Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

March 16, 2015
The Puertollano Photovoltaic Park in Puertollano, Spain, a 47.6 MW installation in the Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot. Credit: Rebecca R. Hernandez

In the face of global climate change, increasing the use of renewable energy resources is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. Further development of one resource, solar energy, is complicated by the need to find space for solar power-generating equipment without significantly altering the surrounding environment.

New work from Carnegie's Rebecca R. Hernandez (now at University of California Berkley), Madison K. Hoffacker, and Chris Field found that the amount of that could be generated from solar equipment constructed on and around existing infrastructure in California would exceed the state's demand by up to five times. It is published by Nature Climate Change.

"Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact," Hernandez explained.

Just over 8 percent of all of the terrestrial surfaces in California have been developed by humans—from cities and buildings to park spaces. Residential and commercial rooftops present plenty of opportunity for power generation through small- and utility-scale installations. Other compatible opportunities are available in open urban spaces such as parks.

Likewise, there is opportunity for additional solar construction in undeveloped sites that are not ecologically sensitive or federally protected, such as degraded lands.

"Because of the value of locating solar power-generating operations near roads and existing transmission lines, our tool identifies potentially compatible sites that are not remote, showing that installations do not necessarily have to be located in deserts," Hernandez said.

This study included two kinds of solar technologies, photovoltaics, which use semiconductors and are similar to the solar panels found in consumer electronics, and , which uses enormous curved mirrors to focus the sun's rays. A mix of both options would be possible, as best suits each particular area of installation, whether it is on a rooftop, in a park, on degraded lands, or anywhere else deemed compatible or potentially compatible. They found that small- and utility-scale solar power could generate up to 15,000 terawatt-hours of energy per year using photovoltaic technology and 6,000 terrawatt-hours of energy per year using concentrating solar power technology.

Overall the team found that California has about 6.7 million acres (27, 286 square kilometers) of land that is compatible for photovoltaic solar construction and about 1.6 million acres (6,274 square kilometers) compatible for concentrating solar power. There is also an additional 13.8 million acres (55,733 square kilometers) that is potentially compatible for development with minimal environmental impact and 6.7 million acres (27,215 square kilometers) also potentially compatible for concentrating solar power development.

The team's work shows it is possible to substantially increase the fraction of California's energy needs met by solar, without converting natural habitat and causing adverse and without moving solar installations to locations remote from the consumers.

"As California works to meet requirements that 33 percent of retail electricity be provided by renewable sources by 2020 and that greenhouse-gas emissions be 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, our research can help policymakers, developers, and energy stakeholders make informed decisions," said Field, director of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology. "Furthermore, our findings have implications for other states and countries with similarly precious environmental resources and infrastructural constraints."

Explore further: America's place in the sun: Energy report sets goal

More information: Efficient use of land for meeting sustainable energy needs, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2556

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TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (27) Mar 16, 2015
Why bother? Just build more nukes.

"the real health and environmental impacts from the Fukushima reactors are nothing compared to the tsunami. Contrary to all the hype and fear, Fukushima is basically a large Superfund site. No one will die from Fukushima radiation, there will be no increased cancer rates, the food supply is not contaminated, the ocean nearby is not contaminated, most of the people can move back into their homes, and most of the other nuclear plants in Japan can start up just fine.

"the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) made a very strong and important statement concerning radiation effects from the Fukushima disaster (UNSCEAR press release; NYTimes DotEarth):

"It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers from exposure to radiation following the leaks and explosions at the earthquake-damaged power plant in March of 2011."
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (27) Mar 16, 2015
"In fact, some Superfund sites in the United States have caused more health effects and environmental damage than the crippled Japanese reactors ever will.... But no Superfund site will ever have as much money spent on it as will Fukushima"

-due to unflagging efforts of sloganeers and aging hippies no doubt.

The above came from a very dependable source - Forbes:
http://www.forbes...astrous/

-Rather than nipponese expats living in romanian basements.
http://fukushima-...m/about/

"I saw a reactor blow up and it scared me so I went to romania and wrote a blog." boo hoo
Osiris1
1.2 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2015
The future of the solar system is compact high intensity fusion. We get there thru research and interest first in better nuclear, and then to its orders of magnitude more efficient and cleaner brother fusion nuclear. Then come power transport systems to handle large loads on system asteroid miners.
MR166
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 16, 2015
Really I cannot see the problem meeting all of California's electric needs with solar power. They should ban all fossil and nuclear power. All they need to do is shut off certain neighborhoods when the renewable supply cannot meet the demand requirements. Soon enough all those pesky industries and people that require power on a 24/7 basis will move out of state and the problem will be solved one and for all.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (27) Mar 16, 2015
"Really I cannot see the problem meeting all of California's electric needs with solar power. "
---------------------------------------

Nobody said we have to do that, silly. We just have the opportunity to do so.
And now with commercial batteries on the market, more and more alternative sources will be enabled, and will chase Filthy Fuels out of the market.
gkam
1.5 / 5 (24) Mar 16, 2015
I love it: Folk with no education or experience in a technical field look up phrases on Google and Wiki, then assume they understand them, or even have them in context.

Want to read more like that? Go to the NRC and the NRA (Japan), and their own nuclear apologists say the same thing, while hiding radioactive Fukushima leaks.

There is BIG MONEY invested in this terrible technology. It will not be easy to end without alternative energy.
Bill589
1.7 / 5 (12) Mar 16, 2015
Global Warming is a government/corporate ruse. Research - there have recently been brave souls coming out of this 'scientific' community to expose it.

