you know, 50-30 years ago when looking at the year 2000, they said we would have flying cars, robotic butlers and all manor of cool things.
some how, this article reminds me of those dreams from the past.
27th January, 2011 @ 7:26 p.m. (California Time)
HAHAHAHAHAHA. Complete nonsense. The only way they make the numbers work is to fudge the \"evironmental\" costs of fossil fuels. The baseload claims are absurd. The boilerplate installed capacity will have to be at least double the actual demand to come close to ensuring a reliable power supply, and this doesn\'t even begin to address the added costs of a significantly expanded and upgraded transmission grid. And, please, please, please, please, get over the obsession with hydrogen. It\'s a crappy storage medium that is inefficient, leaky, and low energy density.
27th January, 2011 @ 8:02 p.m. (California Time)
It is too much optimism. Rven simple box type solar cooker which is more than 50 years old is stll to take off!
27th January, 2011 @ 8:14 p.m. (California Time)
The authors are not proposing anything fantastical, just the widespread implementation of what technology already exists. All it takes is the will to do it! Which of course the coal gas and oil companies will fight and lobby to the death to weaken and stop.
27th January, 2011 @ 8:57 p.m. (California Time)
Total garbage. The footprint of wind and solar compared to nuclear is about a thousand to one. Then, the storage issue.
The title of the article should be \"clean energy 20-40 years ago\" if we had not allowed hippies to kill nuclear for no reason whatsoever. And now look at the terrible cost.
27th January, 2011 @ 9:10 p.m. (California Time)
I can believe that some of this will happen for simply financial reasons. There is money to be made in renewable energy production. We have come a long way in the last ten years, from green energy being seen as a pipe dream of extreme environmentalists to now having gigawatts of installed wind farms, with significant tidal projects in development. All the turbine manufacturers worldwide are booked up for at least two years, there is simply not enough manufacturing capacity to meet demand. Green energy is mainstream now for one simple reason; its profitable.Having said that, coal will be a large part of the mix for the foreseeable future. Its profitable too, so the fact that it may well lead to the extinction of our species (among millions of others), just doesn\'t count. Money talks.
28th January, 2011 @ 4:55 a.m. (California Time)
I think that\'s wishful thinking... Can you comprehend the changes necessary to bring \"green\" power to the back corners of India, Africa, China, Tibet? There are likely places here in the U. S. that still don\'t have telephones.
28th January, 2011 @ 5:10 a.m. (California Time)
Hydrogen is the deal breaker, for reasons already stated. Unmentioned is the source of hydrogen. Currently, we obtain ALL our hydrogen from oil. So this proposal does not free us from fossil fuels.
I support efforts toward clean energy. But this is pie-in-the-sky talk.
28th January, 2011 @ 5:21 a.m. (California Time)
Unfortunately this excellent plan relies on people being unselfish but wherever wind farms are proposed there are always selfish people who don\'t want to see them ... or worse still, the local gliding club think it will interefere with half a dozen people\'s expensive part-time hobby!
28th January, 2011 @ 5:29 a.m. (California Time)
@Todd Dunning - \"no reason at all\"? Really, terrible nuclear accidents, terrible safety record - no methodology for disposing of the waste other than \"let\'s tip it down a big hole and come up with a new language so that our ancestors in 100,000 years time will know when they read the sign that taking the seal out will be a really bad idea.\"
I\'m pro-nuclear, but only with a proper thru-life infrastructure in place too. Modern Fast-Breeder reactors theoretically should limit the amount of nuclear waste that needs to be processed, but that needs to be thought out now (or indeed 20 years ago), before we build the plants. However, it\'s too late I suspect, for nuclear to span the upcoming power gap...
28th January, 2011 @ 5:40 a.m. (California Time)
Very good new but wrong (as other people have said before) and anyway coming too late. In the next 30-40 years, climate change will have provocated some more wars, new diseases, thousands of hungry people and more than you can imagine about catastrophic events, of the earth and of the societies!
