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View Diary: Energize America - A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Security (Fourth Draft) (311 comments)

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  •  Um (none)
    I did say it was a blue sky idea.  A great deal of the world, indeed the USA, has more sunlight than cloudy weather.  It's a pretty good low-tech solution to creating a surprisingly high kelvin environment for steam power.  I was thinking merely of solar mirrors as a multiplier for solar cells.

    I grew up on the southern edge of the Sahara, and we had a windmill.  Every time the wind would blow up, my father would go up that windmill to lock it down.  One of the strongest images of my childhood was the sight of him, in a two point perspective, as he climbed the ladder, saying our names, one for each rung of that ladder.

    My family and friends have built eight solar panel powered setups in Africa (Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso) and India (Bihar State).  The setup goes like this:  sun comes up, solar cell arrays wake up, pump water from the bottom of a capped well, filling a tank.  When the tank is full, a float valve shunts the power to a series of deep cycle truck batteries.  When the batteries are charged, the power shunts to ground.  The batteries run an inverter, and a fluorescent light system.

    Puh-leeze, indeed . Read my tagline. I suspect you are afflicted with the Not Invented Here syndrome, and you got your tail in a knot over my stating the obvious truth that conservation is bullshit, fighting over the last scraps of seagull in the bottom of the lifeboat.  We are going to war for petroleum, that much is an absolute. And let me add in passing, this whole plan has the hallmarks of the egghead policy papers which afflicted Kerry's plans for victory.  You need to vastly simplify your treatise.  Unless your plan has the goal of eliminating, not merely reducing our dependence on imported petroleum, it is squeezing sunshine from cucumbers

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 09:08:07 AM PST

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    •  Excuse me, but are those ... (none)
      ...asolar "cell" arrays or solar panels? Big difference, you know. Or maybe you don't know.

      In either case, the originals were invented here. Many of us at Solar Energy Research Institute were proposing just this kind of appropriate technology operations in 1978. I've seen and reported on both simple and complex such operations in Belize, Yucatan and Costa Rica.

      We're already at war over petroleum, as I am sure you've noticed. Our plan's long-term goal is to eliminate imported petroleum, but if you think that can be done tomorrow, you're singing praises to the impossible.

      As for conservation being "bullshit," fighting over scraps, that's the rightwing's line. If the U.S. hadn't conserved over the past 25 years, right now we'd be consuming another 30 quadrillion BTUs of energy every year. And many believe we've only done about 25% as much conservation as we can. Such conservation can buy some time as we transition to new energy sources.

      Obviously, if you're in an African or Bangladeshi village that's burning diesel in a generator to run a TV set and a few lightbulbs, then you need more than conservation. PVs, solar panels, windmills, biomass and other techniques can fill that need.

      Your critique is typical of the maximalists like, for instance, Lyndon LaRouche, who say the only solution to the energy crunch is to build 6,000 new nuclear power plants in the next 45 years or the folks who think the Amish are right.

      But feel free to write your own simplified energy plan. Lots of Diary space here. And don't worry about bullshit like conservation, political strategy, pollution or special-interest obstacles. In other words, don't worry about reality.

      Perhaps, while you're writing it, you can apply that sig line to yourself.

      •  Putting words in my mouth will not save you (none)
        nor does your plan in any way clearly espouse the goal of eliminating our dependence on oil imports.  Conservation is a fine thing, in its own way, but you have failed to gainsay the logic of other countries consuming the oil we do not use.

        The war, as you correctly point out, is underway.  Our misguided adventurist war in Iraq is the first movement of that symphony, Gulf War One was the overture.

        The momentum of this war is increasing.  Japan and China are engaged in a game of brinksmanship over oil.  Nigeria is a total ruin, corrupt beyond all measure.  Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran are despotic regimes, and none of these is a friend.  I do not know what to make of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez:  he seems to be a Castro with oil, for good or ill.  When the USA leave Iraq, I do not foresee Iraq aligning with the USA in any substantial way.  In short, we do not have either the time to waste:  avoiding this war requires far bolder steps than yours, sir.

        The geopolitics of oil has corrupted our stands on democracy and human rights since the end of WW2, and we no longer have the bogeyman of the USSR to frighten the oil states into congruence with our positions.  We are alone in the world, completely dependent on imported oil.  If I sound tendentious and cranky, perhaps it is because I have seen a war for oil:  I lived in Nigeria all through the Biafran War, and lived through Carter's oil boycott.  May I add another quote from Pascal for your immediate edification:  "The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, indicates a strange inversion."

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:02:20 AM PST

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        •  Waiting breathlessly for YOUR ... (none)
          ...energy proposal.
          •  Heh, heh. (none)

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:29:54 AM PST

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          •  And may I add, (none)
            Magnesium slurries are already passed trials.

            A hydrogen slurry tank needs to be about 8% larger than the equivalent gas tank to achieve the same distance.

            But I am not a technology zealot, let a large prize bring the engineers and technologists to the race.  One thing is for damned sure, your plan does not have the word Hydrogen in it, not once.

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 11:37:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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