Study claims 100 percent renewable energy possible by 2030

Jan 19, 2011 by Lin Edwards report
Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, at the entrance to the River Mersey in North West England. Image: Wikipedia.

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has shown that it is possible and affordable for the world to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, if there is the political will to strive for this goal.

Achieving 100 percent would mean the building of about four million 5 MW , 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.

Mark Delucchi, one of the authors of the report, which was published in the journal , said the researchers had aimed to show enough renewable energy is available and could be harnessed to meet demand indefinitely by 2030.

Delucchi and colleague Mark Jacobson left all fossil fuel sources of energy out of their calculations and concentrated only on wind, solar, waves and geothermal sources. currently provide over 80 percent of the world’s energy supply. They also left out biomass, currently the most widely used renewable energy source, because of concerns about pollution and land-use issues. Their calculations also left out nuclear power generation, which currently supplies around six percent of the world’s electricity.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

To make their vision possible, a great deal of building would need to occur. The wind turbines needed, for example, are two to three times the capacity of most of today’s wind turbines, but 5 MW offshore turbines were built in Germany in 2006, and China built its first in 2010. The solar power plants needed would be a mix of photovoltaic panel plants and concentrated solar plants that concentrate solar energy to boil water to drive generators. At present only a few dozen such utility-scale solar plants exist. Energy would also be obtained from photovoltaic panels mounted on most homes and buildings.

Jacobson said the major challenge would be in the interconnection of variable supplies such as wind and solar to enable the different renewable sources to work together to match supply with demands. The more consistent renewable sources of wave and tidal power and geothermal systems would supply less of the energy but their consistency would make the whole system more reliable.

Delucchi is from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, while Jacobson belongs to Stanford University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. They first began to study the feasibility and affordability of converting the world to 100 percent renewable energy sources in a Scientific American article published before the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009.

The pair say all the major resources needed are available, with the only material bottleneck being supplies of rare earth materials such as neodymium, which is often used in the manufacture of magnets. This bottleneck could be overcome if mining were increased by a factor of five and if recycling were introduced, or if technologies avoiding rare earth were developed, but the political bottlenecks may be insurmountable.

Explore further: Electromobility, efficient and safe: Visio.M consortium presents new electric car

More information:
-- Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials, Energy Policy, doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.040

-- Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies, Energy Policy, doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.045

Related Stories

Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up?

Aug 13, 2007

Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in ...

An addiction to fossil fuels

Apr 06, 2010

Clean, renewable wind and solar power may be the most-preferred fossil fuel alternatives, but their land-hungry collecting requirements make them difficult options for replacing more conventional power sources, ...

Spain to cut subsidies to photovoltaic energy sector

Aug 02, 2010

The government of Spain, a world leader in renewable energy, said it plans to cut subsidies for photovoltaic solar plants by up to 45 percent as it seeks to slash spending amid the economic crisis.

Recommended for you

First-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine

22 hours ago

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will supply a first-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine to a demonstration plant being built in Texas, USA. The plant will be developed by NET Power, LLC, a U.S. venture, together w ...

Drive system saves space and weight in electric cars

Oct 17, 2014

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Until now, the motor and the inverter, which converts the battery's direct current into alternating ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries

Oct 16, 2014

Lithium (Li)-ion batteries serve us well, powering our laptops, tablets, cell phones and a host of other gadgets and devices. However, for future automotive applications, we will need rechargeable batteries ...

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

Oct 16, 2014

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

User comments : 101

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

davaguco
4.1 / 5 (13) Jan 19, 2011
So we just need to build four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants. That should be easy to do.
LKD
3.5 / 5 (10) Jan 19, 2011
"This bottleneck could be overcome if mining were increased by a factor of five and if recycling were introduced, or if technologies avoiding rare earth were developed, but the political bottlenecks may be insurmountable."

"If only" can be said about a lot of other things that will never happen. Like winning the lotto...
Uri
4.2 / 5 (11) Jan 19, 2011
Yeah I dont think think we'll get to 90,000 300 MW solar plants anytime in the near future.

h
ttp://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70G0V420110118

Land use with solar is going to be a huge issue. I wish these people would get comfortable with nuclear, but since fusion is always 30 years away i don't see that happening. Most people who are afraid of nuclear don't know the difference between contamination and radiation......
JonathanC
4.1 / 5 (10) Jan 19, 2011
If the calculations made were on the basis of nuclear supplying 6% of world electricity that's a concern as it actually supplies just over 14%. It supplies about 6% of world energy.

Also the abstract speaks of reducing global power demand by 30%. Given that the majority of the billions of people in the world suffer acute energy poverty it is hard to believe that global demand can be reduced without keeping those people in poverty.

geokstr
2 / 5 (24) Jan 19, 2011
Hey, it's a two-fer, too!

All the envirowhackos want to depopulate the species as well. Since the cost and effort to build all this in 20 tears would basically bankrupt the world's economies and leave little time or resources for irrelevant activities like growing food and stuff, 80% of the humans would die of starvation.

Another perfect Prog "solution".

Oopsie, they forgot a few things. How are we going to make all the new five billion bicycles, pedal boats and sailplanes that we'll need to replace all the billions of gas powered vehicles. And we'd need a lot of slaves to row those big boats to get stuff from China, and of course, to rickshaw all the produce and other goods to market. But once we hand all the power to the Collective, finding serfs to do the work for the political class shouldn't be much of a problem.

These "researchers" are insane. Might as well show how raising unicorns could solve our energy needs by next Tuesday. But they did soak up another wayward earmark.
rally2xs
2.9 / 5 (9) Jan 19, 2011
Yeah, great... electricity... which doesn't currently power cars down highways very far. If someone invents the magic battery, then fine, we can do it. If they don't, and you have to stop for 4 hours every 100 miles to recharge, we can't.
ShotmanMaslo
3.4 / 5 (11) Jan 19, 2011
Current renewable energy (excluding large hydro dams, which are practical) accounts for just 3 % of our consumption.

