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Wind & Solar: Facts & Fantasies

Started by RE, Apr 04, 2024, 09:12 AM

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This could go under Tech Won't Save Us, but I figured Wind & Solar renewables deserve their own category.  The fact so many items are left out of the calculation is not completely unexpected, but definitely worth noting.  They also don't note some of the environmental costs in production of PC cells and ecosystem damage from windfarms.

How to destroy the myth of cheap wind and solar



QuoteHowever, these comparisons are missing the main point: we aren't building a new electric grid from scratch, so we should be comparing the cost of new wind and solar with the cost of existing power plants that these intermittent generators would hope to replace. The truth is that we already have reliable, depreciated assets that produce electricity at low cost, and they could've kept doing so for decades.

I was thinking who wrote this conservative Mainstream duopoly WANK.  Then I read the paragraph I quote and I see.  "We already have reliable, depreciated assets that produce electricity at low cost, and they could've kept doing so for decades."

I had to find out who these cheerleaders of capitalism are.  Who benefits from distorting the reality of wind power economics, or who concentrates on money to the exclusion of all other considerations.  The website has an about page.  Here is what they say about themselves.

QuoteCenter of the American Experiment is Minnesota's leading public policy organization.

Center of the American Experiment is more than a think tank. It not only researches and produces papers on Minnesota's economy, education, health care, the family, employee freedom and state and local governance. It also crafts and proposes creative solutions that emphasize free enterprise, limited government, personal responsibility and government accountability.

In other words, Satan funds them.

Isaac Orr is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment.  Mitch Rolling is a Policy Fellow at the Center of the American Experiment. 
These milk toast white bread homeboys from the northern cornfields have been told how wonderful they be all their lives.  Now we have to put up with the results.

It is not wise to play games with numbers around me.  My sense of smell is dog good.


I think it's important to note that the cost is almost irrelevant, since if we expect to have any electric power at all in 50 years, we're going to need wind and solar to generate it somehow.  I doubt we'll be able to fill the bill with nukes alone.  The atmosphere can't take any more carbon and even if it could, even the tight oil will eventually run out.



Quoteeven the tight oil will eventually run out.

Sooner rather than later if you consider EROEI.  Energy Returned on Energy Invested is more than just a number.  That number has to be financed.  Capitalism won't be able to do it for more than a few more years.

It is imperative the world adopt a comprehensive Energy Dividends plan that puts the public in charge of extraction.

QuoteV.         To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. The majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially by receiving more in "carbon dividends" than they pay in increased energy prices.


NIMBY hits renewables.

They'll love the Nuke plant they get instead? Or a new NG fired generating station?

Everybody wants MOAR JUICE to power their Teslas, but nobody wants it in their backyard.  Why can't we have our cake and eat it too?  Where's the Free Lunch?

I will admit though,  dropping solar panels over prime farmland seems a little counterproductive.  You can't eat electricity.

Unsurprisingly, this report comes from Faux Newz, and I'm sure plenty of the obstacles come from the oil industry lobby, but nevertheless I think natives who don't want the projects dropped on reservations have a fair point.  Why should they be forced to take these windfarms on their landwhen the rich white folks won't take them on theirs?

Just one more nail in te coffin of maintaining a high energy consumption lifestyle.  You have to generate the power somewhere, somehow.

Backlash against wind and solar projects is real, it's global and it's growing



Has the Solar ship finally come in for real?

If this discovery isn't more Cold Fusion style Hopium bullshit,this could really be a game changer.  If it's really 1000X more efficient, that would men 1 of these new panels on your roof would be the equivalent to 1000 of the current silicon based panels.  I find that claim extremely hard to believe.  It gets even harder when they start talking about "FREE" electricity, which is like the early claims with nuke power that it would produce electricity "too cheap to meter".

Also suspicious is the timing.  Just when the ability to make the switch over to carbon free electricity production and provide enough power to run an all EV transportation fleet, heat homes, run data centers and AI supercomputers, over the hill charges the Solar Cavalry to ride to the rescue!

Nevertheless, the bona fides of the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and credentials of the scientists sound real enough, so who knows?

I will wait to declare the collapse over and concede victory to the technofuturists until I see commercial production of these miraculous solar panels and one of them on the roof of your car enough to give you unlimited miles of Happy Motoring without even having to stop at a charging station.  100 of them on the roof of the bridge of a container ship enough to provide bunker fuel free sailing of Chinese toys to the Port of Long Beach as long as the sun shines.

I'll believe it when I see it.