Thank goodness. When I was younger, the government and some of their corporate cronies wanted more power and money to save us from an eminent ice-age. Different lie. Same liars.

At that time I was called a 'science denier'. Now, the liars and the duped call me a 'climate denier'. Wrong on both occasions.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (28) Mar 16, 2015
Gosh, Bill, I suggest you read the science instead of political/crackpot sources.

This science source alone should have made you realize political prejudice is no way to make technical judgments.
runrig
4.6 / 5 (10) Mar 17, 2015
Global Warming is a government/corporate ruse. Research - there have recently been brave souls coming out of this 'scientific' community to expose it.

of course it's a ruse, I mean it's only logical.
Just like Neil Armstrong was in a studio when he put his foot on the Moon, and the Gubberment crashed planes into the towers.
You do realise that the above marks you out as a failed thinker?
Brave souls?
Human nature my friend. There is always a small section of society who want to be contrary and just because 3% of a large number don't agree doesn't mean the large number is wrong.
Your 3% just get the publicity via your preferred Blogs, whereas climate scientists know their claims don't stand up.
Sorry about that.
Dethe
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 17, 2015
Even the highest overproduction of solar energy will not solve the question, from where the California will get the energy during night and bad weather periods.
MR166
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2015
Instead of funding garbage projects like the high speed bullet train and spending vast amounts of monies to limit the release of a beneficial gas California and the federal government should be funding new water projects. If things keep going at the present rate there will be no water left for the basic needs of the population. Talk about fiddling while Rome burned, this is a prime example.
runrig
4.6 / 5 (10) Mar 17, 2015
Even the highest overproduction of solar energy will not solve the question, from where the California will get the energy during night and bad weather periods.

Storage.
Batteries/Capacitors. The tech will catch up.
There's other means of storage as well, eg molten salt.
MR166
2.5 / 5 (4) Mar 17, 2015
Storage in the form of energy, electricity or fuel really is the key here. My guess is that PV and batteries will win the race. Wind and solar heat collection appear to have too many issues with wildlife.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.5 / 5 (21) Mar 17, 2015
I love it: Folk with no education or experience in a technical field look up phrases on Google and Wiki, then assume they understand them, or even have them in context
Well of course doing research and finding valid references from genuine experts is better than people with no formal education and no related experience, making up their own facts isn't it?
suggest you read the science instead of political/crackpot sources
Yes and this would include sources which claim that Fukushima reactor explosions could throw vessel parts 120km. Any idiot would know that even the most advanced artillery couldn't do that. Any idiot who actually thought about it that is.
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
The biggest problem with nuclear power is that it is operated by humans. Fukushima could have been saved or the hazards significantly reduced if the people in charge were willing to admit that they had a problem and asked for international help. More than likely just 500KW of backup generator power could have kept the cooling system operational and the whole catastrophe a non-issue.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is government hazard remediation. Here in my home state a student brought a mercury fever thermometer to school. She dropped it and it broke, spilling the mercury. THE WHOLE SCHOOL WAS EVACUATED until a HAZMAT team cleaned it up.
Scroofinator
4.7 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
Storage.
Batteries/Capacitors. The tech will catch up.


Or they use the excess energy to desalinate water and pump it up the mountains. Then when more energy is required they can get it by releasing it to a lower reservoir. Thanks gravity.
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
"Or they use the excess energy to desalinate water and pump it up the mountains. Then when more energy is required they can get it by releasing it to a lower reservoir. Thanks gravity."

Desalinization is one of the most energy intensive processes there is. Thus, the energy losses in the process will be prohibitive. But if you live in an area that needs to produce fresh water from salt water, solar power could be an ideal source of energy since the end product can be stored for future use at a very low cost.
Scroofinator
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Desalinization is one of the most energy intensive processes there is

While that's true, does it really matter? Excess energy is what we're talking about here. 3-5 times California's yearly needs is a huge amount of energy. Regardless of how intensive desalination is, there would still be plenty of fresh water produced, which is exactly what the drought stricken region needs.

gkam
1.4 / 5 (21) Mar 17, 2015
"California and the federal government should be funding new water projects."
------------------------------------------

Water projects store and transport water, they do not make it. We need the feedstock.
MR166
4 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Scroof energy, especially solar and wind, is not free. They are fighting to be cost competitive with fossil and nuclear. Thus, efficiency does matter. The cost of producing and storing renewable energy for 24/7 use is a prime concern in determining it's viability.
MR166
3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
Gkam if there are no sources of water to tap for California then high speed transportation is pretty much a useless idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!
gkam
1.4 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
The energy is free, but the installations require investment, but not as much as nukes or some kind of "clean coal", yet to be invented. And since there are no fuel costs, which are the biggest portion of our energy costs, we all save.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
Gkam if there are no sources of water to tap for California then high speed transportation is pretty much a useless idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!
------------------------------------

Unless it is used to get us between the good spots. Then, it is even more important.

BTW, when good crops get scarce, which kinds and quality do you think we will send you?

Laugh at us all you want.
MR166
3 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
"The energy is free, but the installations require investment,"

"Free" is all a matter of definition isn't it? Only an idiot would consider energy to be free without including the costs of providing it to the ultimate users users in the equation.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (21) Mar 17, 2015
Are you conflating the cost of energy with its distribution?

It is "free" compared to fossil fuels, isn't it?

Tell you what: I'll take all the waste products from electricity generation from wind and hydro and PV, if you take the waste from coal and nukes. And we can pay for the feedstocks, too!
MR166
4 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
"Are you conflating the cost of energy with its distribution?"

