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Old 06-21-2008, 07:20 PM   #21
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Isnt the "AE" already here and available, just still considered somewhat distasteful for widespread deployment?

Everyone else in the world seems to be fine with building and running nukes and using the ridiculously cheap electricity.

Seems to me its a matter of time before reasonably priced pure electric cars are available, but if we're still making most of our electricity from coal, oil and gas then they really arent the solution to anything.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:39 PM   #22
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:57 PM   #23
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i hear wind power is big in texas, they produce more energy from wind than california which mostly produces hot air
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:40 PM   #24
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...more great fortunes were made selling the 49'ers shovels and supplies than by actually going out and digging for gold....

Excellent Point 2B and very much on target.

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Old 06-21-2008, 11:23 PM   #25
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i hear wind power is big in texas, they produce more energy from wind than california which mostly produces hot air
We're shooting to be the Saudi Arabia of wind someday.

Of course, wind energy has some problems that have to be worked out. Like several months ago when the darn wind stopped blowing and the Texas Grid (we have our own grid unlike the rest of the country) had to start cutting power to major users. Seems that the wind is not dependable. The more wind energy fed into the grid the more problematic such things like a lack of wind will become.

About five miles from my house is a coal fired plant and if they need more juice they just have to toss more coal on the fire. We are already the Saudi Arabia of coal.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:42 AM   #26
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......

If McCain does get elected and the 42 nuclear plants get built, there aren't enough engineers in the US to support them. I doubt he has a snow balls chance of getting elected so the dem approach of crying about evil companies making money and ruining the environment will carry the day. We will continue to pay more and more for energy. They will pass a lot of "mandates" for companies to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency whether it makes technical sense or not. While they're at it, I'm hoping they repeal the first and second laws of thermodynamics. That would really make things easier for alternative energy options.

I could be surprised and the dems might actually develop a credible energy policy but that would imply abandoning many of their core supporters.

Of course, the repubs have hardly distinguished themselves with an energy policy in the decade plus they had complete control of Congress. You would have thought that two presidents with an "oil background" might have done better. They really didn't have the background and didn't accomplish any credible forward movement.

I suspect we'll get the same kind of repub-dem cooperation we got during the Depression. A repub Congress and Prez screw things up and disaster looms. The dem replacements muck it up even worse in the name of taking "strong action." Hopefully, we won't need WWIII to pull out of whatever is in our future.
I think the Dem's ideal world (at least those who control the party nowadays) would be to nationalize the energy companies (oil, coal, electric, etc) - this might be done with Repub collusion if that party keeps going down the path it's been going.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:44 AM   #27
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I think the Dem's ideal world (at least those who control the party nowadays) would be to nationalize the energy companies (oil, coal, electric, etc) - this might be done with Repub collusion if that party keeps going down the path it's been going.
Part of the problem is that both sides seem to have partial 'solutions' to the energy situations but nothing sufficient.

Both increased domestic production NOW and more alternatives LATER are going to be crucial, IMO -- but each side seems to be picking one or the other and not both. We need both.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:51 AM   #28
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I think the Dem's ideal world (at least those who control the party nowadays) would be to nationalize the energy companies (oil, coal, electric, etc) - this might be done with Repub collusion if that party keeps going down the path it's been going.

don't believe what you see on TV

there are more rich democrats than republicans
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:53 AM   #29
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There are no waves in the stock market these days. There are only cliffs. Some with short drops, and some with really long drops. Well, at least that's how it looks ever since I became actively interested in our 401(k)s a couple of months ago. Each week that goes by in the stock market seems to push back our early retirement another month. By the end of this year, there won't be an early retirement.

Sorry about the rant.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:12 AM   #30
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Both increased domestic production NOW and more alternatives LATER are going to be crucial, IMO -- but each side seems to be picking one or the other and not both. We need both.
I've been thinking about this, and I think the best thing (long term) is to NOT increase production, and actually 'suffer' through high prices for the next 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 years years until alternate forms of energy come on in big numbers of MW.

My reasoning is that, as we have seen with a jump in gas prices, that people will actually start to take conservation seriously, because they have a financial incentive to do so. Significant changes in our energy usage take a long time to come about. You don't get all the gas hogs off the road for 10+ years, you don't tear down energy-wasting houses overnight, and retrofits only go so far.

