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Start up company Nanosolar has been making some big promises about their ability to lower the coast of solar energy.  And it looks like their promises are a step closer to reality.

Nanosolar, a heavily financed Silicon Valley start-up whose backers include Google’s co-founders, plans to announce Tuesday that it has begun selling its innovative solar panels, which are made using a technique that is being held out as the future of solar power manufacturing.

That new technique involves using a device very much like an ink-jet printer to lay down the components of a photovoltaic cell onto a thin sheet of aluminum.  The cells are much thinner, lighter, and much less fragile than older silicon cells.  The result is solar energy that is expected to cost around $1 a watt for the raw panels, and $2 a watt for an installed system.  At that price, solar power is directly competitive with the cheapest and most polluting of fossil fuels.

According to the Energy Department, building a new coal plant costs about $2.1 a watt, plus the cost of fuel and emissions, he said.

The process developed by Nanosolar not only allows them to produce cheap solar panels, it allows them to create them much faster than the more delicate panels produced in the past.  Even so, their first 12 months of production is already sold out.

If you want a shot at one of their first panels, you'll have to bid for it on Ebay.  But be warned -- that one will cost a lot more than $1.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:42 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  May be True, if US$ 2 figure correct (12+ / 0-)

      From a Forbes note a few years ago.  If the numbers announced by the company are true, it may be a breakthrough.

      http://www.forbes.com/...

      That is, a solar cell that generates a watt of power when the sun is at its peak for four hours a day sells for about $5. Figure in night, clouds, winter, various supporting hardware and the depreciable lives of cells, and you find that sun-made electricity is still pretty expensive, between 20 cents and 50 cents per kilowatt-hour. Get the $5 cost down to $1, though, and the sun could compete with natural gas.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:07:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BTW. Solar water heat is already under $2/watt (12+ / 0-)

        If you put solar PV on your roof but don't do solar hot water, you are wasting money and energy.

        Solar hot water with evacuated tubes is ~70% efficient and the most expensive PV panels are ~22% efficient.  Even works in cloudy areas with diffuse sunlight.

        If we pushed to move all new housing to solar hot water and radiant heat, we could reduce their natural gas consumption to near zero except in the dead of winter.

        And it's available now at reasonable cost premium over a gas fired hot-water and radiant heating system.

        PV is exciting, but let's not pass up the real big gains looking for the latest and greatest.

        •  If I'm not mistaken (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          betson08, ek hornbeck, wondering if

          I read about this a couple weeks ago. The downside of this breakthrough is that the new panels are less efficient then existing ones. Cheaper but less efficient. And given that one of the problems with solar is that they are already inefficient it makes me leary of jumping on this particular bandwagon just yet.

          I'm not a solar expert by any means, just a guy really interested in seeing this work and available cheaply for the average home owner. I could have misunderstood what I was reading.

          Do you have linkies for the solar hot water system you are talking about above?

          "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

          by Andrew C White on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:06:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  efficiency not the be-all and end-all. (9+ / 0-)

            it matters if the panels themselves are expensive.
            but if you can afford to roof your house with the aluminum sheets, the relative efficiency is less significant, as long as they are efficient enough for a rooftop-full to power your home.

            there is another company (google ovonics) that has a technique for putting relatively inefficient cells on sheets of steel.

            in the end, the bottom line that matters is the $/watt.

            I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

            by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:17:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed (8+ / 0-)

              It's the price per watt installed that is the question - it doesn't matter how efficient they are if the end product is cheaper.

              Mind you, oil isn't really efficient itself.  Here's the efficiency of oil:

              Algae receive sunlight.  They convert about 6% of this sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.  Algae die in a swampy area where they don't fully decay.  Swampy area is crushed under the weight of geological formations, which take enormous amounts of energy to move.  Guy sticks a pipe in the ground, oil shoots up.  Perhaps one millionth of one percent of the energy necessary to create the oil actually is released when you fill up at the local Lukoil.  

              Oil is only cheap because we didn't have to pay for the land on which the algae grew hundreds of millions of years ago, and because we are free riders on the geological process.

            •  No, but it is critically important (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wondering if

              Efficiency (in the sense of power per unit volume) is why electrics and other such technologies aren't near supplanting petroleum for vehicle fuel: gas has such a high energy density that at the moment it easily outcompetes other portable fuel sources.

              Efficiency in terms of of power generated per area is a similar issue.  Not everyone lives in sunny southern California.

              Of course I'm all for people using as much solar as possible, but there are trade offs and limits on what's possible with it.

            •  Efficiency wasn't really the point (0+ / 0-)

              My point was really that solar hot water right now has the best return on solar investment.  Both in terms of energy return per square-meter and also in terms of energy return per dollar invested.

              So if people want to make an immediate impact for the least investment, hot water is the right first step.

              There are two payback periods for solar.  The carbon neutral point and the cost neutral point.  Carbon neutral is how long it takes to regain the energy cost of manufacturing the panels and associated equipment.  And cost neutral is how long it takes before you get more saving in utility bills than it cost to install.

              Solar PV is about 2-4yrs for carbon neutral.  And depending on area, it's 15yrs (california) - over 30yrs for cost neutral.  So that's a problem.

              Solar hot water is normally one season for carbon neutral.  And 3-5 years for cost neutral.  So from a home owner or tax policy perspective, we can make a big gain at low cost by starting with solar hot water.

              Even bigger gains possible by using solar radiant heat instead of natural gas or heating oil.  But that requires new construction or significant remodeling.

              Hopefully technology like Nanosolar will continue to be developed.  I'd like to see solar PV be a good financial investment for every home owner.  But too much focus on PV diminishes the focus on getting energy from the already mature and excellent ROI offerings available for hot water.

              For links, google "evacuated tube solar" or "solar hot water"

          •  Efficiency not that much of a problem... (11+ / 0-)

            A 14% efficient module produces 180W in 1.2 sqm. At let's say $4.50 per watt.

            A single story 900sqft home has about 80sqm of flat roof.  Let's halve that to 40sqm to get say just the south facing half of a sloped roof in the northern hemisphere.  Let's say the nanosolar panels are half as efficient at $1 per watt so 90W at 1.2sqm.

            A 3kw system which should be more than enough to offset the homes entire energy usage that is exactly 40sqm. (Yes, I chose good numbers.)  The more efficient panel would do it in 20sqm. But, the efficient panel costs $13500 and the nanosolar costs $3000.  Both should have similar fixed costs for installation, wiring, and the inverter.

            Basically, as long as the cost reduction is greater than the efficiency reduction (within reason) this is a good thing.  

            At $6000 installed I would put 3KW on my roof in a heartbeat even here in the gloomy Pacific Northwest with cheap hydro.  In California and across the country through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas to Florida it is a no brainer.  If panels from nanosolar start being offered to the public at $2/W they are going to need a lot more factories.

            To do the pay back 3KW 4 hours/day is 12KWH/day or 4380KWH/year at $.12 per KWH is $525/year payback goes from 25-30 years to 6 years.  Durability should be taken into account, these need to last at least 15-20 years otherwise if you are replacing much earlier the cost saving evaporates.  Also, 4 hours is conservative many places will get closer to the equivalent of 6 hours per day.

            Not the original  poster, but here is an evacuated solar hot water link.
            http://www.sssolar.com/...

            •  Sounds good. Any Idea how that would compare with (0+ / 0-)

              other investments (ie a bond that pays 5%)

              For PG&E here in California   ($/kWh) "Average"     $0.16292

              . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

              by Sacramento Dem on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:32:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I used to live in SoCal (0+ / 0-)

                Baseline was about $.13 per kilowatt hour, but of course many people use more than baseline and get into the $.18/kwh or more.

                I moved to Seattle and it take some getting used to $.08 to $.09 per kwh.

                As for investment that is easy $525/year on $6000 is about 8%.  But, that is a little off a better calculation is to consider the life of the system.  Silicon panels are supposed to last 30 years or more although no one can be sure since most panels of newer construction have not been installed nearly long enough, but there are older panels that were installed removed and salvaged for other applications.

                But I will use 30 years just for fun...  To make the math easy we will call it $16,000 over 30 years assuming constant energy prices.  For compound interest divide ($16000/6000)^.033333 is about 3.3%.

                From a home investment perspective it looks a little different.  If you consider a commercial property where the landlord pays for electricity.  And, a 5% cap rate the $525/year translates to $10500 in additional value to the property.

        •  Anyone Combining Them? (0+ / 0-)

          Seems to me there should be ways of collecting both electrons and heat.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 12:00:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but not that successful yet (0+ / 0-)

            To maximize heat storage, you want hot-water storage container up above 80C.  Which means you want collector above 100C.

            And solar cells really want to be as cool as possible.    For non-concentrator systems you can fairly easily use passive air cooling to keep the cells well below 80C.

            Some concentrator mixed heat/PV systems have been prototyped and deployed in commercial environments.  Google CHAPS.  But for now, independent PV and hot water systems seem most reasonable way for residential.

      •  Any cost analysis (8+ / 0-)

        should take into account the cost of destroying mountains, forests, streams, wildlife, mercury emissions and acid rain, health problems, and global warming.

        •  it should also be pointed out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, dotcommodity

          that the calculated costs for the electric grid assume that there already is a grid there.  If a new one has to be built (as is the case for the 2 billion or so people in the world who currently have NO access to electricity at all), then installing solar power at the point of use would seem to be far less expensive than constructing a whole new suite of power plants and transmission grids in those areas.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:21:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  check google (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee

      they kept their first masterpiece off the assemblyline for themselves, the second one went on EBay today.

      This is a great day.

  •  If it was any other than Google (23+ / 0-)

    money I'd say it was doomed to be snatched up and buried.  There may be hope for this world yet.

    "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

    by rrheard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:44:56 PM PST

  •  all I got to say about this is (12+ / 0-)

    It's about time I heard some good news. These goddamn primaries are getting me down!

    ...just to find the negative angle on this excellent news, why aren't any of our candidates talking about renewable energy again?

    [supporters' links to candidate recent speeches on the environment and renewable energy to follow....I hope]

  •  Solar energy kicked my dog. (18+ / 0-)

    Oh wait, this isn't a candidate hit/fluff at all. Hmmm...

    Well, just imagine if the gov't had been fully behind the development of this sort of technology instead of just lagging behind. The lack of progress on sustainable, renewable, non-nuclear energy will be next to Iraq on the Bush regret list compiled by future historians.

  •  Can we turn it into base power? (6+ / 0-)

    I understand the need for solar power, but how to turn it into base power load, rather than peak power?  Storage technology just isn't there, and it would increase the cost to install it.

    Still waiting for developments in tidal, wave, or geothermal electricity generation to replace coal, which will still be needed for the heavy 24-hour users who consume so much coal-fired electrical output.

    Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:46:58 PM PST

    •  Don't all power generation methods (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, AnnCetera

      face similar challenges in storage?  Asking seriously.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:52:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No . . . solar is only "stored" during daylight (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Swordsmith, Dallasdoc, HiBob, AnnCetera

        hours, for example. Coal, nuclear, etc., don't have any storage limits.

        Electricity from any of these methods? Yes, electricity has storage problems. But the "fuels" are different.

        •  Well, obviously the solar "fuel" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, AnnCetera

          isn't stored!  Anymore than windpower or tidal power is stored. All renewable/sustainable forms of energy must be converted into electricity before they can be transported or stored.  

          But we can't stick with coal forever.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:58:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Storage methods (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, lgmcp

            The obvious answer to you is to use PV cells to charge batteries. This technology is available now to recharge small cells like those used in MP3 players and cellphones. Tiny amounts sure but think of all the power used by those chargers in wall sockets, especially when they are accidentally left in the wall all the time and most do not have automatic cut-offs.

            On large commercial scales, some solar heat generating stations are starting to use salt as a heat store to be drawn on after the sun goes down thus extending the generating day.

            One of the better solutions for home use is not to go the PV route entirely but to replace heating boilers with combined heat and power units. These can use wood pellets. They really only become most efficient if you can sell back your excess electricity to the grid and this is one thing that should be mandatory for all power companies.

            •  Batteries wear out (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              there's a limited number of recharge cycles before most batteries fail. One of the challenges for battery electric vehicles is getting batteries that have enough recharge cycles.

              Old fashion lead-acid batteries and nickel-iron batteries are fairly easy to recycle back into new batteries.  

              Flow batteries don't suffer from that sort of wearout and have a much longer life. But they need storage tanks and pumps, adding to their complexity and cost.

              The amount of power going into portable rechargeable devices is only a small fraction of the total power consumed in the typical household or business. I don't think there's any real Earth-saving gains there.

              •  Supercapacitors (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lgmcp, wondering if

                Supercapacitors

                This is an intriguing technology, thousands of times more capacity than a conventional capacitor. From the article, a conventional capacitor the size of a D-cell battery would have a capacity measured in microfarads, while a supercapacitor of the same size would have a capacity of sever farads.

                They have very fast recharge times, which would be great for electric cars. Another huge advantage over batteries is that these capacitors can be charged millions of times - no having to dispose of batteries.

                The downside is that, at the current time, they hold less energy than does a battery so you would need a larger array of supercapacitors. But the technology is improving.

                It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

                by A Citizen on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 10:03:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  low power density (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lgmcp

                  much less than batteries.  The current front-runner, the recent nanotube based designs, are expected to reach 25% the density of batteries, and just possibly might reach half that of batteries.

                  Another important thing is that the voltage off a capacitor drops as soon as you pull power out, and continues to drop; the voltage off a battery is relatively constant until it gets near full discharge. The dropping voltage makes using capacitors a bit more complicated than batteries.

        •  Store it in an electric car (5+ / 0-)

          and allow the other fuels to run at night with less demand.

          Rubus Eradicandus Est.

          by Randomfactor on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:58:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That and move to a more (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AnnCetera

            flexible rate structure that rewards for use when the system is off-peak.  Nearly all commercial/industrial rates are like this already.  No reason residential can't.

            I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

            by beemerr90s on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:16:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  two words - battery wearout (0+ / 0-)

            until some of the new technologies prove themselves, the limited life of rechargeable batteries makes it somewhat undesirable to use them as storage.  

            Another problem is that for most people their car is at work when their rooftop solar array is generating power. This means that power is dumped into the grid, charges cars away from home, and is feed back from those cars when they're home at night.  At least two "charging stations" per car, at work and at home, even if the at home one only takes power from the car (which means no days-off home charging)

            You're going to use a lot of power to get the materials for and to install all those charging stations, there may be little to no payback in terms of total energy cost, at least until better batteries are available.

            And before you say "ultra capacitors", the storage density of those is much less than that of batteries; the inventors of one new technique are optimistic about reaching 25% of batteries' density some day, and think 50% might be reachable (but that's think might be, as in "we thought there might be WMDs in Iraq".  Don't buy stock yet)

            •  Three more words - charge/discharge inefficiency (0+ / 0-)

              We pay a huge penalties when charging and then discharging even the best existing batteries.

              We must defeat them over there, or they'll follow us home ... hide under our beds ... and grab us by the ankles when we get up to pee.

              by RonK Seattle on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:34:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Store energy by electrolysing water to hydrogen? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man, offgrid

          If there were practical fuel cells that could use the hydrogen, the roof of every house could be a power plant.

          We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

          by david78209 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:15:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One technology spurring another (4+ / 0-)

            If solar becomes cheap and abundant, you can bet this will kickstart development of hydrogen production and residential fuel-cell systems. You don't even need to use it for fueling vehicles; homes could make up the difference between peak and base power using hydrogen produced at peak. Left-over could then be used for vehicles and other purposes.

            •  Hydrogen electrolysis is 50% efficient (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SarahLee, offgrid

              But, cheap and abundant solar could make the efficiency loss moot.  Although, losing 50% causes some cost savings problems due to the required surface area increase.  But, there could be a number of other methods for storage.

              If distributed solar became the wave of the future utilities could switch to primarily providing storage.  Hydrogen is one method, batteries, super capacitors, gravitational potential energy... If you have a reservoir below your primary generating reservoir the water can be pumped up to the upper reservoir during the day and released to generate power at night.  Wind, geothermal, and nuclear could also provide night time or bad weather backup as well.  

              I think large scale fixed storage is a simpler problem than the small scale storage for transportation.  When size and weight are essentially non-problems and the primary consideration is cost and efficiency there are probably many alternative I cannot even think of.

              And, even just eliminating fossil fuels during the day should provide a huge impact and extend supplies and reduce carbon emission a lot.  

              •  Other stats? (0+ / 0-)

                What is the efficiency of pumping water uphill and using it for regeneration?

                And what is the transmission loss when moving electricity around the country?

                Where is the best discussion of current options?

                •  Not sure... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Alden

                  I know batteries and super capacitors hit over 90%..  But, other than that it would take more research than my laziness is willing to do right now. :)

                  •  Turns out to be pretty good (0+ / 0-)

                    I found an article on Pumped-storage hydroelectricity in Wikipedia and it turns out that where available, it's pretty good.  It's 70-85% efficient, making it "currently the most cost-effective means of storing large amounts of electrical energy on an operating basis."  The article goes on to note the challenges of locating suitable sites and and making the capital investment.

                    A table at the end of the article lists around a hundred such sites, including 28 in the U.S. (which also has the world's second largest). So it's more common than I realized.  And such facilities can respond with within 15-60 seconds of demand.

                    A sister article on Grid energy storage makes the point that "There is over 90 GW of pumped storage in operation around the world, which is about 3% of instantaneous global generation capacity. However, due to their limited total energy capacity, pumped storage systems are not so useful for covering for electrical supply outages [. . .] If the UK was entirely dependent on wind power, a wind outage lasting just two days would require 140 storage stations with the same generating capacity as Dinorwig to maintain normal power supplies."

