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post #41 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:02 PM
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Hydrocarbons still rule... (with apologies to Dragon)
interesting...

even more surprising is how little coal is being used in CA, I was lead to believe that coal plants were everywhere. Don't we (USA) have one of the biggest coal reserves in the world? (not that I'm advocating coal... I just thought we have more coal plants then those numbers show)

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post #42 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:04 PM
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interesting...

even more surprising is how little coal is being used in CA, I was lead to believe that coal plants were everywhere. Don't we (USA) have one of the biggest coal reserves in the world? (not that I'm advocating coal... I just thought we have more coal plants then those numbers show)
Coal is dirty, natural gas burns a lot cleaner, and we have a fair bit of that too.

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post #43 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:05 PM
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wait... apk919, where's oil in the that chart? It showed lots of oil generators in the graph that I posted, but I don't see it in your table.

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post #44 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:10 PM
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wait... apk919, where's oil in the that chart? It showed lots of oil generators in the graph that I posted, but I don't see it in your table.
The graph said oil/gas... so it's possible that in CA they're all gas and not oil... here's where my data is from: California Electrical Energy: Peak Demand and Sources

EDIT: Here's another: Total Electricity System Power
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post #45 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:12 PM
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Coal is dirty, natural gas burns a lot cleaner, and we have a fair bit of that too.
yeah I know its dirty, and it emits far more radiation into the atmosphere then nuke plants... I was just surprised at the discrepancy between my perception and actual numbers of coal plants.

CA is not doing too bad according to apk919's chart actually:
Natual gas-good,
Hydroelectric- not bad,
Nuclear-no bad,
GeoThermal-sweet,
Wind-awesome,
Biomass-great!
the top 5 electric power sources all seemed pretty acceptable to me.

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post #46 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:15 PM
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yeah I know its dirty, and it emits far more radiation into the atmosphere then nuke plants... I was just surprised at the discrepancy between my perception and actual numbers of coal plants.

CA is not doing too bad according to apk919's chart actually:
Natual gas-good,
Hydroelectric- not bad,
Nuclear-no bad,
GeoThermal-sweet,
Wind-awesome,
Biomass-great!
the top 5 electric power sources all seemed pretty acceptable to me.
You do realize that natural gas creates CO2 when burned, right? If you're worried about greenhouse gases, then it's not so good. If you're not, no worries...
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post #47 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 08:22 PM
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yes I know its a hydrocarbon. but it burns clean and its domestically produced.
Long term, if you buy the global warming theory, then obviously those plants will have to be replaced by other sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, nuclear, fusion etc)

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post #48 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by IamBatman View Post
yeah I know its dirty, and it emits far more radiation into the atmosphere then nuke plants... I was just surprised at the discrepancy between my perception and actual numbers of coal plants.

CA is not doing too bad according to apk919's chart actually:
Natual gas-good,
Hydroelectric- not bad,
Nuclear-no bad,
GeoThermal-sweet,
Wind-awesome,
Biomass-great!
the top 5 electric power sources all seemed pretty acceptable to me.
Those top five are 100% - the renewables are a subset of the 5th value.
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Originally Posted by IamBatman View Post
wait... apk919, where's oil in the that chart? It showed lots of oil generators in the graph that I posted, but I don't see it in your table.
The oil is likely to be small scale remote units (very easy to transport oil). That is why that map would be much more use with icons showing generation capacity of each site
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post #49 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 10:40 PM
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he switched the graph... the original table didn't didn't have the renewable subsets... just a list.

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post #50 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 10:47 PM
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Got it!

Major thread drift too - apologies TripleX


powergeneration is one of my favourite soapboxes
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post #51 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 11:38 PM
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yeah sorry for the off topic.
I just want to leave the "anti-green technology guys" with one thought: we all know that the stuff that runs our internal combustion sports cars is gonna run out eventually, while demand is going up in China, India and Russia. If there is technology that will allow the soccer moms and taxi drivers in China to use less of the stuff and leave me more gasoline to run my 4.6L V8 (or at least make it cheaper for me to buy that gas), I'm gonna be all for it.

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post #52 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 07:54 AM
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I would definitely not say I'm anti-green, I'm simply anti-green-for-the-wrong-reasons. I would love it if we could flip a switch and the world could suddenly run on renewable, clean energy (with no negative side effects).

Unfortunately, that's not the case and people tend to focus exclusively on the downstream (a car that produces zero emissions, or a solar panel that produces renewable power) and ignore the upstream (pollution/waste in the process of building the panel/car, the energy consumed to create it versus the lifetime energy saved/produced by the product itself, etc).

Additionally, given that all of mankind's combined emissions total only a small fraction of one percent of the earth's total C02 output, AND the fact that C02 levels TRAIL temperature maps (as expected) rather than precede them - it's obvious that C02 emission is really the least of our worries. I'm personally more concerned with the over-expansion and the eventual destruction of the earth's surface thanks to overpopulation. We are the kudzu of this planet...


