My Favorite Topic, Feedback

I have posted on this a zillion times over here, and most of you are up to speed on this, but I posted this for my Coyote Blog readers and thought it would be good to repost over here.

Take all the psuedo-quasi-scientific stuff you read in the media about global warming.  Of all that mess, it turns out there is really only one scientific question that really matters on the topic of man-made global warming: Feedback.

While the climate models are complex, and the actual climate even, err, complexer, we can shortcut the reaction of global temperatures to CO2 to a single figure called climate sensitivity.  How many degrees of warming should the world expect for each doubling of CO2 concentrations  (the relationship is logarithmic, so that is why sensitivity is based on doublings, rather than absolute increases — an increase of CO2 from 280 to 290 ppm should have a higher impact on temperatures than the increase from, say, 380 to 390 ppm).

The IPCC reached a climate sensitivity to CO2 of about 3C per doubling.  More popular (at least in the media) catastrophic forecasts range from 5C on up to about any number you can imagine, way past any range one might consider reasonable.

But here is the key fact — Most folks, including the IPCC, believe the warming sensitivity from CO2 alone (before feedbacks) is around 1C or a bit higher (arch-alarmist Michael Mann did the research the IPCC relied on for this figure).  All the rest of the sensitivity between this 1C and 3C or 5C or whatever the forecast is comes from feedbacks (e.g. hotter weather melts ice, which causes less sunlight to be reflected, which warms the world more).  Feedbacks, by the way can be negative as well, acting to reduce the warming effect.  In fact, most feedbacks in our physical world are negative, but alarmist climate scientists tend to assume very high positive feedbacks.

What this means is that 70-80% or more of the warming in catastrophic warming forecasts comes from feedback, not CO2 acting alone.   If it turns out that feedbacks are not wildly positive, or even are negative, then the climate sensitivity is 1C or less, and we likely will see little warming over the next century due to man.

This means that the only really important question in the manmade global warming debate is the sign and magnitude of feedbacks.  And how much of this have you seen in the media?  About zero?  Nearly 100% of what you see in the media is not only so much bullshit (like whether global warming is causing the cold weather this year) but it is also irrelevant.  Entirely tangential to the core question.  Its all so much magician handwaving trying to hide what is going on, or in this case not going on, with the other hand.

To this end, Dr. Roy Spencer has a nice update.  Parts are a bit dense, but the first half explains this feedback question in layman’s terms.  The second half shows some attempts to quantify feedback.  His message is basically that no one knows even the sign and much less the magnitude of feedback, but the empirical data we are starting to see (which has admitted flaws) points to negative rather than positive feedback, at least in the short term.  His analysis looks at the change in radiative heat transfer in and out of the earth as measured by satellites around transient peaks in ocean temperatures (oceans are the world’s temperature flywheel — most of the Earth’s surface heat content is in the oceans).

Read it all, but this is an interesting note:

In fact, NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A WAY WITH OBSERVATIONAL DATA TO TEST CLIMATE MODEL SENSITIVITY. This means we have no idea which of the climate models projections are more likely to come true.

This dirty little secret of the climate modeling community is seldom mentioned outside the community. Don’t tell anyone I told you.

This is why climate researchers talk about probable ranges of climate sensitivity. Whatever that means!…there is no statistical probability involved with one-of-a-kind events like global warming!

There is HUGE uncertainty on this issue. And I will continue to contend that this uncertainty is a DIRECT RESULT of researchers not distinguishing between cause and effect when analyzing data.

If you find this topic interesting, I recommend my video and/or powerpoint presentation to you.

  • Renewable Guy

    There has been a prototype solar power plant in the Mojave desert for 50 years. It uses reflectors and has a gas fired backup. There is plenty of technical experience and data in this field. Nobody has moved further because it is not economical. I am not sure who is paying the bill.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Energy_Generating_Systems#Individual_locations

    These were built later and are still in operation.

    Below are many more. If they aren’t good to have, I’m sure bad things will happen like you predict.

    24.^ Israeli company to build largest solar park in world in US Ynetnews, 26 July 2007.
    25.^ Solar thermal electric hybrid power plant for barstow
    26.^ Iberdrola to build 150MW Egyptian thermal solar plant
    27.^ Solar Millennium Tochter Flagsol erhält Auftrag für erstes Parabolrinnen-Kraftwerk Ägyptens
    28.^ Abener Signs Contract for Solar Thermal Electric – Combined Cycle Hybrid Plant, Solarbuzz.com
    29.^ “BrightSource Energy signs whopper solar contract with PG&E”. CNET News. 2008-03-31. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9907089-54.html. Retrieved 2008-06-11

  • Renewable Guy

    19.^ Wind Power: Capacity Factor, Intermittency, and what happens when the wind doesn’t blow?. Retrieved 24 January 2008.

    ^ Wind Power in Ontario These wind farms have capacity factors of about 28–35%

    FOr investment purposes I have seen some turbines able to get a good payback at 20%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Capacity_factor

    In a 2008 study released by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the capacity factor achieved by the wind turbine fleet is shown to be increasing as the technology improves. The capacity factor achieved by new wind turbines in 2004 and 2005 reached 36%.[22]

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/nuclear-power-subsidies.html

    Ted: Nuclear subsidies are its weakest point. Talk about an unsubstantiated statement by yourself. Skeptics seem to give themselves a lot of leeway to make up facts. Google nuclear power subsidies and you can get pages of hits.

    Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers
    Nuclear Subsidies in the American Power Act (APA) and the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA)

    Download: Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers

    The nuclear power industry is seeking tens of billions in new subsidies and other incentives in federal climate and energy legislation that would shift massive construction, financing, operating and regulatory costs and risks from the industry and its financial backers to U.S. taxpayers.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Renewable,

    It isn’t that you don’t want to “hold my hand”, its that you don’t have a hand to grab hold with, if you allow me to use your metaphor.

    ##########################################################

    Anything you want to discuss in a civil manner?

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    The question really is: Is there anything you want to discuss in an intellegent manner?

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Renewable,

    The question really is: Is there anything you want to discuss in an intellegent manner?

    ##########################################################

    That would be about your style.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Renewable,

    The question really is: Is there anything you want to discuss in an intellegent manner?

    ##########################################################

    I actually wish you had something intelligent to discuss.

    Jump in any time.

  • Wally

    Wow, you had to come back an hour and 13 minutes after your original come back to make yet another come back. How does it feel to be George Costanza in real life?

  • Austin

    “Not can’t, don’t want to do that work.”

    Sorry, Renewable Guy, your “don’t want to” is indistinguishable from your “can’t” for everybody but yourself. Just in case you don’t realize this.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    You state that New York can buy standby power for $.001/kwh. You have restored me to my youth. I again believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause!!
    Thank you for the restoration!!

  • TomT
  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Wow, you had to come back an hour and 13 minutes after your original come back to make yet another come back. How does it feel to be George Costanza in real life?

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    You are good at being mean Wally. You are quite emotional and dismissive. But haven’t really contributed to the conversation very well. This shouldn’t be about comebacks. It should be about the discussion of feedbacks tieing into global warming. Any time you are ready Wally, lets have a discussion. My last reply to you wan’t a comeback, it’s an observation.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted Rado:
    Renewable Guy:

    You state that New York can buy standby power for $.001/kwh. You have restored me to my youth. I again believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause!!
    Thank you for the restoration!!

    ##########################################################

    Anybody can sit around and just say no to everything. But can you dig deeper and find any flaws? As an engineer, that was your job and now you aren’t doing that.

    It might be wrong. Who knows. But you will never know.

  • Renewable Guy

    Austin:
    “Not can’t, don’t want to do that work.”

    Sorry, Renewable Guy, your “don’t want to” is indistinguishable from your “can’t” for everybody but yourself. Just in case you don’t realize this.

    ##########################################################

    It’s a more interesting contribution if you add to the discussion. Relying on others to be the authority is fair game. Check my sources and see if you find any problems.

  • Wally

    My observation, renewable, is that you’re a blithering moron that can’t create a logical argument supported by facts to save his life. If you’re looking for a reason why we can’t hold an “intellegent” discussion, look no further than the reflection in your comuter monitor. It is completely impossible to have this intellegent discussion with someone that uses other peoples opinions or unsubstantiated statements to support their argument, along with a myriad of other idiocies, then result to ridicules (ie. “I’m not going to hold your hand”) once others point out such flaws, and demand more before considering the truth of your argument.

    So, if you want me to actually respond “intellegently” to one of your comments, go find the basic facts and data analysis your argument requires and stop comming up with lame excusses for not doing this, like “I don’t want to”. It is these very excusses, in fact, that are preventing any intellegent conversation, and likely revealing your true intentions, which do not include having intellegent discource. Anyway, I’ve said this several times, and this will be the last time I say it. Come back with a logical argument supported by proper data and data analysis, then you’ll find a more civil and intellegent responce from me. However, if you fail to do that, I’m perfectly content to just keep up with this mindless banter to entertain myself during dull moments at work.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:
    Maybe someday you’ll be able to keep it together without resorting to name calling.

    A better site for what you are asking for would the TES (the environment site). I would be able to put up graphs and pictures and express the argument in a clearer fashion.

    Just as you have asked me to express a more logical argument, you haven’t really done that yourself. Less so than myself. So is this a one way requirement?

    You are much better at snarling and calling names than making an argument. Plus trying to refute AGW with science is very difficult to do. There is really only fake science to support your cause. IF you put up a James Hansen paper saying Global Warming is over, I’ll be stunned and not know what to do.

    If you go over to TES, they will curb your inappropriate behaviour.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “Maybe someday you’ll be able to keep it together without resorting to name calling.”

    Just stating my “observation”.

    “A better site for what you are asking for would the TES (the environment site). I would be able to put up graphs and pictures and express the argument in a clearer fashion.”

    So, what is stopping you from linking to a graph posted at that site?

    “Just as you have asked me to express a more logical argument, you haven’t really done that yourself. Less so than myself. So is this a one way requirement?”

    Actually, I made my case very clearly regarding the competitiveness of nuclear power. I’m still waiting on any thoughtful critique, much less a valid counter argument.

    “Plus trying to refute AGW with science is very difficult to do. There is really only fake science to support your cause. ”

    HAHA, you have this bass ackwards. The “science” of AGW is based on assumption riddled mathematical models, that have never been, nor can ever be, validated. And this is coming from someone who uses mathematical models.