I would rather concentrate on advanced nuclear reactors. Nuclear technology was neglected for decades due to ecoterrorists, and yet there are countries where most of energy is supplied by nuclear.
geokstr
1.7 / 5 (24) Jan 19, 2011
Yeah, great... electricity... which doesn't currently power cars down highways very far.

And 18 wheelers would have stop every couple miles or so for a multi-hour charge. How about all those currently non-existent electric airplanes landing every minute and a half to recharge? Who's going to build all those oceanic floating recharge stations so the new electric ships that haven't even been invented yet can recharge every couple nautical miles?

And I'm sure all our enemies will kindly build thousands of recharge stations so that we can power our tanks and truck convoys continuously when we're at war with them. Oh, I forgot, since our newly radically reduced population will be too busy scratching and foraging for the food that can't get grown by tractorless farms or delivered by truck, we won't have time for war anyway.

And we won't need gasoline powered construction equipment for hundreds of years, since we'll have all those empty homes from the ones who've starved to death.
Javinator
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Might purchase the article just to get a look at their assumptions.

Variables like world energy demand, land availability, population densities, raw material costs, maintenance costs, technological advancements, etc. could change significantly in the next 20 years. The error bars must be huge.

From abstract:

Barriers to the plan are primarily social and political, not technological or economic.


As per usual.
Javinator
4.7 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2011
Nuclear technology was neglected for decades due to ecoterrorists, and yet there are countries where most of energy is supplied by nuclear


Nuclear technology was neglected (especially in NA) after the fear sprouting from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. At those times it was not politically popular to support nuclear so it wasn't supported.
lengould100
3.5 / 5 (15) Jan 19, 2011
A lot of criticisms here with no references. Some of the comments are so wrong they're funny. There's no reason that renewable electricity can't supply a storable portable engine fuel (methane as CNG, synthetic diesel, etc.) Slave-rowed ships??? ha ha ha.

The proposal IS feasible both technically and economically, and would cost very little more than PRESENT fossil fueled energy systems. Wind and solar thermal are now competitive in cost to coal EXCEPT FOR the additional transmission required, and the smarter grid required to match loads up to supplies using free market incentives.

The 30% reduction proposed is simply obvious efficiencies which WILL be implemented anyways by 2030 due to the declining production of petroleum (more efficient autos, less long-distance trucking) plus obvious building efficiency improvements which again, will be implemented anyway.
lengould100
3.5 / 5 (10) Jan 19, 2011
The article's example of replacing PRESENT sources in no way precludes developing countries from also using same techniques to improve their lot, an option which will not be open to them if they depend on fighting for declining fossil fuel supplies.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2011
Very ridiculous assertion, where is the money for such a rapid change over comming from?
geokstr
1.7 / 5 (19) Jan 19, 2011
Nuclear technology was neglected (especially in NA) after the fear sprouting from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

Yes, and it's been conclusively proven that the Three Mile Island hysteria was fraudulently manufactured by the same envirowhackos who still soil their diapers over the eevvilll atom thirty two years latr, while the rest of the world builds nukes.

Studies done afterward showed that not only people downwind of TMI, but the plant employees themselves, got cumulatively less radiation exposure from the phony "disaster" than the average commuter gets walking through Grand Central Station from the natural radiation from the granite walls and floor.

geokstr
1.3 / 5 (15) Jan 19, 2011
Very ridiculous assertion, where is the money for such a rapid change over comming from?

Well, some from the tooth fairy, a chunk comes from selling off our herds of unicorns, and the rest from impoverishing the feelthy reech, i.e., anyone with a household income over $12 (excluding the politically connected and politically corrected classes, of course.)

No, to be serious, all the money we need is in the Social Security "lockbox", that mythical white hole that gushes money whenever the pols need it. It's worked for them for the last 50 years; no reason to think it won't for the next fifty.

(shrug)
Modernmystic
2.6 / 5 (17) Jan 19, 2011
If by "renewable" they mean nuclear then there's a chance if we start handing out permits TODAY.

Otherwise it's absolute total unqualified BULLSHIT.
antialias
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2011
Nuclear technology was neglected

It is? Look at the spending on nuclear R&D vs. spening on renewable R&D

h
ttp://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/en/part-i-technology/chapter-7-research-and-development/rd-funding-for-wind-energy/support-at-ec-level.html

You basically can't take any of the renewable R&D money away and put it to use in the nuclear sector: because there isn't any when compared to what nuclear already gets.
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2011

You basically can't take any of the renewable R&D money away and put it to use in the nuclear sector: because there isn't any when compared to what nuclear already gets.


Why can't we quit pissing money away? Of course we can take every dime and give it to nuclear if we wanted to....
geokstr
1 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2011
My fault, SH, sorry. If I had noticed it was you, I wouldn't have wasted my time to respond.
Javinator
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
the Three Mile Island hysteria was fraudulently manufactured by... envirowhackos...


I'd probably say fearful and uninformed, but yeah there was a lot of unnecessary hysteria. The safety systems at TMI worked well to prevent a Chernobyl. It's serious that the core melted down, but it should not have stalled the industry like it did.

the plant employees...got cumulatively less radiation ... than the average commuter gets walking through Grand Central Station from the natural radiation...


While I agree it was blown out of proportion, this statement's not true. Cumulative implies that if you add the doses of all the employees it would be less than the average GCS commuter. Plant employees (mostly maintenance personnel) would regularly receive radiation doses (more than a commuter) throughout their day depending on the equipment they were near.
Javinator
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 19, 2011
It is? Look at the spending on nuclear R&D vs. spening on renewable R&D


There haven't been any new nuclear plants built in the US since the 70s. Sure there's R&D, but I was referring more to the technology that actually exists in the infrastructure today (and only referring to the US). Sorry if I was confusing.
Modernmystic
3.2 / 5 (15) Jan 19, 2011
Some 4th generation reactor designs CAN'T meltdown. We don't even wanna talk about proposals for "5th" generation designs...

