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Old 04-29-2016, 08:19 AM   #121
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I tend to keep old maps longer than I should, but none of them are that old.
Did you check your glove compartment, maybe the old ones are in there

My point is that human timescales are wildly inappropriate for considering geologic or climatic change.
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Old 04-29-2016, 08:19 AM   #122
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I tend to keep old maps longer than I should, but none of them are that old.
Wouldn't do you much good anyway. They've changed a lot of the roads since then.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:03 AM   #123
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Has anyone done a study of the cost of defending against sea level increases? Just looking at what Venice and some of the low-land countries in Europe are spending on defense already makes me believe it will be massive.

If we get a 2.5-5 foot increase in sea levels over the next 100 years (Union of concerned scientists estimate), the cost of deal with that will far exceed the investments required to green our power and transportation (EPA says electricity generation contributes 37% of greenhouse gas and transportation another 31%).
"The real rate of coastal sea-level rise from averaged tide gauge measurements is only about 1.4-1.5 mm/yr (under six inches per century), and that rate hasnít increased since the late 1920s."

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/...el-newsletter/

Claims that the rise will increase 10-fold from 6" per century to 5 feet are nothing but unproven alarmism. Even if it doubles to 1 foot per century, there is plenty of time to act.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:54 AM   #124
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Has anyone done a study of the cost of defending against sea level increases? ...
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
Unfortunately at this point it's quite likely we'll have to do both. ...

IPCC says (most people ignore this) that we are going to get sea level rises that we will need to adapt to even if we dropped fossil fuel like a rock, overnight. The small steps we are taking, even if we stepped them up considerably, just aren't going to change things much - maybe just delay the inevitable by 20 years or so, so we still need to adapt, just have a little more time.

Something like 40% of the sea level rise has nothing to do with our energy choices, it is (and I didn't believe this until I checked it out), it is from humans pumping water out of the ground, which finds its way to the sea.

Source found for missing water in sea-level rise : Nature News & Comment

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A team of researchers reports in Nature Geoscience that land-based water storage could account for 0.77 millimetres per year, or 42%, of the observed sea-level rise between 1961 and 2003. Of that amount, the extraction of groundwater for irrigation and home and industrial use, with subsequent run-off to rivers and eventually to the oceans, represents the bulk of the contribution.

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Our electricity provider is a small rural cooperative. Almost 60% of our co-op's power comes from burning methane from a nearby landfill to generate electricity and costs 5.47c/kwh. I don't understand why we don't do more of this... the fuel is free and in many areas they just burn off the methane from landfills anyway.

I also don't understand why we do do more underwater river turbines.... unlike wind and solar, rivers flow 24/7... they would not be visible unlike unsightly wind and solar farms...

Powering the Future: Underwater turbines harness river power - CBS News
We should be capturing more methane, not only does it provide energy, but it is converted to CO2 which is less potent of a GHG gas than methane. I don't know why more of this isn't done, I'm guessing the cost (design, build, license) per kWh is high? Each one is probably pretty small scale, so lots of fixed costs per installation?

Run of the river sounds nice, but I've researched it and there are not many places that we can really capture much energy. But I like diversification, so we should look into it where it can work out. But it won't make dent in energy overall.

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I suspect you're right about the costs here. The company promoting this idea doesn't provide cost estimates and only says that it's "life cycle cost is less expensive than battery technology." I think that's a fancy way of saying "we cost more than batteries but once installed it lasts for 40 years."
I'm afraid so. Even their demo takes 100 acres and 5.5 miles of track (I didn't see them list how many cars?), and at an 8 degree slope, that's a ~ 4000' rise, not feasible across the plains. And that provides 12.5 MWh storage - less than one minute of output of a typical 800 MW coal plant (we have ~ 20 that size in IL). So to store one day's solar/wind output to provide the equivalent of one coal plant would require something like 144,000 acres (225 sq miles) and almost 8,000 miles of track (and who knows how many rail cars/engines?). There is likely some economy of scale to that demo, but still. And we can go longer than one day with very low sun/wind, and that would still cover just ~ 1 out of 20 coal plants in IL.