    “If you go over to TES, they will curb your inappropriate behaviour.”

    Right, they will shout me down, downed me out, and probably ban me. Been there, seen that. What they can not do, nor can any AGW-believer do, however, is logical address my criticisms. That is simply because the “science” is that weak. The smart ones actually know this, thus all they will attempt to do is shut me, and anyone like me, up.

  • Wally

    Reading back through the start of this conversation regarding the actually feed backs, I notice I never even got a response from you to my post made on February 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm. Well, you did follow that post with a few posts not addressed to anyone in particular, rambling on about a variety of mostly unrelated topics. Back then I was quite patient with you, almost literally taking you to school on what is and is not appropriate mathematical modeling methodology. Why am I bring this up you might be thinking. Well, its in part because while you now seem to wish it that I can’t make a logical, relevant, or even civil argument, it is obvious that I quite clearly made such logical, relevant and civil argument that you could not even bring up one relevant criticism….

    Now I’m not really here to keep score, the other reason I bring that post up is because I’m simply trying to get you pointed in the right direction. If you want to get back to logical and civil discourse, that post mentioned above would be a good place to start. Because after that, you digressed into posting biased, dumbed down summaries made by others on only tangentially related points, spouting off propaganda based on unsubstantiated “facts” or things that were just plain irrelevant, and basically putting on a clinic for how to use the most logical fallacies in the fewest number of words.

    So, you want to talk, I’m listening…but I’m sure not holding my breath for a factually correct and logically sound argument coming out of your mouth….

  • Wally

    Oh my previous post is to renewable. That much is probably obvious, but I thought I’d clarify anyway.

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    Reported average US electricity costs from various energy sources are:
    Natural Gas 8c/kwh
    Coal 9c
    Nuclear 11c
    Hydroelectric 12c
    Wind 14c
    Wind offshore 23c
    Solar thermal 26c
    Solar voltaic 40c
    Biomass Approx 15% more than wind offshore
    based on UK studies.

    These figures do not include cost of standby facilities for wind and solar. One can add much of the 8c for natural gas as an estimate for standby. I am sure this is much more economical than trying to store energy behind dams or otherwise. Note that natural gas supplies reportedly will give out in a hundred years or so, so this is not a permanent solution to the standby problem.

    I am not sure how much these figures could be improved with sensible government policies. For example, nuclear is burdened with all sorts of costs that could be avoided by accepting a standard pre-approved design, reprocessing spent fuel (a la the French), etc. These numbers clearly show why subsidies and free standby are needed to support wind and solar.

    Note also that wind and solar must be built where there is wind and sunshine, not necessarily where power is needed. Thus, long transmission lines must frequently be built, with attendent cost and transmission loss.

    Re your comment on increased wind capacity factor to 36%. The turbines cut in above a certain minimum wind velocity, and cut out above a certain maximum. (There are many technical articles in the literature on this). By widening this range, more power can be generated, but at higher cost (more robust equipment, higher capacity electrical gear, etc.) If you increase the maximum wind you can handle, when the wind dies down you are operating at even lower utilization of nameplate capacity. It is better to work at reducing the cut in wind velocity to avoid this. The max power that can be generated, even with extremely robust equipment, still depends on the wind. If the wind dies down, less power in generated. Designing for extremely high wind velocities would require uneconomical capital cost. I am sure the engineers have attempted to optimize all of this.

    Another point is that the best sites have already been cherry picked. As more and more wind farms are built, it will be at less favorable sites. I have not seen a paper on the cost of wind power vs. amount produced, as less favorable sites are utilized.

    There is an excellent article on wind power put out by The Coalition of Pueblo Engineers. It goes into all the math and technology involved. Written for engineers and very informative. If you don’t like math and fluid mechanics, don’t go there.

    Bottom line: One can argue all day in general terms. When you hang numbers on these schemes, you get a true picture. This is why engineers rather than technically illiterate zealots (example: Nancy Pelosi) should plan our energy future.

    A final comment. It frequently occurs that plants are built for unique reasons that would not otherwise be considered. In arid places (i.e. Saudi Arabia), seawater desalinization plants are built. This does not mean that it is economical. They have no other choice. The examples you give of solar plants fall into this category.

  • Renewable Guy

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

    First, once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.

    Second, while fossil fuel technologies are more mature, renewable energy technologies are being rapidly improved. So innovation and ingenuity give us the ability to constantly increase the efficiency of renewable energy and continually reduce its cost.

    Third, once the world makes a clear commitment to shifting toward renewable energy, the volume of production will itself sharply reduce the cost of each windmill and each solar panel, while adding yet more incentives for additional research and development to further speed up the innovation process.[28]

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    The more we build renewable energy products, the better we get at it. I believe I have shown that fossil fuels will increase in price over time except for natural gas. Once the oil companies loose favor with enough of the republican party and the few democrats, the country will move towards lowering its carbon footprint. Which leaves mostly hydro, wind and solar.