The "Fondites" need to go away...just go away...
antialias
3.4 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2011
As soon as people come up with a good plan to store the waste for thousands of years that seems even remotely realistic, THEN I'll start supporting nuclear.

But with

1) no nation currently even boasting a time of existence of their own remotely approaching that (i.e. no assurance that those who are responsible for the waste actually could take care of it - even if they wanted to)
2) No type of container we know how to fashion approaching even a small fraction of that time before it falls apart - even under optimum conditions

Factoring in of the storage cost of this junk (security for millennia isn't for free) nuclear is way, way, WAY more expensive than any other type of energy.

Oh yeah: And any country going for full scale nuclear will be at the mercy of those few countries that actually have them. Isn't it one of the reasons to go renewable to decrease such dependencies?
lengould100
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Very ridiculous assertion, where is the money for such a rapid change over comming from?


Well, I'd suggest that if the time frame were extended out to thirty years rather than twenty, there's not really a large amount of new money involved. The life of a coal generating station is only about thirty years, at least until magor overhaul which costs nearly as much as building new. Gas turbine plants pretty much 20 year lifespan.

The article simply proposes building all renewables instead of fossil generation from now to 2030. A little more capital investment, yes, but then the fuel bills are eliminated....
lengould100
4.6 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
As soon as people come up with a good plan to store the waste for thousands of years that seems even remotely realistic, THEN I'll start supporting nuclear.
As I've said before, coal typically comes out of the ground with quite high levels of radioactives in it. Coal generating stations typically "consume" about 1/10th of the radioactives for a given amount of electricity generated that a nuclear reactor does.

Which brings up the point. Why don't operators of nuclear reactors simply grind their spent fuel into a fine powder and blow it up a tall smokestack, like the dirt-burners do? In fact, if they did a decent bit of spen fuel re-cycling first, they would then still wind up emitting less mass of radioactives than the coal plants do per unit electricity.

Also to note, however, the spent fuel from a reactor contains a lot of radioactive with much shorter half-lives, so of course it would still be more dangerous IN THE SHORT TERM. But if one takes a very long vie
antialias
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 19, 2011
As I've said before, coal typically comes out of the ground with quite high levels of radioactives in it.

The radioactivity in coal is hard to use as a terroist. The radioactivity in highly toxic sludge/ burnt out uranium rods? Very easy. It's a matter of concentration.

I agree that during operation most nuclear power plants (barring accidents) release less radioactivity into the environment than coal power plants. That isn't saying much. Coal power plants aren't really a gold standard for 'environmentally friendly'.
lengould100
5 / 5 (4) Jan 19, 2011
I'm of course being facetious above, I do NOT recommend reactor operators actually blow their spent fuel all over the landscape daily. The proposition does give a new perspective, though.
lengould100
4.9 / 5 (9) Jan 19, 2011
If your greatest concern in life is that some "trrist" might use spent reactor fuel as a weapon, you've simply not got enough to worry about, and should move to Ethiopia. ;o)

Spent fuel is in fact extremely difficult to do anything with. It's a solid ceramic which is very difficult to do anything with, especially if you're thinking of extracting eg. bomb-grade purity Pu or anything like that. Eveen though it was "slightly enriched" (perhaps 5%) with radioactive U when new, much of that is gone in the spent fuel and would be essentially impossible to re-enrich to bomb-grade (99.99+%) without the budget and facilities of a nation with decent technical resources.
lengould100
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Even if a lot of spent fuel rods got dispersed by terrorists using a significant amount of normal explosives, the ceramic pellets of fuel wouldn't likely disintegrate, and a fair-size cleanup crew using gieger counters could likely locate and recover all of them in very short order. More people would likely be injured in the hysteria-induced stampede away than by the spent fuel.
ShotmanMaslo
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
Remember one rule:
current nuclear waste = future nuclear fuel

And modern new generation reactors produce only small amount of short-lived waste.

Altrough the article is right in one thing - concentrated solar power (mechanical, NOT PV!) is truly really perspective and cost efficient. IMHO the best solution is advanced nuclear power complemented by large CSP plants.
heshkake
3 / 5 (4) Jan 19, 2011
Ok, so assuming his massive amount of windfarms are built and running, what kind of effect is there going to be on the winds effects, if so much more of its energy is going to be used cranking generators. Will there be a drag effect created?
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (13) Jan 19, 2011
As soon as people come up with a good plan to store the waste for thousands of years that seems even remotely realistic, THEN I'll start supporting nuclear.


France and Japan recycle their "waste". Look it up. Your "argument" is Non-sequitir.
geokstr
1.1 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2011
It is? Look at the spending on nuclear R&D vs. spening on renewable R&D


There haven't been any new nuclear plants built in the US since the 70s. Sure there's R&D, but I was referring more to the technology that actually exists in the infrastructure today (and only referring to the US). Sorry if I was confusing.

Without doing a lot of research, and based on the ratios of articles and news releases I've seen here and elsewhere, I'd bet a hefty chunk of that R&D is being spent on FUSION, which will be feasible sometime around the construction of the first warp drive.
geokstr
1.2 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
From PBS (last I heard, no one had ever accused them of being a righttard shill for Exxon):

"The US Capitol Building in Washington DC:
...is so radioactive, due to the high uranium content in its granite walls, it could never be licensed as a nuclear power reactor site."

"Grand Central Station, NYC: 120 mrem for employees
Its granite walls have a high uranium content."

From the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (who knows, maybe Exxon got to them) on the TMI "disaster":
"Estimates are that the average dose to about 2 million people in the area was only about 1 millirem...the natural radioactive background dose of about 100‑125 millirem per year for the area..."
geokstr
1 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
From PBS (last I heard, no one had ever accused them of being a righttard shill for Exxon):
The US Capitol Building in Washington DC...is so radioactive, due to the high uranium content in its granite walls, it could never be licensed as a nuclear power reactor site.

