On 11/8/2013 9:11 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:
*From:*email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] *On
Behalf Of *spudboy...@aol.com
*Sent:* Friday, November 08, 2013 5:49 PM
*Subject:* Re: Our Demon-Haunted World
If you hold the Rational Optimist view aka Matt Ridley, people will act altruistic much
more, if they get a reward, then in they get jack. >>A dictatorship of your own
preference is suitable for many, but not for most. Plus, think about pure materiality.
If a cruel dictator has his goon point a semi-automatic at each of our heads and demands
of us to immediately produce an energy source that will power his civilization for the
rest of his life, and unless we can produce this energy source, bang goes the gun. I
will shout shale gas or even tar sands. If you shout out sun and wind, bang goes the gun
against your skull. Why? Because even after decades of work, even after daily advances,
there's no city on earth that is now powered by sun or win, were that it was so. My
point is we cannot legislate reality. I will take the marketplace with all its flaws
versus coercive government. Which would you choose?
I do not subscribe to your Manichean world view, in fact I find it ill reflective of the
complexity and nuance of reality. You like to see things in a either this or that kind
of way, and maybe that works for you, but it doesn't work for me.
Are you really that certain you know your energy facts. Global installed solar
consumption went from 2.1 TWh in 2001 to 55.7 TWh in 2011; growing by a factor of more
than 20X in 10years; this is reflected in the growth in installed capacity, which went
from a little over 2GW of installed solar capacity in 2001 to around 20GW of installed
capacity in 2011. In fact there is so much solar and wind electric capacity already
installed in Germany that on days which are favorable for wind and solar power, the
overabundance of supply can drive the wholesale price into sharply negative territory.
The market inverts and in order to shed load onto the grid -- when supply exceeds demand
beyond the capacity of the grid to manage it -- you need to pay the grid operators
because the grid cannot accept any more energy without becoming unstable -- the grid is
a balancing between instantaneous supply and demand (act at the speed of electricity)
The cost per kwh of solar PV is following a Moore's Law type progression in falling
costs and the dollar per kwh of solar PV are closing in on the cost of coal generated
electricity, which has been the least expensive (largely because it can externalize
hundreds of billions of dollars per year of costs incurred by mining, and burning coal
onto the commons).
Spudboy is just making a specious argument. Of course no city is powered entirely by wind
or solar - neither of those is consistent enough to depend on and we haven't developed
energy storage technology sufficient to rely on inconsistent power sources. I expect that
for the forseeable future we will have to use some other source to supplement wind and
solar. But that doesn't mean we have to use fossil fuel. I think we should be developing
some of the safer nuclear reactor designs such as liquid salt thorium reactors. They fit
into the existing grid structure and even if we install enough wind and solar to power a
city we'll still need backup for windless nights.
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