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View Diary: Sunday Train: The Two Transitions to A Renewable Electricity Supply (216 comments)

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  •  Add up the top ends of the ranges ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, RiveroftheWest

    ... its 110% even without geothermal ... and, as noted in another comment above, even without efficiency, where at the margin, the the least expensive opportunity to increase the share of renewable power once we get it to 50% is to increase the efficiency of electricity use.

    All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

    by BruceMcF on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:33:13 PM PDT

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    •  and by then we'll be dead and/or buried OR (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, 6412093, Woody, RiveroftheWest

      and there will be efficiencies and new technologies by then, so this should get better.

      What kills me is the horrible misuse of land areas for solar and wind farms, it's profligate, taking farmland out of production, just like a new Walmart.

      Fly over any city and look for rooftop solar....very very few..in my rich town: Costco!!! and a couple of govt buildings are it...it is really hard to find residential rooftop solar or even the roll out 4% efficiency flat roof coverings.

      Rooftop solar on buildings and parking lots also wisely and efficiently reduces air conditioning loads and is distributed energy at the source of use...yet this effort is not really seen on a scale to be important, instead it's big business wind deal here, big business solar deal there, usually on 'cheap' BLM land....the only bright spot has been low and no up front cost solar leasing plans...but we have a stalled vandalized govt system held hostage by investors of coal and nuke plants, and oil and gas industry in general.
      What's it going to take and can democracy survive, or can we survive democracy?

      pet peeve no 4...

       

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 12:28:50 AM PDT

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      •  Wind farms don't take farmland out of production, (7+ / 0-)

        since they have a very low area covered at the base.

        Most of the wind farms that I see in Germany are on farmland that is being utilized just as it was before the wind turbines were set up.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 03:51:18 AM PDT

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      •  I agree 100% on rooftop PV over groundmount (5+ / 0-)

        Not on wind though.  Wind only uses about 1% of the land from which it gathers wind.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 07:32:20 AM PDT

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      •  Whether we can develop the institutions ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        ... to make the transition ...

        ... well, that's the crucial experiment. Maybe we can, maybe we can't.

        The focus of the current diary is on what we are aiming at doing if we get the political will together to attempt to not have our industrial society commit Climate Suicide.

        On land use ... Lawrence and benamery21 noted that wind farms only use 1% of the land that they are placed on, for tower pads and for access paths for maintenance.

        As you yourself note, ground placed utility scale solar is rarely placed on useful farmland, since the commercial value of useful farmland for farming is to high to make it economic. And even utility scale solar has substantially fewer impacts than mineral coal, between strip mining, mountain top removal mining, toxic waste tailing ponds and the emissions of even "clean" coal power plants.

        We should roll-out rooftop solar at a faster rate, but its not uniformly doom and gloom across the country ... in states that have favorable conditions and regulatory support, the roll-out is picking up pace.

        All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

        by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 08:56:01 AM PDT

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        •  santa barbara county just did in cuyama (0+ / 0-)

          a solar facility on farm land....justifying it by mentioning irrigation, and since there's no water for the water demanding crops there NOW (carrots) well then, fuck it..pave it with a solar farm....it's very weak thinking I believe. This was a working food crop land, in the Williamson Act provisions as well I think...(critic's sniping has included the words 'resume building project')

          The farmlands I'd like to see out of production are the northern calif water sucking nut crops recently widely planted in the westlands central valley district, we should cover that selenium poisoned former crop lands with solar farms instead of nut farms...but the Resnicks are big scam 'liberal' democrats well connected. Look with google earth east of Cuyama valley, not in Santa Barbara county  and you will see wide dry farms and oil and gas lands that have been compromised beyond any redeemable for now wildlife values. You can see the mineral washes in the landscape literally from space. The rough landscape seems perfect for concentrated solar facilities, the freestanding units with their own pads, like wind generator installations..and in the oil and gas lands the access road damage and pads are already there, they would love to unload those clapped out low performing wells, especially if they can't frack them becasue We the People say that can't...and there is no water for it, or we kill all the salmon. Some choice.
          Other parts of the farmlands in the valley are flat for that type solar farm, perfect for it really, close to LA and all..

          Since those Nut People and their greed (they want to take market share from Iranian competition so they have courted the attacks on Iran in whatever form!), since those Nut People are also working the cheap clapped out farmland costs into their schemes, with cheap and even free norcal water, and they are huge Democratic Party donors, state and federal, those obvious lands, so near LA and the use, so full of sunshine almost year around, those lands will never be used for the obvious massive solar facilities they should be...instead nuts, no water, dead salmon, privatized profits, publicized losses.