Conservation will help us no matter what we do. Fewer nukes to be built, fewer ( energy intensive to manufacture) solar panels to be made, smaller energy storage systems for wind, solar, etc. If my house had been designed from the get-go with energy savings in mind, I bet I could get by with 1/3 the energy usage, and maybe even a higher comfort level. But that was too expensive to do at the time, so it wasn't. Energy was (and still is), cheap.

Cheaper fuel prices that may come about from increased production will just make everyone complacent again. And it will take a long time for alternatives to be significant % of power. Just seems to me that conserving even 10%, is a LOT easier than adding 10% in renewable energy sources. If we focused on it.

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Old 06-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #31
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More Nuclear power please, the safest, most efficient (energy wise), and least pollutant of all baseline forms of energy (hyrdoelectric, solar, wind are generally considered peak processing plants)... too bad the cost of capital is so intense it makes very little sense economically for the investment now. But, if the prices of oil continues to rise, the reverberations will be felt throughout the rest of the fossil fuels and nuclear power will be a little better by comparison. The power of economic incentives and prices!
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:30 PM   #32
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Here's a no-nonsense guide to picking the next big thing in alternate energy...


By the time you realize it's the next big thing, it won't be called 'alternate' any more.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:12 PM   #33
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I've been thinking about this, and I think the best thing (long term) is to NOT increase production, and actually 'suffer' through high prices for the next 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 years years until alternate forms of energy come on in big numbers of MW.

My reasoning is that, as we have seen with a jump in gas prices, that people will actually start to take conservation seriously, because they have a financial incentive to do so. Significant changes in our energy usage take a long time to come about. You don't get all the gas hogs off the road for 10+ years, you don't tear down energy-wasting houses overnight, and retrofits only go so far.

-ERD50
I agree with you. Cheap energy makes speeds economic growth, which is great. But it seems to me that perhaps our fossil fuels have been too cheap for too long, effectively subsidized in many different ways by the government. That has made alternative energies comparatively more expensive, thus impeding mass adoption, development, and improvement of those alternative energies.

Imagine where we'd be if, say at the end of the Arab oil embargo in the late 70's, we had started carefully phasing in higher gasoline taxes. We could have accelerated the development and introduction of great technologies like hybrid cars. We'd have cleaner air. We'd be less dependent on the middle east. We'd probably have more mass transit and a little less suburban sprawl. Life would be better, don't you think?
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:43 PM   #34
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I agree with you. Cheap energy makes speeds economic growth, which is great. But it seems to me that perhaps our fossil fuels have been too cheap for too long, effectively subsidized in many different ways by the government. That has made alternative energies comparatively more expensive, thus impeding mass adoption, development, and improvement of those alternative energies.

Imagine where we'd be if, say at the end of the Arab oil embargo in the late 70's, we had started carefully phasing in higher gasoline taxes. We could have accelerated the development and introduction of great technologies like hybrid cars. We'd have cleaner air. We'd be less dependent on the middle east. We'd probably have more mass transit and a little less suburban sprawl. Life would be better, don't you think?
That was suggested by a few folks.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:43 PM   #35
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I agree with you. Cheap energy makes speeds economic growth, which is great. But it seems to me that perhaps our fossil fuels have been too cheap for too long, effectively subsidized in many different ways by the government. That has made alternative energies comparatively more expensive, thus impeding mass adoption, development, and improvement of those alternative energies.

Imagine where we'd be if, say at the end of the Arab oil embargo in the late 70's, we had started carefully phasing in higher gasoline taxes. We could have accelerated the development and introduction of great technologies like hybrid cars. We'd have cleaner air. We'd be less dependent on the middle east. We'd probably have more mass transit and a little less suburban sprawl. Life would be better, don't you think?
While I agree with you that we've subsidized fossil fuel in lots of silly and counterproductive ways. The cynic in me wonders if higher gas tax wouldn't have simply resulted in a few more mass transit systems ridden by practically nobody, more government employees, and a poor country due to paying more taxes!
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:59 PM   #36
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The cynic in me wonders if higher gas tax wouldn't have simply resulted in a few more mass transit systems ridden by practically nobody, more government employees, and a poor country due to paying more taxes!
Gee, kinda sounds like the last year of Oahu politics, doesn't it?
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:58 PM   #37
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I work at a chemical facility and we heard recently that a new TDP plant is going to be built adjacent to us making bio diesel out of turkey waste. The TDP process has had some big investors over the years including Buffet I believe. So far it has not proven to be economical but with oil well over $100/barrel, may be it can make it. As for the bugs that poop oil, what do they read all day while pooping - maybe a good market in microdot sized books?


