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  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.

    Jim


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September 21, 2006

Comments

barry hanson

I read the WorldWatch report and thought it was well done and agree that it should have mentioned PHEVs. But Nuclear? All of the arguments against nuclear aside...it isn't needed to meet demand, why mention it? Especially with high temperature fuel cells, both SOFCs and DCFCs (direct carbon)able to generate electricity and produce recoverable heat on site.

Matt

Every far reaching report I read misses these two points:

* we don't yet have a cheap solar cell. We need heavy R&D spending to get them. 0.02 per kWh is the goal.

* we don't yet have cheap, long lasting, energy dense batteries / ultracapacitors. We need heavy R&D spending to get them. 0.01 per kWh charged & delivered is the goal.


With these two inventions, we'll have the climate problem solved -- except for planes & heating. Heating can come from biofuels / solar produced hydrogen / electricity. Plane fuel.. I'd say Richard Branson has that one covered.

Jim -- I like your site... but I think you miss the bigger picture regarding Peak Oil.

Sure, our oil may run out -- after that we've got syngas from coal & oil from shale. We can use those to supply our oil.

If we do, climate change may run away from our control & what we know now as the US may become desert. Then there are all the other people and creatures on the planet. I don't want to live in a world like that.

Matt

Greg

This all sounds good, but how much is it going to cost and how long will it take? To get solar ramped up to the stage that it produces 55 percent of the electricity in the U.S. would seemingly require a massive investment in manufacturing capacity.

mel.

I.. don't see how Jim's allegedly "missing the bigger picture" with his content on this site. The listings on here cover a huge array of potential transition energy sources and technologies. Not some slavish agenda towards promoting coal or syngas as a miracle save-all.

Agreeable sentiment, but misguided in relation to the purpose of this page.

James Aach

I would agree that conservation should be the number one item - - beginning right now. Some of the other items sound nice, but as one of the other commentators mentioned - how long will it take, how much will it cost, and are the resources available to do it? (Some types of PV cells take some very odd elements to make them go, big windmills may also require hi-tech metal to make them more reliable, etc.) Also, when talking about intermittent supplies you have to include the cost of energy storage systems - which right now aren't particularly good, cheap or efficient.

Leaving out any potential power source based on an agenda also renders a whole report somewhat suspect in my eyes. Why not give all the choices, with all the good and bad points? (Good of the webmaster to mention this.)

As some one who works in the energy field now, my biggest concern is that the public has far too little understanding of how we make our massive amounts of electricity right now to have any appreciation of what switching to new sources would entail. Many think a few windmills can replace a good sized power plant - try a few thousand of the biggest windmills along with a huge battery bank.

I can't really predict the energy future, but I can explain one part of the energy present in clear and entertaining language - nuclear power. I've worked in the nuke industry for twenty years, and have provided a portrait of the technology, the politics, and the health and social aspects in my novel "Rad Decision". It is available at no cost to readers at http://RadDecision.blogspot.com - and they seem to like it, judging from their comments on the homepage. Also endorsed by noted futurist, internet pioneer and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand.

disdaniel

Matt says:
"Every far reaching report I read misses these two points:

* we don't yet have a cheap solar cell. We need heavy R&D spending to get them. 0.02 per kWh is the goal.

* we don't yet have cheap, long lasting, energy dense batteries / ultracapacitors. We need heavy R&D spending to get them. 0.01 per kWh charged & delivered is the goal."

I'm actually looking for solar cells to be equivalent to (or less than) conventional delivered power...between ~8-16 cents/kwh depending on market. But as you point out with heavy R&D we could easily go much lower.

Speaking as someone outside the industry, battery technology and innovation seems to be picking up significantly (at least in terms of number of start-up companies and technologies being explored) in the last year or two. We do not yet have large scale affordable storage, but until the past decade or so there has been very little demand for it. As renewables proliferate and demand for storage rises, large scale cost effective storage solutions will be found and developed.

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