Let me get this straight gkam. The sun is shining and giving us free energy. Thus, providing solar energy in the form of electricity is a "Cost of distribution" and does not enter into the equation?
gkam
1.4 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
Once again:
The energy is free, but the installations require investment, but not as much as nukes or some kind of "clean coal", yet to be invented. And since there are no fuel costs, which are the biggest portion of our energy costs, we all save.

Will the transmission costs be higher? We do not know. We transmit power now from Washington state to Los Angeles, and through many Western states, part of Canada and a little of Mexico on the same grid. Most of the large generator stations are in remote locations.

What has changed is the technology, the cost of fuel, and the elimination of toxic waste.
Scroofinator
4 / 5 (4) Mar 17, 2015
energy, especially solar and wind, is not free

Duh, it's called an investment.
The cost of producing and storing renewable energy for 24/7 use is a prime concern in determining it's viability.

Yup, and I gave you a plan for doing so using gravitational potential energy.

Any further roadblocks you want to try and create? That's the problem these days, too many naysayers and not enough doers.

MR166
1.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
gcam and Scroof if you cannot make the mental leap from solar radiation to the subsidy free 24/7 actual cost per KWH to the consumer you should be ashamed!

It is very hard to have an intelligent discussion with people who do not want to deal with reality.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
"It is very hard to have an intelligent discussion with people who do not want to deal with reality."
---------------------------------------

I dealt with this "reality" when I worked in Technical Services for Pacific Gas & Electric.

And, . . "subsidy-free"? Look up Votgle 3 & 4.
Scroofinator
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 17, 2015
24/7 actual cost per KWH to the consumer you should be ashamed

You should be ashamed for not realizing the simple fact that if renewable energy got the benefits and tax breaks that the fossil fuel industry gets it would be wholly cost competitive.

Shame...
gkam
1.5 / 5 (22) Mar 17, 2015
Midwest utilities are now trying to get to have their uneconomic nukes subsidized directly by the ratepayers. No kidding.

Then, there is this:
http://www.bloomb...ergy-iea

And this:

http://www.taxpay...ctors-34
MR166
5 / 5 (1) Mar 17, 2015
I urge both of you to read the link above. If 5x or even 1x 100% solar power is an economic feasibility at this point in time the link that you and I are posting on would never have existed.
Scroofinator
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
Nice links gkam, the first one clearly made my earlier point about subsidies.

"State spending to cut retail prices of gasoline, coal and natural gas rose 36 percent to $409 billion as global energy costs increased, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said today in its World Energy Outlook. Aid for biofuels, wind power and solar energy, rose 10 percent to $66 billion.
While fossil fuels meet about 80 percent of world energy demand, its subsidies are "creating market distortions that encourage wasteful consumption," the agency said. "The costs of subsidies to fossil fuels generally outweigh the benefits."

So I ask you MR166, do you think an additional $343 billion to renewables would help ease the costs to the consumer?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
grace_adams
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
Storage is needed to make wind and solar, the intermittent power sources, work. Whether we use batteries or use extra power to desalinate seawater and pump it up to a high storage tank and retrieve some power on the water's way down to where it is needed, storage will make solar power a usable energy source for California. Considering how useful desalinated seawater can be, I like that solution for energy storage.
Scroofinator
3 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Another use for excess energy could be for creating hydrogen fuel, especially since that technology is rapidly increasing.
http://phys.org/n...firstCmt
MR166
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Scroof I ask you how much does the Oil, gas and electric industry pay in state local and federal taxes each year over what they receive in so called subsidies and tax breakes? Now I ask you how much does the renewable energy industry pay in taxes each year over what they they receive in rate subsidies and government handouts?

When you are able to answer that question in an honest fashion I will be happy to discuss it with you!!!!
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
Scroof, you do not have to answer to 166. He is not the arbiter of anything.

He is trying to find some kind of talking point to save his arguments against renewables.
Scroofinator
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2015
First off MR166, the fact that you ignore my question tells me you've already lost the argument. But in the interest of appeasing your silly question:

Oil, gas and electric industry pay in state local and federal taxes each year

They pay taxes just as any other business does, so do renewable companies. Of course fossil fuel companies will pay more in taxes, they have 80% plus market share. More profits=more taxes, as it should be.

Government handouts? Really? You're going back to Solyndra? A $535 million loan is chump change compared to the $400b in subsidies that fossil fuels receive. Such a simpleton. I applaud any effort to get a fledgling green company up and running, at least the government is trying something.

BTW it's a bit telling when you randomly capitalize oil, making it Big Oil. I wonder where your interests lie...
Dethe
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2015
Another use for excess energy could be for creating hydrogen fuel
Yes, but the effectiveness of hydrogen production from electricity is about 40%, the effectiveness of production of electricity from hydrogen burning is about 60% (gas turbines). So we are accumulating energy with 0.4 x 0.6 = 0.24 efficiency, i.e. bellow 25%. And the storage of hydrogen is not also for free. It's like the usage of solar cells with 3% efficiency instead of nominal 25%. Under such a situation the solar energy cannot be economically viable.

