[permaculture] Slightly more feasible Energy-Energy-Energy tautology Policy-Bioregional Design-Feasible Power Solutions.US.Fl (Was: not a long enough subject)
jedd at progsoc.org
Sat Jun 16 23:07:22 EDT 2007
On Sun, 17 Jun 2007, Kenneth Benway wrote:
> To whoever changed the topic name I would suggest that maybe next time
> you consider using a more empowering title like "Feasible Power
> Solutions" which has a more positive intonation than "Infeasible power
That would be me, Ken.
It was hard to feel empowered by an infeasible suggestion that
Florida (in the USA, yes?) goes completely solar for all its
Perhaps if I was part of the 0.0027% of the population of the planet
who lived in Florida I may feel differently. I can but idly speculate.
> 8. Geothermal technologies that leverage ground water temperatures with
> respect to stabilizing ambient air temperatures to a desired level.
Here's the first of the caveats we've been waiting for, and that I was
intimating earlier with my solar will be a component reference,
prompting the 'infeasible' response to the '100% solar' claim.
Solar has obvious flaws - it relies upon the sun, being the biggest
one - that preclude it from being a contender for 'sole provider'.
Most green power gen techs have similar limitations, which is
why they're far more compelling when treated as components of
a whole system or power provisioning. By whole I mean integration,
not what you might mean by whole . <oooh, I feel dizzy>
The large scale plants Robyn was mentioning came up on this or
one of the other permy lists several weeks ago, after the Beeb did
a report  on a new solar thermal plant on the Iberian peninsular.
(Yes, yes, the yanks had one some years ago that has since been
steadfastly ignored by everyone in power <npi> over there, and yes,
it's conceptually a scale-up of the old portable parabolic kettle.)
The Beeb suggests this is a 11MW plant currently, but will upgrade
to produce around 1.1GW. The WP article Robyn cited  hints at
the same plant being 50MW. I'm not sure which of those sites
I distrust more .. but in any case, the conversion rates at the dish,
so to speak, compare favourably to PVC's .. despite constant 'new
advances' that promise to bring PVC's up from their 15%-ish (?)
efficiencies Real Soon Now.
Segue - happily, here in .au  they're building a hybrid system.
Lots of mirrors focussing sunlight onto a relatively small area of
PVCs, that promises to be pretty interesting. It sounds like this
could also be adapted to urban environments relatively safely - not
as good as rooftop gardens, but more attractive than GSM towers.
Unhappily, however, they fall into the same trap as the Andalusian
crew when insisting there are zero greenhouse emissions.
If we (by which I mean the anti-stupidity lobby) insist that the
nucular  proponents include the whole cost of a fission-nuclear
power plant - from build through fuel acquisition through to
decommissioning - then green techs should be calculated with this in
mind also. The embodied energy in a PVC is typically considered to
take around 5 years to pay itself back, on an energy in / energy out
basis. Depends on utilisation, of course, but averages are handy
things to work with, and the point is that PVC's require significant
energy & resources to produce, and we shouldn't be seen to be
Looking at the concrete tower near Sevilla ... that's a seriously
expensive (in resources rather than euros) structure, and it should
be factored in before making claims of it being a power source with
zero greenhouse emissions. Slipping the words 'while running' is a
tad sly, and I don't think does us any favours.
> 3. relates to emerging technologies such as "room temperature
> superconductors" which I would certainly like to know more about.
If you're looking to acquire wealth, and this is in no sense
financial advice being offered here, prime real estate 10+ metres
above current sea levels, and mobs doing research into room temp
superconductors are the two places to throw your money, IMHO.
I rabbit on about superconductors periodically, and I'm sure you are
already familiar with the technology per se, but the effects of the
discovery or invention of one that runs at room temperature would
be enormous. Partly in high tech (computer & comms systems) but
ultimately in power generation and transfer. Think a submarine
cabling system, a la the extant fiber optic comms network around
the planet, but for transferring power. Make it the backbone of a
global wind, tidal, wave, solar network. Nice!
Actually, at some point the cost of providing a satisfactory insulate
and of maintaining a low temperature, along with the average temps
at bottom of the sea being around 4C, makes 'room temperature'
somewhat of a misnomer compared to what's really required, but
the term is used to distinguish the fantasy from the current reality
of warmest superconductivity (around -120C).
> With regard to the second remark the answer is storage batteries.
I'd suggest you revisit this plan.
Storage batteries are expensive (as above - resources, as well as
raw currency), messy, dangerous, high maintenance, inefficient.
Have you considered how this would scale to the 'whole of Florida'
plan you're formulating? It may be, like the real estate needed to
produce 100% of energy needs from solar, a case of simple math <sic>,
but I'd humbly suggest you start doing the simple math earlier rather
As of about a decade ago (I've not heard of any challenges to this
since) received wisdom was that the most efficient way we had of
storing energy was to pump water up a hill. This obviously was
predicated on providing large scale and long term energy storage,
but that's exactly what you're talking about here.
> As I mentioned earlier it can become difficult to find these valuable
> nuggets of pertinent information when searching this list.
Minimising and inlining quoted material makes this easier, albeit for
everyone else. Other people's laziness just makes it harder for
those who know what they're doing. An eternal truth, alas.
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