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The Wind-Energy Myth - The claims for this “green” source of energy wither in the Texas heat.
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE ^ | August 12, 2011 | Robert Bryce

Posted on 08/13/2011 10:01:29 AM PDT by neverdem

The Wind-Energy Myth
The claims for this "green" source of energy wither in the Texas heat.

Hot? Don’t count on wind energy to cool you down. That’s the lesson emerging from the stifling heat wave that’s hammering Texas.

Over the past week or so, Texans have been consuming record-breaking quantities of electricity, and ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, has warned of rolling blackouts if customers don’t reduce their consumption. 

Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity. That’s nearly three times as much as any other state. But during three sweltering days last week, when the state set new records for electricity demand, the state’s vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power. 

Consider the afternoon of August 2, when electricity demand hit 67,929 megawatts. Although electricity demand and prices were peaking, output from the state’s wind turbines was just 1,500 megawatts, or about 15 percent of their total nameplate capacity. Put another way, wind energy was able to provide only about 2.2 percent of the total power demand even though the installed capacity of Texas’s wind turbines theoretically equals nearly 15 percent of peak demand. This was no anomaly. On four days in August 2010, when electricity demand set records, wind energy was able to contribute just 1, 2, 1, and 1 percent, respectively, of total demand.

Over the past few years, about $17 billion has been spent installing wind turbines in Texas. Another $8 billion has been allocated for transmission lines to carry the electricity generated by the turbines to distant cities. And now, Texas ratepayers are on the hook for much of that $25 billion, even though they can’t count on the wind to keep their air conditioners running when temperatures soar. 

That $25 billion could have been used to build about 5,000 megawatts of highly reliable nuclear generation capacity, or as much as 25,000 megawatts of natural-gas-fired capacity, all of which could have been reliably put to work during the hottest days of summer. 

The wind-energy lobby has been masterly at garnering huge subsidies and mandates by claiming that its product is a “green” alternative to conventional electricity. But the hype has obscured a dirty little secret: When power demand is highest, wind energy’s output is generally low. The reverse is also true: Wind-energy production is usually highest during the middle of the night, when electricity use is lowest. 

The incurable intermittency and extreme variability of wind energy requires utilities and grid operators to continue relying on conventional sources of generation like coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel. Nevertheless, 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, now have renewable-energy mandates. Those expensive mandates cannot be met with solar energy, which, despite enormous growth in recent years, still remains a tiny player in the renewable sector. If policymakers want to meet those mandates, landowners and citizens will have to learn to live with sprawling forests of noisy, 45-story-tall wind turbines. 

The main motive for installing all those turbines is that they are supposed to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, which, in turn, is supposed to help prevent global temperature increases. But it’s already hot — really hot — in Texas and other parts of the southern United States. And that leads to an obvious question: If the global-warming catastrophists are right, and it’s going to get even hotter, then why the heck are we putting up wind turbines that barely work when it’s hot? 

 — Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His fourth book, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, was recently issued in paperback. 



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: energy; texasenergy; windenergy; windpower
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1 posted on 08/13/2011 10:01:32 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Put a wind turbine in front of Barry’s teleprompter.

There’s always wind there.


2 posted on 08/13/2011 10:05:19 AM PDT by exit82 (Democrats are the enemy of freedom. Sarah Palin is our Esther.)
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To: neverdem

If the wind don’t blow,
The turbine don’t go.

Perhaps tidal turbines would be better. The tide works twice a day every day.


3 posted on 08/13/2011 10:09:44 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: neverdem
Wow, that's one of the most dishonest graphs I've seen in a while. Note the highlighted areas.

Dishonest graph, note the difference in scale for the two lines is more than an order of magnitude apart.

The scale on the two lines differs by over an order of magnitude. Although it appears at first glance that there were short times where wind generation exceeded total demand, by showing the blue line above the green line, in reality, wind generation never rarely met even 10% of total demand.

4 posted on 08/13/2011 10:14:04 AM PDT by cc2k ( If having an "R" makes you conservative, does walking into a barn make you a horse's (_*_)?)
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To: neverdem

Sheesh, Bryce, you are presenting facts here. Who cares about facts? Truth is what we say it is. Wind is “green” and will save us all from demon fossil fuels.


5 posted on 08/13/2011 10:16:29 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: neverdem
I got about a thousand of these in storage, I'll volunteer to help them out.


6 posted on 08/13/2011 10:16:43 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum
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To: neverdem

Do you mean to tell me that those Smelly Hippie Environmentalists were wrong again? Gasp!


7 posted on 08/13/2011 10:16:50 AM PDT by Drill Thrawl (0 - 537 They ALL must go.)
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To: neverdem

Most Texans know...when it’s 110 degrees, there’s very little breeze.


8 posted on 08/13/2011 10:19:22 AM PDT by Tex-Con-Man
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To: cc2k

Good observation.


9 posted on 08/13/2011 10:20:43 AM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Proud to be a (small) monthly donor.)
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To: neverdem
The governments solution...

Tax the heck out of technologies that compete with your little boondoggle and use what remains of the tax money, after you have hired a bunch more of bureaucrats with it, to subsidize your boondoggle.

Nudge... nudge...

10 posted on 08/13/2011 10:22:54 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: cc2k
I would only call it "dishonest" if the author were misrepresenting it to prove that wind was a viable energy source. He isn't. He's using it to illustrate that wind provides its lowest amount of power at peak demand and vice versa.

I'll grant you it's poorly designed.

11 posted on 08/13/2011 10:24:50 AM PDT by BfloGuy (Inheritance taxes are not taxes; they are expropriation. -- L. Von Mises)
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To: Tex-Con-Man
Hey there are ridiculously (not cost effective in the slightest) expensive solar cells. :)
12 posted on 08/13/2011 10:25:06 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: Focault's Pendulum

LOL!

I’ll take 50 of them.

I figure if I strap them all over my Harley, I’ll never have to buy gas again.

[it would definitely be easier than raising mainsails and fiddling with all that rigging while under way]


13 posted on 08/13/2011 10:25:52 AM PDT by Salamander (Can't sleep...clowns will eat me.)
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To: Drill Thrawl

They just planted a wind farm in western MD.

So far, our light bills haven’t decreased but our bird and bat population has.

Doesn’t seem very “green” or “environmentally friendly” to me.


14 posted on 08/13/2011 10:28:02 AM PDT by Salamander (Can't sleep...clowns will eat me.)
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To: neverdem

Looks to be 180 degrees out of phase. Figures.


15 posted on 08/13/2011 10:28:27 AM PDT by stboz
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To: neverdem

“Perhaps they could set blowers in front of the turbines to keep them going” - Imaginary quote from Øbumbler


16 posted on 08/13/2011 10:28:27 AM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: neverdem

I have a simple solution for Texas, with known technology, that could turn most of the State green and keep it green even if it never rained again. And it’s all based on just one thing. The Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast has a vast amount of water, albeit salt water. But underneath the Gulf Coast is an enormous amount of natural gas.

Put those two things together and you have desalinization. Fresh water in vast amounts.

So build natural gas powered desalinization plants and pipelines to ship the water inland. Such plants can run year around, and during wetter seasons can fill reservoirs. And when those reservoirs are filled, use electricity generated from natural gas to pipe the water to ever deeper inland reservoirs.

Certainly it will be expensive, but it will turn big sections of desert Texas green with farmland and water using industry.


17 posted on 08/13/2011 10:30:31 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Venturer
Perhaps tidal turbines would be better. The tide works twice a day every day.

Al Gore says that global warming is slowing down the moon so much that eventually we'll only have one a day and then later, it will stop altogether. Al wouldn't lie to us would he?

18 posted on 08/13/2011 10:31:34 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Simplistic answers to complex problems never work and are only proposed by simple people.)
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To: rockrr
Lol. Some people might believe it would work, too.

They claim that electric cars don't cost anything to operate.

19 posted on 08/13/2011 10:34:37 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: BfloGuy

The inadquacy of wind power would have been even more obvious if the scale were the same for both lines. Or at least if there were an obvious break and it didn’t appear that the lines overlapped when they clearly don’t come close.


20 posted on 08/13/2011 10:35:32 AM PDT by cc2k ( If having an "R" makes you conservative, does walking into a barn make you a horse's (_*_)?)
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To: Graybeard58
Lol. No. And he is completely objective. He doesn't have millions of dollars invested in the scheme.
21 posted on 08/13/2011 10:36:32 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: cc2k

Too bad they can’t figure out how to store the energy. AC power has a lot of merits but storage is one of it’s limitations. And conversion to DC and back to AC is not the best solution.


22 posted on 08/13/2011 10:39:40 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: neverdem
Actually, the ultimate solution is NOT wind turbines, since you have the issues of noise generated by the turbines, the unsightliness of hundreds of large turbines in the same area, and the issue of bird kills with conventional turbines (since birds often can't see the spinning blades clearly).

Here's the vastly better solution, as shown by this large schematic:

The US has 440,000 tons of thorium-232 that can be used for the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, plus many tons of spent uranium fuel rods that could be processed into fuel for this reactor, too. If we standardized a design for a 1,000 MW LFTR, we could build hundreds of them not only to expand available power, but also phase out coal-fired powerplants, too.

23 posted on 08/13/2011 10:51:34 AM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
The Great 9/11 Dust Debate

Mayor Nutter’s Call: It is a sign of the times that basic decency has grown unusual.

The blame game: America's economic panic is the fault of Tea Partiers, S&P, speculators, and Big Business. And it's up to Obama to convince us to put country first Bob Shrum, who else?

Who Lost the Middle Class? - A question for historians in the not-too-distant future

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

24 posted on 08/13/2011 10:52:26 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Salamander
LOL! I’ll take 50 of them.

Actually, I was hoping to donate them to the Democratic Party and allow them to run around in circles with them. May not generate much energy....but watching them drop one by one would be amusing.

25 posted on 08/13/2011 10:58:49 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum
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To: dhs12345
dhs12345 wrote:
Too bad they can’t figure out how to store the energy. AC power has a lot of merits but storage is one of it’s limitations. And conversion to DC and back to AC is not the best solution.
Nope, there are losses in the conversion, plus batteries are nowhere near 100% efficient.

For large scale storage, pumped storage hydroelectric is the best technology we currently have deployed. There's a pretty big lake (Carter's Lake) with this type of operation not too far from my old home in north Georgia.

26 posted on 08/13/2011 11:02:10 AM PDT by cc2k ( If having an "R" makes you conservative, does walking into a barn make you a horse's (_*_)?)
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To: neverdem
Over the past few years, about $17 billion has been spent installing wind turbines in Texas. Another $8 billion has been allocated for transmission lines to carry the electricity generated by the turbines to distant cities. And now, Texas ratepayers are on the hook for much of that $25 billion, even though they can’t count on the wind to keep their air conditioners running when temperatures soar.

Okay, first, how did this happen in Texas??? Texas freepers, can you explain this to me. I live in the Seattle area, so I am never surprised at the doofuses here doing idiot stuff like this. But, I expected Texans to be more sensible. Have I misjudged you?

Also, we now know that these wind turbines can't help much in the heat; and, that they freeze up (Minnesota, Scotland) in the winter. What the hell do they do, besides kill a lot of birds?

27 posted on 08/13/2011 11:04:07 AM PDT by LibertarianLiz
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To: RayChuang88
you have the issues of noise generated by the turbines

I would also add that there are some people who are physically affected by these things. But, who cares. As Nancy Pelosi said, "I'm saving the planet". Egomaniacs.

28 posted on 08/13/2011 11:08:27 AM PDT by LibertarianLiz
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To: cc2k
Wow, that's one of the most dishonest graphs I've seen in a while. Note the highlighted areas.

How is it dishonest? I thought it made its point quite well: Wind energy availability is nearly exactly out of phase with the electrical load.

Clearly, the chart needs to use two axes (clearly labeled) with one shifted off the origin in order best to make its visual point (which is not that wind energy comes anywhere close to carrying the whole load at any time). Consider how the visualization would look if you forced both curves onto the same axis.

29 posted on 08/13/2011 11:09:49 AM PDT by cynwoody
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To: cc2k
Cool. Uses gravity. Makes a lot of sense.

How about some type of resonant system sort of like a tesla coil that can store millions of watts.

30 posted on 08/13/2011 11:10:45 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: cc2k
Cool. Uses gravity. Makes a lot of sense.

How about some type of resonant system sort of like a tesla coil that can store millions of watts.

31 posted on 08/13/2011 11:11:51 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: RayChuang88

You also could use sea water in heat exchanger 2 and get distilled fresh water by adding one more step, the Arabs do that with the conventional fired plants in Kuwait,Electric and Fresh water Both!


32 posted on 08/13/2011 11:25:30 AM PDT by Cheetahcat ( November 4 2008 ,A date that will live in Infamy.)
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To: dhs12345
Too bad they can’t figure out how to store the energy. AC power has a lot of merits but storage is one of it’s limitations. And conversion to DC and back to AC is not the best solution.

That's the big challenge with both wind and solar.