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

    Renewable power generation costs 2010[25] Power generator Typical characteristics Typical
    electricity costs
    (U.S. cents/kWh)
    Large hydro Plant size: 10 – 18,000 MW 3-5
    Small hydro Plant size: 1-10 MW 5-12
    Onshore wind Turbine size: 1.5 – 3.5 MW 5-9
    Offshore wind Turbine size: 1.5 – 5 MW 10-14
    Biomass power Plant size: 1-20 MW 5-12
    Geothermal power Plant size: 1-100 MW 4-7
    Rooftop solar PV Peak capacity: 2-5 kilowatts-peak 20-50
    Utility-scale solar PV Peak capacity:
    200 kW to 100MW 15-30
    Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP)
    50-500 MW trough 14-18

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.reuk.co.uk/Calculation-of-Wind-Power.htm

    The fun thing about wind is that if you double the velocity of wind you get 8 times the power.
    just make up an example
    10 mph gets 100 watts output
    20 mph gets 800 watts output

    To double the power of a wind generator, you only need to bump up the speed by 2 or 3 mph.

    The higher wind speeds are better higher off the ground. The taller the generator, the more power it produces. The higher the distance of the ground, the more likely the wind generator will be in laminar flow. Laminar flow is the straight line flow of wind rather than turbulence. Turbulence increases wear and tear on the wind generator.
    The flow of wind is less turbulent and higher speeds over water than over land. Therefore the turbines would produce more power in the ocean setting than on land in most cases. Although it is higher cost to build in water than on land. Google has stepped up to be the investor of the transmission line for the Northeast Atlantic offshore windfarms.

    Power = 0.5 x Swept Area x Air Density x Velocity3

  • Renewable Guy

    For High winds there are a couple of strategies on the utility size turbines. One is that the blades can be feathered out. Meaning change the pitch of the blades. Another is to turn the turbine sideways into the wind reducing the exposure.

    In lower wind areas, the size of the blades can be increased, the trade off would be activating the protection for the turbine at lower speeds.

  • Austin

    Renewable Guy:

    You are again flaunting figures from executive summaries. Let’s find out what they are worth once and for all. Please provide the basis for the following figure you cite:

    “Onshore wind — Turbine size: 1.5 – 3.5 MW — 5-9 [cents per kWh]”

    That is, please provide references to papers which do the cost analysis for the above case and come to the figure of 5-9 cents per kWh.

    “Don’t want to”? Then stop citing this and other figures.

  • Renewable Guy

    Austin:
    Renewable Guy:

    You are again flaunting figures from executive summaries. Let’s find out what they are worth once and for all. Please provide the basis for the following figure you cite:

    “Onshore wind — Turbine size: 1.5 – 3.5 MW — 5-9 [cents per kWh]”

    That is, please provide references to papers which do the cost analysis for the above case and come to the figure of 5-9 cents per kWh.

    “Don’t want to”? Then stop citing this and other figures.

    #########################################################

    Hmmm. You’re just playing a game. Why don’t don’t you come up with a source that disproves what I am stating. I could say to you what Wally says to me, but I’m not going to call you a Jackass.

    I have left a trail of where I get my information. You are welcome to find that my sources are wrong. That’s one way to play the game.

  • Austin

    Renewable Guy:

    “Why don’t don’t you come up with a source that disproves what I am stating.”

    Sorry, no, it doesn’t work this way.

    You were asked why exactly you believe that alternative energy schemes are economically viable. You cited a figure of 5-9 cents per kWh for onshore wind in response. It is up to you to back that figure up with some science, not up to your opponents to prove that you can’t do this.

    Logic 101.

  • Renewable Guy

    Austin:
    Renewable Guy:

    “Why don’t don’t you come up with a source that disproves what I am stating.”

    Sorry, no, it doesn’t work this way.

    You were asked why exactly you believe that alternative energy schemes are economically viable. You cited a figure of 5-9 cents per kWh for onshore wind in response. It is up to you to back that figure up with some science, not up to your opponents to prove that you can’t do this.

    Logic 101.

    ##########################################################

    Something tells me that my opponents can’t disprove it.

    http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/REN21_GSR_2010_full_revised%20Sept2010.pdf

  • Ted Rado

    Renewable Guy:

    First, wind is free. True. But the capital and maintenance costs go on. The reported cost figures reflect this.

    Second, Wind technology will imrove. True. But the wind velocity will not. No doubt optimization of the design will bring some improvement. Building bigger units will reach some limit. To harness much stronger winds is illusory. To build a unit capable of handling extemely strong winds, which only occur for a small fraction of the time, would be uneconomical. The engineers no doubt have optimized this. The optimization point may change, but not much.

    Third, increasing volume will lower the cost. True. Unfortunately, windmills must be spread out to catch the wind. Therefore multiple small units are required. Also, there is a limit to how tall they can be made. Like the auto business, a wind turbine production line can be only so big before parallel lines are needed. Thus, economy of scale has its limits. Also, transporting the huge parts is costly. Thus factories must be built within reasonable distance of wind farms. For similar reasons, auto makers have plants scattered all over the world.

    Improvements can be made only up to the limits of theoretical possibility. You can’t double wind speed. Only Mother Nature can do this.

    In any technology, some limit of efficiency is reached. For example, in the electric power industry, optimizing steam pressure and superheat, staged feedwater heating, water treating, plant size, etc. has gone on for a long time. Thermal efficiency reaches a limit. In fact, peak load gas turbines are much less efficient but much reduce capital cost, thus being optimum for the purpose.

