Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ricco67

Safe Energy Alternatives

Recommended Posts

Had a discussion with several people over the past few weeks that just prove how we, as a country, can be.

People don't want us to be dependent on foreign oil

Drill here? Sure?

Wait!"There's an oil spill! Ain't worth it, we need to find an alternative to oil."

Coal?

No! "Coal miners are dying! It's a dangerous industry and pollutes our air!"

Wind?

No! "It'll spoil my view of landscape and it doesn't provide enough energy!"

Solar?

No way! "It's pointless on cloudy days and at night and it's expensive!"

Nuclear?

No! "It's too dangerous and where would we put the waste?!?"

It's maddening how people aren't willing to sacrifice or spend money for "alternative energy" or are easily swayed because of an accident or two hundred.

Every energy form in the past has had some sort of negative effect (lives, environment) and I doubt that will change much in the future.

Are we that locked in where some industries will die on the vine because people can't see past their own nose?

Edited by ricco67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I buy my power from wind. Wind is great and is getting close to the coal price point. Solar has a lot further to go, but I like the new solar tech that focuses mirrors on a boiler to produce power. Those look promising.

Edited by kylejack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we that locked in where some industries will die on the vine because people can't see past their own nose?

Nah, electricity is very price inelastic...like college textbooks and crystal meth. As long as people are willing to pay ever-higher prices--and they are--even extraordinarily high costs of complying with regulations to provide more electricity will be undertaken and borne out by consumers, naturally. This will be reflected not only in their electric bill but by higher costs of goods and services that require electricity to produce...which is to say, all of them.

At the end of the day, these people merely sacrifice their material standard of living for the sake of some birds and marine life, and the aesthetic quality of places that very few of them will ever enjoy anyways.

I buy my power from wind.

You buy the same electrons that I do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wind here also.

I am looking into purchasing some solar panels to install on my roof. This should help with the electric bill. I just need to learn how to install them or find someone who can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read that solar panels take a fair amount of energy to make, and at current prices don't pay for their initial cost before end of life. Hydrocarbons have the advantages of energy density and ease of transportation. Few other sources can match those attributes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day, these people merely sacrifice their material standard of living for the sake of some birds and marine life, and the aesthetic quality of places that very few of them will ever enjoy anyway.

Without the bottom of the food chain, there's no top of the food chain. I'd hate to think we're causing damage that will affect all living things for the sake of coddling some perverted standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without the bottom of the food chain, there's no top of the food chain. I'd hate to think we're causing damage that will affect all living things for the sake of coddling some perverted standard.

Without balance, there is nothing, PTTTHHH !!!. Perverted standards? Like preservation of humankind. Identify your group please: Earth Liberation Front, or Animal Liberation Front?

Have you signed up for the Human Extinction Project?

Admission: I buy energy from a supplier. I have no idea where they develop it from. My nephew is a power broker. They don't discuss where it comes from, they sell energy packages. Maybe marketing can ... ferret ... that out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without the bottom of the food chain, there's no top of the food chain. I'd hate to think we're causing damage that will affect all living things for the sake of coddling some perverted standard.

Are you claiming that consumption of energy will cause humanity to endure an increased incidence of famine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

post-9028-12732878582153_thumb.jpg

( Kingston Trio, begin song ): "Green, green, it's green they say - on the far side of the hill......green, green, I'm goin' away where the grass is ______________( Stop song, delete video ).

GUMBY!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the potential of alternative energy sources. the idea of reducing our reliance on foreign markets to supply our needs is really a great one.

Problem is, there are drawbacks and benefits of each. at this moment, as you point out in the first post, the drawbacks of other energy sources outweigh the benefits of funding alternatives.

Sucks for the people that consider some benefits and drawbacks to be worth more than others.

I find the drawback of reliance on foreign oil to be greater than having a spoiled view out of my back window, if I could have a windmill in my backyard I would wake up every morning and look out at that windmill as a source of national pride (but then that is a bad thing too these days).

As far as oil spills and how these effect our environment, I think it's pretty silly for anyone to say this. Forget the fact that we all drive cars, and use electricity that usually comes from coal for a second and look at our city. we've decimated local animal species, pushed them out of their natural habitat, and continue to push them and expand over the places they live. at least with the oil spill it will go through a process of photochemical degradation (not that the chemicals released from that process are great). basically, the sun will help break down the oil and nature will heal. but we're still going to be here sitting in our huge city that has already disrupted many ecosystems for generations. I'm no green peace terrorist, I just hate to see people be hypocritical about things. This has nothing to do with whether this was a preventable accident, or whether there are ways to live that are lower impact. the point is, it's very hypocritical to live comfortably in a house that was built with wood harvested from some beasts habitat, and then erected on another. it is just as hypocritical to complain about the oil spill in the gulf and then complain about the price of gasoline.

Anyway, until a majority of the general public find that the drawbacks of using fossil fuels out weighs the drawbacks of alternative sources, we're stuck with fossils.

My worry is that our needs are going to outstrip technology, there's lots of shale oil, and shale gas, and a lot of it is in the usa. the problem is that it is very hard to extract, with shale gas they have to fracture the rock to release the gas, this has proved to be very problematic in the northeast. I'm afraid that while technology is trying to catch up with the need that we're going to have a lot more accidents.

moo, the ramblings of this ultra conservative liberal (or am I a ultra liberal conservative, or some other permutation of same) are hard for me to even follow, but I guess the long and short of it is I'm ready to start driving the car that has a mr fusion in the back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were really doing good there until the energy crisis in the 70s. We've been languishing around since 1987. If all the things that the futurists in the 70s told us would happen had come to pass we'd be eating up a lot more energy now. Too bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The data is more useful where it measures energy use per unit of GDP.

Below are some data points (using Energy Information Administration data) of total Btu consumption per Dollar of GDP ranked by aggregate GDP. In parentheses are the portion of that which is attributable to crude oil.

1. United States: 8,841 (2,807)

2. Japan: 6,492 (1,895)

3. China: 13,780 (4,116)

4. Germany: 6,428 (1,405)

5. France: 6,596 (1,358)

6. United Kingdom: 5,233 (1,275)

8. Russian Federation: 18,777 (3,398)

12. India: 7,477 (5,812)

13. Mexico: 6,116 (3,786)

23. Saudi Arabia: 15,153 (11,813)

39. Hong Kong SAR, China: 5,068 (1,144)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It doesn't show it on your chart, but I've read somewhere very recently that the biggest energy hogs per capita were in Canada. I'm not suggesting that gives us a free pass to run our ACs at 65 degrees in the summer, I'm just saying that all this criticism we level at ourselves (and take from the rest of the world) should actually be leveled at our polite neighbors to the north. Turn off the light when you leave the room, eh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It doesn't show it on your chart, but I've read somewhere very recently that the biggest energy hogs per capita were in Canada. I'm not suggesting that gives us a free pass to run our ACs at 65 degrees in the summer, I'm just saying that all this criticism we level at ourselves (and take from the rest of the world) should actually be leveled at our polite neighbors to the north. Turn off the light when you leave the room, eh.

Much of that energy is used in industries that produce fuel and material for the United States, such as mining, oil production, timber, and paper and pulp production. Obviously, their long winters and sparsely populated provinces make for large heating and transportation costs, but even given these challenges, Canadians still manage to use slightly less energy per capita than the US. However, if you still wish to gripe about Canada's energy usage, park your car and turn down your thermostat, since a sizable portion of their energy and water consumption is used to provide their biggest customer their oil and gas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those darn Canadians and their wasteful ways! I'm telling you, it's them that are the problem!

That's it, Blame Canada.

blame_canada_1.jpg

They're not a real country anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's it, Blame Canada.

blame_canada_1.jpg

They're not a real country anyway.

Much of Canada's energy comes from hydropower. It's so common that people don't even call it a "power" bill or an "electric" bill -- it's a "hydro" bill.

58% or Canada's electricity comes from hydropower: 369.6 terrawatt hours (source). Only China produces more: 522.4 terrawatt hours.

Each bill I get from my power company (Puget Sound Energy) shows what percentage of the energy comes from what source. Currently:

  • 41% Hydroelectric
  • 36% Coal
  • 20% Natural Gas
  • 2% Biomass, landfill gas, oil, forestry waste, wind
  • 1% Nucelar

As a point of interest -- HAIF is carbon neutral. The hosing provider purchases carbon credits to offset the power used by the server and related equipment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much of Canada's energy comes from hydropower. It's so common that people don't even call it a "power" bill or an "electric" bill -- it's a "hydro" bill.

58% or Canada's electricity comes from hydropower: 369.6 terrawatt hours (source). Only China produces more: 522.4 terrawatt hours.

Each bill I get from my power company (Puget Sound Energy) shows what percentage of the energy comes from what source. Currently:

  • 41% Hydroelectric
  • 36% Coal
  • 20% Natural Gas
  • 2% Biomass, landfill gas, oil, forestry waste, wind
  • 1% Nucelar

Hydro certainly has its benefits as a clean and renewable energy source, but is limited by geography and climate and can lead to surges in the price of electricity in years with too little snowmelt.

And btw, I sincerely hope that terrorists never figure out the strategic importance of the Grand Coulee Dam, because it is absolutely critical to the viability of the economy of Pacific Northwest and--I'd argue--the entire west coast.

Edited by TheNiche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, if you still wish to gripe about Canada's energy usage, park your car and turn down your thermostat, since a sizable portion of their energy and water consumption is used to provide their biggest customer their oil and gas.

I wasn't griping.

However, regardless of their reason they're expending so much energy, they're still doing it. It's hypocritical for people to give them a free pass or justify their waste but to also be overly critical of the US. If Canadians were truly responsible, they could simply make a concious decision not to produce energy for the US anymore. As it is, it seems to me they've made a decision to expend a great deal of energy in order to make more money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, regardless of their reason they're expending so much energy, they're still doing it.

We do it because its cheap and necessary. Out west we have hydro galore. When I lived in Calgary I paid a whole $40 per month to heat my apt to a cozy 70F when the outside ambient was -40F. Try living in -40F for a while and see how you like it. On Vancouver Island I had less of a heating issue because its temperate rainforest there and we rarely saw frigid temps on the coast. We don't do AC up there.

And lets not forget, during the winter the sun sets at 3:30pm so lots of need to run lights at that time of the year. So its dark when you leave work, its -40F outside, snow on the ground, how likely are you to pack up the family in the minivan (assuming you have a heated garage, or a garage at all, and not merely a block heater plugged into your -40F unheated car) to make a run to a local restaurant? Not likely I guarantee. You're more likely to stay at home, play on the computer, cook dinner, watch TV, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do it because its cheap and necessary. Out west we have hydro galore. When I lived in Calgary I paid a whole $40 per month to heat my apt to a cozy 70F when the outside ambient was -40F. Try living in -40F for a while and see how you like it. On Vancouver Island I had less of a heating issue because its temperate rainforest there and we rarely saw frigid temps on the coast. We don't do AC up there.

And lets not forget, during the winter the sun sets at 3:30pm so lots of need to run lights at that time of the year. So its dark when you leave work, its -40F outside, snow on the ground, how likely are you to pack up the family in the minivan (assuming you have a heated garage, or a garage at all, and not merely a block heater plugged into your -40F unheated car) to make a run to a local restaurant? Not likely I guarantee. You're more likely to stay at home, play on the computer, cook dinner, watch TV, etc.

Oh I get it. And I'm not complaining either. I understand the need for energy usage, and that need won't diminish in the future either. My point was simply that people who like to complain about American usage of energy are being hypocritical if they also allow Canadians a pass - which is exactly what so many people do. It's stupid cold in Finland, but they don't use as much energy as Canada. But Canada's needs, though similar to Finland especially in terms of weather, are different enough to warrant different energy use. America is the same way. Our needs are much different than the countries of France, Germany and the UK. In other words, America isn't a demon because of our high per capita energy needs.

Preaching reduction only, or pointing to our high energy use as a bad thing is myopic, counterproductive and irrelevant. Our energy needs are what they are. Same as Canada. It doesn't make sense to point at Subdude's chart and say, "This is the problem." Because it isn't the problem. The amount of energy we use is not the problem. To reiterate a third time to make sure everyone understands, the amount of energy we use is just fine. If our per capita energy needs increase 10x or even 100x, that will still be fine. The reason for that is Subdude's chart is the answer to the wrong question. The right question is what was asked in the original post on this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much of Canada's energy comes from hydropower. It's so common that people don't even call it a "power" bill or an "electric" bill -- it's a "hydro" bill.

BC Hydro was my provider when I lived there. We also lovingly referred to the home grown mother nature as BC Hydroponic. Although personal consumption of said product is not a crime, you can't grow crazy amounts of it. To bust some of the major growers, the RCMP would seek guidance from the BC Hydro bill statements up there. If most homes in an area had a $100 hydro bill each month and this one house had a $1200 hydro bill, thats a pretty good sign they have some extracurricular greenhouse activities going on. </hijack>

LINK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I get it. And I'm not complaining either. I understand the need for energy usage, and that need won't diminish in the future either. My point was simply that people who like to complain about American usage of energy are being hypocritical if they also allow Canadians a pass - which is exactly what so many people do. It's stupid cold in Finland, but they don't use as much energy as Canada. But Canada's needs, though similar to Finland especially in terms of weather, are different enough to warrant different energy use. America is the same way. Our needs are much different than the countries of France, Germany and the UK. In other words, America isn't a demon because of our high per capita energy needs.

Preaching reduction only, or pointing to our high energy use as a bad thing is myopic, counterproductive and irrelevant. Our energy needs are what they are. Same as Canada. It doesn't make sense to point at Subdude's chart and say, "This is the problem." Because it isn't the problem. The amount of energy we use is not the problem. To reiterate a third time to make sure everyone understands, the amount of energy we use is just fine. If our per capita energy needs increase 10x or even 100x, that will still be fine. The reason for that is Subdude's chart is the answer to the wrong question. The right question is what was asked in the original post on this thread.

I think it is a valid question, if you have 2 people and one of them uses twice the energy as the other person does, it is his prerogative, so long as he can afford to live within his means, but does that mean that he should do it?

Stan Lee said it best, with great power comes great responsibility. While the spirit of how Lee wrote those words were towards Spiderman using his extraordinary power and how he used it, and the way I like to think of it is, that we are free to choose, and when we have that freedom to choose, we have to accept responsibility for those actions.

I think that applies to every person of the USA. We each have an amazing power that most people in the world don't have. We have the power to do pretty much whatever we want. We can strive for greatness, mediocrity, or to live off our fellow man. We can buy a Hummer, we can buy a huge house for no reason at all and leave all the lights on. With the power to make all of those choices comes a responsibility to take responsibility for the actions we take. I think the heart of the article that was linked to from Subdude was that we Americans are being hypocritical. We blame BP, we blame oil companies in general for ruining the landscapes of the world, when it is us that consumes so much of that oil, and at a voracious rate. BP wouldn't even be out in the gulf trying to suck that oil up if there wasn't a market for it. That was what that article was trying to tell us, we need to take some responsibility for our actions.

I really don't know, but I do think that Obama dropped the ball big time with this whole situation. I read an article on autoblog that showed 73% of the respondents to a poll of Americans believe that reducing the dependence on oil is important http://green.autoblog.com/2010/06/21/poll-73-of-americans-believe-that-reducing-dependency-on-fossi/ . I think the president had an opportunity during his oval office people chat to be a strong president and rather than putting everything at the feet of BP and the previous administration, take some responsibility for the regulatory group that didn't do what they were supposed to, and to push that this happened because we, as a country, need oil, and that if we don't want crises like this to happen again in the future, we need to all focus on new and emerging technologies to replace oil, so that our country can become a leader in these emerging energy sources.

Anyway, it's all relevant information I guess is what I'm trying to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't know, but I do think that Obama dropped the ball big time with this whole situation. I read an article on autoblog that showed 73% of the respondents to a poll of Americans believe that reducing the dependence on oil is important http://green.autoblo...dency-on-fossi/ . I think the president had an opportunity during his oval office people chat to be a strong president and rather than putting everything at the feet of BP and the previous administration, take some responsibility for the regulatory group that didn't do what they were supposed to, and to push that this happened because we, as a country, need oil, and that if we don't want crises like this to happen again in the future, we need to all focus on new and emerging technologies to replace oil, so that our country can become a leader in these emerging energy sources.

Reducing our dependence on petroleum and other fossil fuels has nothing to do with how much energy we consume. Those are two separate issues. If all our energy needs were met with wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and solar panels, no one would give two craps about how much power we use. The problem isn't how much power we use, but how much environmentally unsustainable power we use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reducing our dependence on petroleum and other fossil fuels has nothing to do with how much energy we consume. Those are two separate issues. If all our energy needs were met with wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and solar panels, no one would give two craps about how much power we use. The problem isn't how much power we use, but how much environmentally unsustainable power we use.

No one? I find that hard to believe. We have a lot of highly-educated dumb____s in this country. Consider for a moment that a quarter of the population believes that there was a government conspiracy behind 9/11. You know that some of these people will find something to complain about with respect to hydro, solar, or wind...whether it's the destruction of riparian environments or miscellaneous wetlands, bird strikes, the marred landscape, the noxious chemicals used in manufacturing processes, that new energy sources increase the carrying capacity of the Earth to support the human plague, or merely...that it isn't fair that some people should have something that some other people don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one? I find that hard to believe.

You're an epistemological nihilist. You don't believe anything. I've personally polled everyone in the world about this, including all the newborn babies, the mentally retarded and the certifiably insane, and they all said they didn't care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're an epistemological nihilist. You don't believe anything. I've personally polled everyone in the world about this, including all the newborn babies, the mentally retarded and the certifiably insane, and they all said they didn't care.

hahaha!

I think though that based on the number of people who are against that wind farm that was proposed/approved off of the coast of Massachusetts that there are some people who don't want it in their backyard.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/28/cape.cod.wind.farm/index.html

"The most notable opponent of Cape Wind was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a champion of green energy who, to the dismay of environmentalists, fought against the wind farm. The Kennedy compound will have a view of the wind turbines. "

although Ted Kennedy no longer fits in your list of people polled.

"Other opponents ranged from billionaire energy giant William Koch to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. American Indians in the region also objected, saying the wind farm would be located on sacred ancestral grounds and disturb important sunrise ceremonies."

These people seem to fit your polling criteria though.

To your response to me, I agree that if we had clean renewable energy, the amount of energy consumed would matter a heck of a lot less than it does today (it would matter in so far as how quickly that source could be renewed), but the charts that were referenced, and the article referenced that was under discussion were specifically related to oil based fuel usage. that is neither clean, nor renewable, and is the reason we are doing deep water drilling, and it is the point of this thread.

Anyway, I hate being a duck squeezer. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These people seem to fit your polling criteria though.

Damn. You've blown the lid off my ruse. You win this round, samagon.

To your response to me, I agree that if we had clean renewable energy, the amount of energy consumed would matter a heck of a lot less than it does today (it would matter in so far as how quickly that source could be renewed), but the charts that were referenced, and the article referenced that was under discussion were specifically related to oil based fuel usage. that is neither clean, nor renewable, and is the reason we are doing deep water drilling, and it is the point of this thread.

Nah, the article and the graph just used oil measurements to make the data more accessible. It's discussing the total amount of energy used.

Anyway, I hate being a duck squeezer. :(

I'm not sure what that is, but it does sound rather unpleasant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn. You've blown the lid off my ruse. You win this round, samagon.

I was so ready to believe you too, especially after I read Kennedy missed on your poll criteria.

Nah, the article and the graph just used oil measurements to make the data more accessible. It's discussing the total amount of energy used.

you're right, I was confused about the word 'equivalent' I thought it was just bbl of oil.

while the point is a bit less profound, it still stands though, energy consumption is very important until we are completely on clean sources.

If the Canadian people could reduce their energy consumption by a percentage, the hydrocarbon based energy creation could be reduced, while the other sources of energy would remain static. so even though they may reduce their overall energy use by a little, the hydrocarbon based energy use may drop substantially.

I'm not sure what that is, but it does sound rather unpleasant.

another name for an environmentalist. but then, I'm only in the get off oil kick, cause I hate seeing us send so much of our money overseas. I'm all about strip mining, deforestation and melting the polar ice caps for drinking water. That and hunting mosquitoes to extinction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reducing our dependence on petroleum and other fossil fuels has nothing to do with how much energy we consume. Those are two separate issues. If all our energy needs were met with wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and solar panels, no one would give two craps about how much power we use. The problem isn't how much power we use, but how much environmentally unsustainable power we use.

Good point, except that everyone knows that our energy consumption is overwhelmingly based on carbon fuels such as oil and coal. Canada's energy consumption comes overwhekmingly from non-carbon fuels. To put numbers to the statements, Canada produces 25% of its energy from hydro, 7% from nuclear, and 1% from other renewable sources. It also produces 24% of its energy from natural gas, for a total "clean" production of 57%. The US by contrast produces 60% of its energy from oil and coal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, except that everyone knows that our energy consumption is overwhelmingly based on carbon fuels such as oil and coal. Canada's energy consumption comes overwhekmingly from non-carbon fuels. To put numbers to the statements, Canada produces 25% of its energy from hydro, 7% from nuclear, and 1% from other renewable sources. It also produces 24% of its energy from natural gas, for a total "clean" production of 57%. The US by contrast produces 60% of its energy from oil and coal.

To be fair, the U.S. would most definitely produce more hydro if we had Canada's geography, climate, and population density.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am having issues trying to view or download either...maybe it's just me? Anyone else?

They open on my smackberry, so I don't know. They're available on the EIA website. I'll track down the exact address when I'm back on my office computer in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am having issues trying to view or download either...maybe it's just me? Anyone else?

Here's the direct link. I posted the two visual aids on the top right of the screen. If you go to the homepage, be forewarned, you could easily spend all day reading up on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...