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Current price of oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I'll remember that when you talk about them pandering to corporations...

    Funny, but I think they're still doing it for political and monetary gain, not because they think it's "the right thing to do."

    How often has a court ever ruled against a corporation? It happens, but they usually side pretty firmly with the corporate world.

    Joe

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good dialog, but getting way off the orig. green room topic. Maybe start a fresh thread in the ash can on the role and biases of the judiciary?
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I do think it's a bit relevant to the situation. After all, is the current price of oil fair? Or does it ignore externalities that should be factored it? Obviously, most folks here will be fans of supplementing energy usage with wood-based fuels, but for primary energy production, we're still not "there" for making wood an efficient and cost-effective way to generate power.

    If we can get away for the legal bias against nuclear power, a generation of modern nuke plants would likely give us the time to develop alternatives to things like coal, oil, and gas. Nuclear still isn't renewable, so it can never be a permanent solution, but it's at least cleaner than those things, and gives us time to work the kinks out of renewable power generation.

    I do think the judiciary is biased in favor of fossil fuels, which is why alternatives are so hard to implement. We're supposed to have a three-branch government, and it's time for the other two branches to put their feet down and prevent the judiciary from impeding necessary economic and environmental progress.

    We can't magically reduce our power consumption overnight. We can't magically make the alternatives feasible tomorrow. We need a minimally-polluting power source which we can use right now, so that we have the time to do those other two things. We need nuclear power now, so we have time to make changes to give us a renewable future.

    Joe
  4. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Nope, and won't. The Prius is green in name only. When the batteries are taken into account, including disposal, the cost of ownership is a lot higher and more toxic. When a regular car is sent to the crusher the fuel is drained for the salvage yard's use, the oil and antifreeze are recycled and there is one small lead acid battery to deal with, while a Prius has a whole lot of heavy metal batteries to dispose of. This new BMW signals the possibility of having the MPG of a hybrid with none of the environmental issues. Besides, Toyota is investing in gasoline hybrids, when the more logical choice would be a diesel hybrid. Imagine what your Prius would be getting with a diesel engine half the size of the gasoline engine? Yes, diesel is more expensive but for the most part diesel will have to be 1.5 to 2 times as expensive as gasoline to match cost on two vehicles, more or less equal, except one has a diesel and the other has a gasoline engine.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Toyota put a recycling program in place with the release of the car. The batteries are not disposed in a landfill. Agreed there may be a diesel hybrid in the future. But given the size of the gasoline market in the US and the premium for diesel I can see why they chose the gas market first. The BMW is just an incremental gain on improving diesel technology. It's good that they are doing it, but better mileage can be obtained in other European diesels, especially if not driven at 75 mph. I expect the next generation of hybrids, with significant battery improvements, will push the mpg envelope to a new level. And then some companies will marry them with diesels (GM, Honda, Citroen?) and we will continue to see improvements. And this is a good thing. Just not soon enough!
  6. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Obviously you have never personally chosen a mediator. Don't ever assume a fact not in evidence... to wit: an individual's knowledge that the mediator selected is predisposed.




    Then you take it incorrectly. I am well aware of the ninth circuit, as I am of the remainder of the federal circuits. In fact, I am published on them, so it can be said that I am fairly familiar with what I speak. That said, I maintain my aforementioned position... The fact that the ninth circuit is bent to the left is immaterial to the matter at hand. The bench is solid.

    -- Mike
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    OK, let me understand this. You are dismayed that the Federal Courts come down on the side of corporations, so you want them to come down on the side of Nuclear Power companies to balance it?

    And you must know that nuclear power cannot and will not exist independent of gov. guarantees, yet you approve of the government insuring the industry?

    It's hard to fathom such a position of irresponsibility. Such a policy of nuclear power could only happen.....dare I say.....in a Socialist country like France where the government nurses the people. Hard to imagine you are pushing for that.

    As fas as the WAITING for renewables to "get there".....they are already there. If it was not for nimbys (Cape Wind) and lack of planning, we'd be able to go right ahead and forget about those nuke power plants.

    Read this article about Solar Parity:
    http://tinyurl.com/5hc4td

    The basic idea is that if we FIGURE IN ALL THE COSTS of your nuke power, we already have enough to get the solar instead! Right now......let alone what price solar will be when the nuke plants are built.....

    As the article says "I believe that I will prove in this article that UNSUBSIDIZED solar is ALREADY at grid parity today against UNSUBSIDIZED "conventional" power sources. The word "parity" implies "equality," and therefore, the only fair comparison is one where ALL costs are taken into account."

    Based on your (Joes) outlook on taking ALL costs into account, how can the creation of tens of thousands of years waste be calculated??
  8. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Failing to do due diligence is just silly.

    I've worked with mediators before. I have a good friend who is a mediator, and he's even used my kitchen as a location to mediate a divorce for some mutual friends who split up and needed a neutral location to use.

    The fact that they rule based upon personal bias (as you freely admit) rather than the actual law is "immaterial" to you?

    As you quoted me saying, I want them to eliminate bias. I don't want them to be on anyone's "side." I want them to rule fairly and impartially, rather than catering to the oil companies and the like.

    As I and anyone else who has studied this knows, no such thing is required. Lloyd's will insure anyone. You can insure anything, if you can pay the premiums. If you build the plant to actually be safe, the premiums will be manageable.

    Do you really want me to go through and point out all the glaring errors in that article?

    Like considering only the price of the solar panels (using figured that are subsidized in various ways, even though he claims at the beginning that he will use unsubsidized numbers), and comparing it to the operating cost of the other plants. And only comparing the "old tech" nuclear plants, as well as figuring in that the government will impede their installation (thereby raising the cost), even though that's precisely what I (and others) are arguing should be ended...

    PV is far from "100% clean," as well. The production of PV panels involves quite a bit of toxic waste, and major energy usage. Where does the energy to produce the energy-producing panels come from? Why don't we include the externalities, eh? He includes the externalities and the regulatory cost in the other technologies, and ignores them for his chosen technology. Hardly accurate reporting...

    Easy. By accounting for the cost of burying it deep enough that it will be sequestered for that period of time.

    Joe
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like the Staples Easy Button!

    So, since it is easy, give me a really rough idea of the cost per KWH to do so. If you cannot, it must not be so easy. And can you please calculate that there is no geological formation on the planet proven stable enough to contain this stuff for the length of time it would take?

    Sure, PV or any technology has hurdles. But, unlike nuclear, they are addressable. Nuclear folks are just giving us the old "wink wink" Easy Button. Hey, I'll back ALL those new nuke plants if they self-insure and if they 99% come up with an actual disposal system for the waste (and actually implement it).

    So I'm all for it. The problem is, as you know, that if we wait for that to happen Solar and wind, etc. will be that much cheaper and there will no reason to do it anyway! So, as we all like to think, as long as government keeps their hands off of it, no new nukes are likely to be built (or very few)....and, IMHO, that is a good thing.

    As we used to say in the wood heating field, why heat a reactor core up to tens of thousands of degrees just to heat your house or hot water to 70?

    France, BTW, ships their nuclear waste to poor countries and all over the world. I guess, as you say, as long as the natives were not coerced (and since they don't even know, they were not coerced).
  10. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    France imports other countries waste to reprocess it. They also export 18% of their electricity to other European nations.

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

    They also have some of the lowest electric rates in Europe and emit a small fraction of their neighbors CO2.

    Also read the section on public opinion:

    In France, unlike in America, nuclear energy is accepted, even popular. Everybody I spoke to in Civaux loves the fact their region was chosen. The nuclear plant has brought jobs and prosperity to the area. Nobody I spoke to, nobody, expressed any fear.[7]

    Palfreman, Jon. "Why the French Like Nuclear Energy", Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service, 1997. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.

    unquote

    Seems to me they are doing something right...

    Chris
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe you should read this - France is piling up their waste and it is costing BIG. Perhaps we should learn from their experiences.....outlined as such:

    http://energypriorities.com/entries/2005/03/france_nuke_was.php

    "The cost of waste disposal -- hundreds of billions of euros -- is being passed along to ratepayers. High rates aren't the only legacy of 50 years of nuclear power. Citizens and scientists alike are concerned about security, groundwater contamination, and storage."

    "The director of the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique (CEA) at the Marcoule facility, Loic Martin-Deidier, recalls the enthusiasm for quickly launching civil and military nuclear programs. At the time, he says, "they weren't thinking 40 years ahead."

    "The Soulaines-Dhuys site will enter a 300-year surveillance phase. After that, the plan is to observe the site until the stored waste loses its radioactivity. The initial 300 years is just the beginning. Even moderately radioactive plutonium retains hazardous for 24,000 years. Skeptics wonder if future generations will follow the plan -- or even remember where the site is located."

    And perhaps the part that says it best:
    "The country is far behind most of its European neighbors in renewable energy development. It has meager fossil fuel resources, such as coal or gas. The country is, for the foreseeable future, dependent on nuclear power."
  12. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    I'm very glad your friend the mediator got to meet in your kitchen to handle a divorce, but let's face it, that's not the level of mediator that we are discussing... unless you liken divorce mediators in kitchens to federal court justices. Your point above was, if I interpret correctly, comparing mediators to sitting justices of the federal bench. Let's at least continue to be rational and keep the level of mediator we are discussing on the same plane as the federal judge, not some guy deciding who gets the family pet in another guy's kitchen. We are discussing mediators who will resolve the same or similar issue that a federal judge would, and, having retained said mediators in the past, I can say without hesitation that, insofar as bias is concerned, the federal judge has less on almost every occasion.


    Again, don't assume a fact not in evidence. This is not a matter of failing to do due diligence, this is a matter of the inherent bias of a mediator that is unknown to the party retaining same. Note, mediators' decisions are largely unpublished, which is in stark contrast to the federal bench. Therefore, potential bias points are usually concealed from the parties retaining the mediator and, therefore, there is generally little "due diligence" to conduct. Furthermore, whilst any individual brings the sum total of their upbringing to their position in life, the expression of these societal prejudices is more often found in mediators than on the federal bench.

    Purporting to know what others "freely admit" is presumptuous, to say the least. In fact, that is not at all what I said... don't let the shades of gray escape you. As noted above, societal prejudices are found in both mediators and the federal bench, as well as in every other individual, in every position in life. If your assertion is that the gravamen of the majority of ninth circuit decisions are based upon personal bias rather than the law, then I, as well as the sheer facts of the matter, clearly disagree. While yours is a convenient stereotype, it is, inherently, wrong. An excellent analysis of the topic is included in a few chapters in this book, which is probably available on Amazon. The underlying dataset is located here.

    Vbr,

    -- Mike
  13. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    Some recent developments in high level nuclear waste storage: $50 million was cut by the Senate from the administration's request for Yucca Mountain development funds. This basically brings Yucca Mountain to a standstill for now.

    The DOE is now required to come up with an alternative to the YM site.

    The appeal of the multi-million dollar suit brought by a consortium of power producers to require the DOE to take charge of high level waste will be decided some time this year. If the DOE loses its appeal, it will be required to take custody of the waste. Without any national or regional waste storage system, it's very likely that shut down plants currently storing waste onsite will become defacto depositories for waste from other sources. Federal authorities, rather than the original owners, would be responsible for the sites. I assume this would supercede any existing state statutes. In short, we will soon be embroiled in another waste disposal controversy at the very time there is renewed interest in nuclear power.
  14. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Yes, because if I cannot determine the cost of something outside my realm of expertise, that clearly means that the thing is unfeasible.

    That's not even sensible, Craig.

    Drill a very deep shaft, and lower the stuff down. If you eliminate the cost of fighting about it in court, the actual cost of drilling isn't all that high. If it was, the Chunnel would never have been built (as one example).

    Says who? You a geologist now?

    They are? Not by current technology...

    First, you'll have to remove the legal prohibitions on them doing that. You're demanding that place in the top 50% of the Boston Marathon (a significant, but achievable feat for a dedicated individual), but then insisting that they do it with 100 pounds of lead weight attached to each ankle, then saying, "see, you can't do it!"

    The only reason no new nukes are being built is because the government is stopping them.

    Really? I thought they stored in in France, like you say in your next post...

    So which is it, Craig? Do you even know?

    Yeah, because clearly if someone does one thing, he cannot do anything else.

    I understand that this guy is so skilled, he can even walk and chew gum... at the same time!

    You would hire someone "blind"? Oddly enough, I would demand extensive references and such. That's what due diligence means.

    Says who?

    Um, actually no. What you "freely admit" is what you have stated blatantly, in a public manner. So it is the exact opposite of presumptuous to say that one knows such a thing.

    Purporting to know what you do not freely admit would be presumptuous. Thanks for playing, though...

    I'd suggest actually reading the Constitution and the published works of those who wrote it. The plain text of the document and the published statements of the Framers regarding their intent in writing the various portions of it clearly indicate that the overwhelming majority of what the Federal government does is completely outside their Constitutional authority. Federal judges are specifically there to prevent the Executive and Legislative branches from doing exactly what they have done. Especially the appeals courts. That they have conspired to aid an abet the other branches in these abuses is proof of gross levels of bias.

    The plain text of the Constitution is pretty simple, and any competent schoolchild should be able to interpret it, so one would presume that a highly-educated Federal judge would have enough grasp of the English language to apply it. Instead, they pretend that it says more than it actually says, in some places, and less than it actually says, in others.

    Joe
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    AFAIK, the French nuclear waste problem is not solved, it has been deferred, much like ours. At this point they haven't figured out how or where they will be storing vitrified waste for perhaps a thousand millenia. It is not a trivial or inexpensive problem.

    Their first storage project, much like Hanford, WA, was short term and turned out to be leaky. Their latest state of the art holding area is also proving to be flawed. In Normandy the aquifer is reading at 7 times the European limit, showing serious contamination, a bad problem for agriculture. In the meantime they also have a growing ground water radiation contamination in the Champagne region that is at threatening levels.

    Waste is the issue with nuclear power and it is public pressure that is stopping it's growth. That cumulative public pressure is called government. So of course it is govt. that is stopping this growth.
  16. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I expect you're very correct. That's what happens when the government gets involved - you have a $10,000 toilet seat that wears out in two weeks.

    There are three ways to do things... the right way, the wrong way, and the government way.

    While the lifespan of this waste is long in human terms, it's not particularly long in geological terms. Drill a really deep mineshaft in a geologically-stable area, and things will be stable for far longer than it takes the waste to decay to safe levels.

    Or, as others have mentioned, use a deep-ocean subduction zone.

    Joe
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Uh, didn't the ice age end about 11,000 years ago - and create many of the formations in New England?

    No doubt the easiest way to solve problems is to write a sentence about how to do it. However, I think we are all mostly in agreement about a few things:

    1. AS OF NOW, the nuclear industry in the US does not indemnify themselves
    2. NO ONE can even guess at the eventual cost of the storage or reprocessing of the waste.

    So, Joe, let me know when you come up with the proven and tested technology to solve #2....the fact is that the industry, which does consist of some great minds as well as billions of $$, has been unable to do so. Just the idea of the first pilot project being 300 YEARS of watching the stuff should scare you!

    I would not dare say these problems are unsolvable. But I can say that they are very likely to NOT be solved in a time frame and at a cost which would be competitive with renewables.

    So, in summary, I'm waiting for the solutions to the existing waste before subjecting my children and future generations to 20,000+ years of cleaning up.
  18. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Ice ages are meteorological, not "geological" in the sense of stability of the planet's strata.

    As of now, the nuclear industry is prohibited, at the point of a government gun, from indemnifying themselves. There's a difference. Phrasing it as if they're just being irresponsible is a gross distortion of the situation.

    No one? That's a rather universal statement, Craig. No one on the planet can "even guess" at what it would cost to drill a deep mineshaft? That's laughable.

    The technology exists. They have been prohibited at gunpoint from utilizing it.

    Government pilot project. Anyone with any sense can come up with better options than that one...

    The solutions exist. They've simply been prevented from utilizing them by bureaucrats who are more interested in personal gain and maintaining the status quo, rather than doing anything constructive or even just letting others do constructive things.

    Violence is not the answer, Craig.

    Joe
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    We cannot approximate the cost of drilling a mine shaft into a formation stable enough to hold materials for 20,000 years AND the cost of then inserting millions of cubic feet of that materials down there.

    Time to bake the donuts, Joe. Your rhetoric about violence has gotten a little old. Pretend that you had to actually make sense to most people reading this....please!
  20. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    That a royal "we," Craig? Because I'll guarantee you that there's someone, somewhere on the planet who can do just that.

    If you don't like being reminded that you regularly support aggression against innocent people, Craig, I suggest that it would be best to stop doing so.

    I mean, you're quoting Gandhi in your signature... do you imagine that he would support what you use the government to do?

    There's nothing "rhetorical" about the violence that you support, Craig. If I bought some land and tried to build a nuclear power plant without jumping through your hoops, you'd be waving a gun in my face, or you would hire someone else (government) to do it, which is morally equivalent.

    Joe
  21. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    I hope you don't mind having electricity available only during daylight hours! I kind of like it to be available at night too!

    Solar panels ONLY generate electricity during periods of sunlight, preferably bright sunlight.

    Even if the true cost of solar power came to parity with nuclear and coal plants, we would still need the nuclear and coal plants to provide power during nighttime and cloudy weather. Having them sit there idle while "solar saves the day" doesn't really help costs very much!

    Even if the price of "unsubsidized solar" was equal to conventional KWH costs, it certainly doesn't allow solar to displace nuclear and fossil fuel plants.

    Ken
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure it does, Ken. As you well know, when we talk about promoting nuclear now it is for EXCESS capacity over what we have right now. We already have lots of hydro (flows at night), wind (blows at night), geothermal (boils at night) plants, as well as natural gas and others. Of course, we do sleep most of the night, so excess capacity is rarely needed then.

    The point is that conservation, smart technology and renewables can take the edge off and allow us to build vastly fewer plants - especially those fueled by nuclear. As far as storage, those problems are not that hard to solve....in fact, we already have them solved! For instance, the Northfield hydro plant near here uses excess power (say, for example, on a sunny day from too much PV) UP into a pond at the top of an 800 ft mountain - then, when there is more power needed, as in your middle of the night example, the water runs down back into the river and generates massive amounts of electricity.

    The only thing we seem to lack is the will to tackle the situation. I would like to see the Presidents face (yeah, even GW Bush) challenging the entire residential sector to set an example and reduce use by 5% one month....and then have a real time ticker showing us how we are doing! Make a sport of it, and people may just play along.

    I do think the technical pieces are in place AND that Solar PV at less than $1 a watt (the holy grail) is here in the next year. In fact, I would lay odds (and even real money) on the fact that we will have PV at 50 cents a watt before we have Joes drills and nuclear storage ready. Anyone want to take the bet? If you don't - well, there is the "market" answer right there in front of you.
  23. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, that's a sensible (efficient) way to store power.

    What's the capture efficiency of the PV system (from solar flux all the way to conditioned AC voltage)? Then the efficiency of the huge pumps to do that. Then the efficiency of the hydro turbine and generators.

    Rube Goldberg would be proud. Bet that "storage" system is less than 1% efficient.

    Of course we will, because your buddies with the guns won't let the nuclear waste storage happen.

    As I said, it's like shackling someone and then demanding that he run a marathon, and then claiming that his inability is his fault.

    The reason that we are dumping tons upon tons of pollutants (including radioactive ones) into the atmosphere is because the majority if the "green" movement is more concerned with the image of good environmental policy than with the actuality of it. Look at the CF lightbulb fiasco. Given the total environmental cost of manufacture and disposal, coupled with below-claimed efficiency when used in inappropriate applications, we're likely to see a net increase in energy use as a result of that nonsense.

    But if certainly "feels green" to those who are more concerned with emotion than science.

    Figure in the total cost of the PV, then talk. What's the energy cost of building a PV panel, obtaining the raw materials to do so, disposing of the toxic waste byproducts, etc? And of the ancillary equipment to convert the unregulated DC to regulated AC. And the maintenance cost.

    You actually imagine that you will see a lifecycle cost of even a dollar a watt, let alone less than that? Inflation will take care of that prediction long before it is even on the horizon.

    Joe
  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, let's put it this way.

    The nuclear plant close to where you and I live (Yankee) provides the electricity to do this now at this Privately owned corporation, which makes a very good profit by pumping the water up there, letting it come down and selling the power to you and I.

    Perhaps a bit of reading is in order:
    http://www.firstlightpower.com/generation/north.asp

    As far as exact efficiency, being as you are probably driving down the road in something 20% efficient (or less when everything is figured in), and running your computer on electricity that is probably being delivered at 30% efficiency, your point falls on deaf ears. Since energy is, by most definitions, limitless or infinite....points such as pollution and waste come into play more than efficiency.

    Anyway, read up on where your power and my power comes from there, and tell me how they end up making money at 1% efficiency. I am all ears. I'm sure you'll have a good reason that makes just as much sense as your other points "It's because of the government and you, Craig, holding a gun to my head". Yeah...
    :coolmad:
  25. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Uh, Craig, is because they're getting the power from a nuke plant, as you so astutely pointed out. Not the PV system that you suggested in the post that I was replying to.

    Nuclear is much more efficient than PV, which is why they can make that work. With the inefficiency of PV, it never could make sense. Make sense?

    And yes, efficiency is still critical. That's where the actual delivered power price per watt comes in. The number of dollars per watt at the panels is completely irrelevant, except as an upper limit of economic efficiency. The price that matters is the average cost of delivering power to the grid, which is where all those inefficiencies come into play.

    And the level of pollution generated to build PV panels also matters. If you are getting fractional delivered efficiency, you need a lot more panels. Which means a lot more pollution stemming from the production of those panels. Halve the efficiency and you double the number of panels you need. And we're talking large numbers of panels, anyway, so doubling that (or more) is a huge deal.

    From the numbers I've seen over the years, they are very, very far from being "nonpolluting." They may not produce pollution at the point of use, but their lifecycle pollution production is very high.

    Tell me, Craig, what's your plan to deal with the toxic waste and other pollution generated by the production of PV panels?

    Joe
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