          •  there's other ways (0+ / 0-)

            flow batteries are more efficient than the electrolysis - fuel cell loop, and like them can increase the storage capacity by adding more storage tanks.  They also might use less rare materials than fuel cells, which still depend on platinum group metals for the best performance.

            On a larger scale pumped storage could help, needing just elevation changes to work.

      •  Not necessarily (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexDem, alizard, lgmcp, AnnCetera, offgrid

        The other alternatives I mentioned above can reliably provide 24-hour generation capacity, assuming technological advances make them cost-competitive.  But solar only is generated in the daytime.  Wind is less predictable, and it seems to this amateur that a heavy investment in the grid would be required to distribute wind-generated electricity from point of origin to point of consumption.  

        I'm sure there are complicated technical issues involved with all these power sources, and an advanced "smart grid" should be considered when pricing all of them.  But solar is great for daytime peak demands (air conditioning, office and work uses, etc).  Factories and other industrial users won't be able to make as much use of it, unless coal generation is cut back commensurately.  That won't make the coal plant operators happy.

        Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:57:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Storage is an issue - but not big one for a while (6+ / 0-)

          Especially in sunny areas, power consumption peaks in the afternoon.  So solar meets the peak.

          Once solar is more than 25-30% of the total grid capacity, then we'll need to worry about solar.  But until then you've got plenty of hydro, coal, and nuke power that can pick up slack at night.

          In fact, nukes run better at constant load, so we already have things like hydro storage of excess nuke power during the night hours.  Solar will help the grid even out for at least the first 10-15% of capacity.

        •  Storage is an issue... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, exNYinTX

          But designing and building to waste less energy is an issue, too.

          One of the simplest designs is to use solar to heat a largish container of water (say 4,000 gallons in an insulated box in your basement).  That hot water can be used in radiant flooring to heat your house all night long, especially if your house is built to be energy efficient in the first place (highly insulated, tight, good windows, etc.).  You might still need supplemental heat in Minnesota after a cloudy day or two, but it would handle a chunk of the load for large areas of the country.

          Regardless... if we could get even 1/3 of the energy used in this country to be generated from renewables, and a rapidly growing market... do you really think there aren't companies who will throw big R&D dollars at the storage problem, seeing what a jackpot of money there is to be made by solving it?

          "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." Dorothy Parker

          by AnnCetera on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:24:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  funny you should mention wave energy (5+ / 0-)

      just read an article in today's sf chronicle. linky below:

      http://www.sfgate.com/...

      project scale is developmental / small, but i was pleased to see SOMEthing afoot in the realm of tidal/wave/kinetic capture.

      Time for Miles to soothe me again, because jazz is the antibush. --zic

      by homo neurotic on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:53:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  here is one link about what is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, Dallasdoc, jct, lgmcp

      going on the in the NW right now.  Actually there are quite a few startups on the Left coast who have some interesting projects in the pipeline.

      "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

      by rrheard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:55:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (7+ / 0-)

      ...I think a major advantage of solar power is that it can be decentralized if panels are used instead of big mirror-boilers in the desert. So the storage units or technology could be small scale, which I imagine would be easier to develop and implement. I guess, I'm not an expert on the issue by any means.

      •  They already run your meter backwards (8+ / 0-)

        here in NM.  If you have solar panels or wind power, it just feed back into the grid. I have a friend who did that last year, she was very proud!

        Guess that technology isn't available everywhere yet ... also guess I'd better start reading up on it.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:00:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The technology is available. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, lgmcp, offgrid

          NM doesn't have technology that the rest of us lack.  The power companies don't want to buy your power at their prices.  They have to be dragged along kicking and screaming.

          I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

          by beemerr90s on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:20:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's called "Net Metering" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, exNYinTX, lgmcp

          where you have one electric meter on your house, and it runs forward when you are buying power from the utility company, and it runs backwards, giving you "credit" to offset your purchase, when you are producing more power then you are using at that moment.

          You enter into a net metering contract with the utility, who supplies the bi-directional kWh meter. Then your billing is based on a one year schedule, instead of monthly (you still get monthly statements so that you can keep track). A typical photovoltaic (PV) system produces most of it's yearly power in the summertime (long days and all that), that is banked as credit to offset your winter energy use.

          At the end of the 12 month period, the utility company draws a line and totals out the year - if you've used more power then you produced, you pay them the difference. If you produced more power then you consumed...well...the utility company gets that for free, and can sell it to someone else. They don't pay you for excess production.

          While at first glance this last part sounds like a rip-off, it's really a great deal for the homeowner. Every kilowatt/hour produced or consumed is based on retail value, hence the "net" in net metering. The alternative is to buy the power at retail pricing, and then sell power at wholesale pricing, which is a much worse deal.

          Net metering is available now in 42 States and DC. Here is a link to the best site out there for info in your state:

          http://www.dsireusa.org/

          "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

          by offgrid on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:19:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent info, thank you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            offgrid

            And it IS interesting that your small home production is worth "retail" costs under this system.  

            However this part

            If you produced more power then you consumed...well...the utility company gets that for free, and can sell it to someone else.

            does create a significant disincetive for folks to produce any excess power.  If we are ever to get to a sustainable system, distributed power production will be essential and this disincentive will have to be modified.  Like, maybe they could at least pay a rock-bottom wholesale price for said excess.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 06:28:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep, (0+ / 0-)

              there is no incentive to produce more then you use.

              When net metering started here in CA, I talked so some higher-ups at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to see if there was some method by which people could donate their extra power credit to a non-profit or retired person, or something, but they wouldn't go there. "Too much paperwork".

              One way to use the extra electicity, however, is to convert any remaining gas appliances, such as gas water heaters, to electric. That will further reduce your carbon footprint.

              "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

              by offgrid on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 06:31:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Please be gentle - (11+ / 0-)

      but don't forget nuclear for base power. I know that I should fear to write that in these parts, but Japan and France would seem to show that nuclear can work. Would you settle for 20 - 30% nuclear-generated with the remainder coming from photovoltaic, wind, and to-be-named - assuming nuclear fuel recycling a la the French model?

      •  And waste disposal? (11+ / 0-)

        I haven't heard any advocates for nuclear provide a satisfactory answer for the obvious objection.  Fuel can be recycled, but the witches-brew of fissile byproducts won't go away.

        I'd much prefer to see the money that would go to a nuclear industry invested in, say, geothermal or tidal generation.  Much cheaper and cleaner, and no pesky 100,000-year toxic risks.

        Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:04:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fast reactors may help (4+ / 0-)

          Because they run not only on fissile U-235 and plutonium, but on fissionable U-238 and the fissionable daughter products as well, they don't require enrichment, leave only fairly short-lived waste (isotopes such as used in medical applications) that can be mixed in glass and stored comparatively safely, and extract 20x the energy per unit of uranium.

          Downsides: no proof of commercial viability, and I'm not as trusting of the prospects for on-site reprocessing (to keep the plutonium produced in the fuel cycle and out of nefarious hands) as its advocates.

          But it's worth studying, IMO.

          •  Worth studying. But not proceding until we are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            billlaurelMD

            pretty sure about dealing with the reprocessing and waste issues.

            •  Fission by products last 1/10th as long... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wondering if

              Fully recycling spent fuel into new fuel and fission by-products solves much of the waste problem and Robobagpiper is incorrect in that it is more like 100x the energy per unit of mined uranium when fuel is recycled.

              A big problem with waste right now is that the mixture of fission byproducts with longer lived "fuel" primarily plutonium creates waste that needs to be safely stored for 10,000 years.  The fission by products only need to be stored for 1000 years which is a much simpler storage problem.

            •  remember that the actual waste is (0+ / 0-)

              only 3 to 5 percent of the spent fuel, which is what is called nuclear waste in the US.  So reprocessing reduces the amount of waste 20-fold or more, while also removing much of the difficult to deal with long lived stuff.

        •  Take a look at the Finnish nuclear system (4+ / 0-)

          both ongoing and planned. Their information is quite transparent.

          Though the Finns are not 'recycling' at this point, the reconcentration process leaves a residue of the relatively less potent nuclear waste, which actually can be stored with less danger. In particular there is no bomb-grade material there to steal or scavenge.

        •  One quick mention... (0+ / 0-)

          Not that it addresses the issue of nuclear waste, but German design has a ceramic-coated pellet design that is aircooled, not watercooled; in addition, it cannot melt down.

          The French take nuclear waste and vitrify it.  While those glass blocks are toxic, they won't leak into the groundwater.

          There are probably other ideas out there, but I'm not familiar with all the latest developments in nuclear power.  It's true that final disposition of radioactive materials has not been solved.

          "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." Dorothy Parker

          by AnnCetera on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:27:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's THE key issue for me (0+ / 0-)

          It's a huge leap of faith that I'm not willing to make.
          Tidal seems especially promising these days from what I've read lately.

          •  I'm more concerned with nuclear proliferation (0+ / 0-)

            I think nuclear weapons should be banned.  And so should all the nuclear processes that can produce them.

            Including nuclear power plants.

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:06:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, if you don't mind destroyed ecosystems (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wondering if

            Tidal has had not wonderful effects in the areas where it has been tried.  There is a cost to it.

          •  I'm secondinf concern on tidal/wave power (0+ / 0-)

            there is potential negative environmental effects, which is why at first you build trial systems on a relatively small scale.

            Remember, there's no reason why a corporation can't hide the bad effects of their tidal power generation in the same way coal based power producers downplay the negatives from mining and burning coal. Nuclear power was once the white knight that was going to rescue us from dirty coal...

      •  Solar. Nuclear. Wind. Gerbils. (8+ / 0-)

        Try everything.

        One of the many things that drive me crazy about the rightwingers is their hatred of alternative fuel sources.

        They often rail against enviromentalism and deny global warming.  (Crazy, I know.)

        But there are just so, so many reasons for us to get off of fossil fuels that have nothing to do with the environment.

      •  No. (0+ / 0-)

        I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

        by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:20:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  50% is actually a target figure in many cases (0+ / 0-)

        You often don't want nuclear any higher than that as a power source because reactors have one feature: you can't throttle them.  They're either going full on or full off.  If you're exporting power (like France) you can go higher, but for a self-contained system like the North American grid, you probably don't want much more than 50% of the base load being nuclear because you want a percentage of the load to be able to be turned up or down as required.

        New Brunswick, for instance, gets about 40% of its power from the Lepreau plant and talk of a second reactor isn't going anywhere because of this fact: you don't want to tie up too much of the baseload into generation that you can't adjust up or down, and there isn't enough transmission lines to move the electrons out of province to other buyers who may or may not exist.

    •  don't have to use solar that way (12+ / 0-)

      just feed whatever energy you're producing back onto the grid.. lower your monthly bill.    Even if it only reduces the daily electrical usage 15%, imagine 10 million homes across the nation doing the same thing.   That's a lot of energy that coal-powered plants don't have to supply anymore.

      -- No matter what the cost is, winning is all that matters. Give your support to Hillary Clinton for president! --

      by soros on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:03:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Works fine on the micro level (7+ / 0-)

        But it's useful to look at the difference between base power needs and peak power needs.  Base power is needed 24/7, and coal supplies a lot of that need.  Coal plants are built to operate at a steady level for maximal efficiency -- cutting them back during the day is attractive to us, but not to their owners.

        Gas turbines are used a lot now for peak power needs.  This can be more easily replaced by solar, since peak power occurs during the daytime.  Solar is at least predictable for this use, unlike wind, the unpredictability of which has to be balanced elsewhere in the grid.

        Replacing coal will require a steady supply of renewable energy.  Short of a vast fleet of plug-in hybrids or electric cars to provide storage for solar, that's not going to happen with this technology.

        Rudy Giuliani is a small man in search of a balcony. -- Jimmy Breslin

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:09:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Solar is only one "Silver BB" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexDem, soros, AnnCetera, Game Theory

          It's not the be-all-end-all.

          But you hit on a great point with:

          a vast fleet of plug-in hybrids or electric cars to provide storage for solar

          "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

          by offgrid on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:23:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  unless of course (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AnnCetera

          Replacing coal will require a steady supply of renewable energy.  Short of a vast fleet of plug-in hybrids or electric cars to provide storage for solar, that's not going to happen with this technology

          more people bike, walk, or take mass transit.  Like the rest of the world does.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:27:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  storage is a non-issue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          astro

          until solar / renewable is supplying a significant percentage of power to the grid. We have a long way to go to get to that point.

          This is not to say it shouldn't be researched. But some interesting research is already going on, given that there are many places where better energy storage would be useful. Google on "CNT ultracap".

          The solution to the grid storage problem is very possibly the same solution for the problem of energy storage for electric cars, laptops, mobiles, and man-portable energy weapons.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:39:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  At a cost, yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Dallasdoc, offgrid, dotcommodity

      If you have two dams at different elevations, you can pump water uphill during the day, and then run a generator at night.  There's a cost to this -- you lose a large fraction (something in the realm of 50%) of the energy used pumping water uphill.

      If we really want to get rid of all fossil fuel emissions, we're going to end up doing something like this, and then charging people more for using electricity during times when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

    •  Solar will never be able to provide baseload (0+ / 0-)

      Here is yet another former greenpeace member talking about how they have been misleading the public for years about both nuclear and solar power.  

      http://www.theage.com.au/...

      and we want our power needs to be dependent on as few proprietary technologies as possiable anyway.

      Energy patents are going to be the next wave of patent wars, like it presently is with patents for AIDS drugs in Africa.  A handful of private companies will have a stranglehold on the planet.

      When I see "corporation X has come up with a patent from squeezing blood from a turnip" I'm inclined to think that they are welcome to it.  We don't want to give the bastards that kind of power (so to speak).

      •  unless we cut our USAGE of energy, too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sacramento Dem, offgrid

        To put it simply, there is NO source of renewable energy that can provide energy to the entire world at the levels at which the US currently uses it.  None.

        The rest of the world, of course, gets by on a mere fraction of the energy that we use.

        That leaves us with two choices.  Either:

        (1) We cut our energy use down to their levels -- thus making it easier for solar or other renewable sources to meet those needs.

        or

        (2) We continue as the energy gluttons that we currently are while forcing the rest of the world to remain at their current levels below ours -- thus keeping the lion's share of any new energy sources for ourselves.

        Which do we prefer . . .

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:13:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You forget about population growth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wondering if

          You also forget that while a lot of the world gets by on less power than us, it's not by choice.  They want power in their homes, the internet and refrigerators with build in DVD players and they are going to get them because we're the ones selling it to them.

          Conservation alone will not stop the exponential growth in demand.  Only china style population control measures will.  Frankly I think that's a high price to pay to appease the anti-nuclear Luddites.

        •  which do i prefer? (0+ / 0-)

          I think we need to start building 5000 new nuclear power facilities tomorrow.

          People will not change their lifestyles and will vote out of office anyone who tries to force it on them.  What you're describing can only happen via an authoritarian regime, which is what I expect to happen eventually.  Once the shit hits the fan and there's death from starvation by the Millions we'll get a strongarm government telling us when we can pee.

          •  where? (0+ / 0-)

            I think we need to start building 5000 new nuclear power facilities tomorrow.

            Where?

            Here in the US, where we already monopolize most of the world's energy?

            Or in Botswana or Bangladesh, where people need energy sources?

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:51:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

              •  I see . . . (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dotcommodity

                and who's gonna pay for them, again . . . . ?

                Ohhhhhhh, that's right --- all those Botswanis and Bangladeshis with their wonderful jobs.

                (sigh)

                Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:00:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Lets build them in your back yard (0+ / 0-)

                Just kidding...but seriously, nuclear power is just not going to go anywhere in this country. That pesky disposal issue is not going to be solved any time soon.

                •  fine with me (0+ / 0-)

                  I've got a lot of family from oak ridge.  I already glow in the dark.

                  My GF's grandfather was in Los Alamos during WWII and mine was in Oak Ridge.  We might end up giving birth to the X-men.

                  We could reprocess 90% of the used nuclear fuel and then store what's left until we figure out how to get the rest of the juice out of it.  That's what Germany and France have been doing for years.  As long as something is radioactive, the potential is there to squeeze more juice out of it.  We're just not sure how to do that with all target isotopes yet.  There's really no such thing as "nuclear waste."  There's just crap we haven't figure out how to reuse yet, and in the case of our present nuclear program, crap it's more profiting to throw in a hole and forget about rather than reusing.

          •  nonsense (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sacramento Dem, offgrid

            What you're describing can only happen via an authoritarian regime

            Italy uses a fraction of the energy we do, and they're not "an authoritarian regime".

            What it really requires, is a society that is willing to make collective sacrifices to help others and insure a better life for everyone, not just ourselves.

            Which, of course, rules out the US (and particularly the "free market" apologists). . .  

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:54:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  right (0+ / 0-)

              the structural changes required to accommodate reduced consumption pretty much mandate ditching capitalism as a perquisite.  That puts it in the category of long term goals where slashing carbon emissions is an immediate goal.

              •  um (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sacramento Dem, offgrid

                the structural changes required to accommodate reduced consumption pretty much mandate ditching capitalism as a perquisite

                I'm pretty sure Italy is, ya know, capitalistic.  FIAT, Pirelli, and all that.

                Heck, France, Great Britain, Germany -- they all have far lower energy consumption than we do, too.

                I'm pretty sure they're all capitalistic, as well.

                Seems to me that all that's needed for reduced consumption is . . . well . . . using less.  Pretty simple, huh.

                The question is whether we WANT to or not.

                And, of course, we DON'T want to.

                So the rest of the world will continue to subsidize our bloated lifestyles.

                At least until they get tired of it.  (shrug)

                Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:05:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  the economy depends on consumption (0+ / 0-)

                  If we stop buying useless cheap plastic crap, all the people involved in the production of useless cheap plastic crap are out of a job and wall street takes a hit resulting in more people being out of work and not having money to buy cheap plastic crap.  Short of transitioning to a command economy I don't really see any way to get there from here.  Not that I think that's a bad idea, I just don't expect it to happen for another 50 years or so.