Grand Central Station, NYC: 120 mrem for employees: Its granite walls have a high uranium content

From the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (who knows, maybe Exxon got to them) on the TMI "disaster":
Estimates are that the average dose to about 2 million people in the area was only about 1 millirem...the natural radioactive background dose of about 100 - 125 millirem per year for the area...
Parsec
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Most of the critics miss the point completely. While its entirely true that the political will and other bottlenecks will prevent 100% in 20 years, it is entirely possible that we could have 50% by then. This is an answer to the critics who claim we don't have adequate land, water, etc. to do it.

I haven't looked it up, but I wonder what kind of investment was made in the first 20 years of the automobile in terms of gas stations, industrial plants, etc. Remember that the car was the great environmental solution for the 19th century problem. Then (as now) we were drowning in mountains of dead horses and horse crap.
geokstr
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 19, 2011
Sorry about the double post, the first time it looked like it didn't accept it.
Javinator
5 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
I never said the dose rates weren't low, but the cumulative total from the employees (especially those that had to turn any valves in hot areas) is not lower than the average commuter at grand central.

The dose for a full time employee at GCS is 120 mrem/year. A trades person in a reactor could get close to that on a single high hazard job (especially in the 70s when regulations were less strict on the doses employees could receive).

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you that the dose received was minimal. I'm saying your comparison is wrong.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (9) Jan 19, 2011
Most of the critics miss the point completely. While its entirely true that the political will and other bottlenecks will prevent 100% in 20 years,


Nothing political about it...it's ALL practical.
geokstr
1 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Again, I'm not disagreeing with you that the dose received was minimal. I'm saying your comparison is wrong.

I stand chastised, since I can't find the site where the calculations I originally cited were found. (While the interwebs (thanks be to algore) are a boon for searching, when you get several million hits, depending on your search terms, finding the same site twice is often problematic.)

The larger point is still of course that there is little danger in nuclear power, as has been demonstrated everywhere in the world, and I refuse to take seriously anyone who argues for renewables and getting off oil and not buying it from enemies who won't come out for immediately building nukes en masse.

Not saying that's you, but there's plenty of others here like that.
zafouf
1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2011
The site withouthotair.com has a free downloadable book that explores sustainable energy options in a realistic, quantitative way.
The author sees it as a massive challenge, rather than the blithe view in the article above.
Scientifica
1.6 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2011
Terrorism would increase 100 fold if this occured, because the arabs would lose out on the only thing they have...oil money.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.7 / 5 (7) Jan 19, 2011
Very ridiculous assertion, where is the money for such a rapid change over comming from?


It's not possible.

Not to mention, wind is only 1/10th as cost effective at "peak power", or about 1/5th as cost effective on average, when compared to Solar.

I calculated the cost of making enough Solar power for the U.S. alone at present solar panel costs and solar tower costs, is somewhere around $50 trillion, or 3.5 years worth of the entire U.S. GDP.

The cost of concrete alone, at the current price of $100 per cubic yard, for the 4 million times 5MW turbines, ignoring re-bar or other components, is in excess of 8 trillion dollars. The concrete is actually the cheapest component in the entire turbine, representing only part of the structural component, which according to wikipedia makes up about 15% of a turbine's cost. So 4 million of such turbines would actually cost around $51 trillion.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.6 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2011
Note that above, I assumed 19 cubic yards of concrete per turbine's base, however, this was using the specs for a 1.5MW turbine. A 5MW turbine probably has a larger foundation and certainly has a much taller tower, so the price would actually scale possibly by another factor of 2 or 3 times...

so this project, as he has laid out, would actually cost somewhere between $100 trillion and $200 trillion, or 7 to 15 years worth of GDP, for the United States alone.
Arkaleus
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
"...if there is the political will to strive for this goal."

So how many MW does political will produce?

Just because you build a 100% fossil free grid doesn't mean you're going to get 100% power availability. Wind and solar are only about 30% available to begin with and solar has terrible efficiency. Like all green schemes they seem more like Lilliputian fantasies than a real energy economy.
Quantum_Conundrum
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2011
Wind and solar are only about 30% available to begin with and solar has terrible efficiency.


This isn't entirely true. Even at just 10% efficient, solar panels on your roof are 1/4 the price of the energy they produce over their lifetime, at present average electricity costs.

Now it is true availability is a problem. During the winter, solar panels will be covered by snow in many U.S. locations, and wind turbines may experience icing as well during winter, rendering them less effective or useless during...storms... When you would need their power most and they would otherwise be at their most useful, they will be useless...

In the south we use most energy in summer for cooling, and it rarely snows, so solar panels are perfect.

So the issue becomes how to transport energy to where it is needed mot when it's needed.
RobotB9
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
Where is the energy to build all this stuff going to come from? I suspect that it would require a very significant fraction of the worlds energy output. During the time all this was being built the cost for energy would go sky high...
ChiRaven
4.8 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
Face it: we WILL arrive at this end-state eventually. It may be more like 2100 than 2030, but the fact is that oil WILL get prohibitively expensive eventually. And renewable energy will be a necessity then, not a mere option.

It makes sense to begin a gradual transition to this end state, first by (gradually) removing the subsidies and tax breaks currently going to encourage the use of oil and diverting that money to the development and deployment of these alternate sources, in a priority based mostly on their "bang for the buck," but keeping an eye on the ongoing need for load balance in the long run.

And DO NOT make the mistake of underestimating the problems glossed over in this rep;ort by reference to the "bottleneck" presented by the shortage of rare earth elements. Why do you think they are CALLED "rare" in the first place?
sstritt
2.2 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
The cost of concrete alone, at the current price of $100 per cubic yard, for the 4 million times 5MW turbines, ignoring re-bar or other components, is in excess of 8 trillion dollars.

