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Old 03-11-2008, 11:48 PM   #61
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Trouble is wind and solar power are not available 24/7 and almost need, MW per MW, equivalent standby generation. Are you willing to shut your electricity off to your house when the sun goes down? Wind and solar power will always be on the fringe for perhaps no more than 10-15% of overall power demand. Proponents have failed to do their math.

Nuclear is the only truly available baseload option to replace hydrocarbons.
I don't expect a single solution to our energy needs, and I'm all for building more nuclear plants. However, I'd encourage a quick read of SciAm's article on a proposed solar plan for the US.

It's available online here: A Solar Grand Plan: Scientific American
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:17 AM   #62
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I'm all for conservation, but we can't get there from here...

No reactors in the modern world are of the Chernobyl design (or lack of design...), so red herring...
Don't kid yourself, HFWR. Nuclear technology as a whole is still not that advanced. Let's say for the sake of argument that the design of present day reactors is foolproof. But what about plants that were built before these supposed improvements were developed? How safe are they? And even if there are ways to regulate these reactors in the U.S., don't tell me that ALL other countries are particular in regulating their nuclear plants, especially third world countries. Do you honestly believe that when nuclear accidents occur, resulting radioactive contamination respects national borders?

And what about the matter of transporting and disposing nuclear wastes, which is still a huge problem. The Yucca Mountain project, for example, is years behind schedule. Anyway once it's finished, if it ever is completed, how close would YOU be willing to live to such a site?

The post by Insanity is right on. We need to start thinking outside the box, to stop looking for ways to improve old energy sources, and instead invest our thinking and resources in new energy technologies.

And by the way, I stand by my position on the importance of conservation. Americans are incredibly wasteful when it comes to consumption of energy, including a national policy against improving milage standards. Gas guzzling vans, and SUV's, and pick-up trucks still rule the road.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:55 AM   #63
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For electrical power generation, there are many proven options... solar, wind, geothermal, coal, hydro and yes in certain areas of the country nuclear.

It would be fairly easy to retrofit existing oil fired and natural gas plants to coal. The technology exists to clean up emissions.

It is just a matter of the US government taking action.

The same goes for fuel for automobiles.

Enough with the studies... we have known technology to begin addressing the problem. The government needs to take action.

To the politicians -- Energy is now becoming an inflation threat. It's the economy stupid!
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:40 AM   #64
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Trouble is wind and solar power are not available 24/7 and almost need, MW per MW, equivalent standby generation. Are you willing to shut your electricity off to your house when the sun goes down? Wind and solar power will always be on the fringe for perhaps no more than 10-15% of overall power demand. Proponents have failed to do their math.

Nuclear is the only truly available baseload option to replace hydrocarbons.
I agree with what you are saying to a point. Since most electric is consumed during the day wouldn't solar power, if nothing else, lower our dependence on oil as a means to generate electricity. Use a combination of solar and wind during times when they are most effective and have traditional generation means to handle the overload and when the newer technology is not effective, such as at night.

It seems many people believe there will be a combination of technologies replacing our electrical generation system. Why can't it start now?
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:44 AM   #65
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Why can't it start now?
The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,
Oh!

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A dayyyyyy
Aaaaaaaaaa wayyyyyyyyy!


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Old 03-12-2008, 10:41 AM   #66
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I agree with SamClem's post #55, which means that I think I disagree with most other posts on this thread.

Maybe I'm reading them incorrectly, but the general impression I get is that many posters believe that we can continue to use just as much energy as we do today, at the same cost, if only the gov't picks the "right" technology to replace oil.

I think that anything that replaces oil is going to be more expensive for a long time.
I don't think that the gov't has a good track record of picking winners. In fact, because of the way Washington works, I can confidently predict that it won't pick winners in the future.

However, I also think that we do need to use a lot less oil.
The market has failed on this one because it doesn't factor in the national security costs of the US creating 25% of the world's demand for oil.

Our oil policy decision is pretty obvious - we tax crude oil and rebate the tax.
For example, we could have a tax of $2 per gallon on crude oil, and get a credit on our FIT of $2,000 per person.

The gov't should spend a little money on some basic research and enforce reasonable pollution laws. But no subsidies for any new technology. If oil is expensive enough, we'll have capital crawling out of the woodwork financing all sorts of new ideas. The best will grow and make the investors rich. The others will shrivel up and leave the investors with nothing. That's more efficient than having the lobbyists and Congress make the decisions. If you think nuclear or solar or wind is a great idea, you'll have plenty of opportunities to help the country and yourself by investing.

But, there's no free lunch. All of these technologies will be more expensive than oil for a long time. We're going to end up using less energy, and spending more per unit, than we do today. We each get to make our own decisions about whether that means living closer to work, driving a smaller vehicle, or whatever. But, we'll make some changes that we'd rather not make. The reason most politicians won't support a crude oil tax is because the word "tax" reminds the voters that this is going to cost them something, and voters (that's us) want to live in a no-cost world.