                  •  let me repeat one more time (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wondering if

                    Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and France all consume less energy per capita than we do.  By about nine times less.

                    They don't seem to have gone bankrupt lately.

                    Speaking of command economies, it doesn't appear to me that the Leninist economies did any better, energy-consumption-wise, than France or Italy are.  Indeed, the Leninist command economies seemed to have been, by any measure, environmental disasters.

                    Not surprising, since their raison d'etre was simply to increase industrial production and accumulate surplus value, just as the corporados.

                    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                    by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:33:16 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I commend you for your stamina (0+ / 0-)

                      I got my figures here Link

                      I think nine times less is not accurate (more like one half).

                      . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

                      by Sacramento Dem on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:07:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the nine times (0+ / 0-)

                        is the figure for the entire planet, excluding the US.  We use, on average, nine times more electricity than all the rest of the world, averaged.

                        If you take just the "developing nations", it's about 15 times as much.

                        (see:
                        http://www.solarenergy.org/...

                        I'll accept your "half" figure for the other "industrialized" nations.  And if we'd cut our energy use in half, I'd be happy with that.  As a start.

                        :)

                        Nevertheless, the fact remains that the US monopolizes more than its share of energy.  Just as it monopolizes more than its share of . . . well . . . virtually everything else.

                        We live on the backs of the rest of the world.

                        I doubt they'll be willing to carry us forever.

                        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                        by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:24:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I have to agree with this (0+ / 0-)

                          I doubt they'll be willing to carry us forever.

                          Even when we cut our usage, we still have to figure out how the rest of the planet can acheive a decent standard of living in  a way that is sustainable.

                          . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

                          by Sacramento Dem on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 09:34:55 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I have a feeling they won't ask us (0+ / 0-)

                            They'll just show up at the gates with pitchforks in their hands.

                            And I'll be cheering them on.

                            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 10:10:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That doesn't sound like fun to me (0+ / 0-)

                            (I don't even like to get a shot at the doctors). I guess I have my work cut out for me.

                            . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

                            by Sacramento Dem on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 10:41:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  I think the idea that we don't want to reduce (0+ / 0-)

                  consumption is really all about our standard of living. As you say Italy gets by on a fraction (42%) of what we use. I've never been but members of my family have and say it's nice there. In CA, as well as much of the northeast Americans use much less than in WY, LA, and TX. If we made a serious effort we could reduce consumption dramatically.

                  . There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

                  by Sacramento Dem on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:03:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  but that is the problem . . . (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sacramento Dem

                    If we made a serious effort we could reduce consumption dramatically.

                    We won't make any serious effort.

                    We don't want to.

                    As a nation, we are bloated, lazy, gluttonous and greedy, and have no qualms at all in sucking wealth from the rest of the world so we can live an indolent lifestyle here while the rest of the world lives in hovels.

                    What can one say about a nation whose primary causes of health problems are eating too much and not exercising their fat asses.

                    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                    by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:13:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Just not the case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          offgrid, dotcommodity

          The sun provides us MUCH more energy than we could ever use.  Combined with geothermal, tidal power, wind power and wave power, clean, renewable energy can provide us far more energy than we currently use.  It's just that it would be expensive to do so at the current level of technology.

          •  "expensive" being the point (0+ / 0-)

            "Expensive" means that we can have it, but people in Somalia or Nepal cannot.

            Since we already monopolize far more than our share of the world's energy, I am somehow expecting that the rest of the world won't be all that impressed with our use of solar -- unless we insure that they can get it too.

            And of course we (whether Democratic or Republican) will do no such thing.

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:56:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Energy is key though... (0+ / 0-)

              In the near term maximizing efficiency is a good thing and needs to be done energy should not be wasted.

              In the long term energy is how we end poverty, hunger, and damage to the environment.  Hunger is straight up an problem of how to convert energy to carbohydrates and other nutrients.  Everything is recyclable with sufficient energy.  If everything is recyclable and there is plenty of energy to go around people can travel the world, have plasma TVs, computers, clothes,  and houses cheap.

              Yes, it is a utopian vision but nothing gets solved without energy it is the basis of the economy and human existence as we know it.

              •  my point exactly (0+ / 0-)

                When energy itself is monopolized by a few rich nations, then how do we expect the products of that energy will ever be equitably distributed?

                As I noted before, there really are only two choices:

                (1) the rich nations give up their monopoly on energy and the wealth it creates, and equalize the distribution of both,

                or

                (2) the wealthy antions simply force the poorer nations to put up with the unequal distribution of energy (and wealth) that currently exists.

                Which do we prefer?

                Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:36:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  #3 collect mor energy (0+ / 0-)
                  1. Collect more useful energy.  

                  In round numbers since I do not feel like tracking down sources... :)

                  Solar flux is something like 1000x as much energy as is used by humans excluding photosynthetic energy eaten by humans. Interestingly photosynthetic energy eaten by humans is about the same amount.

                  So, how about we gather .2% of solar energy an use it to make everyone's life better.  Make it .3% and take care of making more food.

                  And, that is just the solar energy that hits this tiny mudball.  There is plenty more where that came from.

                  As I said it is a utopian dream, but look at the changes in just the last 30 years.  If we can get through the next 200 or so without wiping out civilization I think this is a solvable problem.

                  •  on whose dime? (0+ / 0-)

                    Collecting more energy is great, wonderful, fantastic.

                    How, again, are we expecting Nepal or Haiti or Guatemala to PAY for it?

                    Or, as usual, are we just expecting that WE will build all those wonderful things, and the rest of the world can just go screw itself . . . . again.

                    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                    by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:15:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In the modern world energy = money (0+ / 0-)

                      A corollary to collecting more energy is that collecting the energy needs to be cheap. So, the barrier to Nepal, Haiti and Guatemala goes away.  I actually prefer to think of cost in terms of energy because if you think about it, in the modern world energy is the economic force.  Massive amounts of cheap energy means everything is cheap.  Cheap energy therefore means something that produces many more times as much energy as was used to produce that thing.

                      So, how to get cheap energy.  The key is lifetime energy output vs energy input and what can be produced if all the energy was used to manufacture more panels.  In the case of the nanosolar economics and a 30 year lifetime at $2 per watt and assuming $.125 per kwh for for energy the panels cost 16kwh per W to manufacture and 43.8Kwh produced.  That is counting all energy inputs including food, raw material extraction, etc...

                      Doubling of capacity should occur every 10 years i.e. a panel produces enough power to recreate itself in about 10 years. So, we only get about 8x as much production before we have to start replacing the initial panels.  But, that does mean that by the time replacements start happening, all the panels made actually cost 2 kwh/W.  This is an issue with silicon panels in that they produce enough power to recreate themselves in closer to 20 years, if they last 30 you run into limitations due to only getting maybe a single doubling of production by the time replacements need to be made.  I think two more doublings of output relative to input over the life of the panel are needed before things can really take off.  So, a 30 year life and replacement energy at 6 years would do the trick.  Which would be a cost of just under 9kwh per watt (4x365x6/1000) that 1W initial panel has resulted in 32W of panels in 30 years.  As that should leave enough left over for replacing the panels as the reach end of life.

                      This is of course total energy, we may already be very close to that level of doubling with the nanosolar technology since a significant portion of that energy cost is the food for the people who make the panels, extract the raw materials, etc... which is already predominantly solar energy.

                      So, you will then ask how does that solve the poor country problem.  Simple... $2 in fossil fuels produces 32W of solar assume only half goes to producing more panels then the cost of panels at 30 years is $.0625 per watt.  The trick is creating the feedback loop that can make energy that cheap.

                      Of course this is a utopian vision and reality can and probably will rear its ugly head.  Because cheap energy will completely disrupt the economics of the developed world.  Essentially eliminating scarcity from which disparate wealth is created.  So, I would expect hoarding of silicon and aluminum in an attempt by some to be "richer" than others.  Fortunately, that may be difficult considering they are the two of the most abundant elements on the planet next to oxygen.

                      So, I am rambling much and there are all kinds of issues, but I am definitely thinking that poor countries have no problem affording the technology when installed cost reached $1 per watt or more accurately 8kwh per W.

                      •  this is for nations (0+ / 0-)

                        I am definitely thinking that poor countries have no problem affording the technology when installed cost reached $1 per watt or more accurately 8kwh per W.

                        that, uh, currently don't have the money to feed themselves . . . right . . . ?

                        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                        by Lenny Flank on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 03:33:45 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Similar problems (0+ / 0-)

                          Food is solar energy. Sun, soil, and water, and in some cases just sun and water are all that is needed to produce food. And, many of these countries they used to have plenty of food, but western agriculture is unsuitable for the countries and destroyed their food production capabilities.  In most cases water is the problem.  But, plentiful energy is a solution for that in the form of desalination.

                          And, $1/W is cost now.  After a few feedback cycles the cost is essentially pennies per watt because the panels built previously provide the energy to make subsequent panels.

                          This is not a decade or 2 decade help for poor countries it is at least half a century and probably a full century.  And, unfortunately the suffering will continue until then, and it will take political will to get things started. You cannot fix 2 centuries of environmental, political, and humanitarian damage in a couple years.

      •  looks like you've been greenwashed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Babsnc

        Patrick Moore on Nuclear Power-Sourcewatch

        False Fronts - Why to look behind the label
        [snip]
        The New York Times, and CBS News all referred to Moore as either a Greenpeace founder or an environmentalist, without mentioning that he is also a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry.

        One can be both, certainly. But the records here are complicated. Moore’s firm, Greenspirit Strategies, has labored for such causes as pesticides, flame retardants, and mining companies accused of fouling villages with cyanide. He notes in a 1994 essay posted on Greenspirit’s Web site that Bob Hunter, a fellow Greenpeace founder, refers to him as an "eco-Judas," and that his name has appeared in The Greenpeace Guide to Anti-Environmental Organizations. (The essay is about the rise of "eco-extremism," which Moore sees as antihuman, antitechnology, anti-free enterprise, etc.)
        [snip]

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:01:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Imagine the progress they'll make with (14+ / 0-)

    research funding provided by a Democratic majority and a Democratic President.

    Kudos to Nanosolar!
    :::::

    ...Operation Rota is Closed... New Blog Coming Soon With Pictures!...

    by nowheredesign on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:47:05 PM PST

  •  If there is a buck to be made, there will (5+ / 0-)

    be someone to make a success of it.

  •  I'm still stunned that solar tax credists (21+ / 0-)

    were stripped from the recent energy bill.  Makes me ask myself, "how MANY times will I ask myself, HOW dumb can we be?!"

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:48:21 PM PST

    •  It is not stupidity, it is corruption. (10+ / 0-)

      The White House is controlled by oil company men and the same companies have bought controlling shares of Congress.  It is no wonder that we don't have solar tax credits.

      •  can someone remind me one more time (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08, jct

        which party controls both chambers of Congress right now . . . . . . . . ?

        Hmmmm . . . . . .

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:17:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ds control House only (0+ / 0-)

          so, good Dem majority House version had solar and PTC and the RPS for wind, ocean etc you want from your Dems.

          Senate, you need a 60 Dem majority to pass stuff past these evil jerks, so: we only have 50/50, you and I need to find 10 more Jerry McNerneys by November. Ready?

          Heres one:an environmental lawyer who prosecuted Love Canal,to replace Oregon's current (R) Senator.

          •  unless I am mistaken (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jct

            it takes only 51 Dems to NOT pass something.

            And the 49 Repugs can't pass a goddamn thing on their own.

            Yes?

            Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:17:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thugs can have a do nothing congress by (0+ / 0-)

              just doing nothing, as they did, when they had a 57 - 58? majority in the 109th.

              They can also prevent us from doing something because we don't have enough to stop the 60 vote cloture rule = cant even bring a bill to floor unless 60 votes

              cloture - The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.

              •  so the Repugs (0+ / 0-)

                have had 60 vote majorities for everything they've passed . . . . ?

                Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:59:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                  •  well (0+ / 0-)

                    neither did we.  (shrug)

                    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                    by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 10:10:59 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  attempted, much, but (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      exNYinTX

                      only a little successfully gotten past both an obstructionist Republican half-Senate AND Little Boots (and most of that by piling it into other bills as in the first example: most he will veto)

                      Compare that with how agressively progressive an agenda Californias State legislature can pass, because we have a solid Democratic majority there.

                      Raising the Minimum Wage - H.R. 2
                      This bill increases the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years. Increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour brings a pay raise for up to 13 million Americans.
                      Status: Passed January 10, 2007
                      The President signed into law on May 25 as part of the revised 2007 supplemental funding bill, H.R. 2206
                      Learn more>>

                      Employee Free Choice Act  - H.R. 800
                      The Employee Free Choice Act will restore workers’ rights by removing obstacles that prevent workers from choosing whether or not they want to form or join a union.
                      Status: Passed March 1, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act – H.R. 362
                      This legislation ensures that our teachers are equipped to adequately prepare the workforce of tomorrow in science, math, and technology. It invests in new teachers through professional development, summer training institutes, graduate education assistance, and scholarships.
                      Status: Passed April 24, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act – H.R. 363
                      This act encourages scientists by providing grants in the early stages of their careers, supporting recruiting and training young scientists and engineers.
                      Status: Passed April 24, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Small Business Lending Improvement Act – H.R. 1332
                      This legislation provides small businesses with the access to capital they need to start and expand their businesses.
                      Status: Passed April 25, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      National Science Foundation Authorization Act – H.R. 1867
                      This legislation puts us on a path to doubling funding for the National Science Foundation’s research over the next 10 years, and encourages young scientists and researchers.
                      Status: Passed May 2, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act – H.R. 1868
                      This legislation is the first full reauthorization of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology since 1991, authorizing $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2008-2010.
                      Status: Passed May 3, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Small Business Fairness in Contracting Act - H.R. 1873
                      This legislation will put small businesses on a level playing field with big corporations by increasing their access to federal contracts. It will require the Small Business Administration to reach out to small businesses regarding opportunities for earning government contracts, and mandate stricter oversight of government agencies to ensure they are making progress in awarding contracts to small businesses.
                      Status: Passed May 10, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      America COMPETES Act: The Innovation Agenda – H.R. 2272
                      This bill is made up of five Innovation Agenda bills that have been passed by the House.  They were combined into one bill to prepare to go to conference with the Senate, which passed an omnibus innovation and competitiveness bill (S. 761) on April 25.

                      On August 2nd, the House passed the final House-Senate agreeement on H.R. 2272. This legislation is the culmination of a year and a half-long, bipartisan effort to pass an Innovation Agenda that boldly responds to the global economic challenges identified in the 2005 National Academies report, Rising above the Gathering Storm.  It ensures American students, teachers, businesses, and workers are prepared to continue leading the world in innovation, research, and technology well into the future.

                      H.R. 2272 combined the following five bills:

                      The 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act, H.R. 362

                      The Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act, H.R. 363

                      The National Science Foundation Authorization Act, H.R. 1867

                      The Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act, H.R. 1868

                      The Amending High-Performance Computing Act, H.R. 1068

                      Status: Passed the House May 21, 2007
                      Final House-Senate agreement passed the House August 2, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on August 9, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264
                      This legislation enables the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. It does so by exempting OPEC and other nations from the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act when acting in a commercial capacity; by making clear that the so-called "Act of State" doctrine does not prevent courts from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments; and by authorizing the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against cartel members.
                      Status: Passed May 23, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      The Energy Price Gouging Act – H.R. 1252
                      This legislation will reduce the burden of rising gas prices on American families, providing immediate relief to consumers by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. It ensures the federal government has the tools it needs to adequately respond to energy emergencies and prohibit price gouging – with a priority on refineries and big oil companies.
                      Status: Passed May 24, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Small Business Bills
                      During the week of June 18th, the House passed a package of bills that strengthen the Small Business Administration and help grow America’s businesses and economy. These bills also assist veterans and women, and encourage Native American entrepreneurs. They are:

                      The SBA Entrepreneurial Development Programs Act of 2007, H.R. 2359

                      The Veterans’ Programs Act of 2007, H.R. 2366

                      The Women’s Business Programs Act of 2007, H.R. 2397

                      The Native American Small Business Development Act of 2007, H.R. 2284
                      Status: Passed the week of June 18, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Patent Reform Act of 2007 - H.R. 1908
                      The most significant patent legislation in 50 years, this bill will strengthen the patent system and improve patent quality by deterring abusive practices and by creating a more effective system for considering challenges to the validity of patents.
                      Status: Passed September 7, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Internet Tax Freedom - H.R. 3678
                      This bill will temporarily bans state and local taxes on Internet access. The bill extends the Internet tax moratorium, first passed in 1998, through to 2014, and will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.
                      Status:  Passed October 16, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Small Business Contracting Improvements Act - H.R. 3867
                      The bill brings Small Business Administration’s contracting initiatives into the 21st century, by raising the profile of veteran entrepreneurs and rooting out fraud and taxpayer waste in SBA’s contracting programs.
                      Status:  Passed October 30, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Making Trade Work for All Americans: The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act - H.R. 3920
                      This legislation will overhaul the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program – expanding opportunities for job training to transition workers into 21st Century jobs to take advantage of increasing globalization.
                      Status:  Passed October 31, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act - H.R. 2662
                      This bill is a long-overdue reform bill that updates the Mining Law of 1872 for the 21st century.  For example, it requires hardrock mining companies (which mine for such valuable minerals as gold, silver and copper), for the first time, to pay royalties for their operations on federal lands.
                      Status:  Passed November 1, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Section 202 Affordable Housing for the Elderly Act - H.R. 2930
                      The Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program is the only U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that provides housing exclusively for seniors. This legislation would: help preserve the existing supply of affordable housing for seniors, while facilitating the development of new homes to meet increasing demand; allow for adjustment to Project Rental Assistance contracts to accommodate fluctuations in project costs and emergencies, such as utility cost spikes; and maintain and upgrade existing Section 202 housing by allowing property owners to seek financing for the rehabilitation and improvement of current housing, while keeping costs low for their residents.
                      Status: Passed December 5, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The AMT Relief Act of 2007 - H.R. 4351
                      This bill restates House Democrats' commitment to fiscal responsibility, and will provide millions of middle-class families with tax cuts to grow our economy without increasing the national debt.  The bill contains provisions that provide $50 billion in alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief to 23 million families and expands the child tax credit to help 12 million children.
                      Status: Passed December 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

                      Promoting Life-Saving Stem Cell Research - H.R. 3/S.5
                      This research bill increases the number of lines of stem cells that are eligible to be used in federally-funded research. The bill authorizes Health and Human Services (HHS) to support research involving embryonic stem cells meeting certain criteria, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from an embryo. The bill only authorizes the use of stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics.
                      Status: Passed January 11, 2007
                      Final version passed by the House on June 7, 2007
                      The President vetoed this bill on June 20, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Requiring Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices - H.R. 4
                      This bill repeals the current provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for those enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans and instead requires the Secretary to conduct such negotiations.
                      Status: Passed January 12, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Cutting Interest Rates on Student Loans - H.R. 5
                      This bill makes college more accessible and affordable by cutting the interest rates on subsidized student loans in half – from the current 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. This significantly cuts the student debt burden of about 5 million students.
                      Status: Passed January 17, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act, H.R. 365
                      This legislation will protect innocent families against the after-effects of methamphetamine production in their neighborhoods by funding meth lab recovery and remediation.
                      Status: Passed February 7, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act - H.R. 1227
                      This legislation addresses the housing needs of the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and is the first of several bills that the House will consider to deal with the unmet needs of the people of the Gulf Coast.
                      Status: Passed March 21, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Genetic Nondiscrimination Act – H.R. 493
                      This legislation will protect personal genetic information from discriminatory use by health insurers and employers.
                      Status: Passed April 25, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Improving Head Start Act – H.R. 1429
                      This legislation will help more children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed by improving program quality and expanding access to more children.
                      Status: Passed May 2, 2007
                      Final conference report approved November 14, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on December 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Hate Crimes Prevention Act – H.R. 1592
                      This legislation will provide new resources to help state and local law enforcement agencies prevent and prosecute hate crimes, and closes gaps in current federal hate crimes law.
                      Status: Passed May 3, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      COPS Improvement Act of 2007 - H.R. 1700
                      This legislation will provide much needed support to local law enforcement agencies for their community oriented policing (COPS) efforts. This legislation is especially important as local law enforcement agencies struggle with funding gaps to keep officers on the streets.
                      Status: Passed May 15, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Child Labor Protection Act of 2007 - H.R. 2637
                      This legislation would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act by increasing penalties for those who violate child labor provisions. The Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938, prohibits businesses from employing minors in "oppressive child labor." If businesses violate these laws, they can be fined by the Department of Labor.
                      Status: Passed June 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Act - H.R. 2640
                      This legislation enforces the provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act, and is designed to make the NICS work better by ensuring it has the appropriate records. It requires the transmittal of federal and state records to NICS, and authorizes grants to states over the next three years.
                      Status: Passed June 13, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The College Cost Reduction and Access Act - H.R. 2669
                      This legislation provides the single largest increase in college aid since the GI bill in 1944. The Democratic-led Congress is committed to growing and strengthening America’s middle class, and will ensure that college is affordable for every qualified student who wants to attend. This legislation both expands educational opportunities for our nation’s young people, and is an investment in our workforce that will continue our economic leadership in the world.
                      Status: Passed July 11, 2007
                      On September 7, the House passed the final House-Senate agreement
                      On September 27, this bill was signed into law by the President
                      Learn more>>

                      Section 8 Voucher Reform Act - H.R. 1851
                      The legislation will change Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 8 public housing programs - expanding rental assistance opportunities, improving program efficiency, and encouraging family self-sufficiency. The bill expands the number of families receiving vouchers by 20,000 a year for each of the next five years and ensures the program works effectively for the nation’s low income working families with children, elderly and disabled.
                      Status: Passed July 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Rural Housing and Economic Development Act of 2007 - H.R. 1982
                      This bill would improve the quality of life by providing resources to address substandard housing in rural America. It authorizes $30 million for the Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) program for fiscal year 2008, and $40 million for Fiscal Years 2009 through 2013. This program increases and improves capacity building at the state and local level for rural housing and economic development and supports innovative housing and economic development activities in these areas.
                      Status: Passed July 16, 2007
                      Learn more >>

                      Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act - H.R. 2419
                      This legislation begins to reform farm policy while investing in energy independence, supporting conservation, strengthening nutrition assistance, and recognizing the importance of specialty crops.
                      Status: Passed July 27, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program - H.R. 976
                      This bill will bring health coverage to approximately ten million children in need – preserving coverage for all 6.6 million children currently covered by CHIP, and reaching millions more low-income, uninsured American children in the next five years.
                      Status: Passed August 1, 2007
                      Passed final House-Senate agreement On September 25, 2007
                      The President vetoed on October 3, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Reauthorization Act of 2007 - H.R. 2786
                      This legislation reauthorizes the Native American Housing Assistance Self Determination Act of 1996 for five years and amends the law to address housing needs of Native Americans. The bill clarifies rules and regulations and makes it easier for tribes to attain affordable housing.
                      Status: Passed September 6, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Expanding Homeownership Act of 2007 - H.R. 1852
                      This bill will revitalize the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which was established to provide a reliable source of affordable mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers.  The bill will enable the FHA to serve more subprime borrowers at affordable rates and terms, to attract borrowers that have turned to predatory loans in recent years, and to offer refinancing to homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage payments in the midst of the current turbulent mortgage markets.
                      Status: Passed September 18, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act - H.R. 2881
                      This legislation would modernize the nation's aging air traffic control system, dedicating an increase in the aviation fuel taxes to pay for these improvements. It would modernize airports to reduce flight delays, and protect consumers by reducing over-scheduling and improving the system to address complaints.
                      Status: Passed September 20, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      The Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act - H.R. 2693
                      This legislation responds to the appearance of a fatal and irreversible disease called bronchiolitis obliterans that appeared among a group of workers in a popcorn plant in 2000. The disease, which has come to be known as "popcorn lung," is connected to diacetyl, a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring that the workers were exposed to, according to the National Institute for Occupations Safety and Health (NIOSH).
                      Status: Passed September 26, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      The Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 - H.R. 3121
                      This legislation reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, through FY 2013 (the current authorization for NFIP expires on September 30, 2008).  It also provides for reforms to the NFIP, improves flood mapping, and expands the NFIP to provide for multiple peril coverage.  Following are highlights of some of the bill’s provisions.
                      Status: Passed September 27, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Small Business Investment Expansion - H.R. 3567
                      This bill will help business owners, particularly veterans and women, to obtain investment capital to start or grow their small businesses
                      Status:  Passed September 27, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Housing Tax Relief - H.R. 3648
                      Under current law, when a family faces mortgage foreclosure, any debt forgiven or renegotiation is considered income for tax purposes, creating a large tax bill. Families dealing with the pain of foreclosure should not have the double burden of a large tax bill for terminating their mortgage through no fault of their own.
                      Status:  Passed October 4, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Child Safety Bills
                      The House passed four bills that are designed to improve child safety – better ensuring that the products that children use are completely safe and reliable.
                      Status:  Passed October 9, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act - H.R. 2895
                      This bill will establish a national affordable housing trust fund to build or preserve 1.5 million homes or apartments over the next 10 years, without increasing government spending or the federal deficit.  The bill will initially allocate between $800 million and $1 billion annually directly to states and local communities, targeting funds for the construction of affordable housing and for lower income families facing the greatest housing affordability challenges.
                      Status:  Passed October 10, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Railroad Safety - H.R. 2095
                      The bill reauthorizes and renames Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA") and takes a variety of steps to strengthen rail safety including updating the limits on rail workers' hours of service to reduce fatigue-related accidents, nearly doubling the number of safety inspectors, requiring new safety technologies on trains, and upgrading safety at rail tracks and crossings.
                      Status:  Passed October 17, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Homeowners’ Defense Act of 2007 - H.R. 3355
                      This bill is designed to address the growing crisis in the availability and affordability of homeowners’ insurance.  The legislation focuses on stabilizing the catastrophe insurance market by expanding private industry’s capacity to cover natural disasters and helping states to better manage risk.  Following are highlights of the bill’s provisions.
                      Status: Passed November 8, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Online Child Protection
                      During the week of November 12, the House passed five bills to crack down on online predators and help make the internet safe for children. These bills are:

                         * H.R. 3845 - PROTECT Our Children Act
                         * H.R. 719 - Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act
                         * H.R. 4120 - Effective Child Pornography Prosecution Act
                         * H.R. 4134 – Internet Crime Prevention Education Program Act
                         * H.R. 4136 - Enhancing the Effective Prosecution of Child Pornography Act

                      Learn more>>

                      Transportation-HUD Appropriations - H.R. 3074
                      The Transportation and Housing conference report addresses the important challenges of keeping our transportation system safe and strong, ensuring that every American has adequate shelter, and doing so in a way that strengthens the economy and is environmentally responsible.
                      Status: Final conference report passed November 14, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending - H.R. 3915
                      The bill responds to the subprime mortgage crisis by instituting much needed reform to prevent these bad loans from being made in the first place.
                      Status: Passed November 15, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Labor, Health, and Human Services & Veterans Appropriations - H.R. 3043
                      This bill provides the largest increase for veterans in history, rejects the President’s cuts to needed resources for health care, education, job training, and home heating assistance, and makes critical investments in our future. The President has approved 27 previous appropriations bills that were combined in this fashion by Republican congresses.
                      Status: Passed November 6, 2007
                      Vetoed by the President November 13, 2007
                      The House fell two votes short of overriding the President's veto on November 15, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      PROTECTING OUR PLANET

                      Repealing Big Oil Subsidies/Investing in Renewable Fuels - H.R. 6
                      This bill invests in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency by repealing billions in subsidies given to big oil companies that are raking in record profits.
                      Status: Passed January 18, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Reauthorizing Sewer Overflow Control Grants - H.R. 569
                      This bill authorizes $1.5 billion in grants to local communities over the next five years to construct treatment works to deal with sewer overflows that often occur after heavy rainfalls. This bill is crucial because sewer overflows represent a major public health hazard.
                      Status: Passed March 7, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      Reauthorizing Pilot Program for Increasing Useable Water Supply - H.R. 700
                      This bill authorizes $125 million to fund projects that increase usable water supply by encouraging innovation in water reclamation, reuse and conservation.
                      Status: Passed March 8, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      Reauthorizing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund - H.R. 720
                      The Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund is a vital program for state and local governments that addresses critical water infrastructure needs. This bill authorizes a total of $14 billion for the fund over the next four years, ensures clean water and fosters economic development in local communities by helping pay for building and improving wastewater treatment facilities.
                      Status: Passed March 9, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Advanced Fuels Infrastructure R&D Act - H.R. 547
                      This legislation will help make alternative biofuels more quickly and affordably, and assists retailers in the transition to clean diesel fuels.
                      Status: Passed February 17, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Water Resources Development Act of 2007 - H.R. 1495
                      This legislation authorizes several projects and studies for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its major missions of flood control to protect our lives and livelihoods, viable navigation corridors for the movement of goods and services, and ecosystem restoration projects to improve the health of our nation’s environment.
                      Status: Passed April 19, 2007
                      Final version passed by the House on August 1, 2007
                      Vetoed on November 2, 2007
                      Veto Overridden by the House on November 6, 2007
                      Veto Overridden by the Senate on November 8, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Interior-Environment Appropriations - H.R. 2643
                      This legislation fully funds the Clean Water Fund that the President proposed cutting by 37 percent, makes improving our national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national forests a key priority, and boosts basic research on climate change by 53 percent.
                      Status: Passed June 27, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Energy Independence and Security Act
                      This legislation will move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, develop innovative new technologies, reduce carbon emissions, create green jobs, protect consumers, increase clean renewable energy production, and modernize our energy infrastructure.
                      Status: Passed August 4, 2007
                      Final version passed by the House on December 6, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Renewable Energy - H. Con. Res. 25
                      This Sense of the Congress resolution expresses that the goal of the U.S. is that America’s farms, forests, and ranches provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in America from renewable resources by 2025, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber. The 110th Congress is taking America in a New Direction, working to strengthen our energy security by reducing American dependence on foreign oil.
                      Status:  Passed October 15, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Energy & Science Bills
                      These three bills promote industrial energy efficiency and energy storage technologies, and support the goals and ideals of National Science Week.
                      Status:  Passed October 22, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      RESTORING ACCOUNTABILITY

                      Honest Leadership - H.Res. 6
                      To clean up Washington and sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, House Democrats started by banning travel and gifts from lobbyists, requiring full transparency to end the abuse of special interest earmarks, banning travel on corporate jets, shutting down the K Street project, reinstating the strict rules of pay-as-you-go budgeting, and ending the abusive processes that have destroyed democracy in the House of Representatives. These measures are the first steps to ensure that this Congress upholds the highest ethical standards.
                      Status: Passed January 5, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Pension Forfeiture Act - H.R. 476
                      This legislation requires that Members convicted of certain federal offenses forfeit their congressional pension rights.
                      Status: Passed January 23, 2007

                      The Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1309
                      This bill amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a dozen substantive provisions to provide for more timely disclosure of government documents, including restoring the presumption of disclosure to FOIA, helping FOIA requesters obtain timely responses, improving transparency in agency compliance with FOIA, providing an alternative to litigation, and providing accountability for FOIA decisions.
                      Status: Passed March 14, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1255
                      Under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records are supposed to be released to historians and the public 12 years after the end of a presidential administration. In 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive order which gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely. The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 nullifies the Bush executive order and establishes procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.
                      Status: Passed March 14, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2007 - H.R. 1254
                      This bill requires the disclosure of donors to Presidential libraries. Presidential libraries are built using private funds raised by an organization or foundation working on behalf of the president. Under current law, donations for the presidential library can be unlimited in size and are not required to be disclosed. The bill would require that all organizations established for the purpose of raising funds for presidential libraries or their related facilities report on a quarterly basis all contributions of $200 or more.
                      Status: Passed March 14, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - H.R. 985
                      This bill strengthens protections for federal whistleblowers to prevent retaliation against those who report wrongdoing, waste, fraud, or abuse to authorities.
                      Status: Passed March 14, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Accountability in Contracting Act - H.R. 1362
                      This bill changes federal acquisition law to require agencies to limit the use of abuse-prone contracts, to increase transparency and accountability in federal contracting, and to protect the integrity of the acquisition workforce.
                      Status: Passed March 15, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      Interim Appointment of U.S. Attorneys – H.R. 580
                      This legislation will help better ensure the independence of U.S. Attorneys – by repealing a provision in a 2006 statute that grants the Attorney General the authority to make indefinite interim appointments of U.S. Attorneys, who can then serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation.
                      Status: Passed March 26, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Taxpayer Protection Act - H.R. 1677
                      This legislation increases IRS outreach to provide taxpayers with stronger protections from identity theft and tax fraud. The bill simplifies tax filing requirements, strengthens outreach so people know they are entitled to tax refunds or payments under the Earned Income Tax Credit, and it increases taxpayer protections from "predatory" providers.
                      Status: Passed April 17, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      RECOVER Act – H.R. 1361
                      This legislation overhauls the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Assistance Program. In response to SBA’s disastrous performance after the 2005 Gulf State hurricanes, this bill provides numerous provisions to improve and strengthen the SBA disaster assistance program.  
                      Status: Passed April 18, 2007
                      The President opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      D.C. Voting Rights Act – H.R. 1905
                      This legislation will secure voting rights in the House for the District of Columbia, permanently expanding the U.S. House of Representatives from 435 to 437 seats. This provides a vote to the District of Columbia and a new, at-large seat through the 112th Congress to the state next entitled to increase its congressional representation (which, according to the Census, is Utah).
                      Status: Passed April 19, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act – H.R. 1257
                      This bill requires that public companies ensure that shareholders have an annual nonbinding vote on their company’s executive compensation plans. It also requires a nonbinding advisory vote if the company awards a new golden parachute package while simultaneously negotiating the purchase or sale of the company.
                      Status: Passed April 20, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>
                      Student Loan Sunshine Act - H.R. 890
                      In light of mounting evidence of unethical practices in the student loan industry, this legislation cleans up the relationships between student lenders and colleges.
                      Status: Passed May 9, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Honest Leadership and Open Government Act – H.R. 2316/S.1
                      This legislation ends the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. This is a tough bill that ends the culture of corruption, and restores accountability in Washington, ending the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers and taking another major step toward making the 110th Congress the most open, honest Congress in history.  Status: Passed May 24, 2007
                      Final version passed the House on July 31, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on September 14, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act – S. 214
                      This bill reinstates the Senate’s role in the U.S. Attorney confirmation process. It is designed to help better ensure the independence of U.S. Attorneys – by repealing a provision in a 2006 statute that grants the Attorney General the authority to make indefinite interim appointments of U.S. Attorneys, who can then serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation.
                      Status: Passed May 22, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on June 14, 2007
                      Learn more>>
                      The Federal Housing Finance Reform Act – H.R. 1427
                      This legislation will overhaul the regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, and create a new, independent regulator with broad powers analogous to current banking regulators. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises, meaning they are both created and chartered by Congress in addition to being private, profit-seeking businesses. It also creates a non-taxpayer financed affordable housing fund, which will dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars for the construction, maintenance and preservation of affordable housing, with the first year of the fund to be dedicated to the hurricane stricken areas of the Gulf Coast, and billions of dollars over the next five years for affordable housing nationwide.
                      Status: Passed May 22, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Lobbying Transparency Act – H.R. 2317
                      This bill requiring lobbyists who "bundle," or collect campaign checks for Members of Congress, to meet strict reporting and disclosure guidelines.
                      Status: Passed May 24, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act - H.R. 1281
                      This bill will prohibit and punish deceptive practices that aim to keep voters away from the polls on Election Day. This bill protects every American citizen’s right to vote by making voter deception, for the first time, a crime.
                      Status: Passed June 25, 2007
                      Learn more>

                      The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 - H.R. 2900
                      This legislation reauthorizes the prescription drug user fee for five years and increases the fee in order to allow the FDA to approve life-saving drugs more quickly. The bill makes the most sweeping safety and regulatory changes to the agency in years, adding new surveillance and safety requirements for drugs after they have been approved and marketed.
                      Status: Passed July 11, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      FDIC Enforcement Enhancement Act - H.R. 2547
                      To protect consumers nationwide, this legislation will impose penalties on companies that falsely claim to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This bill protects the integrity and the reputation of the FDIC as well as the millions of consumers that place their trust in the financial regulatory institutions.
                      Status: Passed July 16, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Passport Backlog Reduction Act of 2007 - S. 966
                      The new passport requirements have triggered an enormous passport backlog, with about 3 million pending passport applications that have yet to be processed. This delay has forced Americans to cancel business, leisure trips, and trips for study abroad. This legislation helps eliminate the backlog that is plaguing American travelers. It waives salary restrictions and allows the Department of State to bring back former employees to assist in passport-related duties.
                      Status: Passed July 16, 2007
                      Signed into the law by the President on July 30, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Campaign Expenditure Transparency Act - H.R. 2630
                      This legislation raises the bar on the ethical standards of Members of Congress by ending the practice of allowing federal office holders and candidates to employ spouses in their campaign. It would also require the disclosure of all other immediate family members who are employed by a candidate’s campaign. In addition, this bill would ban the egregious practice involving the spouse of an elected official earning commissions for fundraising activity. In those situations, the candidate or elected official personally pockets a percentage of all campaign funds raised by their spouse.
                      Status: Passed July 23, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - H.R. 2831
                      This legislation rectifies the recent Supreme Court decision that makes it harder for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims. The bill simply restores the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – that each paycheck that results from a discriminatory decision is itself a discriminatory act that resets the clock on the 180-day period within which a worker must file.  
                      Status: Passed July 31, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Honest Leadership, Open Government Act - S. 1
                      This is tough legislation designed to end the culture of corruption and restore accountability in Washington.  The bill ends the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers and takes another major step toward making the 110th Congress the most open, honest Congress in history.  This legislation will bring unprecedented transparency to lobbyists’ activities and is another major step to change the way business is done in Washington.
                      Status: Passed July 31, 2007
                      Signed into the law by the President on September 15, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act - H.R. 180
                      In continuing efforts to address the genocide and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the House passed legislation that will require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a list of companies whose business activities in Sudan directly support the genocidal practices of the regime in Khartoum.
                      Status: Passed July 31, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Supporting Democracy in Burma - H. Con. Res. 200
                      This bill condemns the Violent Suppression of Buddhist Monks and Other Peaceful Demonstrators in Burma, which denounces the violence and human rights violations in Burma and calls for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
                      Status:  Passed October 2, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Improving Government Accountability Act - H.R. 928
                      This bill contains a number of provisions to enhance the effectiveness and independence of Inspectors General.  It also contains provisions to enhance the accountability of the Inspector General system overall.
                      Status:  Passed October 3, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Ending Private Tax Collection - H.R. 3056
                      This bill was passed to repeal the use of private debt collection companies to collect federal income taxes, delay the application of an onerous three percent withholding requirement on government payments, and discourage individuals who renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes.
                      Status:  Passed October 10, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 - H.R. 2102
                      The bill would provide journalists with a qualified privilege as to sources and information, while at the same time, recognizing the need for effective law enforcement and robust national security. Freedom of the press is fundamental to our democracy and is essential to protecting the public's right to know. Without a federal media shield law to protect the confidential sources of journalists, freedom of the press is threatened.
                      Status:  Passed October 16, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Combating Human Trafficking - H.R. 3887
                      The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act will step up U.S. diplomatic efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking worldwide. This legislation addresses the fundamental right of every human being to live in freedom and safety. It requires a comprehensive analysis of trafficking data to yield new information about where victims are going and how to free them. It also provides help for countries to inspect locations where forced labor occurs, to register vulnerable populations and to provide more protection to foreign workers. It ensures that U.S. assistance programs are both transparent and effective, and it urges the Administration to work with other countries to reach agreements between labor exporters and labor importers so that vulnerable workers have more, rather than less protection.
                      Status: Passed December 4, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Genocide Accountability Act of 2007 - S.888
                      This bill would close a legal loophole that prevents the United States Department of Justice from prosecuting people in our country who have committed genocide abroad. Under current law, the United States cannot prosecute foreign nationals suspected of genocide that are living in our country.  The Justice Department has identified individuals who had an active role in the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides living in the United States under false pretenses.  They are unable to interview or charge any of these individuals because they lack jurisdictional rights.
                      Status: Passed December 5, 2007
                      Learn more>>
                      DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY

                      Implementing 9/11 Commission's Recommendations - H.R. 1
                      This legislation provides for the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The bill’s provisions include major improvements in aviation security, border security, and infrastructure security; providing first responders the equipment and training they need; beefing up efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction; and significantly expanding diplomatic, economic, educational, and other strategies designed to counter Islamic terrorism.
                      Status: Passed January 9, 2007
                      Final House-Senate version passed by the House on July 27, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on August 3, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Concurrent Resolution on the President's Escalation Plan - H.RES.63
                      This resolution disapproves of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq. It further resolves that Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq.
                      Status: Passed February 16, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Foreign Investment and National Security Act - H.R. 556
                      This bill strengthens national security by reforming the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process by which the Federal Government reviews foreign investments in the United States for their national security implications.
                      Status: Passed February 28, 2007
                      Final House-Senate version passed by the House on July 11, 2007
                      Signed into law by the President on July 26, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act
                      Had it not been vetoed by the President, this bill would have supported our troops and veterans, held the Bush Administration and Iraqi government accountable, and brought our soldiers home by August 2008 or sooner. It would have expanded funding for veterans’ health care and hospitals and refocused military efforts on Afghanistan and fighting terrorism.
                      Status: Passed March 23, 2007
                      Vetoed by the President May 1, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Rail and Mass Transit Security Act - H.R. 1401
                      This legislation is designed to close the security gaps facing rail and mass transit and includes provisions on issues such as training, grants, security planning, research and development, and shipments of sensitive materials.
                      Status: Passed March 26, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Wounded Warrior Assistance Act - H.R. 1538
                      This bill responds to the problems brought to light at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military health care facilities. It includes provisions to improve the access to quality medical care for wounded service members who are outpatients at military health care facilities, begin the process of restoring the integrity and efficiency of the disability evaluation system, and improve the transition of wounded service members from the Armed Forces to the VA system.
                      Status: Passed March 28, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      FY 2008 Homeland Security Authorization - H.R. 1684
                      This legislation authorizes $39.8 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2008. Because the President has been submitting budgets that underfunded key homeland security priorities over the last few years, this bill is authorizing $2.1 billion more than the President requested.
                      Status: Passed May 9, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Revised Version of the FY 2007 Supplemental Funding Bill - H.R. 2206
                      This bill is a revised version of the FY 2007 Supplemental, which fails to include the tough provisions holding the Iraqi government accountable and providing a responsible timetable for the redeployment of U.S. troops contained in the earlier version.  However, in this bill, the President was forced to abandon his threat to veto any bill containing accountability – agreeing to 18 benchmarks and a potential cut-off of reconstruction aid if progress is not made toward meeting them.  The measure also includes a minimum wage increase, children’s health care, and other important domestic priorities.  
                      Status: Passed May 10, 2007
                      Signed into the law by the President on May 25, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Bill - H.R. 2082
                      This legislation will make new investments in intelligence personnel and enhance oversight of how intelligence is carried out. It authorizes intelligence funding for all U.S. intelligence agencies, including our military intelligence organizations.
                      Status: Passed May 11, 2007
                      The Administration opposes in its current form
                      Learn more>>

                      FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill - H.R. 1585
                      This legislation will provide the necessary resources and authorities to quickly and efficiently reverse declining trends in training and equipment readiness, and will also provide our service members doing their duty overseas in multiple wars with the best gear and force protection possible. Under the bill, our troops will get better health care, better pay, and the benefits they have earned.
                      Status: Passed May 17, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Veterans Bills
                      These 6 bills support our veterans and honor their sacrifices, providing them with expanded health care and the benefits they deserve.

                         * The Veterans Outreach and Improvement Act of 2007, H.R. 67, would improve outreach activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It allows the VA to partner with state and local governments to reach out to veterans and their families in ensuring they receive the benefits for which they are eligible and assist them in completing their benefits claims.

                         * The Returning Servicemember VA Healthcare Insurance Act of 2007, H.R. 612, extends the period of eligibility for health care for combat service in the Persian Gulf or future hostilities from two years to five years after discharge or release.

                         * The Traumatic Brain Injury Health Enhancement and Long-Term Support Act of 2007, H.R. 2199, ensures that our veterans are properly screened for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI, the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) and, if diagnosed, receive the appropriate treatment.

                         * The Early Access to Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits Act, H.R. 2239, expands eligibility for vocational rehabilitation benefits for severely injured service members undergoing long-term care and recovery. It makes it easier for injured veterans with service-connected disabilities by allowing the Veterans’ Administration’s vocational rehabilitation and employment (VR&E) benefits to be received before discharge.

                         * The Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act, H.R. 1470, requires the provision of chiropractic care and services to veterans at all Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.

                         * H.R. 1660 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a national cemetery for veterans in the Southern Colorado region.

                      Status: Passed May 23, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act - H.R. 2446
                      This legislation will fund development, economic and security assistance programs, and establishment of a coordinator to tackle the growing threat of narcotics in Afghanistan. The bill renews a 2002 Afghanistan authorization and provides additional support for programs as diverse as assistance to women and girls, energy development and counter-narcotics. This bill represents the United States’ commitment to achieving long-term stability and security in Afghanistan.
                      Status: Passed June 6, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Homeland Security Appropriations - H.R. 2638
                      This legislation funds 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents, provides first responders with the equipment and training they need, and provides tougher aviation and port security.
                      Status: Passed June 15, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      International Nuclear Fuel for Peace Nonproliferation Act - H.R. 885
                      This legislation supports the creation of an international nuclear fuel bank so that any country seeking to develop peaceful nuclear power-producing capability will not have to enrich uranium. This bank will make sure that any state that keeps its nuclear nonproliferation commitments can get the fuel it needs without establishing its own fuel production facilities.
                      Status: Passed June 18, 2007
                      Learn more>>
                      State-Foreign Operations Appropriations - H.R. 2764
                      This legislation supports our allies in the campaign against terrorism, including providing more than $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan; and promotes global stability by strengthening development assistance and addressing humanitarian crises such as the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and Darfur.
                      Status: Passed June 22, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      Collective Bargaining for Public Safety Personnel - H.R. 980
                      This legislation would provide firefighters and police officers with basic workplace collective bargaining rights. In the post-9/11 era of protecting America from terrorism, in which we are asking our police officers, firefighters, and other public safety officers to take on even more responsibilities than they had before, the least we can do is ensure that they have basic rights to seek better wages and benefits.
                      Status: Passed July 17, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Banning Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq - H.R. 2929
                      This legislation states that it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing a permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.  It also states that it is the policy of the United States not to exercise U.S. control of the oil resources of Iraq. The measure bars the use of any funds provided by any law from being used to carry out any policy that contradicts these statements of policy.
                      Status: Passed July 25, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Iran Sanctions Enabling - H.R. 2347
                      This legislation empowers Americans to apply economic pressure on the Iranian regime by establishing a federal list of entities that invest in Iran and allowing for divestment.  As Iran continues to threaten regional stability and international security by pursuing a nuclear program, rattling sabers at its neighbors – especially Israel – and supporting terrorist groups funded by its energy sector, this bill will enable investors and state and local governments to ensure they are not invested in companies that support Iran’s oil and gas industry.
                      Status: Passed July 31, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act - H.R. 3159
                      This bill would require active duty forces to be guaranteed that their time at home match the length of their deployment. National Guard and reservists would be home for three times the length of the deployments. The bill would allow the President to waive these requirements to meet the national security needs of the country, and allow Service Chiefs of Staff to allow for the voluntary mobilization of members. These requirements would apply to those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
                      Status: Passed August 2, 2007
                      The President has threatened to veto
                      Learn more>>

                      The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act - H.R. 4299
                      This revised bill extends the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for 7 years.  TRIA provides a federal backstop to the insurance industry by providing compensation for a portion of insured losses resulting from acts certified by the government as acts of terrorism.
                      Status: Passed September 19, 2007
                      Revised version passed by the House on December 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Contingency Planning for Redeployment from Iraq - H.R. 3087
                      This bill requires the Department of Defense, within 60 days, to submit a report on the status of planning for redeployment from Iraq to the congressional defense committees, with updated reports every 90 days thereafter.
                      Status:  Passed October 2, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Accountability for Crimes Committed by Overseas Contractors - H.R. 2740
                      This bill is designed to ensure that all private security contractors in war zones overseas will be held accountable for any criminal behavior.  Currently, there is only clear jurisdiction of the U.S. courts over those contractors who are on contract with the Department of Defense.   Following are highlights of some of the bill’s provisions.
                      Status:  Passed October 4, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The War Profiteering Prevention Act - H.R. 400
                      This legislation creates a new federal criminal fraud offense to prohibit fraudulent acts involving the provision of goods or services in connection with a mission of the U.S. government overseas. Following are highlights of some of the bill’s provisions.
                      Status:  Passed October 9, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Iraqi Corruption - H.Res. 734
                      This legislation raises objections to the Administration’s withholding of information relating to corruption in Iraq. The American people and Congress deserve honest answers about the extent of corruption in the Iraqi government and whether corruption is fueling the insurgency and endangering our troops.
                      Status:  Passed October 16, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act - H.R. 1955
                      This bill is designed to take steps to better understand violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in order to prevent them.
                      Status:  Passed October 23, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act - H.R. 327
                      This legislation directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide.
                      Status:  Passed October 23, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      The Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act, H.R. 4156
                      The American people continue to demand a New Direction in Iraq.  This war – now lasting nearly five years, longer than World War II – has cost Americans too much, in terms of lives, dollars, and our reputation around the world. This legislation will change the direction of President Bush’s failed Iraqi policy: require the President to redeploy our troops, while providing our troops in harm’s way with the resources they need.
                      Status: Passed November 14, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Defense Authorization for FY 2008 - H.R. 1585
                      This measure will provide the necessary resources and authorities to quickly and efficiently reverse declining trends in military readiness, and will also provide our service members in  harm’s way with the best gear and force protection possible.  Under the conference report, our troops will get better health care, better pay, and the benefits they have earned.
                      Status: Passed December 12, 2007
                      Learn more>>

                      Intelligence Authorization for FY 2008 - H.R. 2082
                      The bill authorizes the largest amount for intelligence programs ever authorized - containing numerous provisions to improve the effectiveness of intelligence programs and agencies. It also includes an amendment that extends to U.S. intelligence agencies and personnel the current prohibitions in the Army Field Manual against torture.
                      Status: Passed December 13, 2007
                      Learn more>>

      •  That's why it was so sad to see (0+ / 0-)

        Al Gore choose not to run, to me anyway.

    •  they also stripped the credits for (15+ / 0-)

      new windows, insulating your house, and ENERGY STAR appliances.  

  •  re (5+ / 0-)

    Cheney and Co. just shat.

    This is one they won't be able to buy and sweep under the rug.

    "Steve Holt would't hire GHWB to clean his toilet, Hillary and Bill think he's swell." - Steve Holt

    by cookiesandmilk on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:48:24 PM PST

  •  When will Exxon kill this? (6+ / 0-)

    Sorry to sound so sceptical. I've just been seeing ideas like this being buried for decades now. I hope our next Prez will stop the oil companies from relagating us to antique technology.

    McCain/Lieberman '08 "We Haven't Hit Bottom Yet!"

    by kitebro on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:48:24 PM PST

  •  It makes so much sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, AnnCetera, Rick Winrod

    I'm still surprised that the technology has not been pushed further, faster. I don't pretend to understand why, I just thought we would be much further along by now in the application of Solar for most houses.

    •  Having a house hooked up to the grid (4+ / 0-)

      is very convenient , almost all the big consumer goods are made for working with power from the grid . Getting people to switch from the old ways/gear is not going to be easy .

      "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

      by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:11:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not as if one has to buy 12 volt appliances (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        randallt, offgrid

        ...to use off-grid solar.  The same appliances are used in the house, except that large things that heat with electricity are replaced with direct use of fuel.  Natural gas/propane cooking range and water heater, for example.  At today's prices, major efforts are made towards efficiency to reduce system size in an off-grid installation.

        I don't see the grid going away, it would be highly uneconomical to build every house to produce for peak electric demand.  

        The Republican Party is a criminal enterprise.

        by Bronx59 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:08:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  dag. this is big. (10+ / 0-)

    $2/watt installed? with--presumably--a mere fraction of the externalities imposed upon us by coal?

    this is an extremely encouraging development.

    Time for Miles to soothe me again, because jazz is the antibush. --zic

    by homo neurotic on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:50:11 PM PST

  •  When you say it will cost $2 a watt, do you mean (7+ / 0-)

    their production cost, or the cost to consumers (once the demand spike drops off)?

    How long before I, Joe Averageconsumer, can buy them?

    Jumping on the politicalcompass.org bandwagon: (-3.63, -3.03) - Does that make me part of the right wing here?

    by someone else on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 04:51:15 PM PST

    •  The target is $2 per watt (capability), installed (6+ / 0-)

      Interesting news - Sanyo and Honda are both making major investments into the 'thin-film' field in actual manufacturing plants. I think that the Sanyo goal is on the order of 1 - 2 gigawatt (capability) of product per year within 4 years.

      You may know that the Chinese government has a goal of $0.80 per watt of manufacturer's cost by 2016.

      Also, cost to the user is very much dependent on government support. California program, I believe, has reached a second tier of a decreasing incentive system. Germany is still subsidizing installations at a high rate; Spain likewise. Others - highly variable.

    •  I'm sceptical of the "$2/W installed" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      someone else, dotcommodity

      I design and sell PV systems and equipment for a living, working for one of the largest wholsale solar equipment distributors.

      I do system quotes all day long. Most residential sized systems come out costing $5-6 per watt at wholsale pricing (sold to electricians and other installers). That includes all the equipment - solar modules, mounting racks, inverters, safety switches, etc.

      I hear from the folks that I sell to that the installed cost to the end-user (homeowner), is between $8-10 per watt (after labor, permit costs, etc).

      This is based on current production mono and poly-crystalline solar modules, which sell at wholesale for $3.80-$4.30/W.

      If Nanosolar can get the wholesale price down to $1.00/W, this would only drop the installed cost to about $5-7/W. Maybe they can cut another $1.00/W off if the modules are mounted as integrated roofing, eliminating the mounting racks.

      Still not "$2.00/W installed"

      "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

      by offgrid on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:49:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  of course it's cheaper than coal (12+ / 0-)

    especially if you factor in the environmental degradation caused by coal mining - the human misery & loss of life due to coal mining - the medical cost associated with all of the mercury dumped in the air as a result of burning coal, and last but not least all that carbon being dumped in our atmosphere.

    "Clean coal" is an oxymoron - a marketing phrase created by shameless vested interests that hang on to their profits & power at the expense of life on Earth.


    ````
    peace

  •  their maiden solar panel is at $7K+ on Ebay (4+ / 0-)
  •  They are on the right track (8+ / 0-)

    There are quite a few interesting new PV technologies on the horizon.  Whenever a new start-up has a press release it is greeted like the second coming for a couple of seconds but it is just indicative of the fact that the research that has been done over the past twenty years is starting to pay off.  There are a lot of promising new approaches in the pipeline.  The problem is that the last ten years or so have starved basic research to the point where there is going to be a fall off in the out years unless we start funding science again.

  •  South African invention? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swordsmith, maybeeso in michigan

    I remember a development last year by a professor in south Africa who had come up with a new technique for making these things, and he'd patented it around
    http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/...

    Nanosolar's site isn't very forthcoming, I wonder if they're related. If they are, these panels can pretty much handle the entire electrical needs of an average house! pretty dern cool! (or hot?)

    "We've waited such a long time, but now it's here: INDEPENDENCE DAY!!" -David Byrne

    by Paco3000 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:03:17 PM PST

    •  many people working with CIGS (0+ / 0-)

      ( Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide ) photovoltaics, there's dozens of patents and hundreds of papers on them.

      I'm sort of hoping CIGS catches on, those 1 Kg lots of indium and gallium I bought for $150 each years ago should ramp up from the $600 they're worth now to several times that.  

      The US pretty much stopped producing primary gallium and indium, became uneconomical as environmental issues increased, so the big suppliers are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Canada.  Price goes up like that, they may reopen old lead and zinc mines for the gallium and indium content.

  •  From todays SJ mercury news (7+ / 0-)

    Nanosolar along with Beck energy won a contract to build a solar farm in germany ,
    1 megawatt . They are putting it on a landfill , ie a dump , in Luckenwald Germany .

    Nanosolar is planing to make 430 megawatts of panels per year .

    "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

    by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:04:22 PM PST

  •  Cost comparison misleading (8+ / 0-)
    Comparing coal with solar on nameplate capacity gives you a horribly misleading picture of the real situation. When they talk about a "watt" of solar cell capacity, that is the peak power production from the cell when the sun is shining directly on it.

    When the sun is not pointing directly at the cell, or it is cloudy, it produces considerably less than the peak. At nighttime, it produces no power at all. A coal-fired power plant doesn't work all the time either - sometimes they break down, sometimes they undergo scheduled maintenance. But they spend much more of their lifetimes running at 100% capacity than solar cells do.

    This concept is quantified in something called "capacity factor". This is calculated by comparing the actual energy produced over a long period of time, with the output if the plant run at its maximum capacity all day every day. American nuclear plants generally have a capacity factor of 90% or higher. Coal plants are usually a bit lower, maybe 75% or so. Solar has a capacity factor of about 19%. There are other things that work in solar power's favour, however. First and foremost, because you can put your solar panels on your roof, it's not competing against wholesale power direct from the plant, it's competing against retail electricity from the grid. Much of the cost of electricity is actually the cost of maintaining the grid - though if everybody installs grid-connected solar, the costs of maintaining the grid don't go away, and sooner or later the people who own the electricity grid will get narky about this. But, at the moment, solar panels have a big cost advantage in this respect. Furthermore, solar panels need no fuel, and require very little maintenance.

    However, the big cost with solar panels is that you're either relying on the grid, with fossil-fuel plants, covering your backside for cloudy days, or you require batteries to back you up. Energy storage is enormously expensive.

    •  "Capacity Factor" discounted in analysis (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, lgmcp, dotcommodity

      Goone, read my post above.

      The US$ 2 figure factors in capacity factor, it seems.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:09:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

        I'll bet you London to a brick that the cost figures for nanosolar's panels are quoting peak watts, not taking into account capacity factor issues.

        The NYT journalist who wrote the original article clearly doesn't understand the distinction.  

        •  "clearly doesn't understand the distinction" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dotcommodity

          I bet the stupid Germans who paid nanosolar good money for a 1 megawatt solar farm don't know anything about that . Its so easy to trick the Germans out of their money . Childs play .

          "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

          by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:31:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I would add to this that (5+ / 0-)

      Energy transmission is also very expensive!

      "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

      by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:10:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True... (0+ / 0-)

        But either you rely on the grid as backup - in which case the energy transmission problem hasn't gone away, or you're using some kind of energy storage system as backup, in which case you've replaced one expensive problem with another even more expensive problem.

        •  You have to pick your poison (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Swordsmith, offgrid, Bronx59

          Which technology will improve the most of the next decade?  Electrical storage or transmission?  My money is that battery, super-capacitors or even nanotubes will make many more improvements that will be accessable to consumers than improvements in transmission.  Transmission upgrades are at the mercy of power companies.

          "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

          by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:38:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The rest of the world (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, lgmcp, offgrid, dotcommodity

      I was just in Greece and the Greeks have solar all over the place plus huge windmills in many areas as well. They don't have a Gov't that can't make up its mind about these things and instead gives billions in tax credits to oil companies who are raping and plundering half the planet.

      "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees" E. Zapata

      by Blutodog on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:10:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Distributed is the way to go (5+ / 0-)

        There's no reason peak power can't be provided by individual businesses' and homeowners' solar banks. Doing such also seriously circumscribes the power of big utilities, effectively democratizing energy.

      •  they also are not energy hogs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TravnTexas, AnnCetera, offgrid

        and use much less energy per person than we pampered Americans do.

        The US has just 5% of the world's population, but chews up some 25% of the world's energy.  Indeed, we use, on average, about nine times as much electricity per person as the rest of the world does.

        Alas, I doubt that either the Democrats or the Republicans are willing to force Americans to cut their energy-bloated lifestyles down to a sustainable level -- I think both would prefer that the rest of the world just continue to subsidize our lifestyles, as it does now.  

        And I doubt that the rest of the world will, voluntarily, agree to continue to live the way it does (about 2 billion people worldwide currently have NO electricity at all whatsoever), just so we can continue to live the way we do.  

        Which means we will have to either (1) force them to continue to subsidize our lifestyles, or (2) equalize our energy usage with theirs, whether we like it or not (and there simply is no energy source available, now or in the forseeable future, that can produce our current levels of energy use for everybody--which means our energy usage will have to go down, a lot).

        There is no third way.

        And it won't matter if that energy source is solar, nuclear, gas, coal, fusion, or whatever.

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:29:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's why you supplement... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with other renewable sources like wind and energy efficient devices.

      Not a cure all but a huge step in the right direction.

      C'mon Cold Fusion!

      There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

      by MNPundit on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:14:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Clouds as a factor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, lgmcp

      You'd have to know the peak wavelength range of the panels. If they're in the near IR, my understanding is that they're less sensitive to clouds than if they're in the visible.

    •  Wait till the Germans find this out ! (3+ / 0-)

      They went and spent the money to build a 1 megawatt solar farm with nanosolars solar cells !
      Boy I bet they are going to be so pissed off .
      Stupid Germans ,
      what do they know about technology , they can't even make a decent car .

      "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

      by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:25:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is exciting news... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobinson, Swordsmith, wondering if

        I'm not claiming that reducing the cost of solar panels by this amount isn't a major breakthrough.  Clearly, it is, and I hope that Nanosolar's products live up to their claims.  If they do I'll happily order some for my roof.

        I'm just pointing out that the kind of simplistic cost comparisons in the NYT article - and here on DKos - do not reflect the true picture.  Just screaming "fossil fuel conspiracy" as many people seem to do, without even bothering to understand the real cost structures of the various energy options available, is counterproductive.

        •  If I know anything about Germans (0+ / 0-)

          I know the Germans would never buy a solar cell from the U.S.A. unless it was going to work , and work to there advantage . They know how to count the beans a 1000 different ways .  

          "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

          by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:46:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Honest discussion of limitations is needed (0+ / 0-)

          ..how do you overcome them otherwise?

          Another upside of solar is that supply peaks close to the time of peak summer demand on hot days, though demand for electricity peaks a couple of hours after the sunniest part of the day.

          The Republican Party is a criminal enterprise.

          by Bronx59 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:58:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The company founder is German (0+ / 0-)

        So, I think they know.  :)  And initial production facilities are being built in Germany.

  •  $2 a watt is only for the FIRST watt generated... (8+ / 0-)

    thereafter, the watts are pretty much free...though the hard part about solar is justifying invading countries with sunlight (Iran, Syria) that might try to withhold that sunlight from the American people to whom it really belongs.

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:08:43 PM PST

    •  um. no. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wondering if, chapter1

      a watt is a rate of power production.

      it costs $2 using these panels for each watt (= joules/second) of generating capacity.

      I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

      by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:24:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're saying the same thing (0+ / 0-)

        What he's saying is that the initial cost is $2/watt (hence the idiom "for the first watt"). The initial cost of coal is $2.1/watt.

        After that, the solar is effectively free, while the coal plant needs, well, coal.

        •  the idiom "the first watt" makes no sense at all. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wondering if, chapter1

          so we're not saying the same thing. there is no "first watt". or if there were, it would be the first watt of generating capacity, which would probably cost a lot more than $2, since all the other infrastructure of the system would be amortized against it.

          it's an inaccurate way to describe what he (or she) is trying to describe, one which will confuse and mislead folks who don't understand the relationship between watts, joules, and dollars.

          I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

          by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:03:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  stick em on a hybrid car (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, maybeeso in michigan, lgmcp

    I've always wondered why someone hasn't slapped solar cells on a hybrid car, if only as a proof-of-concept since they've traditionally been expensive.  Even better if it's primarily an electric engine like plug in hybrids - just leave your car parked in the driveway and let it charge.  Millions of Americans who have to leave their cars parked on the street will finally have an upside to not having a garage.  :)

    •  Very inefficient (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson, Tuba Les, lgmcp, wondering if, JeffW

      Automobile geometry makes them very poor places to put expensive solar panels.  It's much more efficient to have stationary panels aligned for unobstructed/maximum sunlight that charge batteries for an electric vehicle.

      "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

      by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:13:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the roof of the parking garage/carport (10+ / 0-)

        should be covered with PV panels,IMO.

        •  Sell the electric car in its own solar box! (3+ / 0-)

          Sort of like a little railroad car coated with solar panels, just plop it down anywhere with side "A" facing due south!  

          Wouldn't that be cute?  AND practical!  

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:19:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Kinda...except (2+ / 0-)

            if it's at ground level it could end up in the shade some/most of the time.  Just because something is covered with solar panels doesn't mean that it is efficiently converting the incoming light to electricity.  What you want is a large flat area pointed about 20-30 degrees south of zenith (straight-up), that has an unobstructed view of the Southern sky (from what I recall).  When the Sun hits a solar panel at a slant instead of dead-on it reduces the amount of power generated.  It'd be much better to strategically cover rooftops/parking structures with the panels to maximize efficiency, and then have parked cars automatically charge.  Solar panels are not something to be strewn about even if they come down to one dollar per watt.

            "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

            by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:28:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The best use of solar panels on a car (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              labradog, lgmcp, Carbide Bit, offgrid

              Solar panels to run a fan (or fans) to keep the car's interior from overheating while parked would be worthwhile, hybrid or not.  

              Reducing the starting air conditioning load on a car would stretch battery life and may permit reducing the size of the A/C system.  

              The Republican Party is a criminal enterprise.

              by Bronx59 on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:51:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't most AC systems use the alternator? (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think that many auto AC systems run off of the battery, pretty sure almost all of them run off of the alternator (or are mechanically connected to the engine), in which case cranking the AC when you startup a car shouldn't really have much effect on the battery.  Other options include window tinting or leaving your windows cracked.  These are all practically insignificant when compared to the energy expended to get a couple of people from point A to point B without too much hassle.  Putting solar panels on cars doesn't add much, but does make the car more complex, expensive, heavier, and probably less aerodynamic.  A hobby sized solar panel with personal fan hanging out of your window is fine as a gimic, but mixing cars and solar panels is very impractical.  Just because two different technologies offer good solutions to common problems doesn't mean they should be combined.  I don't see many Lady-Remmington-Combo-DVD-Players out there (although my eyes are open).

                "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

                by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:43:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  solar car races (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobinson, maybeeso in michigan

        We have solar car races, so it can't be that bad.  I'm talking about using solar cells as a source of supplemental power, not primary power.  And if production is going to be as cheap and easy as these guys make it sound, why not go all out?

        •  If it's supplementary power (0+ / 0-)

          You'd generate an whole lot more power by stationary mounting the solar panels to maximize the sunlight, instead of putting them on a vehicle that may or may not be in the shade and may or may not be pointing at the Sun.  If it's supplementary power than you obviously have batteries or some type of ICE (or both) in the car.  Trying to design a car that is aerodynamic and can facilitate pv panels is difficult because both aspects often contradict each other.  Even if this great news materializes, PV's are expensive and rare, and best utilized by installing them in a such a way that they generate maximum power.

          "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

          by demotarian on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:47:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's about convenience (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, mounting property tilted solar panels on roofs would be more efficient, but that's not the point.  What good is a roof array for cars if there is no way to plug the car in?  My sister, for example, lives in St. Paul and has to park on the street.  There is no place to plug her car in, even if she wanted to.  If solar panels on your Prius increase your overall gas milage from 45 mpg to 51 mpg, why not?

            •  Got a link? (0+ / 0-)

              I'd be surprised if PV's on a Prius gave you that big of a boost in mpg...I'd guess more like 1 mpg or less...

              "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

              by demotarian on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 12:18:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no links (0+ / 0-)

                because no one seems to have tried it.  If these new cells are as good and cheap as they claim, someone will.

                •  No one has tried it because (0+ / 0-)

                  Even the best (non concept/barebones/ultralight) EV's use a couple hundred Watt-hours per mile.  If you covered a car with PV's you might be able to get one hundred watts of peak power in the middle of the day.  Basically if you cover a car with PV's and you're really lucky you'll get to drive a mile using the energy from the PV's.  So unless your daily commute is only a couple of miles it's not worth it, and if your daily commute is only a couple of miles, why in the hell are you driving in the first place?
                  I'm not saying that a solar car has zero applications, but its impracticality will limits its use to a few very specfic tasks in very sunny areas.

                  "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

                  by demotarian on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 11:07:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Why not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maybeeso in michigan

      solar cell paint on the car?

      Replace Pelosi, Hoyer and Blue-Dogs. Then impeach.

      by ctsteve on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:38:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It makes no sense (3+ / 0-)

      to put them on a car .
      You store the energy in the car but the panels stay behind . Aero drag , weight , inefficient aiming of said cells toward the sun , damage from stress , etc etc etc . The total area of a car body covered in cells is not going to capture much energy vs that same amount of cells on a flat panel aimed at the sun .

      "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

      by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:39:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ran the numbers (0+ / 0-)

        See my comment here

        20 Sq Ft of panels on the roof of a car on a sunny day gets you about 5 miles of driving. It takes a lot of power to run a car, something like 160 to 200 Wh per mile. A PV setup like this is good for about 140W, so you basically get one mile of driving for every hour the car sits in the sun.

        You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

        by frostyinPA on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:05:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  you guys are misunderestimating me (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not talking about using cells as primary power, or adding big fins or something to the roofs of cars to maximize sunlight exposure.  I'm talking about slapping cells on the exterior of a normal car as a supplemental power source to further increase gas mileage.  No, the cells wouldn't be as effective on a car as they would on a roof, tilted for maximum exposure.  The point is that millions of people that drive don't have garages and have to park their cars outside, and they could receive the benefit of solar power without having to find an outlet somewhere.  If a day parked or driving in the sun gets you even one extra mile per day, I think it is worth doing at these prices.