The most powerful solar panel in history: 1000 times more powerful than expected and free electricity


QuoteThe MLU team irradiated the cell with laser light to test the new material, and the results surprised them. Compared to pure barium titanate of a similar thickness, the current flow was up to 1,000 times stronger, despite the proportion of barium titanate having been reduced by almost two-thirds.

But that is not from your article.  Your article garbled the fact.  So no, 1000x is not compared to silicon.  My source.

As Silicon is between 14 and 19 % efficient for commercial panels now, 1000x would be impossible.  If this was a game changer it would be all over the news, and my source is two years old.  Don't hold your breath.


Quote from: K-Dog on Apr 10, 2024, 11:17 PM
QuoteThe MLU team irradiated the cell with laser light to test the new material, and the results surprised them. Compared to pure barium titanate of a similar thickness, the current flow was up to 1,000 times stronger, despite the proportion of barium titanate having been reduced by almost two-thirds.

But that is not from your article.  Your article garbled the fact.  So no, 1000x is not compared to silicon.  My source.

As Silicon is between 14 and 19 % efficient for commercial panels now, 1000x would be impossible.  If this was a game changer it would be all over the news, and my source is two years old.  Don't hold your breath.

Yea, I vaguely remembered that the efficiency of solar panels in converting sunlight to electricity was under 50%, so I couldn't figure out how you could get 1000X more juice out of it, no matter what the material was.  I also know that anything that sounds too good to be true always is.  It was cleverly written though to confuse the facts.  I knew either you or NF would find the flaw, that's why I dropped it on the board.

This is clearly counter-propaganda to the information leaking into the MSM regarding the infeasability of meeting the goals of powering up the grid enough with carbon-free energy to meet the new projections with the added loads of data mining and AI.  Not that they could have met them just with an all EV transportation fleet and residential and commercial heating anyhow.

I'll still be interested to see if any panels made from this material become commercially available  and either significantly raise the efficiency over 50% or come cheaper than the cirrent generation of PV panels.  That would make a difference for doomsteaders with off grid systems.



The Chinese are kicking ass with solar.

Also kicking ass with affordable EVs.

The Chinese will be able to make Toast!   ;D

At the same time, they are also the country still burning the most coal.

Who's Building the Most Solar Energy?



Globally speaking, this is pretty decent progress on the non-transportation related electrical power generation front.  It is however somewhat misleading since despite generating a greater percentage of power with renewables, in absolute terms power consumption is rising so fast that more FFs are getting burned anyhow.  Besides that, this is even BEFORE all the AI and Data Centers being planned are built out.

it also doesn't account for the switchover to electric heating which has begun in the FSoA, but not so much elsewhere in the world.  As the FFs diminish in availability and/or rise in price, electricity from renewables is pretty much all these other countries will have for that purpose, so they really have no choice.

Most importantly, electricity only accounts for portion of total uses of FFs to keep our Industrial Civilization perking along , most of it is NG or coal and not oil and the FSoA of course gobbles up most of it..

Here's how it breaks down by sector for the FSoA

So you're really just talking a smsll percentage of a medium percentage of the electricity generated globally moving to renewables, and really not until you make a significant dent into the transportation sector are you meaningfully addressing the cultural dependence on FFs.

So, it really does come down to how fast a transition to battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, ICE Hydrogen and ICE Biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, wood gas, methane digester) can be effected to see how many total people wil die before the situation stabilizes.

Prior to the last couple of weeks reading about the various renewable projects being built around the world along with the various relatively low tech LDES systems that are being developed, my general feeling was we were doomed to a 99% or more Dieoff of the population of Homo Saps before we might stabilize at <100M remaining.  Now I think it's at least plausible it could be as much as 10% left, so 800M.

Of course, there's still a whole lot of reasons it can be much worse, famine and disease being the main ones which will exact a big death toll once dieoff begins to accelerate and the medical system is overwhelmed.  But nevertheless, I have a little more hopium this week.  :)

The US is propping up gas while the world moves to renewable energy



Unfortunately this is a paywall article, but I just wanted to use this to make a point about Dirigibles (like the Hindenburgh).

If we had big ones like that, besides using them for low energy air travel for people, they would be perfect for delivering freight that is too big to transport on the roads.  I remember passing by wind turbine blades being transported back in the early 2000s which hung off the back end of a 53' flatbed trailer by another 50', and i wondered how they could make the turn radius on the interstate on ramps, which are designed for the longest possible vehicles.  All other roads are even worse, down of course to narrow streets and alleys in places like Chinatown in NYC where even getting a 40' dry box to round a corner is a major adventure in driving.