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... I don't know much about sea levels, but spending money on infrastructure contributes to higher growth.
Not sure it works quite like that. Investing money on upgrading or non-existent infrastructure can promote growth by opening up new opportunities in that area (goods and services can now move efficiently where they couldn't before). But just spending on infrastructure (repairs, etc), is just a cost. Otherwise, we could get growth by just tearing up perfectly good roads and spending money fixing them. If a hurricane destroys infrastructure, I don't think people see that as a good way to fuel economic growth - it came about only through destruction of old infrastructure. Same with any climate change destruction - it's a cost, not a growth story.

-ERD50
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:54 AM   #125
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Methane is terrible for greenhouse gases. Not sure how it compares to coal though.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:09 AM   #126
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I don't know much about sea levels, but spending money on infrastructure contributes to higher growth.
This sounds a bit like the parable of the broken window where higher growth is assumed to come from breaking, and then replacing, store windows.

In the case of building dykes to protect a city it seems pretty clear to me that activity won't make us richer. They don't increase productivity. They don't enhance the city versus what was there before. Sure, they prevent us from becoming poorer by protecting the city from destruction. But they don't make us richer than we already were. All building dykes does is consume resources that could have been spent on something productive.

Building new power plants is similar, but more complicated. If all we're doing is replacing one power plant with an economically identical power plant we end up no richer for the effort.

Now there's a fair argument that replacing a coal plant with solar plants might make us richer. Solar might be a worthwhile investment regardless of environmental issues because we get zero marginal-cost power thereafter. But it's still hard to see that spending resources replacing existing infrastructure makes us richer than building new, productivity enhancing, infrastructure would.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:25 AM   #127
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Putting human efforts into renewable energy will divert resources from other activities. GNP may be high, but it means the standard of living will not get higher. This may not be bad at all for developed countries. New homes in the US have been growing larger again, after a short period of shrinking during the Great Recession. Surely, we can live smaller and use less energy if it is more expensive. And the extra money spent on enlarging the homes can go into building new infrastructures for renewable energy.

Renewable energy will cost more. Anybody who claims differently is wrong. Can we afford it? I don't know. As individuals, many of us can afford higher energy cost. We can just spend less elsewhere. The poorer portion of the population will be harder hit.

Most trade-offs start out as a technical problem, then devolve into a political dilemma. This one is no different.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:47 AM   #128
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Not sure it works quite like that.
It absolutely does.

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This sounds a bit like the parable of the broken window where higher growth is assumed to come from breaking, and then replacing, store windows.
This is basic economic theory, not storytelling.

Growth measures the change in economic activity, and building infrastructure most certainly does generate economic activity.

Good growth vs bad, wealth creation and what makes us richer is an entirely different discussion, and my earlier post was quite specific. There is absolutely no doubt that additional investment in infrastructure create economic activity, which translates into higher economic growth.

If you want to include other economic or financial measures, such as wealth creation, and add qualitative assessments, such as "good growth", you need to first introduce a framework and agree on a common set of assumptions. That hasn't happened yet on the original topic, so I'm not holding my breath on this.
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:01 AM   #129
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It absolutely does.

This is basic economic theory, not storytelling.

Growth measures the change in economic activity, and building infrastructure most certainly does generate economic activity.

Good growth vs bad, wealth creation and what makes us richer is an entirely different discussion, and my earlier post was quite specific. There is absolutely no doubt that additional investment in infrastructure create economic activity, which translates into higher economic growth. ...
Can you separate the two? I think all you can say is that any infrastructure spending is an increase in spending, not an increase in growth ("growth" was the term you first used, not "activity").

By your logic, all a company needs to do to grow is spend money?