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post #53 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 08:30 AM
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I think the general idea behind electric vehicles is that it is more efficient and cost effective to produce electricity centrally (the power plant) than in the current distributed model (internal combustion on-board each car). That said, I'll do a little research on distributed energy production tonight. I'm curious. The mainframe doesn't seem like a perfect analogy because it disregards the significantly greater energy consumption of PCs vs. terminals. PCs are rather inefficient beasts. I'm not saying they necessarily need to be.

I've heard the idea of having a grid that you can sell to as well as buy. That seems interesting as well.

I still think that on the most basic level, the problem is that there are too many people. If there are enough energy users that we are even discussing the depletion of resources, perhaps the number of people walking around is greater than it should be by at least several orders of magnitude.
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post #54 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 10:12 AM
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I think the general idea behind electric vehicles is that it is more efficient and cost effective to produce electricity centrally (the power plant) than in the current distributed model (internal combustion on-board each car). That said, I'll do a little research on distributed energy production tonight. I'm curious. The mainframe doesn't seem like a perfect analogy because it disregards the significantly greater energy consumption of PCs vs. terminals. PCs are rather inefficient beasts. I'm not saying they necessarily need to be.
IMO, where this idea falls flat is that energy is lost in each step of the chain; the more steps, the more is lost. Internal combustion is more efficient in this respect, which is why it's so difficult to displace gasoline when it comes to meeting transportation energy needs (gasoline very portable and energy-dense to boot, which gives it the edge in practicality and convenience). With electric, you have to deal with the inefficiency at the plant (heat losses, frictional losses, etc), power loss during transmission, loss at the transformer at your house, loss when charging the battery, loss when discharging the battery, frictional losses (IC has that as well); all of those add up when talking about 'well-to-wheel' efficiency.

This might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about: The Secret Lives of Energy - The Energy Problem - Conservation of Energy

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post #55 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 10:54 AM
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I don't understand why there is even any debate about which energy to use.
Solar energy is completely FREE, Completely clean, inexhaustible, easily collected, easily stored, requires no raw materials.
Approximately 15,000 times more solar energy hits the earth than mankind currently produces/uses using all other methods of generation.
The amount of Solar energy being generated/collected is doubling every 2 years and is just 8 doublings away from fully meeting current needs (i.e. potentially 16 years)
It's an absolute no brainer that when presented with a choice of inexpensive clean solar energy and expensive dirty energy - consumers and producers will choose solar.
The most likely future for personal transport in 20 years time will be a mixture of (solar produced) hydrogen - fuelling fuel cells in vehicles that need a longer range and pure Tesla style battery vehicles for local commuting.
It's happening already, and the technology is catching up very quickly.

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post #56 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:10 AM
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IMO, where this idea falls flat is that energy is lost in each step of the chain; the more steps, the more is lost. Internal combustion is more efficient in this respect, which is why it's so difficult to displace gasoline when it comes to meeting transportation energy needs (gasoline very portable and energy-dense to boot, which gives it the edge in practicality and convenience). With electric, you have to deal with the inefficiency at the plant (heat losses, frictional losses, etc), power loss during transmission, loss at the transformer at your house, loss when charging the battery, loss when discharging the battery, frictional losses (IC has that as well); all of those add up when talking about 'well-to-wheel' efficiency.

This might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about: The Secret Lives of Energy - The Energy Problem - Conservation of Energy
I've been told - and this may not be accurate - that even factoring in all these inefficiencies, and the entire supply chain, centrally generating power is roughly 10 times more efficient than internal combustion. I wish I could quote a source on that. I think that's reflected in the cost of operation of an electric vehicle though.
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post #57 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:15 AM
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I should mention that I knew someone who had an electric 1992 Toyota RAV4 - the only year they made that vehicle. According to her, her first service was at 140,000 miles. I think the battery pack was dying at that point.

When I was in high school, they taught us to budget roughly as much for vehicle maintenance as for fuel. An entire industry will be virtually shuttered here
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post #58 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:19 AM
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I've been told - and this may not be accurate - that even factoring in all these inefficiencies, and the entire supply chain, centrally generating power is roughly 10 times more efficient than internal combustion. I wish I could quote a source on that. I think that's reflected in the cost of operation of an electric vehicle though.
Ten times more efficient seems highly unlikely. The electric vehicle is more efficient tank-to-wheel than internal combustion, but even that's not ten times more efficient.
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post #59 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:21 AM
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I am so over the TESLA. It's a great project that has it's place in terms of trail blazing new technology but... Seems like an early adopter sport car thing. Reminds me of Lazer discs, Really large and very expensive microwaves of the early 80's. Wait a few years and get something that is lots cheaper, works as good or even better.
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post #60 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:28 AM
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The amount of Solar energy being generated/collected is doubling every 2 years and is just 8 doublings away from fully meeting current needs (i.e. potentially 16 years)
Doubling from 1 to 2, and 2 to 4, and 4 to 8 is pretty easy. 8 more doublings, not so much. Take a piece of paper, any piece of paper, and double it 8 times.

By the time we get to 100% solar power, the Earth will be dark from the shadows of the solar panels we will be living under. j/k

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