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View Diary: GETTING TO ZERO: Is renewable energy economically viable? (313 comments)

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  •  It sucks, doesn't it? (6+ / 0-)
    If we can do solar now and it helps build momentum for later, I say it's worth it even if it's dirtier for the time being. Seems like a good trade-off.
    But that's pretty much the truth.

    Solar CSP is kind of interesting - but it doesn't scale down at all.  I want something on my roof that I can pay off and nobody can screw with me after that.  CSP is also not without danger.  Liquid sodium is the best working medium, as I recall, yes?  Nasty stuff, that.

    And frankly, what attracts me to solar PV is the engineering perfection of it.  No moving parts, to speak of.  That's how machines should be...

    It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

    by Jaime Frontero on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:20:24 AM PDT

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    •  Holy crap! I googled solar CSP (7+ / 0-)

      and the Wikipedia article had this paragraph full of awesome:

      A legend has it that Archimedes used a "burning glass" to concentrate sunlight on the invading Roman fleet and repel them from Syracuse. In 1973 a Greek scientist, Dr. Ioannis Sakkas, curious about whether Archimedes could really have destroyed the Roman fleet in 212 BC, lined up nearly 60 Greek sailors, each holding an oblong mirror tipped to catch the sun's rays and direct them at a tar-covered plywood silhouette 160 feet away. The ship caught fire after a few minutes; however, historians continue to doubt the Archimedes story.
      Three decades before Mythbusters, too :-)

      Anyhoo, I see what you mean about not scaling downward. Economically viable mass rooftop solar seems like a great goal — seems like a good way to reduce FF reliance quickly if we can get there soon (and the “economically viable” part is the key).

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:37:55 AM PDT

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    •  It's not all that complicated. (5+ / 0-)

      While the science and engineering is certainly quite complicated, the policy needn't be.

      In brief: crack down on greenhouse gases and let the market sort out the rest. (Well, most of the rest--see below.) The money will figure out what's the most feasible non-carbon way to supply what the market wants--which is simply grid energy. Once energy hits the grid, the market doesn't care what generated it.

      The one place the government could and should intervene more vigorously is by funding more R&D of cheaper, safer reactor designs; certifying one or a few standard designs; and preventing state and local authorities from having any say in reactor design.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:02:21 AM PDT

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    •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info

      It is molten salt rather than sodium that is used in the designs with thermal storage.  The current designs use a heated oil to turn the turbine both that lacks storage in the form of thermal energy.  In theory, CSP represents a major step forward if it provides power akin to base load dispatch characteristics

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:48:57 PM PDT

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