Posted by Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's n on April 25, 2009, 3:35 pm
The point that you're missing is that traditional power doesn't advertise
itself to be carbon neutral. The wind and solar people act as if the
turbines and panels magically appear on the towers and rooftops. No
construction costs, no transportation, no installation... just close your
eyes, click your heels, and WHOOMP! there it is, producing "clean" power.
Oh goodie! The 'war for oil' bullsquat...
How many mills and panels come to existance without input of petrol? (I'll
So this is your advisory panel on world affairs, is it?
Easter Bunny again? Oh, that's right, Santa is the flyboy so he handles the
skies. EB specializes in animal biology...
And shut the hell up!
Posted by daestrom on April 25, 2009, 1:16 pm
An interesting question would be to compare the 'capital carbon' investment
in building wind/solar versus that to building conventional. Amortized over
the lifetime energy produced, it would be interesting to see which had the
shorter 'carbon payback'.
Of course the ongoing 'carbon cost' of wind / solar is practically nil
compared to the ongoing 'carbon cost' of conventional. But working the
numbers out over the entire energy production I just have to believe that
solar/wind come out miles (km) ahead of any conventional generation.
Now if we could just get the cost down...
Posted by stu on April 26, 2009, 1:11 am
I'm not so sure about that, given that it would take 750x2MW wind turbines
to replace 1x500MW steam turbine. Even then that's averaged out over a year.
Unless wind comes up with storage or customers are willing for the lights to
go out, the carbon cost of having coal(or the fuel of your choice) fired
steam turbines as back up to the wind power has to be costed against the
Posted by Tim Jackson on April 25, 2009, 2:05 pm
Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's newest fan! wrote:
100% of the sunlight striking a black solar panel gets converted into
heat, sooner or later.
You could try dusting the sahara with aluminium oxide. But it will blow
away or get covered with sand pretty quickly. And sand's pretty bright
There is a large area of he earth's surface covered by a natural
(optical wavelength) 'mirror' - the polar ice caps. I doubt that any
man-made construction could be built as fast as they are being eroded.
Although to be fair, they probably are pretty neutral in the
calorimetric stakes, they reflect more sunlight during the day (albeit
at a low-angle) but insulate the ocean and radiate less IR at night.
There do exist scary geo-engineering proposals to reflect solar
radiation away from earth, such as injecting sulphate ions into the
upper atmosphere. Scale however is only one of the problems. A search
of the internet will find many others.
Posted by Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's n on April 25, 2009, 3:21 pm
My point wasn't a mass scale solution for Global Warming, but rather that
any individual trying to cut Global Warming by installing solar panels would
be better off laying down an equal amount of mirrors instead, as in their
current state solar panels directly generate heat in what is likely a
greater amount than they can counteract.
"Keep it simple. If it takes a genius to understand it, it will never work."
- Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson