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View Diary: Wind power set to decline under Obama? (270 comments)

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  •  Several points: (6+ / 0-)

    first, all conventional comparisons of wind to fossil fuel based energy underestimate the costs of the generation process on the fossil fuel side because these costs don't include global warming. I know in your last line you allude to wind being cleaner but I just want to say there are ways to factor that into the big picture that changes the math of wind versus hydrocarbons.

    The other point I'd made is that the more wind mills there are, and the more interconnected they are, the less beholden we are to the wind in any one place. So that when it's still in North Dakota there's a strong breeze in south Texas or in the Atlantic.

    And finally with respect to PLF, this doesn't worry me as much. Thinking about the energy expended on extraction, refining, shipment, and distribution of hydrocarbons (look at a gas tanker on the interstate next time you're traveling and really think about lugging all that liquid fuel around from spot to spot to spot), I feel confident efficiency concerns work out in favor of renewable alternatives that produce electricity at the spot they catch the energy in question.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 08:01:34 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I agree that from a overall, bird's eye view (0+ / 0-)

      wind power may work out economical. But these entities are being promoted and operated as individual power producing centers and so their economics are based on that perspective.

      But wind power is never going to be trusted as a reliable, ready-tap-power source even if you interconnect many of them across the region for the simple reason mother nature doesn't listen to engineers :).

      Producing energy is never going to be a cheap affair and so it makes sense to conserve it.

      From Alabama to Obama - You've come a long way baby.

      by amk for obama on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 08:15:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like I say in my comment below, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, betson08, dewley notid

        I think what Jerome is saying (and on this I agree very emphatically with him) is that we need to align our economics with the purposes we want to achieve. We need to use feed-in tariffs to make sure that, year-after-year, a wind producer or a solar producer can make a profit that can sustain the industry until the point at which resource scarcity with respect to oil would otherwise push it into profitability.

        Because right now what determines the economic feasibility of renewables is commodity price fluctuations. Whether it's 1982 or right now, it's obvious that the existing extraction-based energy industry can wield these fluctuations like a truncheon to prevent the development of alternatives, and then when the alternatives have been beaten back, grossly inflate their profits and reap huge rewards.

        Feed-in tariffs for wind and solar get us off that merry-go-round.

        Finally, the plan with respect to wind power reliability involves the use of complex computer programs to keep the system running at an aggregate level of power generation, and this becomes apparently easier when some of the generation involved is on the oceans because of the stronger wind there.  

        "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

        by andydoubtless on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 08:25:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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