Lets not forget that concrete production is one of the top contributors of CO2. Building any such massive new infrastructure will in and of itself contribute so much CO2, that any benefit will be pushed back years. This could be a paradox that rushing to adopt zero emissions is not the best option.
rossr
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2011
So, renewables are a massive challenge, sounds like we better get started with build-out!
I'd say if a municipality, county or state wishes to build nuclear plants, their utility should be prepared to store and guard the waste localy for the next 3,000 years, accept full liability for contamination or accidents for that term, and build it with their own damn money, financing on their own, without taxpayer subsidies or release from liability.
Q: If nuclear is so hot(sic), why does the industry need loan guarantees and relief from liability?
A: because it wouldn't be profitable if all externalized costs had to be paid by the utilities.
They love to privatize the profit, while socializing the costs(waste, storage, security, liability).
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (7) Jan 19, 2011
So, renewables are a massive challenge, sounds like we better get started with build-out!

The massive challenge to going all renewable (Sun, solar, wind, and nuclear) is not economic nor technology. It's inertia. People are so used to the status-quo. It really is hard to change from a fossil fuels to almost all electric.
Why not give it a try.
ekim
4 / 5 (3) Jan 19, 2011
Terrorism would increase 100 fold if this occured, because the arabs would lose out on the only thing they have...oil money.

Terrorists are paid with oil money. The families of suicide bombers receive money after an attack. Take it away, and there is less motivation to blow themselves up.

Cement can be made by combining CO2 from power generation with sea water or water from brine aquifers.
ht(delete)tp://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cement-from-carbon-dioxide

Thorium Nuclear reactors can be very safe and burn our current waste, reducing it.
ht(delete)tp://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/348

General Fusion is planing a working reactor in four years, commercialization before the end of the decade.
ht(delete)tp://www.generalfusion.com/

With these technologies, reducing CO2 is cheap and easy.
Demoulins
5 / 5 (5) Jan 19, 2011
"envirowhackos" ... "unicorns" ... Folks, this is a _physics_ site. If you need to blow off steam, there are plenty of other places. Can we keep the conversation at a scientific and engineering level?
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 20, 2011
The larger point is still of course that there is little danger in nuclear power, as has been demonstrated everywhere in the world, and I refuse to take seriously anyone who argues for renewables and getting off oil and not buying it from enemies who won't come out for immediately building nukes en masse.


George,

I'll not argue the point of working exposure. At the same time, that in no way means that said exposure isn't significant.

I will, on the other hand, take issue with the passage quoted above. And I aim this at all of you that are so gung-ho about massive deployment of nuclear, and who evince not a single whiff of ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY caution and circumspection regarding any such deployment.

I can keep it short and sweet. When we are discussing accidentental(especially) or deliberate misuse of nuclear, it only takes one.

You should catch up on the ongoing Chernyobl thing. Really.

Caliban
5 / 5 (5) Jan 20, 2011
The cost of concrete alone, at the current price of $100 per cubic yard, for the 4 million times 5MW turbines, ignoring re-bar or other components, is in excess of 8 trillion dollars.

Lets not forget that concrete production is one of the top contributors of CO2. Building any such massive new infrastructure will in and of itself contribute so much CO2, that any benefit will be pushed back years. This could be a paradox that rushing to adopt zero emissions is not the best option.


sstritt,

You're forgetting the negative offset of reduced CO2 contributionfrom reduction in fossil fuel consumption that this phase-in of renewables would represent.

I don't know what the relative contributions are per unit weight/volume, but I suspect that the contribution by concrete is considerably lower, any way you measure it.

Anyone care to take a stab at the calculation?

antialias
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 20, 2011
The amout of CO2 released by producing concrete to the amount of CO2 released during the operation of a fossil fuel plant is negligible.

I think not many people are arguing that you can't have safe nuclear reactors in countries that have high safety standards (however, this excludes most countries and certainly all where profit reigns supreme)

Waste disposal is another matter. If we, say, double the amount of nuclear reactors worldwide and all countries went the way of the russians (i.e. just dumping their waste into the oceans) then we'd be in big trouble.
xznofile
5 / 5 (4) Jan 20, 2011
since the '80s there's been a mass exodus of people from sections of the midwest like Kansas & Nebraska. and an influx of big ag business to buy up cheap land. It's just these big businesses that have the capital to place wind & solar technologies there where wind & sunlight is laying around unused. It's probable that they will eventually get on the ball, the only question is when.
Javinator
4.6 / 5 (5) Jan 20, 2011
You should catch up on the ongoing Chernyobl thing. Really.


You should look into what happened at Chernobyl (not just the aftermath, I mean the causes of the meltdown/core explosion) and compare that to current practices and standards in the nuclear industry.

Of course nuclear power has the potential to be dangerous due to the energy that can be released during fission (specifically during a prompt critical event), but again, I would urge that you look into the redundancy and the safety measures as well as the operating practices in plants today before comparing today's plants to Chernobyl.
Eikka
1 / 5 (6) Jan 20, 2011
A lot of criticisms here with no references. Some of the comments are so wrong they're funny. There's no reason that renewable electricity can't supply a storable portable engine fuel (methane as CNG, synthetic diesel, etc.) Slave-rowed ships??? ha ha ha.


You're trying to reduce overall energy consumption by 30% while synthesizing liquid/gaseous fuels with electricity at a loss of up to 50%.

How does that work?

