Also Not disagreeing. . . but points to your points to my points.
by Maker of Toys
Note that I said that the problem isn't "Obama has to go". . . I don't think that's much of a debate.
The problem I see is that the biggest plank I hear in the Rep. platform IS: "Obama has to go." It's drowning out the things that really matter, to wit: "after he's gone, then what?" And THAT is what we as a nation need to concentrate on. Tell me WHY and HOW this political party is going to do a better job than that other one and it's a no brainer that I'll pull the lever for the gang with the plan; but adhominim attacks are a sign that all remaining arguments are even weaker, and I can't express how much that worries and saddens me. I guess I'm railing against politics as usual. . . I'm certainly not shilling for anyone.
to the rest of the post:
Wind does have its problems, (and they are legion) no question-- and the biggest one is that the wind is usually blowing when and where no-one wants power. There are ways to fix that; Here in the SF bay area, there is some thinking that combined wind-hydro installations would fix the biggest problems with renewables like wind-- STORAGE. The basic idea is, use the wind when it's available to pump water into a reservoir via reversable turbines, then let it back out when you actually need the power. The reversable turbine concept is not new; there are several 30-50 year old off-stream reservoirs in the California water system that operate that way already, and are used to round off spikes in power demand and supply.
Which brings me to:
Hydro doesn't work? Fact Check time.
Tell that to the operators of Quebec Hydro, the TVA, the operators of Bonneville Dam, and the operators of Hoover Dam, among others. In fact, tell that to the city of San Francisco, which powers their entire water network from O'Shaunessy Dam and still has power to sell. (and the Enviro-Nimby's want to tear it down to "Restore Hetch Hetchy" without specifying someplace that water could be subtituted from. . . . but that's a different and more local rant.) But just as "Drill baby" doesn't fix today's problem, (and your point that that doesn't mean "Don't Drill" is salient here) dams take money and time, and like refineries, the few remaining suitable sites are very much subject to local politics. So "Dam it" isn't a quick or even entire solution, either.
Then there's solar, which even without storage, has achieved grid parity in some places (Germany, China, Japan) with no tax breaks or subsidies. . . thanks largely to the Chinese government's relentless drive to saturate the market with cheap silicon cells and drive marginal players (Solyndra, Others) out of the market with the evident goal of achieving monopoly or something close to it. And there are suitable sites for solar everywhere-- factory roofs, parking structures, apartment complexes- suburban houses; schools; sports venues; warehouse stores. . . and those sites are by definition, close to the point of consumption.
(Grid parity is herein defined as being when total lifetime revenue at current wholesale price per kWh is greater than total cost of ownership incl. purchase, installation, maintenance, operation and interest, with sufficient margin to interest investors)
ALTERNATES! Right now, Fossil energy has something very close to a monopoly on human energy supply; and hydrocarbons are useful for many other things, too. . . . Tires; Lubricants; plastics; composites; roads; fertilizers; food packaging; clothing. . . Yeah. Even if we stopped burning the stuff tomorrow, there's plenty of reasons to drill today.
Ethanol- HAH. Not the way it's done now-- we use fossil-derived fertilizer to generate a fuel with lower energy value per kg or per volume than the feedstock for the fertilizer and mechanical inputs to the system. (excuse me? how is this eco-freindly?) At best we achieve break-even, which works if we're using the product as an oxygenate that helps reduce pollution. (a worthy goal, IMHO) But as a primary transportation fuel? Bad Idea.
Biodiesel? similarly, not the way we're doing it. Which would you rather make with your farmland? food for people or food for cars?
Both of the bio-hydrocarbon leaders would be much more viable if we used non-food-related feedstocks; and there is progress in that direction, spurred by the artificially high price that the current subsidies provide. Will bio-hydrocarbons reach breakeven? I don't know- but I'd like to find out. I'd much rather subsidize an R+D program than bail out a bunch of bankers who can't articulate the rules by which they're gambling. R+D means jobs now, with possibility of products and more jobs later. Reconstituting unlucky investors means that we're paying again for something we already had and someone pissed away.
Hydrogen? DOUBLE HAH! There might be some way to modify bacteria or algae to produce hydrogen at high enough production and low enough cost to make it attractive as an energy storage medium; but the way we're doing it now is a net energy loss and therefore only suitable for niche applications. Again, I'd support an R+D program for the same reasons that drilling today makes sense.
Electric propulsion? NOW we're talking! the technology exists, and is easy to adapt to new (alternate) primary sources. . . . Electric propulsion is, by definition, primary energy agnostic- the electric motor doesn't care where the current originates; just that there is sufficient current available.
While I don't think the time has come (Nor may it ever, but R+D is still a worthwhile investment) for a wholesale conversion of the private car fleet to battery-electric operation, there are other proven, effective ways to use electric power for transportation.
San Francisco (among others) uses trolly buses and several electrically powered rail systems (even the famous Cable Cars are ultimately powered by centralized electric winches), so public transportation in urban (and even inter-urban) areas is one proven application. Then there's Electrification of long-haul rail freight, which we've flirted with off and on, even to the point of having diesel-electric locomotives equipped to take power from trackside for underground travel. Electric propulsion, properly applied, works- and has for many years. We just have to decide to expand the system and Mean It.
(And to be california-centric here, expanding the system does NOT mean a high-speed rail link from Podunk to Cowtown. Put it where there are enough potential riders and existing traffic congestion to make it viable! But I digress.)
Well, there went my lunch hour. . . Thus endith the rant for now.