          Interesting the way you changed/wordsmithed my words to say 'rarely placed on useful farmland' , haha, when what I said was 'misused' and what I mean is that they are put on lands that are often former desert wilderness maybe not ever farmed, certainly not the selenium poisoned lands I am on about...not to argue, I'm amused is all...

               The first place that's looked seems to be 'free' wildlands which is such a continuation of the 'pave paradise' mindset...that's what's grating my cheese...and the practice of wind farms and their sales agents back east sure has come in for it's share of criticism...some there say it has impacted the farming there more than the 1% claimed....so I take your point but neither is wind farming free of impacts beyond the land use '1%'. Not my big complaint here...some other time perhaps.

             For solar projects in wildlands the san luis obispo county and the Panoche valley projects come to mind...and annoying as hell because oil and gas brownfields, parking lots and buildings I mentioned and the poisoned unsustainable former crop lands, crop lands for which the water was never there and certainly isn't now should be prioritized for soal and wind if appropriate, but when the govt gives it free, and the extra benefit is splitting politically the enviros who care about wildlands and deserts from the enviros who care about energy supplies...splitting that group is a Big Win for them all....both for Big Carbon and the politicians who have to cope with a more united enviro movement.

              I think people who get paid to think of these things think exactly that too, that the inconvenient opposition is inconvenient and any choice which sets them at odds and splits them is a Win. See...'PUC' for how inconvenient the people are to the big investors and their payoffs...
              I suppose the fear is, the hostage taking threat is they will Go Galt and not invest in money making that saves the planet after taking losses in their unwise unsound subsidized carbon burning investments. (Not likely, they will still chase the money, a lot of the money being clumsily steered by We The People...however inconveniently so.)

          A lot of decisions get made by people deep within government that have few ties to regular people and their concerns but are the subjects of professional lobbyists, and it shows.

          I didn't read much here today about offshore wind which doesn't actually use a lot of farm land except for onshore support facilities if even there. Seems I keep reading about giant wind farms planned and being installed in European water...here?...( appropriate Reagan) 'welll....'

             While some details make me cranky, heh, all in all I liked your article and the look at the long term developments..it's a good focus and it's encouraging.
            And it's encouraging in the face of the fearmongering for clicks that is so much of The Internet as well and the vision of our leaders running around with their hair on fire and trying to put it out with fistfuls of money...since they have no water.

          Thanks again.

           

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 01:00:09 PM PDT

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          •  errr... (0+ / 0-)
            Look with google earth east of Cuyama valley, not in Santa Barbara county  and you will see wide dry farms and oil and gas lands that have been compromised beyond any redeemable for now wildlife values. You can see the mineral washes in the landscape literally from space. The rough landscape seems perfect for concentrated solar facilities, the freestanding units with their own pads, like wind generator installations..and in the oil and gas lands the access road damage and pads are already there
            Is this a reference to the Carrizo Plain (an extremely important wildlife area sheltering multiple endangered species)? Or do you mean further east, over the hills to Taft?
          •  On offshore windpower ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... I didn't segregate onshore and offshore in the essay, but that is another case where the roll-out of windpower in the best locations for expanding capacity now helps improve the value of another location later ...

            Onshore is cheaper per kWh (though I do not believe that offshore is as expensive as the EIA levelized costs suggest ... that may be another case of having historical data that is not representative of current investment costs) but offshore and onshore tend to have different peaks, especially in lighter wind conditions, with onshore peaking at night, and offshore peaking near dawn and dusk.

            A project to build offshore wind in Nantucket Sound in the US in has been held up by fights against wealthy owners of worried about the value of their ocean views in Cape Cod and Martha's Vinyard (with representative including, famously, Teddy Kennedy), and with financial support from one of the Koch Brothers looks to be on track to go ahead, and in the over decade that it has been held up, several others have entered into the preliminary planning phase.

            Partly offsetting the higher installation and operation costs of the offshore wind is the better capacity factors due to the regular on-shore and off-shore breezes even on days with relatively light wind and the ability to install larger wind turbines, since the transport to the site does not constrain blade size in the way that onshore typically does.

            The present established offshore wind technology has a strong cost preference for sites with depths of 20m or less, which can constrain site selection (one reason Europe is such a leader is because the North Sea is a shallow sea with so much of its area having depths of 20m or less) but there is also a project in Oregon looking to use new floating offshore wind turbine technology, which is key to using offshore wind off the Pacific Coast ... a wide range of sites with good wind and 20m or less depth are available on the Atlantic and western Gulf coasts and in the Great Lakes, but the West Coast tends to drop off fairly steeply.

            All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

            by BruceMcF on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 08:28:01 AM PDT

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