-ERD50
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:11 AM   #130
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Methane is terrible for greenhouse gases. Not sure how it compares to coal though.
But methane is burned one way or the other so you might as well use it to make electricity vs just flaring it. Our co-ops facility produces enough power for ~6,400 households with 5 generators at 5.47c/kwh which happens to be our least expensive source of power. I know that the landfill gas emissions are cleaned and scrubbed before it goes to the generators.
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:16 AM   #131
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"The real rate of coastal sea-level rise from averaged tide gauge measurements is only about 1.4-1.5 mm/yr (under six inches per century), and that rate hasnít increased since the late 1920s."

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/...el-newsletter/

Claims that the rise will increase 10-fold from 6" per century to 5 feet are nothing but unproven alarmism. Even if it doubles to 1 foot per century, there is plenty of time to act.
Some might consider this climate change denying.
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:37 AM   #132
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Some might consider this climate change denying.
And others consider the real deniers to be those who choose to ignore the real and verifiable data. NOAA says this:

"The calculated trends for all stations are available as a table in millimeters/year and in feet/century (0.3 meters = 1 foot)."

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sl...?stnid=9414290

And this:

"The mean sea level trend is 2.84 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence
interval of +/- 0.09 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from
1856 to 2015 which is equivalent to a change of 0.93 feet in 100 years."

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sl...?stnid=8518750
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:01 PM   #133
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It absolutely does.

This is basic economic theory, not storytelling.

Growth measures the change in economic activity, and building infrastructure most certainly does generate economic activity.

Good growth vs bad, wealth creation and what makes us richer is an entirely different discussion, and my earlier post was quite specific. There is absolutely no doubt that additional investment in infrastructure create economic activity, which translates into higher economic growth.

Basic economic theory also includes the possibility of crowding out. That is to say spending on one thing causes other spending not to happen because resources are finite. Prices go up. Interest rates go up. Other investment goes down.

So even if we restrict the conversation to one of pure accounting identities without any concern over whether infrastructure spending leaves us better off, it's not necessarily true that higher spending automatically leads to higher GDP.

And I'm not sure why we'd mention higher GDP unless we're implying that it's making people richer. But you're right, achieving higher GDP where everyone's standard of living is the same or worse is certainly one possible outcome. It's called inflation.
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:07 PM   #134
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Harvard engineering professor on solar power generation costs dropping faster than anticipated.

Cheap Solar Power ‚ÄĒ The Keith Group
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:12 PM   #135
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And others consider the real deniers to be those who choose to ignore the real and verifiable data. NOAA says this:
Yes, so let's let NOAA interpret that data for us.

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There is strong evidence that global sea level is now rising at an increased rate and will continue to rise during this century.

While studies show that sea levels changed little from AD 0 until 1900, sea levels began to climb in the 20th century.

The two major causes of global sea-level rise are thermal expansion caused by the warming of the oceans (since water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice (such as glaciers) due to increased melting.

Records and research show that sea level has been steadily rising at a rate of 0.04 to 0.1 inches per year since 1900. Since 1992, new methods of satellite altimetry (the measurement of elevation or altitude) indicate a rate of rise of 0.12 inches per year. This is a significantly larger rate than the sea-level rise averaged over the last several thousand years.
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:59 PM   #136
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Harvard engineering professor on solar power generation costs dropping faster than anticipated.

Cheap Solar Power ‚ÄĒ The Keith Group
Thanks for that link! We're at 3.4 cents per kWH already in the best placed locations. Wow.

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The current state of play is captured in three facts:
  • The capital cost of industrial (>50 MW) solar PV installations with North-South axis trackers is now about 1,500 $/kW, and contracts for some industrial systems without trackers are getting down to 1,000 $/kW.
  • Capacity factors of industrial systems with trackers are reaching just over 30% at the best sites in the US.
  • Real world efficiency for commercial PV systems now exceeds 20%.
Letís now proceed on the assumption that these facts are correct. What does this mean for electricity supply cost?
Assume that an average Capital Change Factor (CCF) is 6%, a low but not unfeasible value, as the risk premium for these facilities has decreased dramatically. (CCF is the ratio of the total annualized cost of capital, spread across debt and equity, divided by capital cost.) At 1,500 $/kW, 6%/year CCF, and 30% capacity factor, electricity cost is 34 $/MWhr
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:05 PM   #137
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Can you separate the two? I think all you can say is that any infrastructure spending is an increase in spending, not an increase in growth ("growth" was the term you first used, not "activity").

