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Windmills in our mountains. What's so bad?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by save$, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    No. Like Semipro stated above, it is all about balance.

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  2. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    A fivefold increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would not be toxic to anything, yet would be very beneficial to plant life and would benefit us. Source: The Engineering Toolbox
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    A fivefold increase in a greenhouse might be a good idea....on a planetwide scale, um, thanks but no.
  4. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

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    The fact that a five fold increase on CO2 levels would not have any immediate toxic effects does not mean that it would not have disastrous effects on the planets climate.

    I'd like to suggest a book to you:
    http://www.amazon.com/Climate-Crisis-Introductory-Guide-Change/dp/0521732557
    Its a very straight forward, very even handed description of the physics behind climate change -- I think you would like it.

    Gary

    Edit -- actually meant this as an answer to RealStone -- must be too much CO2 in the room.
  5. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    I don't get it either.

    Why are so many willing to roll the dice on something that we may not be able to correct if we get it wrong?

    Don't get me wrong, I love gambling/playing poker however when I take a seat & lay my money down I am well aware of the odds in virtually every situation. After all there are only 52 cards in the deck to begin each hand with. Pretty simple.

    Not so with a vastly more complex system like the environment. Also I never place more money on the table than I can afford to lose. When we gamble with our environment can we afford to lose?

    What the heck are our options to breathing air & drinking water? Seems like an all in blind bet to me. That's bad poker folks. Time to recalculate the odds. The stakes may be a lot higher than many of us imagine.
  6. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    I feel the same way about gambling untold billions and even trillions of dollars on something we don't even have a grasp on.
  7. macmaine

    macmaine New Member

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    I too like looking at the spinning windmills as I see FUTURE technology besting old combustion technology.

    In the end, Math wins:

    Fossil Fuels are finite therefore will increase in price , yes even nat gas over time. Supply demand will always apply.

    Renewables prices are falling like a leaf, Solar is really falling and wind is now cheaper than Nat gas or Coal to make new plants.
    In fact more renewable energy was put up in the last 2 years than dirty Fossil Fuels, just like Flat screen TV took over Cathode Ray tube TV, noone noticed when the
    new technololgy crossed over, as one always assumed the "incumbent" ( cathode ray tubes, typwriters, mainframe computers, desktop computers, blackberries) would always dominate.

    When the crossover comes and renewables are much cheaper than FF (with or without subsidies) guess what consumers are going to pick?

    Right now Sungevity and Solarcity in California offer NO money down solar rooftop leases.
    Suppose your bill is $200 a month for "grid" electricity.
    You pay $100 a month lease, $50 to electric company , you pocket $50 a month!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also in addition to saving us money, and creating jobs, renewables will decrease CO2 production which will help slow down melting the ice caps.
    Win, win win!


    PS see story about how Germany produced 50% of the entire country electricty from solar and wind in May 2012
    This with no "battery backup:!
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526



    Tom
    raybonz likes this.
  8. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Agreed, so why not slow down & learn the game before we lay our money down? On either side of the bet.
    Realstone likes this.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Who wants to spend trillions now? Are you in favor of efficiency programs that (you or economists you trust) say will save individuals and the US money?? Can we start on those? Cuz right now we're not. Or do we have to wait on those until every last person on earth has been convinced of AGW, which will be sometime after the oceans have started to boil! (um, that last bit won't happen for another billions years)
  10. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    There's so much good science out there these days that does have a grasp on the problem. People just don't want to see what they don't want to see. It's way too easy to do the same old same old and, stuff one's head in the sand.

    So many solutions to the problem are a win-win. Conservation efforts will save money for those who conserve even though it costs money for insulation, for instance. There is a quick payback. I personally put in a ground source heat pump and beefed up my insulation levels. Lots of money up front. Payback less than 7 years. So now my old housing stock home is much more efficient, and will remain that way for the next generation. As solar pv pricing comes down, pv is a viable option for a homeowner. So is solar thermal. New air source heat pump technology is a no-brainer for new construction. On a national level, making the electric grid more reliable, more efficient, and more resilient is good business, no matter the electricity source. Taking the electricity source to renewables makes long-term economic sense as well as from a climate change perspective. Cars that are more efficient and less polluting are a win-win for everyone.

