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Old 04-24-2011, 01:09 PM   #161
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As long as cheap oil is available, and from what I have read it is going to be for a long time, then higher price energy will only be available if government makes up the difference.
Or, if the government artificially increases the price of oil, coal, etc. That's likely to be more effective in inducing production of alternative energy (and spurring conservation) than any subsidies, etc, but will be very hard on the economy.

"Hard on the economy" probably glosses over the situation. We should always say: "It will reduce the prospects for our kids to have productive careers, increase the price of food and other goods for everyone, make our industries less productive and give other nations a big competitive advantage and reduce our ability to influence world events--including matters of war and peace." That just about covers it.
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:09 PM   #162
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I paid only $3.67/gallon for premium grade gasoline the last time I bought it. That's a trick statement - - it was 32 days ago. It is $3.97/gallon at my gas station this week.

I don't use much gas because we spend much of our time together and go to most places together, and he prefers to drive. The few places that I drive to alone are less than a mile from my house. I doubt that gas prices are ever going to affect my budget very much. At least so far, they never have. I'll be using more gas during hurricane season if we have to evacuate, since we usually drive separately to Springfield for evacuations.

I do feel sorry for those who are stuck with long commutes and high gas consumption since it looks like gas prices are continuing to rise.
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:35 PM   #163
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I have not really done a study on green/alternative energy, however, I have heard that for X capacity of wind energy produced you have to built staff and have available .70 x X of coal or gas fired plant for when the green energy is not capable of producing. Seems if you include the financial and environmental cost of this, you come up with a different picture.
Why wouldn't conventional energy be needed at 100% x X?

Unless someone is hiding some mondo large, efficient, cost effective batteries (undoubtedly expensive based on the problems car makers are having with electric car costs and range) OR consumers are willing to cut back or go without when the alternative source isn't producing (yeah, that'll happen) - it would seem we'll need all the conventional power plants to produce energy for consumers. I think people are making assumptions about batteries without thinking through the costs.

Maybe I need to do some research unless someone here already knows. This is why wind (wind isn't consistent everywhere and will drop to less than needed at times) and solar (night and overcast days) can never be anything but a partial solution. Wind and solar are intemittent, demand is not at all. And alternatives will never net cost less, the conventional power plant investmest must remain and be maintained and alternative energy only adds cost (less conventional fuel)...what am I missing?
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:35 PM   #164
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I'll be using more gas during hurricane season if we have to evacuate, since we usually drive separately to Springfield for evacuations.
We have "pre-evacuated" again this year

I noticed today that gas prices here are 1.35 /liter ($8.40/US gal).
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:00 PM   #165
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...

It could hinge on how desperate we get before there is a break through in hydrogen or viable alternatives are found.
Again, any "breakthrough in hydrogen" involves breaking the laws of physics.

What kind of "breakthrough" are you imagining? Something along the lines of a perpetual motion machine?

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Old 04-24-2011, 02:08 PM   #166
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I was in Big Sur the other day and was shocked to see that gas there was $5.60 for 87. Didn't dare ask how much the higher octane stuff was.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:23 PM   #167
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$3.99 9/10 and holding for unleaded lowest grade.

No prices increases for almost 3 days, after seeing continous price jumps of 3,4, and 5 cents per day up to the $4 threshold. Hmmmm...

I am doing most of my non-perishable shopping online (only with free shipping offers) these days. Not worth the trouble to drive and waste time and gas going to local retail sources.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:59 PM   #168
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Why wouldn't conventional energy be needed at 100% x X?
Because intermittent power sources don't generally drop to zero and there is already a buffer built into the system for reliability (typically about 15-20% excess capacity over and above estimated peak needs). In Texas, the grid manager uses an 8.7% availability factor for wind when calculating it's reliability needs.

Also the facilities needed to back up a wind plant are going to be different, and have lower capital costs, than what you might typically build. For operational reasons, you're not going to build large nuclear or coal plants to support wind. You're probably going to have mostly single-cycle and combined-cycle natural gas plants for that purpose, which cost anywhere from a third to an eighth of what a coal plant might cost.

It's also worth noting that in the 1990's the U.S. installed a huge amount of such natural gas capacity, a bunch of which still has very low utilization rates. So we don't necessarily need to build these facilities to support wind, they already exist in many places.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:59 PM   #169
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Filled up the bus Suburban today. $3.859/Gal, 30.463 Gallons, $117.56 It was slightly over 1/4 tank at start. Holds 45 Gallons.

Lessee, If gas goes to $6/gal, I keep the 1999 Sub which was bought for $17K cash in 2001. Original new price was around 40K. I do not buy a fuel efficient car for 30K, then the $30K @ $6/gal buys me 5000 gallons of gas. That 5000 gallons @12MPG lets me go 60,000 miles. Seems we are a ways from $6.00 Gas Pains.

As a retiree, I drive the Sub maybe 4000 miles a year. So for $30K not spent on a gas sipping mini mobile I get to drive the beast for 15 years. Yup, no sale on the gas sipper to me.

Plus there is that bit about towing my Argosy 24' trailer around pretty hilly country.

My 95 Jaguar XJ6 gives about 22 MPG, is driven roughly 7000 miles per year. No I would not trade that either for a gas sipper. Definitely not for any of the hybrid contraptions.

I do like the option of stomping on the pedal and moving out at a high rate of acceleration.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:00 PM   #170
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(snip)I noticed today that gas prices here are 1.35 /liter ($8.40/US gal).
....no wonder y'all walk and take public transit!

Gas prices are getting so high, I'm thinking about eating more cabbage..
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:34 PM   #171
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Do transmission losses and line costs make it impractical to obtain higher reliability from intermittent sources by incorporating a wider geographic base? We've got a big country, and it's always windy somewhere, and it's always sunny (in the daytime) somewhere, and the waves are always high somewhere.