Some guys at MIT have invented a new type of flow battery they claim has ten times the energy density of regular batteries. In a flow battery, the electrolyte flows through the battery instead of residing in the battery. They envision refueling electric cars by pumping in freshly charged electrolyte (a thick black slurry they call "Cambridge crude") instead of plugging in to a charger.

The uneven output of wind and solar installations might best be put to use charging flow battery electrolyte at or near the installation instead of transporting the power long distances over expensive transmission lines and integrating it into the instantaneous electrical load. The charged electrolyte could then be pumped into vehicles, used to power utility peak load generators, or even used to power a home battery (eliminating the need for the current power grid).

Currently, the best way to store wind power is to use it to pump water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. The problem is finding a suitable lake that isn't already in use for hydro-power.

Another idea is compressed air. But there again, you need a lot of compressed air storage. It's been proposed to use underground caverns. But, like good lakes, those are where you find them.

33 posted on 08/13/2011 11:35:13 AM PDT by cynwoody
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To: neverdem

ping


34 posted on 08/13/2011 11:43:34 AM PDT by VTenigma
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To: cynwoody
Interesting. Sounds like some kind of charged material.

Too bad AC power can't be stored directly in some kind of device. That would make wind and solar more compelling.

I was thinking some kind of resonant system. Of course, there is always the option of a rotating mass (momentum). The windmill itself is a rotating mass. Too simple, though.

Storage and conversion losses would have to be very low.

There would be a lot of bucks (probably Obama bucks) if someone one came up with a working prototype.

35 posted on 08/13/2011 11:49:31 AM PDT by dhs12345
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Click the Pic

The 44th Day of the FReepathon?
Sheesh!! End It Now!


Donate today

36 posted on 08/13/2011 12:14:07 PM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list.)
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To: neverdem

Turbines don’t work unless there is a steady wind. Until somebody figures out a practical way of storing the electricity, windmills are useless.

When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle, who never threw anything away, still had the remains of an old windcharger mounted on an old shed on their farm. The shed was full of 6-volt batteries wired in series to store the electricity, which they used to power their milkhouse. They never had electricity in their actual house until REA came along in the 50’s. This “turbine” concept is not a new idea, and it has never worked very well.


37 posted on 08/13/2011 12:24:01 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: cc2k

For large scale storage, pumped storage hydroelectric is the best technology we currently have deployed. There’s a pretty big lake (Carter’s Lake) with this type of operation not too far from my old home in north Georgia.

Correct.

There’s a pumped storage facility just north of where I live (tiny, but there it is). They are putting in a solar collector farm right on the road — publicity, no real use to anyone.

This summer, though, we visited a REAL pumped storage facility in western Michigan. Largest earthen dam in the (world? US? I forget). The thing was freakin’ HUGE, we drove miles of road along the base of the dam. I doubt, though, that it makes a big dent in lake michigan while they’re filling it. (Found it: Ludington Pumped Storage Plant; had to dig thru photos...the sign says 27 billion gallons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludington_Pumped_Storage_Power_Plant)


38 posted on 08/13/2011 12:26:03 PM PDT by Peet (Cogito ergo dubito.)
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To: neverdem

I have one that trickle charges a bank of 16 royals deep cell batteries that provide emergency power through a trace inverter.

Works well but I’m living in a place where wind averages 20mph an I don’t depend on this source. It will run basics in my home when we lose power in ice or thunderstorms etc...

They have their place but not in the commercial energy grid IMO.

Ones we have here in the panhandle of Texas are running yet the quality of power to the distribution point is so up an down its expensive to corral properly according to friends that do such for a living.

1 thorium based nuclear power plant per 1 million in population is a formula America needs to adopt.

Got to be fixed yesterday....


39 posted on 08/13/2011 12:36:13 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: LibertarianLiz
Okay, first, how did this happen in Texas??? Texas freepers, can you explain this to me. I live in the Seattle area, so I am never surprised at the doofuses here doing idiot stuff like this. But, I expected Texans to be more sensible. Have I misjudged you?

No, it's a scheme worthy of Atlas Shrugged. Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens worked in concert with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Congress and California legislature to use renewable energy mandates and subsidies to siphon billions of tax dollars into the pockets of Pickens and his investors.

Pelosi, Pickens plan to pick your pocket - August 2008

40 posted on 08/13/2011 12:44:33 PM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: neverdem
"Hot? Don’t count on wind energy to cool you down. That’s the lesson emerging from the stifling heat wave that’s hammering Texas."