    I don’t know where you are getting your energy cost figures. Some ecoloonie blog? If wind power was as cheap as you say, why are subsidies needed?

    This is my last note on this subject. You are impossible to intelligently discuss this (probably any) subject with. Lots of luck in your ecoloonie world.

  • Renewable Guy

    Ted:
    Every power generation source has limits. Nevertheless renewable energy is the second fastest growing power source in the world. However much you object, investors all over the world are doing it. They are able to turn over their investment by selling electricity. Something every power generating source gets a tax subsidized assistance.

    in this report
    http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/REN21_GSR_2010_full_revised%20Sept2010.pdf

    fig 17
    http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/Global%20Status%20Report%202010%20-%20Figures.pdf

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “First, once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever.”

    This is not true at all. While you don’t have to keep purchasing some raw material, like coal or natural gas, you do have to maintain the equiptment. Things break down, wear out, or simple need to be cleaned. This is true for wind power especially, when, in any given wind farm 20-40% of the mills can be down for repair (this number varies greatly depending on just what types of mills any farm has).

    “Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.”

    No, it is certainly not effectively limitless. We can only place so many solar or wind farms on our earth. And effectively, we should only even try in places that have consistant sun or wind, otherwise our already uncompetitive power costs just keep climbing. For example, you probably don’t want to be power Seattle with solar.

    “renewable energy technologies are being rapidly improved.”

    Actually, the fundimentals of these technologies haven’t changed much in several decades. Yes, things are getting better, but at a snails pace. If things were actually being improved so rapidly, why haven’t we seen a shift in power usage on a larger scale. For example, look how quickly piston engines gave way to jet engines in the airline industry, once jet engines where initially developed. The 707 was developed in the early 50’s. Only a roughly a decade removed from the first jet operational jet engine. By comparison, wind mills have been around basically forever, and have been used to generate electricity since we started using electricity. Also, companies have been trying to commercialize photovoltaics since the 1950’s, and the photovoltaic effect has been known for roughly 150 years. These are not new technologies, the rapid development part of their evolution is likely already over. In fact, what’s probably more likely is that these technologies are reaching their limits. Sure, small changes in efficiency and total power generation might come, but they really need 2 fold improvements, at least, to become competative with more conventional power sources.

    “The more we build renewable energy products, the better we get at it.”

    This is not necissarily true. Many technologies haven’t changed substantially since their original invention. So, we may get more efficient at making something, or just plain make that thing better, as more people put their minds to doing so, but we shouldn’t jump head first into a shallow pond expecting that on our way down the pond will get deep enough to halt our fall. We may simply find that we put all these resources into a doomed technology. This is why we have private markets. Let private investors persue technology and then make a profit on that investment once they develop something that works. Lets not pick winners and losers, only to find out that “winner” we picked turned out to be a real dog.

    “Once the oil companies loose favor with enough of the republican party and the few democrats, the country will move towards lowering its carbon footprint. Which leaves mostly hydro, wind and solar.”

    Hydro is simply not going to happen. Enviornmentalists just can’t get out of their own way with this one. Half of them want them because of the lack of CO2 emitions, the other half wants to raze the ones still up in the name of fish migration. We simply won’t see another Hoover dam. The amount of red tape needed to cut through to dam a major river, or use tidal flows, is going to effectively kill any proposed hydro plant, even more so any attempt at nuclear power. We’ve gone over wind and solar ad nausium, what’s missing here is obvious. The only truly cost effective and sufficiently scalable power source out side coal and natural gas is nuclear power.

    All I’m seeing here Renewable guy is propoganda, not so much facts and logic.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “Why don’t don’t you come up with a source that disproves what I am stating.”

    Right, because logical or, your favorite, intellegent discourse starts with someone making a statement then the other guy being forced to disprove it…LOGIC FAIL.

    How about this:

    All we need to do is harness the power of the the flying spaghetti monster by attaching fairy dust to its wings, which will instantly send all power it creates to a fairy dust/AC converter, and all our power problems will be solved.

    Now, how about you go disprove that…

  • Ted Rado

    Wally:

    You made my day with that one! However, I bet that Renewable will blossom out with some new piece of nonsense. Maybe he can use the spaghetti monster to produce standby power for minus .1c per kwh. I eagerly await his response.

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “However much you object, investors all over the world are doing it. They are able to turn over their investment by selling electricity.”

    Which of course makes us wonder about the subsidies. Or is it simply that most other avenues for power generation are hindered in the beaucratic process. There are a lot of possibilities here, and your evidence doesn’t narrow them down much at all.

    “..every power generating source gets a tax subsidized assistance.”

    This may be true, but relatively how much does each get?

    Without these kinds of details, your arguments are just meaningless.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/3435-renewables-supplied-75-of-spains-electricity-on-ja?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

    Renewables Supplied 75% of Spain’s Electricity on January 6

    On January 6, renewable energy made up a record-breaking 75 percent of Spain’s electricity. Over the course of the day, coal only accounted for four percent of the electricity supply.

    On that day, conditions must have been ideal for renewable energy production, but even on any given day, Spain is cranking out some clean energy. Spanish power transmission company Red Electrica reports that in 2010, renewable energy sources supplied 35 percent of all of Spain’s electricity, which means the country surpassed its goal of having 30 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2010 and has almost hit its target of 35.5 percent by 2020 way ahead of schedule.