28th January, 2011 @ 5:41 a.m. (California Time)
As with all such studies, the authors overlook the fact that in order to undertake this massive effort we would have to greatly expand the expenditure of fossil fuels to build the infrastructure for a total renewable energy system. Since the total renewable energy supply currently at hand provides only a tiny amount of the total needed (less than 5% worldwide), any program that relies on a renewable \"breeder\" operation (building renewable components using only renewable energy) would take much longer (probably a couple of centuries).
There are other unrealistic assumptions as well: the roadblocks set up by regulatory agencies that prevent any rapid construction of any energy project; the difficulty of getting the end products to the individual consumers (conversion of millions of homes from oil or natural gas heating to electric alone faces hurdles of expense, regulation, and workforce availability); resistance to even renewable energy projects by environmentalist organizations (litigation against wind, solar, hydroelectric projects - look it up yourself).
Only a world totalitarian state could even attempt to undertake this project, and even then the practical realities faced would stretch the timeline to more like 50-75 years.
28th January, 2011 @ 6:51 a.m. (California Time)
Not sure of your point. Are you saying it would be EASIER to get conventional energy sources to these places? Without the embedded infrastructure in place these would be the easiest places in which to adopt renewable technologies.
This article and most of the comments suffer from the same flaw. They assume the same infrastructure, i.e. universal use of automobiles, centralized energy production, etc. It\'s as if when the use of automobiles started gaining traction, we were forced to use railways instead of the goverment investing in roadways. I would like to see the study that is willing to abandon many more assumptions about what our energy and transportation infrastructure will look like in the future.
28th January, 2011 @ 7:47 a.m. (California Time)
If we do reach such a panacea, it will be nuclear that does the heavy lifting for the base load. I doubt any of the readers will live to see most 18 wheelers powered with totally clean fuel...but maybe bio-diesel.
28th January, 2011 @ 8:07 a.m. (California Time)
We must live in an instant gratification society to the extent that people are so polarized on both sides of the question as to whether or not this can work. I agree with the President that we have to spent alot more effort and resources on clean, renewable energy as opposed to \"clean coal\"--which is an oxymoron. Instead of dismissing this proposal out of hand, can\'t we work toward a renewable energy goal and just all get along? Or at age 66, am I just being too naive?
28th January, 2011 @ 8:52 a.m. (California Time)
Pat Kelly makes the most important point: to do this will require the expenditure of great amounts of fossil fuels. That is why the (suborned!) media keeps harping on global warming and taxes on fossil fuels. Once the taxes are in place, fossil fuels will be too expensive to use for the building of a new infrastructure as envisioned here. The result: Can you say, \"Massive Die Off?\"
I have been a Libertarian most of my adult life, but clearly the \"free market\" will not fill this need without an intervening die off. Only the demands of the people for unilateral government action will get a program like this going in time to avoid a complete collapse of society. Why would those who run the media want such a catastrophe? There are groups of very rich and powerful people who think that after the die off, they would be the new kings.
28th January, 2011 @ 12:04 p.m. (California Time)
For generations, we have had the cleanest, most efficient power source already up and running. We all wish wind and sunlight worked. But they require over a thousand times the land and resource footprint of nuclear.
Power generation is not about being politically correct. It is about generating power. Alternative energy technology is already highly developed, but there\'s just not enough there.
You want to get off oil and coal? You can tomorrow by switching to nuclear. All the ad campaigns and Green This and That aren\'t going to make the unicorns dance hard enough to get electricity out of love and warm feelings.
28th January, 2011 @ 12:48 p.m. (California Time)
I wish people would stop knocking hydrogen. It is well on its way to being practical for mobile equipment like cars, trains, etc. It stores indefinitely and can fill the gap that is currently held by diesel and gasoline. Batteries can fill some to the gap but you cant \"fill\" them quickly. Hydrogen is NOT a fuel source, it is a container for energy that can be produced a variety of different ways. It seems like people knocking the use of hydrogen are just making a brainless knee-jerk response. Its actually very useful. They have been using it as energy storage for decades in almost all space missions with the help of fuel cells. It also is the cleanest burning fuel around.