    Unfortunately, most people and businesses won't do the right thing. This is not because we as Americans can't afford to. Heck, we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world. It's because we're afraid of change, and tend to ignore anything that requires long term planning. Most people will choose to do nothing, rather than invest in something new that can pay for itself within 5-10 years with fuel savings.

    So the role of the government has to be to force legislation to make some of this happen and provide incentives to push people over the edge to do what's right. I dislike rules as much as the next guy, but CAFE standards for cars, minimum energy standards for new construction, and pollution controls for industry are a necessary evil to protect us from ourselves.

    That, in a nutshell, is why I said in a previous post, that this has become a partisan, political issue, and that it's really unfortunate that it is. It shouldn't be.
    macmaine and raybonz like this.
  11. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I just quickly scanned through the New York Power Authority web site. It contains much information relevant to this discussion, including an interactive visual display of the proposed wind project for Long island Sound. ( Through the link to the Long Island Power Authority).

    Ehouse
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Love the message, but you misread the article....it was 50% when the sun was shining, prob more like 5% of electricity on
    a yearly average basis, which is still DAMNED impressive for the new kid on the block.
    raybonz likes this.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That might work if there was 24/7 sunshine being harvested. Wind in some areas is like the tides, much more consistent round the clock.
  14. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    There is no free lunch Tom. Even if the government pays you money to stick a solar panel on your roof, you still pay for it.

    On another note, here is proof of my concern about going 'all in' on green initiatives:
  15. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Indeed. Solar is still a little dear in locations with a poor resource (i.e. cloudy). Most of the lower 48 has a better solar resource than Germany, the Southwest almost 2x as good.
  16. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    As a resident of Ontario, Canada, I think we would be better off farming out our solar to Arizona and our wind farms to Newfoundland. If you're going to do it, do it right. Most of what we see are virtual political photo ops.
  17. macmaine

    macmaine New Member

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    The government does not pay me money, I keep more of my income. I would prefer to have cash on hand to help with this though!!!!
    Why not take a tax break if it is there? If you can write off your interest on your house why not the energy plant on top of your house?
    Regardless my point was that the actual cost of producing solar panels is dropping by 5% per year.
    That is, the real cost of solar is dropping with or without subsidies. Remember this was discovered only 60 years ago in Bell Labs so it is still very young.
    It is an old story like the Bowman brain calculator costing $150 in 1970 now they are free, same thing with computers, cell phones. EVERYONE has a smart phone now
    (except my kids who like to point this out :) ). As production ramps up cost come down and savings are passed on to the consumer.
    10 years ago California had subsidy for manufacturing of $4.50/watt. As production matured, that subsidy went down, now under $1/watt. Soon it wont be needed.

    That is one way to do it and we may need that , indeed Proposal today to run a DC line from our friendly northern neighbor in New Brunswick and Quebec through Maine to
    carry renewable energy electrons to southern New England. This would be taking the very inexpensive Canadian Hydro and Wind to large CT and MA markets that have mandates for 20+ % renewable energy portfolio.
    This is a nice regional solution that could really work in the future.
    http://www.pressherald.com/news/huge-power-line-project-proposed_2012-10-25.html#

    I like the idea of a distributed network to augment that model. That is produce the electricity with your local resources as well.(wind solar hydro geo, biomass)
    Less line loss, and use the electrons as you produce them.

    The solar resource in Ontario is likely better than in cloudy Germany ( Toronto at 43 degrees, Bonn 50 degrees latitude!)
    You would be surprised about the amount you could bank on those long June and July days...