        As Al Gore pointed out in his movie, solving global warming isn't going to require a magic bullet or cold fusion - it means reducing our emissions and energy use.  Solar cells on cars would help that, imo.  So far they've been too expensive to be practical, but if these prices pan out, why not?

        •  No we're not... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wondering if

          People a lot smarter than you or I have run the numbers, and figured out it's not worth the cost, complexity, and especially weight.

          Or are you smarter than, say, the engineers at Tesla Motors?

        •  "but if these prices pan out, why not?" (0+ / 0-)

          Efficiency . You want you solar cell located where it will get the most sunlight . The cell is a collector ,
          to get the most bang for your buck , use it where it will collect the most . A flat panel atop a car is great at noon  on the day when the sun is straight overhead . A flat panel atop the roof of a building , thats tilted to the sun and tracks the sun is going to catch much more .

          "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

          by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 09:37:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ditch em all then (0+ / 0-)

            Let's go to only using only hydro power as a renewable source of energy, as wind and solar power will always operate with less than 100% efficiency.

            A flat panel atop the roof of a building , thats tilted to the sun and tracks the sun is going to catch much more .

            But your perfectly tilted roof panel is going to be perfectly worthless for cars that can't be plugged in - like anyone that has to park on the street because they don't have a garage, or cars on a long distance trip.  Until now, solar cells have been expensive to the point where they should be put on roofs, because only so many could be made.  However, if these new cells are as good and as cheap to manufacture as claimed, it will be possible to do both.

            •  Your envisioned problems , (0+ / 0-)

              are not problems at all .

              If you decided to power your car batteries from a wind powered generator , would you mount the thing on the car ?

              "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box." Admiral William Fallon

              by indycam on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 10:46:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  are you guys trying to kill me here? (0+ / 0-)

                Your envisioned problems are not problems at all

                How are they not problems?  Its a simple fact that we do not have the infrastructure to plug cars in for people that do not have a garage or park in a parking ramp, and possibly never will.

    •  Make it aerodynamic with a small space between (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson

      solar panel and cartop---with ability to raise to achieve angle to sun.   It might take some creative parking at times, but would save enough energy to help a lot just shading the top of the car even if not at the most efficient angle.

      911 changed very little. George Bush, his sycophants, enablers and handlers have changed way too much. --me

      by maybeeso in michigan on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:42:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well if we have to have a metanational... (9+ / 0-)

    ...corporate overload who controls the means of cheap abundant energy, I'm glad it's Google.

    There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

    by MNPundit on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:11:09 PM PST

  •  that $2.1 coal is (7+ / 0-)

    dirty but, most importantly, it costs another $4.2 to get it to your house cause transmssion lines are 2x the price of generation. Starts to look very interesting for small, distributed energy grids that don't depend on transmission and distribution wires.

  •  In FL (and elsewhere?) Solar Roofing Tiles (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, Swordsmith, betson08, lgmcp

    are available and are being included by some builders in their tract housing projects.

    Integral solar roofing material (photovoltaic modules, or PVs) is a much better alternative than roof-mounted solar panels down here in Hurricane Alley.  Panels have to be dismounted when a storm threatens, and gawd forbid you should have to replace your roof, which would require major dismantling and reinstallation.

    They're getting more affordable, but probably remains out of reach for many.

    Over the long term, the end results will be well worth the initial costs, and you will have an attractive, silent, environmentally friendly, electricity-producing power plant. Also, your PV system requires only sunlight to run it, plus it should operate for 40 years or more without additional costs.

    Over a 40-year life, PV systems will cost an estimated 18 cents per kWh, compared with conventional electricity, which is approximately 7 cents per kWh. So PV energy costs much more than you currently pay for electricity – but perhaps less than what you will be paying 20 years from now.

    Here's some pix.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:16:35 PM PST

  •  It seems counter-intuitive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swordsmith

    But I'd like to see these devices deployed in systems that afford 5-10 X in solar concentration with cheap lens systems.  The performance of these defected materials increases significantly under concentration as the traps become filled and the diodes behave more ideally.  That fact coupled with the ability to decrease the use of scarce indium by an order of magnitude argues in favor of this approach if the optics can be made cheaply enough.

    •  Agreed, but - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, offgrid

      most of the semiconductors used will overheat under that level of concentration. When I say 'overheat', I mean that the actual output degrades, starting at some temperature particular to the type of semiconductor. For Si-based it's not a particularly high temperature, either. I forget the exact range, but it's on the order of 130 to 150 F, I think. So, what do you think, should we cool the Si somewhat with, say, water, and use the 'waste' heat in some type of co-generation system?

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        offgrid

        With this level of mild concentration you can get by with a passive cooling system composed of fin like radiators of extruded aluminum on the back of the mounting plate.  Are you familiar with the Entech 22X system in Dallas?  They have some deployed at the parking garage at DFW.  Linear freznel lenses affording 22 X.  I think that these systems operate at something like 10-20° above ambient.  Most semiconductors have a temperature coefficient of about 2 mV per degree centigrade so you would see something like a 20 - 40 mV decrease in the open circuit voltage.  But I have observed increases in the voltage of over 90 mV for CI(G)S for concentration in that range so the efficiency would actually go up, while using one tenth of the semiconductor with no active cooling.  I published this work over seven years ago, I think.

  •  I hope this turns out well... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, bobinson

    Even if this doesn't replace all energy generation needs, it can replace some.  In places where the sun does a lot of work heating up houses, the panels can do the work of cooling them as well!

    Let's keep plugging along here.

  •  Renewable energy is great (4+ / 0-)

    I have been following this technology since it was first invented in South Africa around 2003. CIGS solar is totally different than silicon solar.

    I also love how cheap renewables are getting. In the last 30 years or so the prices have dropped by about 90% for wind, 95%+ for solar and 80% for geothermal. No idea what biofuels are. But if we can keep this trend up, hopefully in the next 10-20 years we will have fuels that are 5-10x cheaper than coal. Renewables have gone from 5-10x more than coal to equal to coal, and they are still getting cheaper. Vertical wind turbines and high alt wind turbines are only 2 cents a kwh compared to about 5-6 cents for coal.

    http://www.treehugger.com/...

    Anil Sethi of Flisom foresees his thin-film solar panels (commercially available in late 2009) reaching $.80/watt in five years, and $.50/watt within ten.

    Combined with kitegen which produces electric at a fraction of a penny per kwh, and other techs and our future looks great. Within 20 years we may have non-polluting, clean energy to power a house and a car for $20/month.

    •  "No idea what biofuels are" (0+ / 0-)

      Unavoidably expensive, even if one isn't doing corn ethanol with a "not good enough" 1.3:1 EROEI. Even if one is doing algae biomass to biodiesel, somebody's got to pay for quite a few acres of whatever one uses for a photobioreactor.

      Though the world will tolerate a premium for energy in a form which one can pour into a fuel tank that'll run on existing equipment. Which is why gasoline or diesel are more expensive than coal.

      This stuff will look a lot better when the price of gas hits $5/gallon. (next year or so)

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  date is wrong (0+ / 0-)

      Preparation of copper indium gallium diselenide films for solar cells
      US Patent Issued on September 8, 1998

      Variable range hopping conductivity in copper-indium-gallium-selenium-tellurium solid solutions

      J J Ilowski et al 1982 J. Phys. C: Solid State Phys. 15 L875-L878   doi:10.1088/0022-3719/15/25/005

      Anion displacements and the band-gap anomaly in ternary ABC2 chalcopyrite semiconductors

         J. E. Jaffe and Alex Zunger
         Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colorado 80401

      Received 14 January 1983

      Using a first-principles all-electron band-structure approach, we show that the anomalous (> 50%) reduction in the band gaps of the A(I)B(III)C2(VI) chalcopyrite semiconductors relative to their II-VI isoelectronic analogs results both from a pure structural effect (the anion displacements reflecting the mismatch of classical elemental radii) and from a purely electronic effect (p-d repulsion in the valence band), with a small coupling between the two factors.

  •  I love progress. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Swordsmith

    I...JUST...LOVE IT.  Solar will be ubiquitous within ten years, if not sooner, and the drop in cost per watt won't stop at parity with traditional sources.  There will come a point when the marginal cost of energy is utterly trivial.

    There's just one thing I'm wondering about: Is the additional heat output from solar power significantly greater than if the energy were simply absorbed by the ground and re-radiated?  If so, then the expanded output due to cheap solar might actually accelerate global warming.  Hopefully all the money put into atmospheric carbon extraction applications will yield something significant soon.

    Freedom is in the fight.

    by Troubadour on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:18:19 PM PST

    •  Not a problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, offgrid

      that which is turned to electricity is not turned to heat, so there is actually less heat than if it were absorbed by the ground. Of course energy is conserved and when the electricity is used it will probably generate heat so it may be a wash, but you get the idea, at the worst no different than if the light landed on something dark.

      •  What I'm thinking about (0+ / 0-)

        is that even though there are a lot fewer transformations in solar than fossil fuels, and therefore less heat output per unit of energy, the ultimate cheapness of solar may expand output so much that the difference is overwhelmed.  I'm too fuzzy on my physics to work it out mathematically, but if there's someone who knows it would be interesting.

         

        Freedom is in the fight.

        by Troubadour on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:34:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Solar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, bobinson, offgrid
    Among my most successful invseting in the last year are solar stocks, with wind stocks a second. Wrote about this earlier, and some of the stocks lost to profit taking, but basically one single stock I hold went up 300% within the year. I sold some along the way to make back my initial investment, but am holding on to some as well. Other alternative energy stocks have gone up 100%. The time has come to see these technologies as HERE AND NOW. Wind and methane from waste already are viable and great options. Solar really is coming into its own. Others are coming fast. Oil and coal are so last century. Nuclear can't be built fast enough to make any difference now, and requires HUGE taxpayer subsidies to be competitive. Wind, methane from waste and solar are major parts of the solution, with things like geothermal, smally hydro and various tidal technologies adding their worth.

    Time to let go of the Carboniferous age. Time to let go of the Nuclear age. The age of renewables is here.

    •  "Oil and coal are so last century" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, bobinson, offgrid

      Aha!  Great quote!  I may use that one, do you mind?

      BTW, I think we've had this discussion before - but our home is solar powered.  This coming January it will be on year.  And in April, we had a solar water heater installed - since that April we haven't turned back on our electric water heater.

      Even now, it's all solar heated water, baby.  And we haven't had to experience a power outage since we also have a battery backup.  We're loving it here in Oregon!

  •  Manufacturing in San Jose == not yet real (6+ / 0-)

    Hate to say it, but manufacturing plant in San Jose is a big red flag.

    Typically small run stuff happens in San Jose because it allows a tighter loop of manufacturing to engineering.

    That means this stuff is still in early prototype stages and the $1/watt figure is a projection for the distant future.

    Been there.  Done that.  Still have the stock certificates.

    •  Lot's of red flags (5+ / 0-)

      But there are good ideas and deep pockets.  What they are basically doing is using modified inkjet technology to deposit the absorber layer on an aluminum foil substrate.  We have a group working on that approach at the outfit I'm at.  It will probably work out OK.  One of the big problems is uniformity,  If you look at their web site, they try to make that a virtue when they talk about "sorting cells" to electrically match them.  Well, sure.  They have to because they are all over the map.  Yes, they can crank them out fast, this is the high production rate which is a function of the roll to roll deposition technology, but the uniformity isn't there.  So, they have to sort them into a bunch of bins by testing them all and then match them up into similar batches to make modules.  They try to make this bug sound like a feature.  Another issue is long term stability.  Fact is, nobody knows right now.  Don't let anyone tell you differently.  It's our job to find out and we don't know.

      •  how close are we to lithographic (0+ / 0-)

        printing or something more suitable to large scale processing?

        "We don't know" or NDA-only are perfectly acceptable answers.

        Note to other Kossacks: "lithographic printing" is the process used to print newspapers and magazines.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:46:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent news! (3+ / 0-)

    I sometimes get a bit "tinfoil hatty" about things like this - by that I mean I wouldn't put it past Exxon Mobile to (somehow) squash these kinds of amazing technological innovations.

    As an example, it always blows my mind that no one's ever heard of things like Thermal Depolymerization which is a technology that's been onine and running for some time now that can convert pretty much anything except nuclear waste into oil.

    How efficient is it?

    "If a 175-pound man fell into one end, (of the processing equipment) he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water."

    I know what you're thinking... we don't need to be burning any more (home-made) fossil fuels because of Global Warming but there's this...

    After all, burning oil creates global warming, doesn't it? Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter-plants take it in; animals eat plants, die, and decompose; and plants take it back in, ad infinitum. Since the industrial revolution, human beings burning fossil fuels have boosted concentrations of atmospheric carbon more than 30 percent, disrupting the ancient cycle. According to global-warming theory, as carbon in the form of carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, it traps solar radiation, which warms the atmosphere-and, some say, disrupts the planet's ecosystems.
    But if there were a global shift to thermal depolymerization technologies, belowground carbon would remain there. The accoutrements of the civilized world-domestic animals and plants, buildings, artificial objects of all kinds-would then be regarded as temporary carbon sinks. At the end of their useful lives, they would be converted in thermal depolymerization machines into short-chain fuels, fertilizers, and industrial raw materials, ready for plants or people to convert them back into long chains again. So the only carbon used would be that which already existed above the surface; it could no longer dangerously accumulate in the atmosphere. "Suddenly, the whole built world just becomes a temporary carbon sink," says Paul Baskis, inventor of the thermal depolymerization process. "We would be honoring the balance of nature."

    Again, I just bring this TDP process up because it gets almost no press. Why are we still building sewage treatment plants in this country if we could literally turn shit to oil? Well I suspect one answer may lie with companies like Exxon Mobile. Of course that could be my tinfoil hat talking. ;-)

    At any rate I'm all for solar and all for getting away from foreign oil ASAP. I hope my tinfoil's wrong and both of these technologies take off - quickly.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:29:05 PM PST

    •  Because TDP hasn't been a roaring success (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swordsmith, alizard, Snud, wondering if

      Changing World Technologies, one company trying to commercialize TDP process, has had its plant operating in Carthage, Missouri, for a few years now.  But there's no sign of expansion and their website has been static since 2004.

      Given the continuing high prices for oil, you'd think that if their tech was working well investors would be trying to build more plants.  

      There's also some guys in Germany, Clyvia, trying the same thing with waste plastic.  But, again, they're very small scale at this stage.  

      •  That's what I mean... why? (0+ / 0-)

        I've noticed the same thing and thought "Aha! TDP must not work!" ...because it does sound too good to be true. But I can't find anything that says that.

        Is it too expensive? I mean what's gone wrong? It's like GM and its electric cars - all gathering dust in the desert when they were actually quite successful and their "temporary" owners loved them. One day GM just confiscated them all (they never sold any - just leased them) and piled them in the desert. Why?

        Hence my tinfoil hat. ;-)

        This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

        by Snud on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:49:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  as I recall, the technology works just fine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Snud

          The problem was their business model. They figured on getting the biomass for free from farmers and did not check to see if there were competing uses for it worth paying for. So their prices for biofuel went up faster than the cost of oil did.

          However, if the price of oil gets to a certain point as in $xxx per barrel, it's cost effective. IMO, it's only a matter of time before the price of oil goes to $xxx no matter what xxx happens to be.

          You can roll up your tinfoil hat now, but keep it handy.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:24:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Correction... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08, maybeeso in michigan

        GM had the cars crushed.

        From the same link about the film "Who Killed The Electric Car?":

        The film explores some of the reasons that the auto and oil industries worked to kill off the electric car. Wally Rippel is shown explaining that the oil companies were afraid of losing out on trillions in potential profit from their transportation fuel monopoly over the coming decades, while the auto companies were afraid of losses over the next six months of EV production.

        This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

        by Snud on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:53:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rush Limbaugh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, betson08, Snud

      could light up Cleveland for a month.

    •  I've talked to people about TDP for several years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Snud, wondering if

      ever since I saw it and studied up on it.  It isn't perfect, and it stinks a lot and sometimes in inconvenient places.  Anybody driven through oil country in the last few decades?   All I get back is reasons why it is bad and won't work and the fact that the technology isn't expanding.

      Seems to me that it would be worth using even if it were almost expenseve as coal.   recycling anyone? turkey guts, old tires, CAFO runoff   just to name a few.

      Thanks for bring it up,, Snud.

      911 changed very little. George Bush, his sycophants, enablers and handlers have changed way too much. --me

      by maybeeso in michigan on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:56:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Snud (0+ / 0-)

      Your quote is quite interesting in view of the use by a guy doing a round the world powerboat record attempt using biofuel.

      To show just how versatile the sources of this fuel can be, he is using biodiesel produced from the results of liposuction for a small part of the journey.
      http://calorielab.com/...

  •  I think my college professor (0+ / 0-)

    theorized about these nanos back in the late 70's when I took a Direct Energy Conversion class from him.  The problem was the technology to manufacture them was lacking.  It was Robert Bailey at the Univ of FL.  Anybody know?

    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by beemerr90s on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:37:45 PM PST

  •  If it's not publicly funded research, keep it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    To me "energy independence" means no corporate interests have a death grip on it.

    If the put the patents in the public domain I'll pay attention.

  •  This is extraordinary news (3+ / 0-)

    I hope the production is done in the USA.  And I hope their technology scales down well for individual buildings since it is demonstrably less expensive.

    Great news.

    'how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?' Bob Dylan

    by St Louis Woman on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:42:20 PM PST

  •  I wonder if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    This can be upgraded?
    That would be cool.