Just replacing all the gasoline with synthetically produced liquid fuels would double the energy consumption of transportation. Engines aren't going to get much more efficient that what they already are, so you have a huge problem there.
El_Nose
4.5 / 5 (2) Jan 20, 2011
someone made a comment suggesting that if we were invading then we would need recharge stations every few miles for our tanks ---

Well if the world went close to 100% electrical then the price of oil would plummet -- making transporting gasoline a negliable cost compared to today. _ Besides if you invade a country you bring your own gas -- that's just logistics and we been doin that since WW1
Quinn_Sysmith
1.4 / 5 (7) Jan 20, 2011
Why wait that long, there are inventors who have the tech available now. Just search in youtube for zero point energy or alternative energy and tons of stuff comes up. Granted they don't have the backing or finance to make it a reality on a large scale but corporations know you can't make money if you make a constant free energy source so they will be bypassed/ignored. And that's why the human race is destined to destroy themselves. To little to late, oh well, I'm just glad I don't have kids that will have to suffer in the future because of the corruption and greed. We can blow the world up multiple times thanks to advances in weapons but we can't create free energy, come on. And people wonder why I say satanists run the world....
lengould100
5 / 5 (4) Jan 20, 2011
A lot of criticisms here with no references. Some of the comments are so wrong they're funny. There's no reason that renewable electricity can't supply a storable portable engine fuel (methane as CNG, synthetic diesel, etc.) Slave-rowed ships??? ha ha ha.


You're trying to reduce overall energy consumption by 30% while synthesizing liquid/gaseous fuels with electricity at a loss of up to 50%.

How does that work?

Just replacing all the gasoline with synthetically produced liquid fuels would double the energy consumption of transportation. Engines aren't going to get much more efficient that what they already are, so you have a huge problem there.


First off, that objection was a strawman argument because the article proposes replacing present electricity generation with renewables, not all energy use.

lengould100
4 / 5 (8) Jan 20, 2011
Secondly, given that a typical personal auto IC engine efficienty may be 25% at best, dropping to zero when idle at a stoplight, whereas plugin hybrid electric autos can typically take in and use electric energy at around 80% efficiency, suffering the 50% efficiency hit for electricity-to-storable-fuel would still make sense for those few long trips which exceed the range of your Chevy Volt's batteries.
Phrontis
3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2011
I have no idea how much steel would have to go into a 5MW turbine but a rough estimate is 250 tonnes. So that is 250 x 4,000,000 = 1,000,000,000 tonnes. Global steel production (Wikipedia) is 1.2 Billion Tonnes for 2009, half of which is Chinese. Where is the extra going to come from? At current price of $725 per tonne that is going to put a big hole in the cost of building fusion reactors, I am sure the scientist and engineers could speed things along with $75Bn let alone the $750Bn cost just for the steel for the turbines.
Here in the UK a 3kW solar installation for my roof would be about £15,000, x 1.7Bn for all the world, so a cost of £25,000,000,000,000, call it $30Tn. The man who is suggesting this is a total idiot, so am I for even trying to calculate it.
John_Doe
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2011
100% ? Impossible. What about airplanes, ships, trains, submarines, etc. ?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.5 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2011
Now it is true availability is a problem. During the winter, solar panels will be covered by snow in many U.S. locations, and wind turbines may experience icing as well during winter, rendering them less effective or useless during...storms... When you would need their power most and they would otherwise be at their most useful, they will be useless...
Actually they don't really get covered up too much if you take a few precautions. Every fall I go up and rain-x mine. Keeps the ice buildup off them, making the majority of snow slide right off. They have some now that have a heat filament that you can flip on from grid power to defrost them as well.
stvnwlsn
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2011
A lot of rhetoric on both ends. Who will be more convincing? Those receiving the government grants or those being paid to post here by the oil, coal and nuclear industries or the political party they own? Hopefully those who want to preserve our environment and are willing to make a few sacrifices will win out in the end.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2011
Who will be more convincing? Those receiving the government grants or those being paid to post here by the oil, coal and nuclear industries or the political party they own?

Umm...those are the same people. Oil and coal are heavily subsidized (isometimes indirectly...in the case of oil via trillion dollar spending on certain wars)
sstritt
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2011
You can get paid to post here? Someone please put me in touch. BTW, which side pays the best?
Jimee
5 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2011
We just need to do the right thing to make our earth a very superior place. Gosh! what a novel idea!
harryhill
5 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2011
Talking about nuclear. What about the Thorium reactors?
I understand that Thorium is very abundant and the reactors do not produce the byproducts like regular uranium reactors. Some have suggested that this type of reactor could almost be a local power source for every city/town etc.
ekim
5 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2011
Talking about nuclear. What about the Thorium reactors?
I understand that Thorium is very abundant and the reactors do not produce the byproducts like regular uranium reactors. Some have suggested that this type of reactor could almost be a local power source for every city/town etc.

Our current supply of nuclear waste could also be burned in such a reactor, limiting its amount and producing energy.
Jmaximus
3 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2011
It is hard under estimate the lack of knowledge of many of the posters here. Does anybody really believe there is an endless supply of fossil fuels we can just tap into? Not being dependent on foreign energy is just good common sense.

Wind and Solar are very promising energy sources and need to be pursued with vigor. They are not now nor will they ever be our only options though. There will be a growing diversity of energy sources, storage and distribution. Cellulosic and or algal fuels will play important part in our transportation sectors, no airplane will ever run on batteries. Geothermal is a huge untapped resource with greater potential than all the fossil fuels combined, the planet core is molten lava after all.

The process of converting to these newer energy sources will happen as surely as we discarded the horse and buggy.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2011
For all the cost-calculators above, you need to get some perspective. First, the costs you calculate have to be divided (at a minimum) by 20 -- because they're talking about a 20-year span of phase-in. Second, you have to figure that over 20 years the efficiencies of solar/wind/tidal generators will continue improving. Third, you have to figure that with mass-production, costs are going to keep dropping. Fourth, you have to keep in mind that they're talking about global numbers (not just U.S., or U.K.): the GDP of the EU is larger than that of the US even today, and in 20 years the GDP's of China, India, and Brazil will be similarly huge (never mind the rest of the world.) Fifth, consider materials advances (e.g. using advanced composites instead of steel.) Sixth, consider continuing mechanization/robotization of labor. Seventh, consider enhanced recycling. Eighth, consider all the things we can't foresee, even today.

