his personal life is far, far, far more eco-friendly than Al "what a freakin hypocrite" Gore, the environmental poster boy.
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Weapons for the American Revolution (and since)
    Space
    Railroads
    Ship Building
    Car Making
    Steel
    Coal
    Agriculture
    Nuclear

    I could go on, but I really doubt that is the "Bottom Line"....sounds more like a Talking Point. The government does and has subsidized MANY of our industries and pursuits into either usefulness or profitability.

    The only part of this worth discussing is whether the technologies we are talking about are the ones deserving of this help. Ethanol is an example of one that is not, solar and wind are examples which might get over the hump by some help and in the end save us all $$$ and provide cleaner air and water.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Is Air Force One now gliding?

    Just joking. Unfortunately, whether he lives in a cave means very little - the amount of aviation fuel he uses going to a fund raiser is WAY more than energy we each use in a year.

    I'll eat my 10 gallon hat if he does not fly around in private jets after his term is out.

    And I don't blame him! It's too easy to find fault with individuals and not look at the big picture. My problem with GW is not his personal life style nor his flying around in AF1. It is that he has done everything in his power to make more money for the oil and energy companies, which not even have the "balls" to ask the American people to conserve.....not even now. That is a great missed opportunity, IMHO.
  16. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    I can't fault him for doing it when he gets out of office either. I only fault Gore because be became an environmental crusader, yet won't even call the power company to switch his houses to renewable energy. If Gore's crusade were world peace, nobody would say a word about his energy usage.

    Bush actually did do something to help cut energy usage, he did sign the CAFE standard increase. It's already spurring some changes. I don't know what all the automakers are doing, but GM is now considering smaller engines for their sports cars, and they are about to unleash a new turbodiesel for full size trucks. I'm really hyped about that 4.5L turbodiesel, it's about 1/3 smaller than the Duramax which will get in the low 20s unloaded and only loses about 3-4MPG when pulling a super heavy load. With the smaller version, we should see full size trucks and SUVs in the 30+MPG. Imagine that, a Suburban getting close to the same MPG as a Toyota Corolla.
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Bush did something alright. One of the first things he did was eliminate the increased mileage standards that were to take place in 2000. Because of this, The big three carmakers are going broke, while Honda and Toyota are building car factories here. Why? Because they just are not as stupid. One of the other great things Bush did was to overide the state of California's higher gas mileage requirements, claiming the feds rules would be sufficient. Anyone remember Kenny-boy? Can anyone be so pigheaded as to actualy beleive that Bush is some kind of good guy?
  18. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Bull. The big 3 aren't going broke because of a supposed elimination of a mileage standard. They are going broke because they are management heavy, unresponsive monsters that put out shoddy, overpriced products with little attempt at customer satisfaction after the sale. They will put out a product that nobody wants, or will screw up something that people would buy, then wonder why they aren't selling anything. The Japs are doing well because they respond quickly to the market, put out a high quality product and care about their customers after the sale. This has nothing to do with federal laws. Put the blame where it belongs, with the automakers. Dodge is offering as much as a 44 percent discount on their full size trucks right now, and I'll bet they are still making a profit.

    Yes, this was a great thing. Bush was correct to override California's mileage requirements. Part of the problem we have with high fuel costs and high automobile prices today is the feds allowing individual states set their own standards. Even individual cities can set their own fuel formulations. Allowing different standards in different places drives up everybody's costs. This also threatens all automakers, not just the domestics, because when you allow stupid crap to drive up costs you start driving businesses out of business. When a business goes broke, their employees lose jobs, and their suppliers lose jobs. The correct way to change emissions standards is to do it at the federal level, same with fuel formulations. People don't like this because they have to be able to prove the need at the federal level, unlike at the California CARB level where the mandates only require someone to whine to get a tougher standard through.

    No idea who Kenny-boy might be, but don't mistake me for a Bush cheerleader. I simply believe that if you are going to place blame, place it where it is due. Bush is doing what he thinks is best for the whole nation according to his own views. Same way Clinton did, same way Bush Sr did, same way Reagan did, so on and so forth. Some folks simply think that because he ain't "their boy" that he can do no right, and will find fault and overlook success no matter what. Apparently this Kenny-boy is one who would not see any bad in Bush, just as you can see no good. Nobody is perfect, not Bush, Clinton, McCain or Obama, they all have their good points and their bad points. You may choose to be half blind, but I don't. Bush's major failing in his 8 year term: going back into Iraq without sufficient strength, which was proven by the effectiveness of the troop surge. Had he gone back in with a 50 percent stronger force, we'd be several years further down the road than we are now, and be about 250 billion richer.
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    It was not a supposed elimination. Yes , they are greedy, which is why they prefer to make large cars, trucks, SUVs, they are more profitable. That is the stupid part. People want cars with good mileage. That is why there is a waiting list to buy a prius. The only reason Dodge is even still in business is because the feds bailed them out. Forget about that? Them Mercedes bailed them out as well. Still wasn't enough. 44% off a full size truck, sounds like a real lose/lose proposition. The consumer loses by buying a gas pig and Dodge looses by selling a product at 44% off list. "I'll bet they are still making a profit". Obviosly not, or why would they cut their prices?
    As far as it being a good thing, for California to lose it's right to set it's own emisions standards, under Bush, do you really think thats true? Because of California' seperate system, most of the clean tech. that is in use was developed. Yet the carmakers somehow survived and prospered all these years, till Bush told them something they have been doing for decades was illegal. That is why 26 states are suing the E.P.A. The federal standards may be more "correct", but they don't mandate significant change until 2016. Do you really think we can wait that long? The federal mandate does not promote better mileage at all. It just puts it off till later. More smoke and mirrors. California wanted to do something NOW, which is why the EPA got involved. They don't want higher standards now anymore than they did in 2000, or anything else that helps the planet or the economy or anyone other than the very rich. Stop listening to Rush Limbagh.
    Kenny-boy was President Bush's nickname for Kenneth Lay, the president of Enron, the company that fleeced California. While I agree that the Iraq invasion was a very bad idea, it was far from his "magor failing". Bush's major failing is that he is a patsy for the megarich and has always put their needs before the good of the country as a whole, thus leading to the situation we have now, rampant un or underemployment, food and fuel cost out of control, runaway inflation, weak dollar, need I go on? Aparently, but I tire easily these days.
  20. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Yes, they are still making money with a 44 percent discount, just not as much. Do you really think it takes that much to build a truck? They are using the same design they've been using on trucks for 75 years, frames with leaf springs in the back and coil springs or torsion bars in the front. They aren't going to sell the trucks at a loss, they would dismantle the trucks and stock the parts for repairs before they would do that. I agree with you on the greed but not much else.