    My apologies about the Germany example I did not make it clear this was on a single weekend in May.
    One thing to remember is that PEAK electricity is when the sun is out on HOT days, when the solar resource is at its peak.
    California has need for 50 Gigawatts on hot summer days, but goes down to 30 Gigawatts at night. Utilities need almost 100% more on hot summer day.
    Using distributed network, you reduce line losses, and decrease the need for substations, etc.
    If Utilities can use the solar to shut down Peak Gas plants which are very expensive, all ratepayers benefit
    The point is we do not need storage(which is coming) until we get routine penetration of solar to 50-60% which is a long ways off.

    Sorry tried to read this in German but I am a pathetic American who only reads English!!!
    There will be scare tactics whenever a disruptive technology comes along. I mean do we really need to be wedded to coal ?(an 18th century industry)
    I would not cry too many tears for the old style Utilities. They need to figure out how to incorporate all this renewable energy in.
    They run the risk of having 'stranded asset's' like coal nuke plants that are too expensive in comparison to wind and solar.
    The German people have always supported green initiatives and this has spurred the creation of thousands of jobs in solar. Germany has the 2nd most robust Solar Manufacturing Industry in the world (behind China).

    Peace
    Tom
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    MacMaine it's impractical to send DC great distances because it can't be transformed like AC this is why the transmission lines are AC. Edison thought DC was the way to go and why he failed and Tesla proved him wrong. The idea is you crank up the voltageto the transmission lines and this reduces the current so you can run small diameter wire. When this high voltage gets to a substation it is transformed to a various voltages and sent to the street to be used by home and industry.

    Ray
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  19. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    They do it in Europe. High voltage DC current can actually be cheaper to build with lower losses if you're going point-to-point (large dam in the middle of nowhere directly to an urban location). There are trade-offs, but depending on how far you go and what your grid looks like it can be a better choice.
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    That's news to me! The problem with generating DC is you use a commutator which is a high maintenance wear item whereas with AC you use slip rings this is in turn rectified with a full-wave bridge rectifier which is a low wear low maintenance item. This is why your car has an alternator as the old cars used a generator which were unreliable and required much more repair..

    Ray
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    There are some HV DC lines in the US, only on very large operations though and when its sent a good distance, yea it was news to me when I heard it, AC is much better for most applications.
  22. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I am an industrial electrician and despise DC motors as they are trouble prone and require regular maintenance. They also tend to be dirty due to the build up of carbon dust which also is a health hazard. AC motors by contrast require no maintenance and last much longer with bearings being the limiting factor provided the overloads are properly sized and work as advertized.. Modern AC drives work as well as DC drives and actually cheaper than DC drives in most cases. Add to this reduced wire size to the motors for 3 phase motors VS DC motors plus servos are more common and also very precise and reliable.

    Ray
  23. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    It's true that DC has a higher maintenance and lower reliability(per se) than AC, but we're talking BIG BIG BIG current.
    [​IMG]

    IProbably all medium transmission (under 19,000 volts) would still be AC as it is now, but when you start getting into 12/ million volts, it makes dollars and cents. A lot of the problems with the electrical grid comes from trying to balance phases coming from all different directions and from different producers. If if was just a few mega coal/nuke plants that were always online it wouldn't be an issue, but as deregulation has entered the market companies can't afford to have plants idling and often have to import power over greater and greater distances that lead to fragility and the chance of a cascading failure taking out 1/2 the country and parts of Canada.

    There are advantages to both. AC is cheaper parts, easy to work on, more easily converted and because we only have 3 grids in this country relatively easy to manage. However, if we're going to bring possibly peak and sporadic renewables online from great distances away like solar from AZ or Wind from off-shore farms (HVDC is the preferred method for underground transmission) it starts to make economic sense.

    Gimmie 20 billion- no, 40 billion TOPS and I can make it happen.
    raybonz likes this.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

  25. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    A competing idea is I-765, an interstate project for the entire electrical grid. You get a high power interestate for America's wind resources for the bargain price of 60 billion dollars. Windmills not included:
    http://www.elp.com/index/display/ar...xt-interstate-system-765-kv-transmission.html
    [​IMG]

    C'mon people! Let's get excited to build the new infrastructure so the wealthy don't have to pay for it themselves. It worked for the railroad tycoons, why not our future Wind Lords?:)

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