Yes, sorry Paul, any subsidies, tax breaks, etc. that are currently being considered pale in comparison to the huge level of subsidies for oil, gas, coal and nuclear. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars for these established industries vs. millions of dollars for new start-up, 21st century renewable energy companies that need a little help to get up and running...keep in mind that it's still far less help than tradition energy companies receive standard.
If you want to make the subsidies argument and really want energy priced correctly then let's try ending all of the subsidies or at least making them 1 for 1 and then see which technologies come out on top. However, we must keep in mind and judge environmental destruction as a consideration in who wins and loses.
Wake up Wesley.
It may not be you that suffers but all future generations.
You don't have to 'believe' but try to be part of the solution instead of the problem. At the very least just be neutral if you can only bring negativity, doubt, pessimism and cynicism to the conversation.
Re: The Sustainability of Coal
We are not running out of Coal.
At current capacities the US could keep burning coal for another 250 years easy.
Canada, China, Russia and Australia and others are in similar situations.
The sustainability factor focuses around the damage we are doing to the earth during extraction, the air during combustion and the planet as a whole as a result of the massive amount of Carbon it releases.
Yes, coal plants are big, they're huge, but that doesn't mean they're impressive.
We've been burning coal for hundreds of years so of course coal plants have a head start on renewable energy plants. ELECTRICITY from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, wind and wave (basically all renewables with the exception of large hydro) have only been around for between 10 and 60 years.
Yes, renewables are still well behind fossil fuels but that's because a full ramp up that takes full advantage of economies of scale have not hit yet.
Doesn't meant it's impossible or unlikely or in the distant future.
It simply comes down to size.
Renewables are small, a few MW's here and a few MW's there but not nothing significant.
Coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear all started that way too.
They learned pretty quickly though that to make money and to compete you need to GO BIG!
It is time to GO BIG with renewables.
There will always be better technologies over the horizon but we need to pick what we know, what is proven, what works, what is effective, what is cheapest right NOW in renewable energy production and then drastically increase the size of the plants.
Yes, this will mean centralized plants in addition to distributed.
The key is we need to go big and we need the government to not necessarily subsidize the process (or at least not anymore than the billions that fossil and nuclear receive every year) but simply to agree not to block and stall efforts.
I have ideas on exactly how we do this if anyone is interested but really I just want all of you to stop thinking so small with renewables and thinking that fossil and nuclear are too impossibly big to ever catch.
We did it once, we can do it again, and again and again until we live in a world powered by renewables with fossil fuels and nuclear filling in the gaps rather than vice versa
Natural gas is no question the lesser of two evils when compared against coal.
Yes, it is cleaner than coal but it is by no means 'clean'.
It still pumps billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
You also have to drill countless boreholes to capture the gas (unless you use biogas i.e. methane capture from landfills) and this incurs risks such as earth tremors and water table pollution.
In the short term we do need to shift to less carbon intensive traditional energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear but these are just stops on the way to the truly clean and renewable energy picture that the world needs.
Check out recent polls of American's asked what they they think of the aesthetic value large-scale wind turbines and you'll see that a significant majority not only approve of them but actually think they're beautiful.
Ever drive through an area destroyed by large industrial traditional power plants? (Think Newark, NJ or Houston, TX). I'll take an array of wind turbines spinning on our nation's planes and solar thermal plants covering barren landscapes of desert over a coal, natural gas or nuclear plant (or oil refinery, liquid natural gas port, oil spill on the ocean, coal ash spills in TN, etc)
Well put Jeremy.
Fred, which Natural Gas company do you work for?
hey you can't blame the company for trying to make a profit, especially when it is within the law. we have to change the policy in order to make a real difference. because of much lower subsidies for fuel in europe their diesel prices are considerable higher and i think this is a great thing. Before you complain about us shipping biodiesel out of the country to make profit lets remove the extensive oil/gasoline subsidies in the US to let the price per gallon rise to $5 or $6 per gallon and then we won't have to worry about anyone exporting US produced fuel as it will be more cost effective to keep it in the country.
at least this won't be as much of a problem with cellulosic ethanol because we were stupid enough to put all of our weight behind spark ignition engines rather than biodiesel capable diesel engines which get far better fuel mileage and burn cleaner (new models, not old ones)
in the end lets move away from gas and diesel entirely and switch to electric engines with range extending hydrogen fuel cells...it will happen in 20-50 years anyways so let's start now.
tim, they do have a lot of trash piling up in Italy, maybe they plan on capturing the methane from it.
so rolf, exactly how much are the coal, oil, and gas companies paying you to blog renewable energy and wind sites?You are incredibly negative without proposing any solutions of your own. I'm all for critics, but critics with a purpose besides criticizing. I don't think wind is THE answer either, but it is part of the solution along with solar, hydro, wave, tidal, geothermal, microbial, biomass, biofuels and even nuclear and fossil fuels. We are on a very unsustainable path and we need to alter it because the status quo just won't cut it anymore. Put your time and energy and criticism and online posts into something positive that can improve humanity and the planet because you may get out of this place without feeling the impact but what about generations to follow. How would you have felt if you inherited tomorrow's climate disaster from your parents who just didn't seem to care and criticized any attempt to make a positive difference?
cliff, you have to keep in mind the impact that a carbon tax will have on the cost of non-renewable sources in the future and also that the more that wind turbine manufacturing is scaled up the more prices will come down. Not to mention that these offshore wind plants will not need a continuos flow of coal, natural gas, or uranium to keep functioning (the total hidden price of which is never taken into consideration).You can be against wind if you want but that isn't going to solve our global energy demand so what is your alternative solution to how we should increase energy supply?
sorry russ, you are misinformed about the details of that report. you need to read more than just media articles. the report you refer to talks about the land use issues regarding plowing under new land for biofuels and the global warming consequences of such actions which are very valid. but this will not kill biofuels, nor should it. next generation cellulosic ethanol was not included in the studies which drastically improves the carbon equations. the report was focused on corn ethanol, sugarcane ethanol, and biodiesel. bioethanol will be a major player in the fuels game now and into the future...hopefully on already developed/plowed over land or on second-rate land that is currently not being used (not rainforests or natural prairies).