    Yes, I think it's true that removing the state's ability to set its own rules on emissions is a good thing. Always have, always will. If California wants tougher rules, then California should be working through the EPA and Congress to make it happen. When the rules are changed, they should be a uniform rule across the nation. This way a car that is sold in Kansas is the same as a car sold in California. Every time you add special requirements that don't apply everywhere, unnecessary costs are added. Same with the other emissions crap, gasoline, ect. Would it not be better to have tougher emissions laws and tougher gasoline requirements nationwide rather than in just specific areas? Even if we adopted the toughest of the standards, having them be uniform across the nation would ultimately cost less than the patchwork system we have now.

    I see on Kennyboy. I also see you blaming Bush for that, when the whole thing got started under Clinton. Neither President was responsible for what California did to themselves. All Bush said was "You got yourself into it, you get yourself out of it." If you are going to blame Bush for what California did to themselves because he didn't bail them out, then you also have to blame Clinton for not stopping it to begin with, not that you'll do that. I blame the heavily liberal Cali Democratic legislature for passing the legislation to begin with. They saw only what they wanted to happen, ie lower costs for the consumers, and disregarded everything else, ie the law of supply and demand, and the nature of greed. A well thought out piece of legislation would have included provisions for dealing with supply problems, including raising rates if necessary.

    I never said going back into Iraq was a bad idea, I thought it was an excellent idea. I faulted him for his execution of the plan, by not going in with enough troops. Had he not gone back into Iraq, we'd still be flying sorties in Iraq for a billion a month with no end in sight like under Clinton, perhaps even setting up a Cuba policy where we wait Hussein dies on his own. Instead, we can now put an end to this, looks like in the next year with a victory provided Obama doesn't get elected, forfeit and pull the US out willy-nilly. But does this mean it's Clinton's fault? No, he can only be blamed for inaction. The original fault would lay with Bush Sr for not finishing what he was forced to start to begin with. Had he removed Hussein at that time, we might have already been out of Iraq and been done with it.
  21. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    This certainly isn't the apropriate setting for for discussing the merits of this 800 billion plus (so far) act of war against a soveriegn nation, where we have no business being in the first place, and clearly we are at opposite ends of the spectrum on this. I respect your opinion and respectfully disagee. As far as the feds deserving more power than they should have, don't worry, they are taking it whether it is proper or not. Ever heard of states rights? I am not blaming Bush for what the theives at Enron did. Just that they were able to get away with it because he is one of them. Thievery is thievery regardless of who the perpetrator is. Just like the GOP's present candidate. Mcain was one of the Keating-five, five senators caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, during the S.&L;. collapse of the mid-eighties. My family lost 350K that time around and I had friends who lost much more. Now you want that thief to be president? To all the familys who lost children in this needless war, started only for the as yet unseen profits of the oil companies, I apologise from the bottom of my bleeding heart.
  22. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    You're correct, this isn't the place. This should have been limited to the gigantic power plants going up, but people these days are so charged up on politics it bleeds into places it shouldn't be. We definitely have a difference on the Iraq war, which actually began in 1990, that we were sucked into due to treaty requirements with Kuwait. Sorry about the huge loss your family took, I myself lost some 200 grand when another company took a sudden dump due to similar shady practices. And all it takes to divert the discussion is "Thanks to (politician)..." or "If it weren't for (politician) we'd..." to get both sides worked up. It isn't that I want McCain to be President, it's that he's the best choice of the two that are running. If you want to see some REAL problems in the world see what happens if Obama gets... but now there I go, trying to rehash the same ol' slop. I'll try to not respond to any other politico crap on this thread, and perhaps we can get it back on target.

    Getting back on track, I still wanna see every Wal-Mart Super Center, Target shopping center, or any other strip mall become a solar farm, with cells that stretch from the back of the building to the edge of the parking lot.
  23. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    And not just comercial property but residential as well. Spain passed a law several years ago that mandated that all new construction, comercial or residential must have a solar roof. I thought this was a great idea and would spread around the world, but as far as I know, only Spain has such a law. How pathethic that Spain or any other country should be so far ahead of the U.S. in this regard. This is why I say that we can't look to or wait for the Gov. to solve this energy crisis. It is going to require individual effort by all those that are able.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Hey, Cape Cod! When are those thousands of off shore wind turbines going up?
  25. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    The permiting process alone has taken seven years so far. Every government agency from the individual towns to the farthest reaches of the feds are involved. For the most part the local opposition seems to be backing off, but does still exist.
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