I thnk it would be worth it. I agree that merely proposing the tax would lower the price of oil. Actually passing it would have a bigger effect. We'd be less dependent on something we can't control, and the various dysfuntional "governments" that control oil supply will have less revenue. When I look at how much those dysfunctional governments hav cost us and will cost us, I see that cutting our oil use is a big net gain.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:59 AM   #67
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Hmmm - you know this thread reminds me of how pissed Moby Dick got at Georgory Peck back in the time before petroleum oil.

And that's no bacon joke.

Heh heh heh - I remember 1974 Huntsville getting the tour of alt. energy demo's with the NASA engineer I was working with on Shuttle.

Solar powered air conditioner was a hoot!
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:03 AM   #68
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I agree with SamClem's post #55, which means that I think I disagree with most other posts on this thread.

Maybe I'm reading them incorrectly, but the general impression I get is that many posters believe that we can continue to use just as much energy as we do today, at the same cost, if only the gov't picks the "right" technology to replace oil.

I think that anything that replaces oil is going to be more expensive for a long time.
I don't think that the gov't has a good track record of picking winners. In fact, because of the way Washington works, I can confidently predict that it won't pick winners in the future.

However, I also think that we do need to use a lot less oil.
The market has failed on this one because it doesn't factor in the national security costs of the US creating 25% of the world's demand for oil.

Our oil policy decision is pretty obvious - we tax crude oil and rebate the tax.
For example, we could have a tax of $2 per gallon on crude oil, and get a credit on our FIT of $2,000 per person.

The gov't should spend a little money on some basic research and enforce reasonable pollution laws. But no subsidies for any new technology. If oil is expensive enough, we'll have capital crawling out of the woodwork financing all sorts of new ideas. The best will grow and make the investors rich. The others will shrivel up and leave the investors with nothing. That's more efficient than having the lobbyists and Congress make the decisions. If you think nuclear or solar or wind is a great idea, you'll have plenty of opportunities to help the country and yourself by investing.

But, there's no free lunch. All of these technologies will be more expensive than oil for a long time. We're going to end up using less energy, and spending more per unit, than we do today. We each get to make our own decisions about whether that means living closer to work, driving a smaller vehicle, or whatever. But, we'll make some changes that we'd rather not make. The reason most politicians won't support a crude oil tax is because the word "tax" reminds the voters that this is going to cost them something, and voters (that's us) want to live in a no-cost world.

I thnk it would be worth it. I agree that merely proposing the tax would lower the price of oil. Actually passing it would have a bigger effect. We'd be less dependent on something we can't control, and the various dysfuntional "governments" that control oil supply will have less revenue. When I look at how much those dysfunctional governments hav cost us and will cost us, I see that cutting our oil use is a big net gain.
Without ELECTRICITY nothing will work. We need a reliable source of cheap electricity to make sure the lights stay on water treatment plants work at all times sewer treatment plants work at all times. That is an essential for life. Nuclear power is the only thing that can do that now. We can build as many reactors as needed. Heck it makes no sense that when it gets HOT IN THE SUMMER in America the greatest country on earth as most here would say we cannot keep the lights on!!! So gobmint should make sure the electrical grid is so hardened and full of Kilowatts that we never have to worry about blackouts or brownouts when it gets too hot or too cold. Right now when utilities have to buy electricity on the open market on super hot days the cost is well absurd!Sometime 25X the cost when it is not an emergency. That is bull stones.

I just love it when you guys go and start the private industry will come out of the woodwork when oil gets too high yadayadayada. You all say govmint should not do anything. well then why should the military which is run by the govmint be doing all the things it is doing now?? Oh its in our national interest you will say. Fine so is ELECTRICITY!

Where is the pentagon the military STOCK SYMBOL on the Stock Exchange??
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #69
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You seem to be responding to me, but we don't seem to be communicating.

I certainly think the gov't should "do something" that it should have done 30 years ago. It should put a tax on crude oil. There are sound reasons why the market hasn't fully priced the cost of crude, and the gov't should correct that.

However, if we did that, the gov't wouldn't need to do much else about oil.

Regarding electricity, I don't see as much of a problem. We have huge coal resources. If the price goes up because coal is harder to get, then we'll get more efficient and find other sources (maybe nuclear). If your concern is CO2, than the economics are the same as oil. The only thing the gov't needs to do is a carbon tax, and maybe a little basic research. The market will find the right mix of conservation, pricing, nuclear, solar, or whatever.
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Old 03-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #70
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I think Independent is on to something here. You all seem to be blindingly ignoring the fact you have the highest consumption of oil per capita in the world. So if you tax the crap out of oil, you will influence people's consumption. Then you pour the tax dollars into research and tax breaks so people who are not driving SUV's will walk away without paying any extra money overall (ie: extra gas cost = tax break if you have lower consumption than average).

If you really want energy independence you have to stop wasting it.

By the way, it's not to say the average Canadian is much better, but at least BC's new carbon tax seems to be directing people to get better.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:10 PM   #71
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I think Independent is on to something here. You all seem to be blindingly ignoring the fact you have the highest consumption of oil per capita in the world.
Well, several people on this thread, myself included, have said in other threads that we need to tax the hell out of gas. Going further towards the source and taxing the oil may make more sense though.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:28 PM   #72
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Wind Power generation.