I'd say it's not quite as impossible as you imagine.
ecostud
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2011

Wow, the critics really jumped on this one fast. But maybe the article opened that up with its casual tone. I appreciate PinkElephant's rational points and would like to follow them up with some further ideas.

Does 100% renewable really seem that impossible-- or bad? How about 50%? Why not balance the rising fossil fuel cost by reducing the demand? It's all about pocket cost, but it's good to also factor in the long-term costs of pollution and resource use.

Something has to be done with the old coal plants as they wear out. Why not replace a good portion of them with renewables? The materials will be used either way, let’s use them wisely. Doing that, is the infrastructure cost really that different over the next 20 or 100 years?
ecostud
5 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2011
Building a safe modern nuclear plant isn't cheap either. I attended a talk by Excelon recently which showed new nuclear plant costs as much per peak kW as wind and almost as much as solar. And that doesn't even get into the lifetime cost of decommissioning and storage. Yes France recycles its fuel, but a byproduct is weapons grade plutonium, so I don't see that as a perfect solution I would like to propose to the entire world. And the raw uranium ore (not limitless either) has to be mined from somewhere. I would much rather have wind turbines in all the farm fields across the midwest than a coal or uranium mine next to my town.

That same Excelon graph showed efficiency as being the most profitable measure. As saving 30% can easily be done in buildings which use 60% of our energy, I think that should be very doable. Saving 50% is also usually not too hard if you are willing to have a 5-10yr payback.
ecostud
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission--it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too--old car batteries. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.
ecostud
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission--it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too--old car batteries. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.
ecostud
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission-it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.

Solar "efficiency" doesn't really matter unless your roof is too small (read: apartment or space station) or you're concerned with desert land use-which may be valid in some cases. Not that the thermal efficiency of turning steam into electricity is that great either, with 60-75% of the energy going up the stack. Wind turbines have a capacity factor of 30% (time running at full power), while a coal or nuke plant is only around 70% as they still need maintenance and aren’t needed as much at night when electricity is almost free.
antialias
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
Thorium reactors use Helium for cooling (which is NOT in abundant supply). Since helium is a very lightweight gas (and atomically very small) it is hard to contain. Losses would be 0.2 - 1% a day (depending on whom you ask). If such reactors were being built in numbers then that would amount to a fast increase of demand for a very scarce resource - and you'd have the problem again which you had been trying to alleviate by using thorium reactors in the first place.

Plus: thorium reactors need a lot higher temperatures and therefore are more prone to catastrophic material failure.
ecostud
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission-it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.

Solar "efficiency" doesn't really matter unless your roof is too small (read: apartment or space station) or you're concerned with desert land use-which may be valid in some cases. Not that the thermal efficiency of turning steam into electricity is that great either, with 60-75% of the energy going up the stack. Wind turbines have a capacity factor of 30% (time running at full power), while a coal or nuke plant is only around 70% as they still need maintenance and aren’t needed as much at night when electricity is almost free.
ecostud
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission-it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.
Modernmystic
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 26, 2011
There is no viable way to address variability without HUGE banks of batteries. Wind and solar are niche curiosities....they'll never power a technically advanced civilization.
Modernmystic
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 26, 2011
Plus: thorium reactors need a lot higher temperatures and therefore are more prone to catastrophic material failure.


Source?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (5) Jan 26, 2011
Thorium reactors use Helium for cooling (which is NOT in abundant supply). Since helium is a very lightweight gas (and atomically very small) it is hard to contain. Losses would be 0.2 - 1% a day (depending on whom you ask). If such reactors were being built in numbers then that would amount to a fast increase of demand for a very scarce resource - and you'd have the problem again which you had been trying to alleviate by using thorium reactors in the first place.

Plus: thorium reactors need a lot higher temperatures and therefore are more prone to catastrophic material failure.

Thorium reactors also use sodium to cool, as for prone to catastrophic failure, how so? Once the blanket fails, which is the most common point of failure, the enrichment reaction ceases. There's very little that is catastrophic about it.
ecostud
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
Renewable's variability can be addressed with very robust transmission-it's always windy somewhere in the US. And that’s where political will might be the most important. Maybe there will be a market for some battery storage in there too. Conveniently, the need for electricity peaks on hot days when solar has a coincident peak. That is worth a lot of money to power companies who have to keep expensive natural gas peaker plants on standby for those days.
antialias
2.5 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2011
There's very little that is catastrophic about it.
These reactors have been tried. All were failure prone / unsuccessful. There's a reason why 8more expensive) uranium reactors superceded them.

Don't you think the industry would have loved to have reactors with such 'cheap' fuel?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (5) Jan 26, 2011
There's very little that is catastrophic about it.
These reactors have been tried. All were failure prone / unsuccessful. There's a reason why 8more expensive) uranium reactors superceded them.

Don't you think the industry would have loved to have reactors with such 'cheap' fuel?

The industry does love them, this is why they're being constructed across all of India currently.

We have NRC regulations that prevent the construction of thorium based reactors in the US, aside from us, very few countries have even thought of constructing them, let alone running them for anything other than spent fuel reprocessing.
geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
There is no viable way to address variability without HUGE banks of batteries. Wind and solar are niche curiosities....they'll never power a technically advanced civilization.

There is still the possibility of locating the solar collectors outside the atmosphere, where the sun's energy is invariable, and then beaming the power to earth. The problem of course is that is still way beyond our present technology, perhaps hundreds of years away. And what happens if the beam gets misaligned by as much as a tiny fraction of a degree with a meteorite hit or a mechanical failure or a program glitch? Oops, there goes New York.
geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2011
First off, that objection was a strawman argument because the article proposes replacing present electricity generation with renewables, not all energy use.

We are being encouraged right now to replace oil with electricity. There are nearly 300 MILLION cars and light trucks in the US alone, 99.99% of which use gasoline. That does not include 18 wheelers and smaller trucks, airplanes, ships/boats, military vehicles, construction, farm and mining equipment, generators, lawn mowers, recreational vehicles and lots more.