Richard Feynman: "When unsure, just shut up - and calculate!" The energetics is no place for political proclamations, only for hard economical numbers.
MR166
4.8 / 5 (4) Mar 17, 2015
Scroof if you prefer to make the playing field equal and calculate the net (all taxes minus all subsidies) taxes paid per unit of energy sold that is fine with me. That calculation would be very interesting to see.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 17, 2015
You got a big five on that one, Mr 166!
MR166
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Be aware Gkam that a tax deduction is not necessarily considered a subsidy. For instance if I sell a loaf if bread for $2 and buy it for $1 I get a $1 tax deduction for cost of good sold.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 17, 2015
Special ones are, such as the depletion allowance.
MR166
3 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
Gkam I am not an expert in this field but I understand the depletion allowance to be like the cost of goods sold. If you pay $1 million dollars to lease an oil field that contains 1 million bbls of oil you get to deduct $1 for every bbl produced. This seems fair since it is a cost and the oil lease is worthless after the oil is extracted. Please correct me if this is not accurate
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2015
MR166
That calculation would be very interesting to see.


Agreed... What would also be interesting would be to include the other topic that you and Eikka absolutely refuse to address - which is the externalities of fossils. 7 million people die every year from pollution - much related to the burning of coal and oil - but no mention of that.

Fossils and nukes have been getting government supports for many many decades now - total silence... Now there is a new guy on the block that threatens to introduce some real competition and markets - and all of a sudden everyone is against government supports.

Here check out Hinkley - http://www.theeco...ies.html

MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
Green numbers like that are suspect because there is a big temptation to fudge the figures for agenda drive reasons. But for the time being lets just accept the 7 million figure as correct. Everything in the world has a cost benefit ratio attached to it. Give me a figure off the top of your head. How many lives are saved each year because of fossil fuels?
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2015
How many lives are saved each year because of fossil fuels?


Oh shock MR - you wont talk about the externalities of fossil fuels - or the subsidies to the nukes. So of course - your question is impossible to answer - but I fully acknowledge that our world has benefited greatly from the use of modern energy systems (including nukes). I am in no way arguing that we have not benefitted enourmously from energy and technology. I am arguing for the added benefits of renewables - ie - cheap, infinite supply, home grown, low carbon, low pollution, fixed costs, more competition, control away from the big monopolies etc. etc. You and Eikka are the ones who will never miss an opportunity to disparage renewables - and will never acknowledge the externalities, or the government supports that are associated with fossils.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (23) Mar 17, 2015
" How many lives are saved each year because of fossil fuels?"
-----------------------------------------

That's not the question today. Today's question is : How many lives are we losing from fossil fuels which could be saved with alternative energy?
MR166
3 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2015
"That's not the question today. Today's question is : How many lives are we losing from fossil fuels which could be saved with alternative energy?"

Probably not a whole lot up to now. When you consider the fact that 30% of the cost of the plant is paid for by federal dollars, feed in tariffs have to be paid by all rate payers and the gas powered plants still have to run in a backup capacity, the gains are minimal.

Send me a note when these solar plants need less government life support and when they can supply grid power on a 24/7 basis so that gas plants can actually be shut down.
Scroofinator
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2015
The energetics is no place for political proclamations, only for hard economical numbers

WTH are you talking about? There was nothing political about that article I linked, or in the statement I made. While the efficiency isn't ideal right now, I made clear that the "technology is rapidly increasing". Go troll on somewhere else.

That calculation would be very interesting to see.

Agreed, it would be interesting. Wanna give me some research money to look into it? I doubt that it would be a very quick (or easy based on getting the numbers) calculation to make. If you have some links that could get me started send them my way and I'll see what I can do.
greenonions
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 18, 2015
MR166
Send me a note when these solar plants need less government life support and when they can supply grid power on a 24/7 basis so that gas plants can actually be shut down.


That is already happening as we speak

http://cleantechn...cwa-ceo/

I have already posted this link several time MR. What is the deal with you always having to be fighting the last war - and not realizing that the world has changed - while you were still trying to convince us that it has not. Why don't you address the issues of the externalities, and government supports for the fossil fuel industries.
antigoracle
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2015
It is "free" compared to fossil fuels, isn't it?

Wow!! You AGW Chicken Littles do live in your own ignorant world don't you.
Ask the Germans how much more they pay for all that free energy.
MR166
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2015
Onions that link is just a PR release.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 18, 2015
I'll bet it proves more rational than "clean coal", cheaper, and without waste.

The "clean coal" projects are being ended. What is happening with solar?
MR166
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2015
gkam when the rolling blackouts start occurring due to under capacity due to the forced closing of multiple coal fired plants be sure to tell me how many deaths that prevented. When the nations electric bill doubles be sure to tell me how many lives that saved also.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Mar 18, 2015
Before that happens, you can to stand downwind and get the full benefit of coal combustion right now.

BTW, the wind blows at night, and geothermal still works, as does landfill gas, pumped storage, and other sources.

And the only time we had rolling blackouts was when we sold our generating to Texass during the Great Enron California Energy Screw.
Dethe
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2015
The solar cannot compete with cold fusion. It's compact, it works on demand, it doesn't require wires or storage of energy. We cannot have landscape covered with wrecks of solar and wind plants, which will require nearly as much energy for production of raw sources, as they occasionally generate. The so-called "renewables" and "green-solution" just convert the fossil-fuel crisis into raw source crisis. As this article point outs clearly, a shift to renewable energy will just replace one non-renewable resource (fossil fuel) with another (metals and minerals)
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2015
antigoracle
Ask the Germans how much more they pay for all that free energy.


Well let's pick on the country that has led the world in terms of early adoption of the new technologies - and has blazed the path for us. Actually - despite their bold experiment in leading the world - the German economy is doing better than most in the EU - http://www.dw.de/...18221616

Why don't YOU ask the people in Texas how much they pay for their cheap wind energy?

http://www.forbes...ually/2/

Who's a chicken little?
greenonions
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2015
MR
Onions that link is just a PR release.


MR - the information in that piece is very solid. The individual reporting the information is the head of a $25 billion power company.

