Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
I love wind and solar.  But they are intermittent, diffuse resources.

I'm sorry, what exactly is intermittent and diffuse about the sun? I expect what you mean to say it that is has planetary variability, but to suggest the sun if 'diffuse' is rather odd. Ditto wind; again what I think you mean is that the technology to move turbines at very low speeds - large turbines at least- has yet to be nailed. You can however right now cover your roof with small modular turbines that will move in very low wind velocities and amply power your house. So scale is absolutely essential for understanding the many solutions we can look at.

Your quote above is a direct quote from the NWA site, and I wish you had acknowledged that, and/ or unpacked it a bit to make a point with some credence.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Tue Oct 18th, 2005 at 04:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The website may be WNA but the references are from a variety of academically acceptable sources.

How do you plan to make steel using solar power?  How do you plan to make the concrete needed for the bases of wind turbines with solar power?  

France runs its trains on electricity made cleanly by nuclear power, a baseload source.  How do you plan to run trains on solar or wind power?

These renewables are great on a small scale and we need them.  We need every clean energy source possible.  But renewables cannot supply baseload.

by Plan9 on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 10:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How viable is it to have each renewable generator store up to 24h worth of its own power on site? Does that solve the baseload problem, and if not, why not?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 10:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You make steel in an electric furnace in Arizona, powered by photovoltaic solar panels in the day and a pumped storage supply for night. Perfectly practical. Expensive.
by asdf on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 11:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically, I think your vision is rather limited. There is no question that whatever fuel sources we find, we are going to have to rethink major aspects of our way of life, because this isn't just all about continuing the status quo, because it simply isn't sustainable.

Something to ponder - the USA currently has 5% of the world's population and uses 30% of the world's resources; Europe uses 20%. If China achieves a 1st-world lifestyle for it's 1 billion + inhabitants, it will require 90%. And India is a piddling couple of hundred million short of China's population, and has the same, perfectly reasonable aspirations. Get the picture?

We are going to have to rethink everything. And no, I'm not advocating a return to darkness and hovels, but pointing out an immutable fact. Working out appropriate energy sources, and what we do with that energy is about far more than just slotting 'energy source x' into the place of current fossil fuels.

On top of that, you don't seem to be aware of just how rapidly now advances in renewable energy and a whole suite of radical new technologies is happening. One example - as the article says, one hell of a  scientific breakthrough.

they've just made photvoltaic cells out of plastic. A 1km high solar tower is being built in Australia, along with solar thermal fields in Aus and the USA, all generating n x 1000 MW, a 30,000 MW wind farm has just been proposed for Canada. I could go on and on.

You say in a post further down that (paraphrasing) 'we've been waiting for the big breakthroughs in renewables for years'  - yes we have, and with peak oil  now a reality, there has been a huge interest and increase in research and development, and the results ar tumbling in.

You also obviously discount the possibilities of modular renewable energy, smart grids etc.

Take a tour 'round the site www.worldchanging.com   - as it's tag line aptly says "another world is here" - you've just got to know where to look.

What we have now in political terms is the final tussle
between those looking to milk the current fossil fuel reliance for every last penny, and global future be damned, those who understand we will need some sort of sensible transition but overall fail to realise just how big a shift we need to make globally, and those who are trying to broaden the horizon and showcase the myriad of possibilities.

Who will win? Who do we want to win? I know I want to see some pragmatic and necessary work done to deal with ameliorating the impacts of fossil fuels as much as possible while we transition, and I want to see efforts focused on the myriad of possibilities, not locked into a nuclear future when there are clearly many other possible answers, if we only have the courage.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 04:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Worldchanging discusses intelligently, and fairly objectively, the many options for dealing with a post-fossil fuel future all the time.

Try this article for an example.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 04:43:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series