With a dirigible, you could deliver one of the new 100 meter football field size turbine blades to be mounted onto the Empire State Building to power the data servers down on Wall Street.  Can you imagine the NYC skyline with huge windmills on all the tallest skyscrapers?  Of course, the noise level would be pretty high so you'd have to walk around wearing noise-cancelling headphones, but you pretty much have to do that anyway.  It also might be the Final Solution to the pigeon problem in the Big Apple. lol.

Wind turbines keep getting bigger



Next to putting panels on top of aqueducts where they serve a dual function by lowering the amount of water lost due to evaporation, deserts seem like the best location for solar farms since they're not good for people OR wildlife.  Plenty of sun also, but since they're so remote usually you have to get the power to where the people are.

Since there is also no water around, you can't build a hydrolysis plant for making H on location either, so you're going to have to build also at least one transformer station and a high voltage line to either connect it up to the grid or bring the juice to a hydrolysis plant built next to a large water supply, like the ocean preferably.  Then an H liquification plant and port capable of handling large liquid H supertankers.  Overall, a very expensive infrastructure project.

The big complaint this author has is about the possible negative climate effects because solar panels are black and don't reflect off light as well as sand, so you lose the albedo effect.  The panels get hotter than sand, and that heat will be transferred to the surrounding atmosphere.  If it's a big enough area of land, this could have significant effect on the weather patterns, rainfall etc.  That could be very bad.

My question is, do solar PV panels HAVE to be dark colored?  The photovoltaic effect doesn't require heat, the photons act directly to excite electrons and raise their potential energy (measured in Volts).  In principle, I think they could be any color at all, but the material itself has to be white in color, not painted white.  I don't know if you can make lighter colored PV panels or not.  I've never seen them any color but black.  If it's possible but none so far have been developed, that is something that could make an enterprising materials chemist a fucking gazillionaire.  Get the patent on that and you'll br richer than Musk, Bezos and Gates combined. lol.

Even not covering desert, just over regular land, the additional heat that panels produce may have an effect on climate if a significant amount of the earth surface is covered with them.  We already know that the blacktop of roads has an effect.

Anyhow, there's always risk of unintended consequences with any alternative energy.  The guys drilling in Iceland into magma chambers could set off a supervolcano.  Big windmills kill flocks of migrating birds.  Dams block salmon swimming upstream to spawn.  Nukes produce radioactive waste that takes 1000s of years to decay.  As long as there are billions of homo saps using lots of energy every day, we're going to have negative consequences.  The only real way to solve that is with less people using less energy.  Nobody wants that though.

Covering the biggest sand desert with solar panels: 173 TWh and the biggest mistake in human history



This is a pretty practical idea.  In combination with Hydrogen to gey you in and out of port, use the Trade Winds the way they did in the old days to make the long transoceanic passages.

While this works for tankers, not so sure about container ships.  They are piled up oon the deck higher than the boom of those sails.

A new sail design for cargo ships is propelling the maritime industry to a more sustainable future



As we have discussed, generating Solar power is only part of the problem with converting to renewables, even in the electric power sector.  The transportation sector has even greater problems, but the Chinese are already up against the Grid and Storage bottleneck.

Given the fact the Chinese are producing EVs that people can actually AFFORD, all those EVs need to be charged up daily.  Which means the grid has to be able to support the additional load, since they don't pass out a free standing solar charging station for each car, they have big solar farms to tie into grid power.  Same model as over here, because centralizing power production is how they charge for it.  If everybody had their own setup, no revenue.

So now they have surplus panels which they would like to dump on the west, which would be a real boon for Doomsteaders since they would be able to get them at rock-bottom prices.  That can't be allowed of course, since besides not wanting people to be able to produce their own power, it would put local manufacturers of PV panels outta biz.  In a real Free Market capitalist system, that's what should happen.  But of course it's not a free market, so they'll slap on big tariffs to protect the local manufacturers, just like with the EVs.

The Chinese for their part have to turn their productive focus from the panels to Green Hydrogen production.  They can use this both for Storage and to bring down the cost of H to use as a transportation fuel.  Upgrading their grid to handle the increasing loads is as big or bigger a problem there as it is here.

Ideally in both places is that community level micro-grids powered by solar-wind should be built backed up by Green Hydrogen production for LDES and transportation fuel.  Again however, that is against the centralized model and monopolization of the Means of Production capitalists are so fond of.

In theory, if all this was done properly, people would have practically free power all the time, just the cost of maintenance and replacement of worn out parts.  Unlikely to happen either in China or here, though in China it stands a better chance.

China made so many solar panels that even its own grid can't support all the energy produced



Very novel design.  I wonder how much one of the 5Kw units costs?

A pdf with the specs and diagrams is available as well.  It looks like something a handy DIY Domer could build himself.

Bladeless wind energy innovation aims to compete with rooftop solar