So rather than address the issues I keep raising - you can just dismiss reality - because it does not suite your world view. You and chicken little above are like little children....
greenonions
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2015
Dethe
The solar cannot compete with cold fusion.


So when you gonna buy one Dethe? Give us a firm date. How long has old Rossi been working on his e-cat? Give us a firm date - when are we going to be able to buy one?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 18, 2015
How well does that-there cold fusion work?

I was at General Atomic watching the night they did their cold fusion experiment back a decade ago or so. No Neutrons.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Mar 18, 2015
"As this article point outs clearly, a shift to renewable energy will just replace one non-renewable resource (fossil fuel) with another (metals and minerals)"
---------------------------------------

That is a disingenuous argument. We can take the copper and steel from the closed coal plants. We can recycle all the materials used in alternative energy.

That stuff from nukes is lost to radiation, and has to be stored somewhere away from us.
MR166
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2015
Green I am not calling the PR false, it just lacks any real scientific details. Without details one cannot properly judge the merits, costs and real world savings of the projects involved.
Dethe
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2015
How long has old Rossi been working on his e-cat?
If the cold fusion got the same subsidizes, like the nuclear, solar and wind plants, we would have cold fusion units in every UPS already. Of course, it's easy to waste the money of tax payers for less effective pet projects and ignore the really effective solutions - and after then to accuse it from unfeasibility.
General Atomic watching the night they did their cold fusion experiment back a decade ago or so. No Neutrons
The better for cold fusion, don't you think? The neutrons are mostly absorbed inside of system due to their low energy. The neutrons are otherwise dangerous and wasteful product of all nuclear technologies. What we need is the heat, not the neutrons.
antigoracle
3 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2015
greenonion, you are the Chicken Little.
https://www.maste...bsidies/
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Mar 18, 2015
If the cold fusion got the same subsidizes,

Erm...you are aware that _subsidies_ are a mechanism to help stuff that demonstrably works, right? You don't subsidize stuff that hasn't shown anything.
gkam
2 / 5 (25) Mar 18, 2015
Cold fusion seems to have become a religion, like "free energy".
greenonions
4 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2015
antigoracle - how am I a chicken little - when I am the one excited about the prospects for the future of a world - with cheap, abundant, non polluting renewable energy - and you are the one digging up 2 year old articles - to try and scare people into being afraid of the future? You are not only a chicken little - but you are also on the wrong side of history - maybe a chicken little who has done too much meth or something. Here is a more up to date analysis of the current state of renewable power - and the costs will just keep coming down - chicken little.

http://www.nytime...tml?_r=0
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2015
MR166
it just lacks any real scientific details.


There was plenty of data in that article MR - and that was just one article among many that are reporting on the current state of renewable energy. These are facts. Look at the ny times article I referenced above.

I notice that you will still not even mention the FACTS that fossil fuels bring with them their own set of government supports - and massive problems in terms of their externalities - crickets chirping from the chicken littles....
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 18, 2015
Dethe
If the cold fusion got the same subsidizes, like the nuclear, solar and wind plants,[/q\

Why does Rossi need gubermint support? If his machine works the way he alleges - go to the venture capital guys - get your funding - make yourself the richest man on the earth - and save the planet in the process. You have a moral responsibility to do this - get going Dethe - what are waiting for?????
Bongstar420
1 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2015
Black surfaces don't cause warming?
gkam
1.4 / 5 (20) Mar 21, 2015
Would you rather it all turned into heat instead of a quarter of it turning to electricity?
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2015
Here's a good thing about solar:

Not only do you not release heat energy from fossil fuels, you absorb the Sun's heat, doing work, further cooling California.

This may result in enough cooling so that they can get some rain.

Just like I predicted reduced use of fuel for city lighting and increase of solar and wind (and of course us being in a solar min) resulted in local cooling in N America this Winter.

All with the help of the first iteration (considering local climate effects and geography) of the brass bowl construct.
Mike_Massen
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2015
Scroofinator claimed
..Excess energy is what we're talking about here. 3-5 times California's yearly needs is a huge amount of energy. Regardless of how intensive desalination is, there would still be plenty of fresh water produced, which is exactly what the drought stricken region needs
First there is no such thing as "excess energy" in any practical framework whatsoever, there is always something useful to do with it at the time. If there is 'some' energy but its low density as a result of an industrial process then its subject to cost/benefit.

Besides it would be Immensely stupid to desalinate & pump fresh water up into mountains, not least of which is the issue of contamination eg. Dissolved salts, biological issue re bacteria, protozoas, amoeba etc

If you do have ongoing so called excess power its far more sensible to use it closest to point of source by any number of industrial methods, depends how much cost ($ & plant) but, pumping is wasteful !
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed
Just like I predicted reduced use of fuel for city lighting and increase of solar and wind (and of course us being in a solar min) resulted in local cooling in N America this Winter
Really - another baseless claim, another prophesy, where did you make such a gambling claim ?

How does it relate to this then:-
http://www.remss....ry_temps

Water_Prophet claimed
All with the help of the first iteration (considering local climate effects and geography) of the brass bowl construct.
All your so called first iteration did is melt ice, any kid sees this and any high school student gets to understand value of latent heat of fusion as demonstrated - U are a high school student aren't u but, did u graduate ?

This is u ?
https://www.faceb...er/about
No "4 technical degrees" - LOL !

But, it does show a high school, did U go there ?

Y haven't U been able to work out CO2's effect in W/m^2 to PROVE your claim ?
Eikka
5 / 5 (15) Mar 22, 2015
Eikka absolutely refuse to address - which is the externalities of fossils.