The Marching Morons (C. M. Kornbluth)

Wind turbines in Texas? You've gotta be kidding me. ...maybe around Corpus Christi or something like that, but in central Texas?

If y'all want to learn something about wind turbines, go to Otherpower.com.

If you're in one of the few areas that get enough wind and want to build one of those, you'd better have some welding, steel fab, machining experience and industrial/construction safety experience.

Well, I reckon that leaves nearly all political banditos outside of the realm of credibility on the wind power discussion. Energy is a job for us feared technocrats, who will be on the loose and unregulated before long.

Have fun. Enjoy the slide. I know that I will.


41 posted on 08/13/2011 12:50:33 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in a noisy avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: neverdem

I think the turbine problem will resolve itself. The thieves are going to run out of copper & air conditioners to steal and sell for recycling. the only things left to steal will be the wind turbines.


42 posted on 08/13/2011 12:55:09 PM PDT by stylin19a (obama..."Fredo-Smart")
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To: Tex-Con-Man
"Most Texans know...when it’s 110 degrees, there’s very little breeze."

Yup. Head for Padre, or cluster around Garner State Park. And look at it this way. This is about all the solar maximum that we're going to get. Extended minimums are more about extreme fluctuations than steady cold. We who moved to high places on the Rockies will probably be seeing some unearthly cold spots in about three or four years (maybe some nights down to 40, 60 below, with the usual 80 mph wind gusts).

Oh, and anyone who wants to get much from wind or sun has to pay the price of brutal climate. ...and hard work, because most of the junk on the market is overpriced and not very durable--bearings in commercial small turbines burning up too quickly, among other things, and SRCC approved (Florida lab, of all places) collectors running too hot and expensive.

Most people on all sides of alternative energy arguments are full of beans.


43 posted on 08/13/2011 1:02:42 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in a noisy avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: neverdem

I can’t sleep well without a floor fan blowing on me all night.

In order to power that fan by wind i believe i would need a slightly bigger fan out in my backyard with wind spinning it at a slightly faster rate than the one inside for 8 hours straight while i sleep.

Ya ok.
Makes sense.
Whats billions and billions of dollars anyways?


44 posted on 08/13/2011 1:05:40 PM PDT by mowowie
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To: Squantos
Good arguments! I have an even better climate for wind, but we have to build the good turbines ourselves. ...even better for sun here (well over 300 days out of the year). Agreed on nuclear for commercial. That would be the best answer that I know of for air conditioning down there.

I heard that nuclear needs a lot of water for cooling, though. ...maybe around the Gulf Coast for Texas? Will ocean water work for that? And in the dryer parts of the West here, that might be a no-go. But many of us in the West already have better conditions for sun (especially), wind, etc. ...and real nasty weather (dry, cold, windy, high, etc.). We on the northern half of the Range don't need air conditioning, though.

Northern wet places? Nuclear would probably be great in those, along with wood/coal boilers for homes and the like.


45 posted on 08/13/2011 1:13:31 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in a noisy avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: dhs12345

You could maybe store the energy in one or many giant spinning flywheel/gyro contraptions.


46 posted on 08/13/2011 1:13:45 PM PDT by mowowie
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To: cc2k

Yeah, that worked out fine at Taum Sauk.


47 posted on 08/13/2011 1:17:49 PM PDT by steve8714 (Did anyone else note the "Howlin' Commandos" in the Captain America Movie?)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
Change a few words, and I have been preaching this for years:
So build natural gas nuclear powered desalinization plants and pipelines to ship the water inland.
And when those reservoirs are filled, use electricity generated from natural gas uranium to pipe the water to ever deeper inland reservoirs power hydroelectric generation.

Texas isn't always in a drought, but it always gets insanely hot in the summer - and since Texas is drawing people from all over the planet to live and work here, we can't possibly keep up with the growing electricity needs.

48 posted on 08/13/2011 1:26:33 PM PDT by The Theophilus (Obama's Key to win 2012: Ban Haloperidol)
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To: dhs12345

lol
i should have read the rest of your post.


49 posted on 08/13/2011 1:27:40 PM PDT by mowowie
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
The Gulf Coast has a vast amount of water, albeit salt water. But underneath the Gulf Coast is an enormous amount of natural gas.

Geothermal heat sinking, while capital intensive, is a good way to go.

50 posted on 08/13/2011 2:16:30 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (GunWalker: Arming "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as well funded")
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