    Someone once asked me if I had learned anything from going to war so many times. My reply: Yes, I learned how to cry.
    Joe Galloway

    by BOHICA on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:48:57 PM PST

  •  always do the numbers (4+ / 0-)

    te average house uses 10,000 KWH/year

    so figure  1.2KW or 1200 watts average load.  That's a hair dryer
    running all day.

    figure to have half day of sunlight,  so  i you want solar storage, you need
    extra power to charge batteries.
    figure 30% efficient storage,  

    so you need 4800 Watts on the roof

    $2/watt installed, plus a buck a watt for storage delivered usage.

    so figure about $6K for a household system.

    now  avg power is 8c/KWH

    SO IT PAYS OFF IN 6 YEARS or so,  not too bad.

    payoff may be better if you size it for surge load, not baseline

    George Bush i sLiving proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 05:49:03 PM PST

    •  More numbers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08, nathguy, wondering if

      I use about 8,000 KWh per year, 22,100 daily Wh, or about 925W average daily load -- that's my kids leaving the lights on in every room of the house :-)

      Where I live we average 4.2 hrs of sunlight daily. So I need about 5,300 W of generation per sun hour. If the PVs are 85% efficient, then I'll need about 6,200 W of PV panels.

      That's roughly $42,000 at current prices ($7 per watt, installed), which over a 25-year period would be about twice what I pay for power from the grid.

      So the $2.00 a watt makes a huge difference. It makes the whole idea economically feasible.
      ----------
      PS   Howja get $6K for a household system? 4,800W at $3/watt for installation and storage should be $14,400. Did I miss something?

      You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

      by frostyinPA on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:23:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  opps (0+ / 0-)

        so you need 4800 Watts on the roof

        $2/watt installed, plus a buck a watt for storage delivered usage.

        so figure about $6K for a household system.

        4800*2 + 1200*1  = $11K

        so at 8c/KWH  sorry that's a payback of about 11-13 years,  worse depending
        upon the discount rate.

        the 6K was what happens when i try to add in my head.

        George Bush i sLiving proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:40:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  this is WONDERFUL! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Babsnc, betson08

    I am so glad they have good backing, this should stop any buyout that would want to kill it.

  •  What happens if nanosolar meets nanoflakes? (0+ / 0-)

    super-efficient solar cells...just a press release at this point, but if this guy doesn't do it, perhaps someone else can:

    http://www.tgdaily.com/...

  •  What's the EROEI? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08

    Does anyone know the Energy Returned On Energy Invested on this new cell? Current silicon solar cells have a pretty low EROEI. Many estimates are lower than 2 to 1. Meaning, over the life of the silicon solar cell, it will generate only about twice as much energy as it took to manufacture the cell. The EROEI for oil is between 30 and 50 to 1. Since we have had more than a hundred profitable years to work on extraction and refining techniques, this makes sense.

    If solar cell technology can get away from the silicon cell, this would be a breakthrough. It takes a hell of a lot of energy to refine and manufacture a silicon cell.

    The first person to ever brew beer was probably naked.

    by bobinson on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:04:56 PM PST

    •  Were'd you get the number for silicon? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson
      •  My guess: the oil industry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08

        I looked around the web and could not locate the article I saw on the subject a year or so ago that claimed 2 to 1 EROEI. I did find a more current article that puts the silicon cell at a more reasonable 6 to 1.

        Energy Payback from Photovoltaics: Problems in Calculation
        Jeff Vail, Theory of Power
        Does solar energy-specifically photovoltaic (PV) panels-ever produce as much energy as the energy that was initially invested in their manufacture? Industry, academia, and government all seem to be in agreement that the answer is “yes.” (1)(2)(3) The consensus seems to be that PV produces as much energy as was used in its creation in a time period of 1-5 years, allowing PV to produce between 6 and 30 times more energy over its life than was used in its creation.

        While I was searching, I did find an article stating that EROEI on oil was around 10 to 1 for the good Saudi crude. Other oils were below that. But it seems like the methodologies for determining EROEI is all over the map and thus the ratios are nearly useless. My guess: it's the oil industry doing their job muddying the waters so that it is impossible to find the real truth.

        The first person to ever brew beer was probably naked.

        by bobinson on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:41:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's also assuming only a 30 year life (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobinson, Bronx59

          My PV modules are 25 years-old this year (ARCO model 16-2000 modules made in 1982), and although I have not done a truely scientific analysis of their current power output, I have seen output of over 90% of nameplate rating from them recently.

          I expect them to last at least another 25 years.

          "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -teacherken

          by offgrid on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:17:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  30 to 1 for oil? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson

      that's not what i've heard.

      subsidies nothwithstanding, ethanol wouldn't even be in the ballpark with gasoline, if it didn't take a fair amount of energy to produce a gallon of gasoline.

      I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

      by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:27:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08

        I was just searching around on the web and found that the 30 to 1 number would be accurate 50 years ago. But since the earth has 700 million cars burning up the oil, they need to suck a little harder on the straw to get the oil up here.

        The first person to ever brew beer was probably naked.

        by bobinson on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:44:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, betson08

    all-fucking-right!

    It's time to start planning for building my off-of-the-grid home!

    Need something new here...
    This Space for Rent!
    (-4.88, -4.15)

    by DrSpalding on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:12:36 PM PST

  •  I just went solar TODAY (5+ / 0-)

    What a coincidence... but it's official - my 3 kW solar installation on my roof was just activated this evening.  Yippee!  It's been complete for 6 weeks.

    PG&E dude was home finishing installation of my new meter when I got home - gave me the 50 cent tour - threw the switch.  I reset the timer on my house xmas lights to turn off 90 minutes later to celebrate.

    Our installation was by solar city (solarcity.com).

    Some folks trust to reason. Others trust to might. I don't trust to nothing. But I know it come out right.

    by dalemac on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:20:53 PM PST

    •  Excellent. Congratulations! (0+ / 0-)

      nt

      "This chamber reeks of blood." -- Sen George McGovern, 1970

      by cotterperson on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:20:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Congratulations! Were you satisifed with the co (0+ / 0-)

      that installed it? A friend here on LI had amazingly long delays when she was putting hers up due to supply issues.

      •  Satisfied? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08

        So far so good, but hasn't been perfect... I have a foam roof so ask me in a decade or two <g>.  

        <<amazingly long delays when she was putting hers up due to supply issues.>>

        It's hard to quantify delay here.  We started looking at it in the spring.  Put the money down August 1.  Waited for the install till 4th week of October.  System sat completed for 6 weeks waiting for PG&E to finish the gig off.

        Now... there's more than one reason why I might get pissed at various elements of delay that happened here, but I don't think any of them were supply related.

        Some folks trust to reason. Others trust to might. I don't trust to nothing. But I know it come out right.

        by dalemac on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 09:25:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh way to go! Were you in the Berkeley group? (0+ / 0-)

      ...or did you do yours individually?
      How were they?

      •  Castro Valley (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dotcommodity

        At this point all I can say is... yay... it looks like after 7 months this thing I bought works... although the sun was going down just as the PG&E dude was flipping switches...and we're due for a couple days of  rain.

        There's various elements of the contract experience I could comment on, but I have nothing substantially negative to relate at present.

        Some folks trust to reason. Others trust to might. I don't trust to nothing. But I know it come out right.

        by dalemac on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 09:44:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Man, I love informative diaries like this! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, betson08

    The comments, too!

    Thank you all.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:26:57 PM PST

  •  Very cool piece (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, betson08

    Devilstower, fantastic piece, if you don't mind me saying so.  I've always felt solar panels should be mandated for construction of new homes or office buildings.  Can you imagine, if the government actually gave insentives and/or mandates, all those glass-like skyscrapers you see populating our commercial areas had those panels as part of their construction?  You'll have to pardon me, but I've always been suspicious of clean coal.

  •  Sign me up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, betson08, dotcommodity

    I can't wait to see dirty energy laid to rest.

    Republicans think Christmas trees in Federal buildings will save them from their sins.

    by LandSurveyor on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 06:47:28 PM PST

  •  For Stock Investors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, exNYinTX, betson08

    Isn't it interesting that Google and other big pockets can give these people Angel cash and buy in now.

    We can't.

    I would so like to send these people $10,000. I could do that. Just give me a share now, early, before the runup.

    The thing is, I don't mind if I can't. If it's private, if the owner doesn't need outside funding, great. No problem.

    No, what pisses me off royally is that Google can get in now, get all that private S-2 Corp stock now, at pennies on the dollar, but I can't get any. I have to wait for the IPO.

    The IPO will be locked out. The people who will be allowed to participate in the IPO will be able to get 100 or 200 shares for $10,000. They will buy very large portions.

    Then, after the company is officially public, I'll have a chance to bid on shares when they are at $60 or $70 each. At that point, my risk will be crazy, because no market level will be established. I might win, or I might lose my shirt. But the Google people, who paid $1 a share, will make a mint.

    This is what I mean when I use the phrase, "They have pulled the ladder up behind themselves."

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:05:43 PM PST

    •  Thanks for this comment -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven

      that just answered a bunch of questions I was having myself.

    •  Most startups fail (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08, alizard, wondering if

      Have you ever tried investing in startup companies?

      Pretty much all of them take longer to deliver a saleable product than they claim.

      Many of them disappear without ever delivering such a product.

      Many of the ones that deliver a "saleable" product find that nobody wants to buy, because somebody else has come along and come up with a better mousetrap.

      Of those that remain, only the tiny few are the kind of runaway successes where the stock price goes crazy.   Google, Apple, and Xerox (back in the 1960s) are the very rare exceptions, not the rule.  

      •  Do you ever go on the Motley Fool? (0+ / 0-)

        I think they have wise strategies for investment that allow people to weed through the winners and losers of startups.

      •  Since you mention it (0+ / 0-)

        I was fortunate enough to snag 200 shares of AAPL at 17. The point is, I'd like to grab an equivalent position in nanotech. Again, I don't mind if the company is private. That's cool.

        The problem is Google grabbing a HUGE hunk of stock when I can't get one. They'll make a mint, and I can't even get a piece of the action. Something is very, very wrong here.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:53:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  risk vs return (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          There are reasons why this kind of early-stage investment is limited to "sophisticated investors" (and this is a legal / securities term) - the rationale is that there's a lot of snake oil, people who honestly don't know that there are obvious problems with a technology looking for investors, and there's generally an ugly surprise or two in any R&D process that leads to a new technology.

          Remember that startup investing is a form of legalized gambling and while if you don't play, you can't win, nobody has any business putting their "butter and egg" money on "a sure thing.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:33:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  well, dude . . . (0+ / 0-)

      they're not in business so YOU can make money, ya know . . . .

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 07:45:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This isn't totally germane but I always have (0+ / 0-)

    this thought when the controversy about Iran comes up. Given it's location, why in the world wouldn't Iran be developing a massive-scale solar powered grid? This diary talks about a technology that would make it cheaper in the near future. They wouldn't have to worry about the waste products having a half-life of 100,000 years, and all the huge costs involved in nuclear reactor construction.

    This may be a really silly question, but honestly, I always wonder (putting aside other potential uses for the nuclear, which I am very skeptical about anyway).

    •  Sanctions and Embargo? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08

      Perhaps the current Bush administration's effort to impose sanctions on Iran have hindered the technology transfer necessary to allow them to build such advanced solar technology?  Bush has done nothing to persuade the Iranians to drop their desire to possess at least some nuclear power generation and fissile material production capability.  Have you heard of any proposals to provide Iran with below-market nuclear fuel for its reactors abuilding with some guaranteed delivery mechanism?  I haven't.  In other words, Bush has negotiated precisely nothing with the Iranians while berating them for seeking the ability to produce enriched uranium fuel.  Bullies do nothing but threaten and sometimes the geeks learn that kneeing them hard is the best option.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:57:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  LEED is a good accompanying (0+ / 0-)

    green building practice. A friend just got certified and her company can't keep up with the demand for assistance by companies wanting to be certified. Here's a link to the US Green Building Council LEED page, for anyone interested. I am very excited about this development.

  •  my only firsthand experience with solar (0+ / 0-)

    is a 12-watt foldable panel that I take with me when I go backpacking or kayaking.  I use it mostly to recharge the batteries on my camera and camcorder, but it can also run anything that can plug into a car cigarette lighter (radio, small TV, etc).  It cost a little less than $200, weighs a couple pounds, and folds into a package the size of a paperback book.

    It won't run a laptop directly, but it will recharge the battery on one.

    I'd expect that if more people were buying them, the production price per unit would go down some.

    There are also "rollable" solar panels, that are printed onto a thin plastic sheet that can be rolled up like a poster.  They cost a bit more than the stiff panels, though, and I don't use one because although they weigh less, they take up more space than the foldables.  

    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 08:50:27 PM PST

  •  look at the big picture to judge costs (0+ / 0-)

    the big difference between solar power and conventional power is that the costs of the former are borne entirely by the consumer. we still pay enormous costs for traditional power sources, just not directly.

    fossil fuel companies get $10-20 billion in subsidies every year, mostly in the form of tax breaks. and that doesn't even include the environmental and health costs. granted, there are environmental concerns in manufacturing solar panels, but they are not consumptive (unlike gasoline).

    nuclear power requires enormous security, in two forms. first, they must be secured against attack or sabotage. second, the US secures nuclear plants against lawsuits. as a private enterprise, nuclear is a loser - plants are completely uninsurable - so if another three mile island (or worse) happens, there's no recourse against the operator.

    imagine a nationwide network of solar panels, providing power by day and recharging fuel cells for nighttime power. no terrorism risk, no risk of running out of energy, and far fewer toxins spewing into the air.

    freedom isn't free, but it isn't dumb either.

    by astro on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 09:29:23 PM PST

  •  The unit of energy is the joule, not the watt. (0+ / 0-)

    The watt is a unit of power.

    To make the comparison one needs to use the capacity utilization, which for coal is about 70% in this country and for solar is about 20%.   Thus you need 3.5 as many solar "watts" as you need coal "watts"

    I'll believe the solar hype - fifteen times a year we hear of a "breakthrough" - when it gets to an exajoule.

    Note that if it does so, it will not shut a single coal plant, since coal plants operate at night as well as day.    It may reduce the use of dangerous natural gas though, and that would be a good thing.

    But right now, after decades of this kind of talk, solar energy is a toy.

    I'm not holding my breath.   No one should.

    It's a rather expensive toy at that.

    •  The beauty of solar is.... (0+ / 0-)

      that when usage is at peak (say..10 am to 2pm) solar is producing the most return when usage is at its's peak. re: AC is used the most, etc..
      Consequently all other carbon, hydro based power does not have to ramp up to meet the demand. Hence a net decrease (or lack of increase) in global warming/dimming.

      I actually haven't focused on his appearances, so I am relying now on the media as to what actually happened.- Joe Lieberman

      by rickeagle on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 11:58:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Intermittent... (0+ / 0-)

    Even with the falling raw output cost, the technical hurdle of making intermittent solar and wind reliable, cost effective base load generators is far over the horizon. 20% is the magic number where utilities have major problems integrating intermittent generators and that number includes extensive use of natural gas peaker plants for backup and peak periods in the summer. Natural gas is obviously a finite resource and North American supplies are being depleted quickly.

    I'm not against wind and solar, but I do get tired of the unrealistic blog cheerleading. A we hopefully move our transportation in the direction of gasoline to grid electricity, we must start giving serious consideration to a new nuclear program on the scale the Japanese and French have developed. Study the realistic options short of more coal and unless you believe in miracles, you'll arrive at that conclusion. Personally I don't like the idea of rolling blackouts or a wasteland of coal because we refused to even look at the nuclear genie.  

    They make a wasteland and call it peace -Tacitus

    by ZenFountain on Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 10:31:55 PM PST

    •  What time scale of intermittent-ness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      are you thinking of?  As several other commenters have noted, the peak output of solar PV panels closely matches the peak demand for electricity for air conditioning.  The net effect is to reduce the "intermittentcy" of demand for centrally generated power.  The need for peaker plants is reduced, and shifted to later in the afternoon when solar electric production falls off.  

      It's true that the output of any single wind generator is considerably more variable on a minute-to-minute scale, but if a large number of small wind turbines are distributed over a fairly wide area, the power output of all of them will average out; as one gets a gust of wind, the next one a mile away may be getting a lull.  

      My local power company now deals with variable demand by making agreements with large users; in exchange for a reduced cost, the users agree to allow the power company to cut off their supply when other demand is high.  If some economical way of turning electrical equipment on and off remotely can be found, this could be expanded to smaller users.  I'm thinking of an electrical preheater upstream of a gas-fired water heater.  The electrical heater would be turned on and off by the power company on a time scale of minutes to hours depending on whether they have "too much" or "not enough" electricity.  The gas heater would take the variable temperature output of the electric heater, and heat it to the steady temperature desired by the customer.  The electic company would charge almost nothing for the "juice" used for the electric heater, because it would only heat when there is an excess.  

      A big drawback to nuclear power plants is that they aren't variable enough.  They have only two settings; gigawatts ON and gigawatts OFF.  They work OK for baseload power, but are pretty worthless for power demand variation on a scale of less than days.

      The intermittent nature of solar and wind power can be handled without a big new nuclear program OR rolling blackouts OR a coal wasteland, IF some ingenuity and cooperation are applied to the problem.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 01:20:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As we electrify transportation ... (0+ / 0-)

      V2G offers the significant path for distributed power storage which fosters flattening demand cycles and enabling intermittent power sources.  

      Look through my material and you will not see knee-jerk anti-nuclear (actually nuclear is part of my retire coal ASAP strategy), but ramping up nuclear power faces severe hurdles, even without the very serious social / political challenges.

  •  Solar shingles - yet another angle here (0+ / 0-)

    I read a while ago about solar shingles: they look much like a normal shingle, but have solar cells in them and can be wired under the roof surface.  While a bit more expensive than a solar panel (cost per watt created,) they are a great creation for areas where solar panels are not allowed or for homeowners who worry about the look of their home with a couple of panels on the roof.

    A guy who installed them on his house in Michigan had a great blog on the subject:
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/...

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