I have addressed it before. First of all, the externalities estimates are highly politicized, so don't mind if I don't necessarily believe yours. Secondly, if we actually did start paying all the externalities by artifically raising energy prices, we would completely paralyze ourselves and our societies, and yet it wouldn't make them go away.

So while the question is important, it has no immediate implications. We would do more actual harm and loss of life and limb by "leveling the playing field", than the fossil fuels themselves.

if renewable energy got the benefits and tax breaks that the fossil fuel industry gets it would be wholly cost competitive.


1) Subsidies don't magically make things cost less. It's just shifting the burden to someone else.

2) Count subsidies in $/MWh and renewables are subsidized 50-100x more. Fossil fuels don't get FiT.
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2015
Dethe claimed
The solar cannot compete with cold fusion. It's compact, it works on demand, it doesn't require wires or storage of energy
Really ?
Can walk to a shop which sells Solar Panels or have them delivered ready to go with NO moving parts needed !

Where can I get a cold fusion plant please ?

Dethe claimed
We cannot have landscape covered with wrecks of solar and wind plants, which will require nearly as much energy for production of raw sources, as they occasionally generate
Who says we need nice pleasant landscape covered, solar can go on roofs, which century are you in 20th or 19th ?

Dethe claimed
The so-called "renewables" and "green-solution" just http://www.nature...993.html point outs clearly, a shift to renewable energy will just replace one non-renewable resource (fossil fuel) with another (metals and minerals)
All metals and minerals are renewables & easily processed !

U think there isn't enough Sand ?
stephen_wyman
5 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2015
Flat roofed buildings and parking lots are ideal for PV electricity generation because they also would provide shade (reduced heat island effect/reduced need for AC) for either type of facility. If one were to cover the CA aqueduct it would significantly reduce water evaporation and create an enormous amount of space for PV equipment. Night time energy could be generated by wind power and/or stored in distributed battery facilities.
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2015
Scroofinator claimed
Another use for excess energy could be for creating hydrogen fuel, especially since that technology is rapidly increasing.
http://phys.org/n...firstCmt
NO.

Producing hydrogen for anything other than some peculiar use (eg extra-terrestrial) at the very time and place its available is a complete waste of time & energy in fact an actual net energy LOSS !

Don Lancaster, I think, did a full end to end thermodynamic analysis of Hydrogen as a fuel and discovered that "..even if the hydrogen was free it would STILL be too expensive to use !"...

Scroofinator, can U find such a full end to end thermodynamic analysis to prove your claim ?
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2015
grace_adams offered
Storage is needed to make wind and solar, the intermittent power sources, work
Yes true & there are many, depends on net power flow required...

grace_adams offered a doozy
...extra power to desalinate seawater and pump it up to a high storage tank and retrieve some power on the water's way down to where it is needed, storage will make solar power a usable energy source for California. Considering how useful desalinated seawater can be, I like that solution for energy storage
This is highly location dependent, maybe near hills or mountains but not on open ground as cost of towers doesnt make it worthwhile since u need to add pelton wheels, alternators, controllers etc.

If you have comparative high density power available then there are always MUCH better uses for it, it depends how often it is really 'excess' & how much available space.

An ideal use for so called 'extra' is electrolysis - to extract Aluminium or purify value metals etc
betterexists
not rated yet Mar 22, 2015
Not only for Energy but also for Making Fresh Water....... i.e With Cheaper and Cheaper Solar Panels....Secluded Sea water sans animals should be evaporated back into Clouds. Proper precautions should be taken to prevent rain water from flowing back to the Seas!
MR166
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2015
"An ideal use for so called 'extra' is electrolysis - to extract Aluminium or purify value metals etc"

I agree with that. I wounder if aluminum plants can be switched on and off at will and if such a plant is cost effective.
Ulg
not rated yet Mar 22, 2015
Its a good thing that the rare earths used to dope silicon are never found in nature along side highly toxic ones that end up getting blown out of refinery smoke stacks in countries like China with minimal property rights only to poison billions for generations for a meager showing in energy output.

Oh wait...
weathervane
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2015
Large area water storage for hydroelectric in CA. State is not renouned for its geologically stability and rapid loading and unloading in mountainous regions is likely to cause fault reactivation. Then factor in the loss of habitat and the political problem of people not wanting you to flood their valleys suggests that that particular implementation of using gravity probably isn't going to happen.

As for subsidies these are what we have in the present to solve problems of the present. In most cases, but not all, if you don't understand why a subsidy is there, then you don't probably understand the problem in its full context, you are probably omitting something that you don't want to accept.
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
Water is also a powerful GHG, 1 gallon of water is pumped into Californian deserts for every apple raised there.

Think pumping that much water into a desert doesn't have an effect?
Mike_Massen
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed
Water is also a powerful GHG, 1 gallon of water is pumped into Californian deserts for every apple raised there.
Think pumping that much water into a desert doesn't have an effect?
Ah so u CAN quantify some things but apparently NOT the effect of CO2 in terms of thermal resistivity in Watts per square meter ?

Why is that Water_Prophet, despite your claimed "4 technical degrees" ?

What is your best most scientific interpretation of this link:-
http://images.rem...ies.html

But, still you have FAILED dismally & continually to PROVE your claims:-

1. CO2's effect in Watts/m^2
AND
2. Your "4 technical degrees" including one of Physical Chemistry

Seems U are ONLY claim & no substance !
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2015
MR166 replied - YAY
"An ideal use for so called 'extra' is electrolysis - to extract Aluminium or purify value metals etc"
I agree with that. I wounder if aluminum plants can be switched on and off at will and if such a plant is cost effective.
It may be feasible to craft a 40ft container based (easy to truck) turn-key system,
ie. Bauxite processing in one container, then electrolysis in another and done in batches but, I only mentioned Aluminium as its the highest electron user per Kg of Al produced.

