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Game changer in Energy production (1 Viewer)

dantheman

Bah humbug
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54723147

Posted this elsewhere, but as it is possibly more important thought should have it's own thread. Essentially cost of green technologies coming down to the point where 'green' energy production costs come to a tipping point that they are suddenly more economic than traditional carbon based energy productions.

No mention is made in the article of course of costs to the enviroment or wildlife - infrastructure changes, mining for rare earth metals, or land use change to accommodate solar or wind farms.

Science and technology solving the problems - is it a total panacea?
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
I do not know about infrastructure changes. Power lines are already pretty much everywhere. Trains can run on electricity. Vehicles can recharge almost anywhere including at gas stations.


Mining for rare earthe metals - indeed, but are we not already riddling the earth with holes for coal, oil and now shale? Presumably at worst the rare earth mining will work out as a zero sum game.


Land use change. I am sure farmers can sow and harvest around solar turbine towers. Offshore wind farms are even less of a problem. Solar farms, however are not quite as easy as even in deserts shielding the ground on larger scales is not without effect for nature and climate/weather.


All in all I do believe solar/wind are the ONLY way forward and it is up to us to take the lessons we have learned from the carbon age and apply them to the coming 'green' age: even with these 'alternative' power sources we must not let corporations take the reins and charge ahead.
Their aims are not humanity's. It will presumably basically be a question again of shareholder value vs survival. I am absolutely certain that all the big oil companies have ready plans of action in their drawers for day X when oil runs out or (forward thinking) governments put a stop to this madness, so they can do an about turn and immediately cash in on wind/solar/whatever alternative, buy politicians (at least that is standard MO here in the USA) and so continue their game with new horses. To the roaring applause of their shareholders, the gratitude of greased politicians who stay in power and the detriment of nearly everyone else. Possibly even the earth they were pretending to save.
 

Big Finch

Member
I think that article is not very grounded in reality - as of now wind/solar require alot of support in Europe and the US and its no accident that the countries with the highest penetration of wind/solar also have the highest energy prices in the EU. As you say the piece fails to address issues like the damage wind farms do to large soaring birds and habitats like peatlands eg. currently on Sheltand a 150 turbine wind farm is being built on pristine bogland which has also the largest population of breeding Whimbrels in the UK
 

jurek

Well-known member
I think that article is not very grounded in reality - as of now wind/solar require alot of support

Indeed - levelling of prices is simply the result that subsidies for renewable energy grow and grow and traditional energy gets taxed more and more. Including lots of indirect subsidies and indirect taxes.

According to the graph below, efficency of newly produced solar cells grows only in the order of 7% in 10 years. Already installed solar cells, that is the bulk of total solar cells, become less effective due to ageing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell_efficiency#/media/File:CellPVeff(rev200708).png

Which society might support nevertheless - however people should understand what they are doing, and that the cost ultimately comes from their (taxpayers) pocket.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
Indeed - levelling of prices is simply the result that subsidies for renewable energy grow and grow and traditional energy gets taxed more and more. Including lots of indirect subsidies and indirect taxes.

According to the graph below, efficency of newly produced solar cells grows only in the order of 7% in 10 years. Already installed solar cells, that is the bulk of total solar cells, become less effective due to ageing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell_efficiency#/media/File:CellPVeff(rev200708).png

Which society might support nevertheless - however people should understand what they are doing, and that the cost ultimately comes from their (taxpayers) pocket.

Dunno about this: not sure I recognise the state of affairs you present. What's true in the UK at least is the existence of perverse incentives: strong push to cut emissions from electricity generation but few or none to reduce use of gas for domestic heating. Here, the cost of electricity is relatively high (as it's always been), cost of gas relatively low, but this has a lot to do with lack of interconnection. AFAICS, it's wrong-headed to ignore the environmental cost of conventional even if (big if, I think) subsidy is responsible for some of the fall in renewables cost
 

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