If we are going to get even an appreciable fraction powered by electricity, we will need a massive INCREASE in power generation, probably orders of magnitude, plus all the attendant infrastructure: charging stations, battery production and disposal, transmission lines, etc.

It could probably be done, but over the next couple centuries, not a single generation. I could support a long term gradual transition,
ecostud
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
It all really comes down to cost. Right now renewables cost more, but what about when fuel costs rise a few cents per kWh? It's not trivial, but neither is our aging infrastructure. Comparing the cost of replacing dirty fossil with renewable (and some nuke) makes the equation look very different.

I choose to apply myself as a leader in a field that I believe has great potential. I could also probably go to nuclear design school and get paid very well to do a critical and potentially stressful job. I just hope we don't get bogged down in debate over the details while the rest of the world becomes the expert in the future.
ekim
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2011
There's very little that is catastrophic about it.
These reactors have been tried. All were failure prone / unsuccessful. There's a reason why 8more expensive) uranium reactors superceded them.

Don't you think the industry would have loved to have reactors with such 'cheap' fuel?

I thought the reason for a shift away from thorium had more to do with it being a poor producer of weapons grade material.
antialias
5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2011
Plenty of countries out there that don't produce nuclear weapons (e.g. germany) who use nuclear power. Don't you think they would be all over thorium reactors? Certainly if you witness the demosntrations going on when the radioactive waste is ferried halfway accross europe for treatment/storage.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2011
If we are going to get even an appreciable fraction powered by electricity, we will need a massive INCREASE in power generation, probably orders of magnitude, plus all the attendant infrastructure: charging stations, battery production and disposal, transmission lines, etc.
Actually it's not generation that's the problem, it's transmission. Many companies produce excess power during offpeak just to keep the turbine running as they have to spin at a minimum speed or be shutdown. Shutdown and startup is a lengthy process that would cause brownouts as peak ramped up past baseload. We have the generation in total, the losses from transmission are the real killer.
Plenty of countries out there that don't produce nuclear weapons (e.g. germany) who use nuclear power. Don't you think they would be all over thorium reactors?
Germany shutdown all nuclear power generation in 97.
geokstr
1 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2011
Actually it's not generation that's the problem, it's transmission. Many companies produce excess power during offpeak just to keep the turbine running as they have to spin at a minimum speed or be shutdown. Shutdown and startup is a lengthy process that would cause brownouts as peak ramped up past baseload. We have the generation in total, the losses from transmission are the real killer.

Of course transmission is a problem. It's inefficiency is bad enough, and now you have the envirofreaks who demand we go to renewables fighting the building of transmission lines from the windfarms. They probably heard a rumor that a furbish snaildarter or something was spotted 1,000 miles away.

But if you want to claim that we already produce enough electricity, or even can under this plan, to power the billion electric cars, trucks, ships, planes, tanks, construction/farming/mining and other equipment, many of which haven't even been invented let alone built yet, please show your work.

Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2011
I'm not sure how feasible it is, but if transmission is a big issue there are some small nuclear reactors being built by the Japanese for some isolated towns in Alaska that need to be refueled about every 30 years, and are basically "place and forget" in design.

If you can do some de-centralization like that, you help with transmission problems, and even help defend against things like asymmetric warfare.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2011
But if you want to claim that we already produce enough electricity, or even can under this plan, to power the billion electric cars, trucks, ships, planes, tanks, construction/farming/mining and other equipment, many of which haven't even been invented let alone built yet, please show your work.
Well first, you're inventing a lot of applications that have never been considered grid-viable electric vehicles. Beyond that you further create a strawman to try to force your viewpoint into some sort of authoritative stance.

If you want to say we can't, show your work.

Beyond that, with a market based drawdown of gasoline vehicles over time, approximately 30 years or so, we'll see EV and grid evolved to a point where the ability to generate and support the vehicle swapover can be manifest.

Are you assuming we're just going to pull 300 million cars off the road tomorrow? That's silly talk.
antialias
5 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2011
Germany shutdown all nuclear power generation in 97.


No. I live in germany. Our politicians are currently voting to extend lifetimes of all reactors till 2030 (currently there is a law which says they all of them should shut down in 2020)

There's more than 20 nuclear reactors currently operating in germany.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2011
Germany shutdown all nuclear power generation in 97.


No. I live in germany. Our politicians are currently voting to extend lifetimes of all reactors till 2030 (currently there is a law which says they all of them should shut down in 2020)

There's more than 20 nuclear reactors currently operating in germany.

I may be out of date but I grew up there, I still have my immediate family there and I visit often.
Last reactor that I was aware of was Obrigheim, and that's been entirely offline since 05. Ah, nevermind, just found it. Looks like there are 17 running currently. I recant.
Tom_Blees
1 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2011
This ridiculous "study" was savaged far and wide when Scientific American magazine displayed the poor judgement to give it publicity with a front-page treatment back in November of 2009. One of the most thorough take-downs was at the Brave New Climate blog. Since html tags aren't allowed here, use this if you'd like to locate it: tinyurl.com/yaqr52d . BNC has an impressive stable of commenters (including many bona fide energy specialists) who were so rabid in their critiques that Jacobson, the author of the "study", decided to weigh in to defend himself, which only resulted in more fodder for the critics. I highly recommend that thread for those who are interested in evaluating this piece of work.
Conni
5 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2011
A question I love asking people amidst the fossil v. renewable v. nuclear debate is:

Where do you get the literal knowledge for your stated position?

Just amuses me that people that "learn" from news-OPINION shows think they have a credible stance.

Thank you to all posting regarding nuclear, I know nothing and have appreciated the comments.

The calculations of transforming to renewables mean nothing until the presumed costs of renewable energy conversion are compared to the presumed costs of continued fossil fuel consumption. Adding medical and environmental fix figures to the fossil fuel expenses will close the gap a bit.