Would make for better economics to move to higher value metals or some other mineral process where a high value item requires significant power to produce & to containerise it.

In 1998, I upgraded a 20ft container based dropin power system:-
http://members.ii...s/Power/

Extending the principle with appropriate chemical engineering and advanced materials has immense areas of development potential, even for basic thorium extraction from sands !
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 22, 2015
"I have addressed it before. First of all, the externalities estimates are highly politicized, so don't mind if I don't necessarily believe yours."
-------------------------------------

That is a dodge, not an answer. We DO know the externalities, and they are disputed only by the owners, sellers, and users of Filthy Fuels. I suggest a real course in Environmental Economics, not some wiki-search to find the words you like.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 22, 2015
Accounting for externalities, that is the costs dumped on the people downwind, the pollution, the fine particulates, the mental problems from the neurotoxin Mercury, the coal sludge with heavy metals, is just taking all costs into account, it is not "artificially raising prices"!
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 22, 2015
Perhaps we could ask the residents of Beijing if they would rather have feed-in tariffs and clean air, . . . or "cheaper" electricity.
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
Watts/m2 allocation for CO2.
The below, I admit is NOT very accurate, but it does provide allocation to temperature from energy and retained energy from the Sun.

Ave Allocation Average Temp C
255 Watts/m2 -230C Sun
230 Watts/m2 -170C Earth's Rotation
194 Watts/m2 -87C Atm (Static)
144 Watts/m2 -34C Atm (Mixing)
57 Watts/m2 14C Atm(Equator Pole)
0.61 Watts/m2 16C Evaporation
0.15 Watts/m2 19C Water Vapor (According to AGWer)
0.043 Watts/m2 19C+ Clouds

0.0012 Watts/m2 19C GHG soot smog (air only)
9E-005 Watts/m2 19C GHG CO2
3E-005 Watts/m2 19C GHG Methane, etc..

These values should be good to with an order of magnitude, and keeping in mind it is not really reasonable to distinguish rotational effects and atmospheric ones. If anyone sees anything akimbo, call it out.

Clouds have a "marginal" warming effect, where most of the inaccuracy is from. But think, if clouds contribute ifilly...
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
Sorry, I didn't account for a day/night production of smog/soot.

Value above should be
0.00042 Watts/m2 19C GHG soot smog (air only).

Nor did I account for it blackening snow, sand etc..
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
Melting ice also provides a good metric, anybody want to calculate it for me?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 22, 2015
WP, I think the Church would classify your mental mechanisms as mortal sin, as you beat the meaning out of those numbers.
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
gkam, don't talk to me about the meaninglessness of the numbers. I've been working on calculating Watts/m2 for a bit yet, supposedly I wasn't educated enough to do it. So here it is, meaning you can judge for yourself.

Not very useful, but it puts things in perspective doesn't it?
In terms of things we can easily know?
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
I made an account for the accuracy...
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed

.
.
0.0012 Watts/m2 19C GHG soot smog (air only)
9E-005 Watts/m2 19C GHG CO2
3E-005 Watts/m2 19C GHG Methane, etc..
Your figures DONT add up !

Your W/m^2 for CO2 looks like its out by 1000 & STILL needs to be multiplied by ppm
as the numbers seem close to ONE, that is 1 ppm !

Again, this goes to prove indisputibly you have ZERO uni training & especially so those "4 technical degrees" you have been caught out on MANY times with your uneducated maths !

WHERE Water_Prophet, did the figures come from AND working ?

WHY not use runrig's formula, its dead simple & easy to confirm ?

Nothing you have listed is able to be confirmed, either from basic data or physical properties !

NB:
Discussion on this link with DarkLordKelvin who has been quick to pin u on details !
http://phys.org/n...des.html

Water_Prophet, u should have read those citations ages ago, u know the ones u didn't want to read that cover it !

sad
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2015
Mikey, you don't after a few minutes of inspection understand the approach?
That speaks to your intelligence. No, they don't add up, you dodo. They shouldn't. What is the matter with you?

LOL! I mean really, and you mock me!
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2015
Water is also a powerful GHG, 1 gallon of water is pumped into Californian deserts for every apple raised there.

Think pumping that much water into a desert doesn't have an effect?


More on topic. That's 7 Billion gallons of water a year! Only a fraction of that is in the apple and it's tree...
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2015
Water_Prophet muttered
That speaks to your intelligence. No, they don't add up, you dodo. They shouldn't. What is the matter with you?
Really, if YOU were intelligent, even as a passable science communicator u should KNOW to SHOW your working or at least references & that also means to the source data from which u claim u calculated the figures.

In terms of 'adding up' I used a general phrase not specifically summing - u dunce !

Water_Prophet claimed
LOL! I mean really, and you mock me!
Well maybe but, u make it extremely easy because u are obviously uneducated at ANY university level aren't you !

Where did you get your claimed "4 technical degrees" which includes your claim of Physical Chemistry name of institute & year started please ?

Your working, your data source etc The immense lack of prove u aren't serious and all your claims so far including most recent have NOTHING to offer a shred of foundation in any scientific trained sense.

so sad
Mike_Massen
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2015
Water_Prophet specifically claimed
Mikey, you don't after a few minutes of inspection understand the approach?
Sad, I understand it too well and the Evidence is clear for anyone to see plainly.