    Last year, coal-fired power in Spain dropped 34 percent and gas-fired power dropped 17 percent leading to a 20 percent cut in emissions.

    It’s completely inspiring to see a country making such significant progress on upping renewable energy production and slashing fossil fuel use.

    via Greenpeace

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    Somehow the evidence is getting ignored. With wind and solar there is only maintenance to keep up. No fuel.

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    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/climate/in-spain-the-three-wise-men-no-longer-bring-c/blog/32366

    The great beneficiary of increased renewable supply was the environment. Thanks to renewables, coal-fired power dropped by 34% last year and gas-fired power dropped 17%, with 22 gas projects being cancelled. This meant CO2 emissions from Spain’s power system fell by 20% last year. Our renewables were also able to cover for nuclear power plant failures, incluiding those from the great advocate of nuclear energy, France. For the first time, France became a net importer of electricity from Spain, something only possible thanks to renewables.

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    Renewable energy in action and very successful.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally

    First, once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever.”

    This is not true at all. While you don’t have to keep purchasing some raw material, like coal or natural gas, you do have to maintain the equiptment. Things break down, wear out, or simple need to be cleaned. This is true for wind power especially, when, in any given wind farm 20-40% of the mills can be down for repair (this number varies greatly depending on just what types of mills any farm has).
    #########################################################

    The ((((fuel)))) is still free. You haven’t disproven that statement.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/top-five-advancements-in-solar-technology/

    “renewable energy technologies are being rapidly improved.”
    #########################################################
    “Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless.”

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/surface-area-required-to-power-the-whole-world-with-solar-power-wind.php

    According to the US Department of Energy (Energy Information Administration), the world consumption of energy in all of its forms (barrels of petroleum, cubic meters of natural gas, watts of hydro power, etc.) is projected to reach 678 quadrillion Btu (or 7.15 exajoules) by 2030 – a 44% increase over 2008 levels (levels for 1980 were 283 quadrillion Btu and we stand at around 500 quadrillion Btu today). […]
    Dividing the global yearly demand by 400 kW•h per square meter (198,721,800,000,000 / 400) and we arrive at 496,804,500,000 square meters or 496,805 square kilometers (191,817 square miles) as the area required to power the world with solar panels. […]

    If divided into 5,000 super-site installations around the world (average of 25 per country), it would measure less than 10km a side for each. The UAE has plans to construct 1,500MW of capacity by 2020 which will require a space of 3 km per side. If the UAE constructed the other 7 km per side of that area, it would be able to power itself as a nation completely with solar energy. The USA would require a much larger area and approximately 1,000 of these super-sites.

    According to the United Nations 170,000 square kilometers of forest is destroyed each year. If we constructed solar farms at the same rate, we would be finished in 3 years.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequiredWindOnly.jpg

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/surface-area-required-to-power-the-whole-world-with-solar-power-wind.phphttp://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/surface-area-required-to-power-the-whole-world-with-solar-power-wind.php

    A 5 MW turbine can be expected to produce 17 GWh per year (they are 40% effective from their peak rated capacity – 5 MW x 365 x 24 = 43.8 GWh). Therefore, it would require 11,748,294 of the 5 MW capacity turbines to create the same yearly output. There are 500 million cars in the world so it’s not like that’s an unattainable goal from a manufacturing standpoint. And each 5 MW turbine is a 30 year lifespan money making machine for whoever buys it. The same can not be said for my car. But if we can build 90,000 Cape Wind size installations, we would be there on wind alone. Based on that installation, each turbine requires 1/2 square mile of area for offshore sites. This would require 5.85 million square kilometers for 2030 world energy needs.

  • Renewable Guy

    Wally:

    The only truly cost effective and sufficiently scalable power source out side coal and natural gas is nuclear power.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants#Recent_construction_cost_estimates

    It takes quite a bit of time to construct a nuclear power plant with vulnerabilities to a fluctuating cost market. There is so much uncertainty that it requires more help from the government than any other power source.

    As I look through the article there are quite a few costs and problems to deal with. MOre than likely there will be more nuclear power plants in the United States future.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/nuclear-power-subsidies.html

    The nuclear power industry is seeking tens of billions in new subsidies and other incentives in federal climate and energy legislation that would shift massive construction, financing, operating and regulatory costs and risks from the industry and its financial backers to U.S. taxpayers. Congress should reject these overly generous subsidies to this mature industry whose history of skyrocketing costs and construction overruns already has resulted in two costly bailouts by taxpayers and captive ratepayers—once in the 1970s and 1980s when utilities cancelled or abandoned more than 100 plants, and again in the 1990s when plant owners offloaded their “stranded costs.”

  • Renewable Guy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies#cite_note-4

    The fossil industry wants to keep all their subsidies and yet take them away from their competitors in the Alterative energies

    Skeptics have sometimes dismissed clean energy technologies such as solar and wind power by arguing that these technologies “can’t compete on price without public subsidies”. However, the history of coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power shows that no energy sector was developed without subsidies.[6] In the US, the federal government has paid US$74 billion for energy subsidies to support R&D for nuclear power and fossil fuels from 1973 to 2003. Nuclear power R&D alone accounted for nearly US$50 billion of this expenditure. During this same time frame, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency received a total of US$26 billion. It has been suggested that a subsidy shift would help to level the playing field and support growing energy sectors, namely solar power, wind power, and biofuels.[6]

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    “The ((((fuel)))) is still free. You haven’t disproven that statement.”