Bloomberg.com: Exclusive

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:01 PM   #73
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I don't expect a single solution to our energy needs, and I'm all for building more nuclear plants. However, I'd encourage a quick read of SciAm's article on a proposed solar plan for the US.

It's available online here: A Solar Grand Plan: Scientific American
This is a great piece. It addresses several issues that are being debated here. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:34 PM   #74
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Don't kid yourself, HFWR. Nuclear technology as a whole is still not that advanced. ... How safe are they?
Just google up safety statistics for all types of energy. I think you will find that nuclear is documented to be the safest on a death/injury per MW produced. How many coal miners die each year around the world?

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And what about the matter of transporting and disposing nuclear wastes, which is still a huge problem. The Yucca Mountain project, for example, is years behind schedule.
Coal plants are allowed to spew their waste (including mercury) into our atmosphere. Hold coal to the same standard, and you would need to shut down every coal plant.

Add me to the 'tax gas' posters as the way to push conservation. Then let the free market devise the alternatives.

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Old 03-13-2008, 06:55 AM   #75
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Add me to the 'tax gas' posters as the way to push conservation.
IMO taxes should serve just the simple constitutional purpose of funding the government - not punishing and rewarding the social/economic behavior of the people.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:00 AM   #76
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IMO taxes should serve just the simple constitutional purpose of funding the government - not punishing and rewarding the social/economic behavior of the people.
I should have prefaced that with my usual 'if we want the government to do anything at all...'. I got lazy.

I tend to agree, we could just let the free market work this out. The first step would be to have the govt stop providing subsidies/support to the oil industry. That would raise oil prices and encourage conservation and actually take us closer to a free market.

I might be convinced that this is a good place for government to get involved though. If done right, a relatively slow, steady increase in taxes over time could help promote conservation and give people time to adjust. A free market, OTOH, could create some big swings, which could be more painful, esp for the 'little guy'.

Also, fossil fuels are getting somewhat of a 'free ride' for the environmental damage they do, making them appear 'cheaper' than some renewables. I'm not sure how we make that more even in the market place w/o some sort of tax. The tax could go towards clean-ups and/or investment in renewable, or just return it to the people (revenue neutral).

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Old 03-13-2008, 08:39 AM   #77
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texarkandy, taxes also happen to pay for "simple, constitutional(?)" funding of INVASIONS and occupations and various other interferences in oil-rich countries not our own... and I'd vote for that money back in exchange for a direct consumption tax.

What is that $2billion/week.. $700 million/day.. whatever.. if not an oil tax? TO say nothing of the hideous cost in lives lost.

Everyone seems to be overlooking this tiny detail in the scheme of "government intervention" in the "free" energy market.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:05 AM   #78
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IMO taxes should serve just the simple constitutional purpose of funding the government - not punishing and rewarding the social/economic behavior of the people.
Yep, the gov't should stay out of your life as long as you're not hurting someone else. Unfortunately, sometimes it works like this: a power company burns coal so it can sell me electricity, and puts sulfur in everyone's air in the process. That's a "negative externality" that may justify getting the gov't involved. It turns out that it may be more efficient to have the gov't involved by taxing the sulfur emissions instead of absolutely prohibiting them.

Ladelfina is correct. In the oil case, "everyone else" gets involved because the oil users expect the gov't to provide military power to assure access to foreign oil, and then to clean up the messes that sometimes result. At a minimum, it's fair to charge them the full cost of the military actions. I think the actual cost exceeds the pure military cost.

IMO, if we had consistently charged oil users the "full cost" of importing oil in the past, we would be more energy efficient, have more alternate sources, and have better foreign relations than we do today. It's awfully late to start now, but it's still the best approach to our oil problem.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:15 PM   #79
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Yep, the gov't should stay out of your life as long as you're not hurting someone else. Unfortunately, sometimes it works like this: a power company burns coal so it can sell me electricity, and puts sulfur in everyone's air in the process. That's a "negative externality" that may justify getting the gov't involved. It turns out that it may be more efficient to have the gov't involved by taxing the sulfur emissions instead of absolutely prohibiting them.

Ladelfina is correct. In the oil case, "everyone else" gets involved because the oil users expect the gov't to provide military power to assure access to foreign oil, and then to clean up the messes that sometimes result. At a minimum, it's fair to charge them the full cost of the military actions. I think the actual cost exceeds the pure military cost.

IMO, if we had consistently charged oil users the "full cost" of importing oil in the past, we would be more energy efficient, have more alternate sources, and have better foreign relations than we do today. It's awfully late to start now, but it's still the best approach to our oil problem.
Well, since you bring it up, I don't think the govt should "provide military power to assure access to foreign oil" either

As to "sulfur in everyone's air" - that's why we have environmental laws (a legitimate governmental function IMO)

If it costs the energy companies $X to comply with environmental laws - let the company pass the cost on to the consumer.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:28 PM   #80
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I have been an oil user for as long as I can remember and I definitely do NOT "expect the gov't to provide military power to assure access to foreign oil, and then to clean up the messes that sometimes result." As a matter of fact, Id rather that my government did no such thing.
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