You have figures with no references to any source data or working methodology.

Thats it, plain and simple Water_Prophet, can U refute that ?

What 'should' I understand from your 'approach' of figures with nil to back them ?

btw:
WHY did u not use runrig's formula, he is a retired meteorologist u know & can prove it :-) ?
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed
These are accurate to 1 or 2 orders of magnitude, where ever it is not obvious
So as a scientist u confirm they Could be out by more than 100x, in fact 499x because Doh, 2 orders is less than 3 orders (ie 1000x) note in terms of median 499x may be correctly considered as less than 3 orders of magnitude ie therefore 2

Slimey Water_Prophet stated
Ave Allocation Average Temp C
...
0.043 Watts/m2 19 Clouds
0.00042 Watts/m2 19 GHG soot smog (air only)
0.00009 Watts/m2 19 GHG CO2
0.00003 Watts/m2 19 GHG Methane, etc
Why r yours NOWHERE near wikipedia's figures:-

https://en.wikipe...ings.svg

Do u see Water_Prophet Y its OBVIOUS u have NO idea or faked the figures ?

Your CO2 & multiply by highest "2 orders of magnitude" ie 499 then multiply by difference in ppm ie 400-280 & guess what !

Geting close, now go back with algebra & get your actual magnitude error :-)

LOL
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2015
Well, Mikey is squirming like a worm on a hook, trying desperately to bury his ignorance under miles of meaningless text.

Here's another fun fact:
Mankind produces from fossil fuels-
4.54*10^20 joules that is

1.44*10^13 watts
the Earth has 5.1*10^14m2 in area
This means 0.028 watts/m2

A very amazing sum. Right where it needs to be to exact exactly the amount of change we are seeing globally.

Indeed, it is mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, where the majority of change is occurring.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2015
Here's another fun fact:
@positum stultum prophetam/alkie
Here is another fun fact!
you have flooded the site with thousands of minutia posts about details like physical properties of gasses
but nowhere
NOWHERE
EVER
NOT ONCE
have you EVER demonstrated the ability to prove that you comprehend how those properties and gasses relate to, work with or react in conjunction with each other!

You also have made, based upon the same minutia posts, a series of CLAIMS that you have not been able to provide supporting evidence for

According to you, you've debunked STUDIES
WHERE is the evidence that you have debunked studies?

Why are there no corrections, changes, alterations, retractions or deletions of the studies that i linked which you CLAIMED to have "debunked" with your minutia?

Why can't you provide a historical series of posts or documents that supports your CLAIMS about being able to predict, or having predicted something with your brass bowl?
Water_Prophet
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2015
Stumpy, kindly direct your reading to my previous post.
The watts/m2, that thing you AGWers hang so much on, is clearly demonstrated above, since this must have an impact, what else can be happening?

Proof positive defeats proof conjectural.
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Mar 25, 2015
Water_Prophet LIED again & claimed
Well, Mikey is squirming like a worm on a hook, trying desperately to bury his ignorance under miles of meaningless text.
A very amazing sum
You failed abysmally to show why your figure for CO2 in W/m^2 is 16,666 times LOWER than that offered by wiki which you claim is in total/great agreement !

How is wiki's 1.5 W/m^2 in "great agreement" with your figure of 0.00009 W/m^2

You Water_Prophet come across as immensely incompetent and a LIAR of the worse order !

AGAIN I remind you, look here:-
https://en.wikipe...ings.svg

The onus is on YOU to show your working as to how u arrived at 0.00009 W/m^2

AND

Why you havent used the simple formula given U by runrig which relates ppm.

Water_Prophet AGAIN goes to trouble to illustrate; stupidity, naivete, ignorance & fakery !

Where is your integrity ?

Where is evidence of your claimed "4 technical degrees" ?
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Mar 25, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed
1.44*10^13 watts
the Earth has 5.1*10^14m2 in area
This means 0.028 watts/m2
A very amazing sum. Right where it needs to be to exact exactly the amount of change we are seeing globally
No.

Not at all, because effect from CO2 is 1.5 W/m^2 according to:-
https://en.wikipe...ings.svg

Your figure above is 53x LOWER than accepted CO2 radiative forcing !

Where your earlier CO2 figure of 0.00009 is 16,666 times LOWER than wikis.

How is that Water_Prophet ?

How could all contributors to wikipedia be so WRONG or u alone fake figures.

On balance of probability - who do we think are actually spot on & correct ?
especially so as Water_Prophet cannot or will not provide any working or references !

Water_Prophet, so sad !

I hate liars & in terms of our current situation, they need to be EXPOSED; put in public, stripped, covered in chilli sauce & whipped so they don't ever lie on important issues again.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2015
Stumpy, kindly direct your reading to my previous post.
blah blah blah blah blah
Proof positive defeats proof conjectural
@positum stultum prophetam/alkie
perhaps YOU should kindly direct your reading to my previous posts as well?
i will say it again

IF you were right AND
IF you had evidence AND
IF you could make the predictions you claim AND
IF you were an actual educated scientist AND
IF there was truly a fundamental error in the science

THEN it would be demonstrated by the retraction, deletion correction or OTHER changes to the STUDIES LINKED REFUTING YOU

there would also be a HUGE amount of publicity around YOU
is THAT clear yet?

so far, your claims have made ZERO impact

if you are so sure and the physics are behind you, etc
WHY are you being ignored?
gonna claim a worldwide conspiracy again?

your Dunning-Kruger is showing

http://www.ploson...tion=PDF

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