    Oh, right the ((((fuel)))) is free but the mechanism with which you actually turn the ((((fuel)))) into energy requires reoccuring cost….what a silly oversight I made….

    “It takes quite a bit of time to construct a nuclear power plant with vulnerabilities to a fluctuating cost market. There is so much uncertainty that it requires more help from the government than any other power source.”

    That wiki site does not support your statement regarding how much support they require from the government. But yes, nuc plants are big and expensive compared to most other sources, HOWEVER, you then get way more energy out of them. You’re just continuing to post tangentially related links and making comments that surpass the amount of data you present. Of course you also continue to fail to understand that much of the uncertainty in nuc plant construction costs is because of uncertainty in government regulation of nuclear plants.

    “The nuclear power industry is seeking tens of billions in new subsidies…”

    So what? They are allowed to seek what ever they want. Considering the gross manipulation of the power industry at all kinds of levels, from state sanctioned local monopolies, a variety of tax skeems, as well as a convoluted and ever changing regulation and approval process, I just fail to see how this matters in our debate.

    “Congress should reject these overly generous subsidies…”

    You should have stopped there and omitted the “overly generous” part. Just do away with all the market manipulations and determine a set of regulations that will become standard process for the foreseeable future and let all these power sources duke it out on the free market. I’m not sure why you want to keep beating down this strawman regarding nuclear subsidies.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://nuclear-news.net/2010/07/02/time-to-stop-u-s-congress-from-emergency-payout-to-nuclear-industry/

    Nuclear power has a disaster of a past financially and physically. Forbes Magazine declares nuclear the worst business deal in financial history. BIllions of dollars spent and no power produced. Wallstreet has good reasons to not put their own money out there. Renewable energy is a less mature industry and yet is more independent financially. If Wall Street says its a bad bet, I would defintely listen to them.

    Renewable energy has a faster turn around on their money with less help from the gov. Nuclear will be part of the mix, but is it the real solution to the problem. That’s pretty iffy and shaky.

    Given that the $8.33 billion in atomic power loan guarantees granted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy for two new reactors at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, announced by President Obama himself last February (and just accepted by Southern Company), would come from the U.S. Federal Financing Bank, this program appears poised to extract not only loan guarantees from taxpayers, but even the loans themselves. Wall Street investment firms are still too burned by atomic defaults from the 1970s and 1980s — the largest managerial disaster in business history according to Forbes magazine – to risk their own funds on new reactors, despite the federal loan guarantees!

  • Wally

    Renewable,

    At what point will you realize that much of the lost money in past nuclear projects is because of changing government regulations and taxation schemes? These issues are well known, even in those wiki pages you reference… Its just ludicrous to site cost over-runs in nuclear plant construction as a reason not to pursue future nuc production, when those cost over-runs are thanks to endless red tape thrown in the way of construction.

    All you’re doing here is copy-pasting sections of articles that you agree with and ignoring anything brought up that conflicts with predetermined bias. This phenominon is called cherry-picking. I think I’m going to join Ted and leave you to discuss this with yourself. As your name initially suggested, you’re just far to biased to hold a reasonable conversation, and your numerous posts have only strengthed that initial impression.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

    As usual you are quite short sighted and shooting from the hip. Many things happened at once, such as labor costs, tighter regulation costs, extended time of construction costs. WIth something as potentially dangerous as nuclear power, super super safety is needed.

    From the 1960’s to the 1980’s the cost of building a nuclear power plant increased 22 times the 1967 example they gave. If lowering the cost increases the risk, it shouldn’t be built.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://lawlibrary.unm.edu/nrj/30/3/06_england_federal.pdf

    It seems there were good reasons for the regulations to go into effect. Leaking dangerous isotopes should not happen.

    ABSTRACT
    This article reviews and assesses the relationship between federal regulation
    and environmental impact of the U.S. nuclear power industry
    from 1974 through 1984. Analysis of Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    data suggests that substantial progress was made in reducing the aggregate
    annual discharges of some isotopes despite substantial expansion of
    the industry, However, because of long radioactive half-lives, a number
    of these emitted isotopes were accumulating environmentally at the same
    time. Several policy conclusions appear to follow from these empirical
    trends.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://lawlibrary.unm.edu/nrj/30/3/06_england_federal.pdf

    As much as you want to rail against regulations about nuclear power, there are some pretty strong reasons why it came about in the first place.

    Perhaps more fundamentally, however, we agree with Freudenburg that
    nuclear power regulation is a field in which scientific expertise has an
    important, but limited, role to play.’ Because the health effects of radiation
    exposure are intrinsically uncertain, and because environmental
    accumulations of radioactivity cannot, in general, be “cleaned up” if it
    becomes clear that they are more hazardous than once thought, it seems
    reasonable and prudent for the NRC to tighten its emissions regulations
    on the nuclear power industry so that no further increases in environmental
    inventories of isotopes with lengthy half-lives could result in future public
    regret about the surprisingly severe health effects of nuclear power. That
    is, stricter nuclear emissions standards today would help to protect society against unexpected, but unacceptably high, health consequences in the
    years to come. 6′

  • Renewable Guy

    http://lawlibrary.unm.edu/nrj/30/3/06_england_federal.pdf

    Nuclear power is one the toughest industries to defend that there are. When you look at the emissions of dangerous isoptopes emitted by nuclear power, why even use it.