By your logic, all a company needs to do to grow is spend money?

-ERD50
Can which two be separated? Spending produces activity. When the aggregate value of all activity is greater this period compared with last period, there was growth. This applies to an economy, not a business.

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Basic economic theory also includes the possibility of crowding out. That is to say spending on one thing causes other spending not to happen because resources are finite. Prices go up. Interest rates go up. Other investment goes down.

So even if we restrict the conversation to one of pure accounting identities without any concern over whether infrastructure spending leaves us better off, it's not necessarily true that higher spending automatically leads to higher GDP.
You are modeling, based on very specific assumptions. Not like your earlier post where you made a blanket comment about infrastructure investment and growth.

Yes, incremental investment could lead to lower growth, by diverting investment that could be more productive elsewhere. Or course, in an economy that is running below capacity, with a declining employment to population ratio, and with a surplus of savings, my guess would be the infrastructure investment would lead to greater real growth. But, then again, I'm also modeling.

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And I'm not sure why we'd mention higher GDP unless we're implying that it's making people richer. But you're right, achieving higher GDP where everyone's standard of living is the same or worse is certainly one possible outcome. It's called inflation.
GDP growth does not necessarily make people "richer". The increased economic activity means incomes rose, but admittedly gives us little idea how the increase was allocated across the population. For that we would need more data and other indicators.

You can argue that infrastructure investment does not contribute any net real new value, but you need to lay out some basic assumptions. Why does this displace other investment resources (labor, capital, resources) when all 3 are in surplus and why does it cause prices to rise when all 3 are suffering from deflationary pressures.
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:31 PM   #138
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Harvard engineering professor on solar power generation costs dropping faster than anticipated.

Cheap Solar Power ‚€” The Keith Group
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Thanks for that link! We're at 3.4 cents per kWH already in the best placed locations. Wow.
The 3.4c/kWh for solar includes capital costs. Operating cost should be zero, and maintenance cost should also be low. The problem is always how to save that power during sunny hours for later use. As this report acknowleges,

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But cheap solar does not deal with the problem of solar power’s intermittency. It does not mean rooftop solar in New England makes sense. It does not magically decarbonize the world. In the long run we need low-carbon dispatchable power in the world’s demand centers. This will require some combination of gas for peaking, storage, and long distance transmission. Lots of the world’s demand is in places where insolation is at least 40% less than in the best locations, which are parts of Mexico, Southern-California, the Mid-East, or Australia.
By the way, I was curious about operating costs for conventional generation methods. I found out that it is 1.2c/kWh for hydro-electric plants, 2.7c/kWh for nuclear, 3.9c/kWh for fossil steam (coal), and 4.3c/kWh for gas turbine. The above costs include operation, fuel, and maintenance, but not capital costs. Source: eia.gov.

So, solar cost is very good for some locations. All we need now is an inexpensive way to store it. Storage will drive up the cost.
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:45 PM   #139
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I know it was. Just surprised that costs of solar could already be so low. And that's today.

This is a novel approach to energy storage I didn't realize could work:

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It takes about 2 t-CO2 and 40 GJ of H2 to make 1000 liters of gasoline using a process like Exxon Methanol-to-Gasoline. If we can get CO2 from the air at 125 $/t-CO2 then the idea of making fuels at prices of order 1 $/L looks plausible over the next few decades.
next few decades, I know, just an interesting concept.
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:55 PM   #140
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What would the cost be of a huge cable running from say Europe to China?

The sun always shines somewhere .. a new kind of silk road?

Any engineer thoughts on what a stupid idea like this would cost?
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