Thermal depolymerization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:03 AM   #38
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While I agree with you that we've subsidized fossil fuel in lots of silly and counterproductive ways. The cynic in me wonders if higher gas tax wouldn't have simply resulted in a few more mass transit systems ridden by practically nobody, more government employees, and a poor country due to paying more taxes!
That's a bit of a red herring. If tax collections are just wasted, we should eliminate all taxes ( did I heard a cheer from the crowd? ).

If we were to try to spur conservation by raising taxes, I still say just return the money to the people - make it revenue neutral. Lower the tax rates, increase the standard deduction, etc. Then no one (on average) is paying any more out of pocket, but it makes good economic sense to conserve and businesses have an incentive to find renewable alternatives.

There are reports in the Chicago area that mass transit usage is up.

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I work at a chemical facility and we heard recently that a new TDP plant is going to be built adjacent to us making bio diesel out of turkey waste.

Thermal depolymerization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It does sound promising, I read about it in that Discover article a few years back. One of the problems he had was he was figuring he could get the waste for free, or even be paid to take it, but I guess there is a market for turkey guts/feathers.

At any rate, I don't think there is enough waste to make a dent in our fuel needs. This might be a good process for getting rid of waste, and producing fuel as a by-product, rather than a silver bullet to our fuel needs. Interesting stuff though, and it doesn't even break any laws of physics!

from that wiki article:
Quote:
Status as of May 2008

A May 2003 article in Discover magazine stated, "Appel has lined up federal grant money to help build demonstration plants to process chicken offal and manure in Alabama and crop residuals and grease in Nevada. Also in the works are plants to process turkey waste and manure in Colorado and pork and cheese waste in Italy. He says the first generation of depolymerization centers will be up and running in 2005. By then it should be clear whether the technology is as miraculous as its backers claim."[23]
However, as of May 2008, the only operational plant listed at the company's website is the initial one in Carthage, Missouri.[24]
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:40 AM   #39
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I agree with you. Cheap energy makes speeds economic growth, which is great. But it seems to me that perhaps our fossil fuels have been too cheap for too long, effectively subsidized in many different ways by the government. That has made alternative energies comparatively more expensive, thus impeding mass adoption, development, and improvement of those alternative energies.

Imagine where we'd be if, say at the end of the Arab oil embargo in the late 70's, we had started carefully phasing in higher gasoline taxes. We could have accelerated the development and introduction of great technologies like hybrid cars. We'd have cleaner air. We'd be less dependent on the middle east. We'd probably have more mass transit and a little less suburban sprawl. Life would be better, don't you think?
You might be onto a little something here, but the manner in which it is operated is very important. How would you tell the millions of Americans living in suburbia now that without the cheap, endless supply to oil given to America then suburbia would not have experienced the real estate boom and the great car sales that have had here in America and many other factors. Even though I prefer centralization and mass transit, you will not find me raising taxes on gasoline to get rid of suburbia, when most if not all of the people who went to suburbia went to get cheaper land, a more peaceful standard of living and a reduced crime rate. Consumers choose to the best of their knowledge...


Edit: Obviously, a minor gas tax would not have accomplished ALL of this... it may have just mitigated the effects. On the same vein, a minor gas tax would not accomplish ALL of the shift to AE, but it may have helped the shift.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:18 PM   #40
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There was a big controversy about putting a wind farm out in Lake Michigan a couple years ago. The environmental folks were upset about the fact that some migrating birds would get killed by the windmills. Of course, being 10 miles offshore, who would know?

The wind farm could have produced enough energy to power 500,000 homes, but it's now dead. Less than 1% of all folks who use Lake Michigan go out more than 5 miles, so what's the diff?
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