    Finally, even though the global warming problem associated with fossil
    fuel use is “real, large, serious, and complex,” 6′ 2 we cannot agree with
    those who suggest that “nuclear power should be .. .resurrected, restored,
    rediscovered, or revisited” as an energy policy option. 3 Both
    accumulation of carbon dioxide within the atmosphere and buildup of
    radioactivity within the environment pose long-term threats to the sustainability
    of human society. Hence, both CO2 releases and nuclear emissions
    need to be strictly limited if posterity is to prosper. “[If] nuclear
    power is to be advocated to mitigate the greenhouse effect, because it is
    the lesser of the two evils,”” then its proponents must be able to show
    that the industry can continue to expand its operations and simultaneously
    sharply reduce its aggregate emissions of long-lived radioactive pollutants.

  • Austin

    That’s hysterical. Come on, Renewable, link the entire Internet. Throw one ridiculous figure or opinion after another, you won’t have to defend them anyway.

    Frankly, I think your way of engaging in a debate would be more appropriate for an automated bot, but what do I know…

  • Renewable Guy

    Austin:
    That’s hysterical. Come on, Renewable, link the entire Internet. Throw one ridiculous figure or opinion after another, you won’t have to defend them anyway.

    Frankly, I think your way of engaging in a debate would be more appropriate for an automated bot, but what do I know
    ##########################################################

    Hi Austin:

    I invite you to counter my information. All I do is ask myself a question and then go look for information along the lines of that question.

    The assertion was that “Regulations are stupid and unnecessary”

    My thought was well why did the regulations move forward the way they did?

    That set my direction, what were the regulations about. I did post showing the costs went up. I also posted that regulations were about nuclear power plant emissions that are very dangerous. Highly radioactive isotopes escaping into the environment.

    I don’t know about you Austin, but I want to stay safe.

    We are debating now about the solution to increasing co2 kickstarting pos feedbacks on earth. Once the solution to pos feedbacks is accepted, we can no longer go back to heavy reliance on fossil fuels. As many ways as possible, society needs to shift away from the negative effects that they bring to our climate.

    People like Charles and David Koch don’t like that. They are going to see their 100 billion dollar fortune shrink before their eyes. They are influential enough that there are now no republicans allowed to vote for reducing the harm that co2 is doing.

    And again this is due to pos feedbacks as being predominant in earth’s climate.

  • Renewable Guy

    http://e360.yale.edu/digest/un_calls_for_green_investments_totaling_2_percent_of_global_economic_output/2815/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YaleEnvironment360+%28Yale+Environment+360%29

    Interesting aritcle article below confirms my conversation in earlier posts.

    21 Feb 2011: UN Calls for Green Investments
    Of 2 Percent of Global Economic Output
    The United Nations is calling for funding of renewable energy projects equal to 2 percent of world economic output, saying such investments would more than pay for themselves by creating new jobs, boosting economic growth, and improving health through cleaner air. The United Nations Environment Program said that the two percent investment in green energy, totaling $1.3 trillion annually, would enable the world economy to grow at a rate equal to or higher than current projections of economic growth. Indeed, the report labels the current heavy investment in fossil fuels a “gross misallocation of capital.” The UN’s call for action is expected to be matched by statements from U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and several heads of multinational companies. The UN report was released on the same day that the German government was expected to issue a study warning that Europe will continue to experience low rates of economic growth unless investment in renewable energy is increased.

  • Gator

    Hey Jack! Renewable guy is indeed playing with models and apparently does not even know it.

    Quoting RG… “The above is based in data and observation.”

    The paper? ‘A Determination of the Cloud Feedback from Climate Variations over the Past Decade’ A. E. Dessler. From the introduction… “Estimates of Earth’s climate sensitivity are uncertain, largely because of uncertainty in the long-term cloud feedback. I estimated the magnitude of the cloud feedback in response to short-term
    climate variations by analyzing the top-of-atmosphere radiation budget from March 2000 to February 2010. Over this period, the short-term cloud feedback had a magnitude of 0.54 T 0.74 (2s) watts per square meter per kelvin, meaning that it is likely positive. A small negative feedback is possible, but one large enough to cancel the climate’s positive feedbacks is not supported by these observations. Both long- and short-wave components of short-term cloud feedback are also likely positive. Calculations of short-term cloud feedback in climate models yield a similar feedback. I find no
    correlation in the models between the short- and long-term cloud feedbacks… In this paper, I present an estimate of the global cloud feedback in response to shortterm
    climate fluctuations over the past decade and compare these results to those from climate
    models.”

    Estimates and models!

    Renewable Guy, please provide even ONE peer reviewed paper that refutes natural variabilty as the cause of recent climate changes, or even ONE peer reviewed paper that proves man made CO2 is altering the Earth’s climate.