Building a more robust smart grid would also let us shift power where needed for electric cars (if they come) and to recover from localized outages. And, we can burn coal and operate nuclear plants where citizens are happier to have the jobs and the taxable revenues. Citizens elsewhere can continue to enjoy their unsullied views, "nuke-free" status, and pay higher electrical rates. A win-win.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:34 PM   #172
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2) We will not see any breakthroughs in Fuel Cells. They are operating close enough to their theoretical efficiencies that we might see incremental improvements in cost and size, but no 'breakthroughs'. Again, where is the fuel going to come from ( waste gas from landfills and some bio-gas sources could be good, but these are limited)?

-ERD50
Fuel cells are not even close to their theoretical efficiency. That along with high costs and a limited life are some of the problems.

The theoretical voltage of the fuel cell oxygen/hydrogen reaction is 1.2V/cell. Most of them operate at about 0.8 V, thus the so called "voltaic efficiency" which is only one component of the overall energy efficiency is only about 65%.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device just like a battery so that is a relevant comparison. The discharge voltage efficiency of many batteries is 90+%.

The problem with fuel cell efficiency is that the oxygen reaction is very difficult to catalyze and the "voltage loss" is necessary to drive that reaction.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:37 PM   #173
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...My 95 Jaguar XJ6 gives about 22 MPG, is driven roughly 7000 miles per year. No I would not trade that either for a gas sipper. Definitely not for any of the hybrid contraptions.

I do like the option of stomping on the pedal and moving out at a high rate of acceleration.
We had some good soaking rains, so bye bye to road salt.
My Mustang convertible is ready to come out and play.
It's a 6 cyl with a 5 speed, so it definitely gets better gas milage than the Jeep.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:42 PM   #174
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IOil went down and investors lost billions. As long as cheap oil is available, and from what I have read it is going to be for a long time, then higher price energy will only be available if government makes up the difference.
Where are you reading this? I think that the "cheap" part is very questionable.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:49 PM   #175
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Where are you reading this? I think that the "cheap" part is very questionable.
Oil is cheaper than any other practical high-energy density fuel (suitable for transportation uses). For that purpose, it is cheap.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #176
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Saw another interview with John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil. He says we (this administration, this country) has to get off it's a$$ and start drilling for our own oil. I think the number was 10M barrels of oil we need each day in the USA. China and India are demanding more oil each day for their countries and putting the demand on more foreign oil. He says we have the oil and we must start drilling for it to supply ourselves and that would keep the price down. However, he says Obama's financial stratigists don't want him to permit drilling. Hofmeister predicts 2012 before we see $6 per gal. Then Obama will "save us", just in time for reelection. Hofmeister didn't say this, I did.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:05 PM   #177
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Oil is cheaper than any other practical high-energy density fuel (suitable for transportation uses). For that purpose, it is cheap.
I agree with your statement with respect to the current situation for transportation fuels.

My statement is more in comparison to historical costs.

Since it is getting more expensive to find and produce oil I think that the days of "cheap oil" will go the way of the buggy whip.

That doesn't mean that we can't have large swings in the price. Obviously we are seeing that now.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:11 PM   #178
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Do transmission losses and line costs make it impractical to obtain higher reliability from intermittent sources by incorporating a wider geographic base? We've got a big country, and it's always windy somewhere, and it's always sunny (in the daytime) somewhere, and the waves are always high somewhere.

Building a more robust smart grid would also let us shift power where needed for electric cars (if they come) and to recover from localized outages. And, we can burn coal and operate nuclear plants where citizens are happier to have the jobs and the taxable revenues. Citizens elsewhere can continue to enjoy their unsullied views, "nuke-free" status, and pay higher electrical rates. A win-win.
On the existing grid it is a real problem. You can't move electricity from the Mid-West where wind resources are strong and demand is relatively low, to the North East where resources are low, and demand is high. It's just not possible because of technical constraints with the existing infrastructure (line losses, etc) and physical constraints (inadequate tie-ins between regions). New, modern, transmission lines could help, but building new transmission is harder than building new generation capacity. If you think NIMBY is a problem in trying to build a local coal plant (or any other industrial facility), just imagine the troubles in trying to site 1,500 miles of transmission lines. How many states, counties, boroughs and burgs need to approve to get that done? Hundreds, probably.

There was talk of giving FERC eminent domain powers to make building new electric transmission (and natural gas pipelines) possible, but I don't think that's going anywhere.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:34 PM   #179
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....no wonder y'all walk and take public transit!

Gas prices are getting so high, I'm thinking about eating more cabbage..
Cabbage is really cheap here, and bread for that matter. Of course, cabbage sandwiches are an acquired taste.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:51 PM   #180
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Saw another interview with John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil. He says we (this administration, this country) has to get off it's a$$ and start drilling for our own oil. I think the number was 10M barrels of oil we need each day in the USA. China and India are demanding more oil each day for their countries and putting the demand on more foreign oil. He says we have the oil and we must start drilling for it to supply ourselves and that would keep the price down. However, he says Obama's financial stratigists don't want him to permit drilling. Hofmeister predicts 2012 before we see $6 per gal. Then Obama will "save us", just in time for reelection. Hofmeister didn't say this, I did.
I think the important numbers are that the US consumes about 25% of annual world oil production and has about 7% of the reserves.

The important economic concept is that oil trades in a global market. If additional US production actually reduced the market price of oil, US consumers would get about 25% of the benefit, foreign consumers would get 75% of the benefit.

And the important physical fact is that oil is non-renewable. Once we pump it and burn it, it's gone.
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