28th January, 2011 @ 2:03 p.m. (California Time)
Changes to greater use of renewable sources is good sense as we become more efficient in extracting energy from various sources. I think that the predicted 2% for tidal/wave (and Ocean Currents which were not mentioned) should be higher. A high percent of the world\'s population lives close to the sea. The technology of overcoming problems of anchoring, corrosion and maintenence that need to be addressed before full industrial effort can be made in this direction.
Until about 10 years ago, China had to import most of its wind technology but once the engineers understood what was required, they were able to set up plants of their own. The same should prove true with ocean devices.
28th January, 2011 @ 3:18 p.m. (California Time)
Technically, tidal energy is not renewable. There is only so much of it. I\'d like to see a study to see just how much energy there is in the earth moon rotation/orbit system. If we used all of it up, the earth\'s period of rotation and the moon\'s orbital period would be the same. (kind of silly sounding really) Regardless, tidal power slows the earth\'s rotation and there is only so much kinetic energy there. It is probably so much that we don\'t need to worry about it but I\'d like to see the numbers. :)
28th January, 2011 @ 3:59 p.m. (California Time)
It\'s doable. If you accept a little less than 100% it\'s very doable. A pragmatic approach might be to accept some nuclear for base load generation and continue to use petroleum for specific purposes like transatlantic air travel.
Nuclear won\'t serve anything other than base load--it has to run 24/7 to be economically viable. It may not even make the cut against solar and wind. Consider a real nuke project in planning, a twin reactor in Levy County, FL that now looks like about a Billion dollars per megawatt. Capital costs alone will be on the order of $.15/kWh. Add in operating costs and you\'re not far from power from photovoltaics.
28th January, 2011 @ 6:01 p.m. (California Time)
One wonders why the use of tide generation isn\'t in the mix. It is a constant, reliable energy source that is underused. Further to the nuclear question, checkout Thorium at http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html to find a source that is greater than uranium and is far less damaging timewise when spent d;-)
28th January, 2011 @ 8:35 p.m. (California Time)
I\'ve heard Einstein say something to the effect,
\"Man has entirely too much power at his disposal and to make matters worse,he wants even more...
and he can\'t even safely handle what he already has!\"
Very paraphrased,of course.
I ask this-we have desire but do we really have need?
I greatly prefer the benefits of technology to primitive conditions yet we are clearly demonstrating that as a race we assume that access to creature comforts and convenience devices are a right-
not a privelege
(those of us that have such privileges)
something as simple as the lack of fresh water causes unspeakable misery for a huge portion of this world\'s
population while we prattle on about the various merits of hydrogen vs. nuclear,etc.
The earth is 3/4 water and we cannot even effectively remove the salt and distibute it?
We lived long without the benefits of electricity-
let us remember that we DISCOVERED electricity-
we did not invent it.
It is a privilege,not a right.
Our responsibility as stewards is to God,each other and this planet WITHOUT prioritizing those three responsibilities.
If you reject responsibilty to God,
I still implore you to consider each other and our future.
We need to examine our behavior and our
motivations and ask ourselves 2 simple honest questions:
Are we a success as a race-
are we really doing what\'s best for our world,each other and our future?
Do we really deserve more power-
considering what Einstein observed,
are we really handling what we already have any better than when he originally made his observation in the 1950\'s?
Be honest with yourself-
I know what I believe.
I do what I can to make a difference and eventually,
I hope to die trying and never retire.
I encourage you all to do the same,
to the uttermost.
29th January, 2011 @ 12:18 a.m. (California Time)
This is a bad plan. We already have a much better one...
Google Patrick Kelly\'s Chapter10.pdf
Look on page 50. Read about people who are running 5KW generators off of Hydroxy and Cold fog, zero pollution, zero cost after generator, electrolyzer, fog device purchase. All we need now is for people to find out about it. That is all.
Charles Michael Couch
29th January, 2011 @ 10:36 a.m. (California Time)
Maybe we should stop looking at why it is theorized it can\'t happen and look at how we can make it happen. The fact is, if we continue employing the same insane methods of energy production and participate in wasteful energy use, we will cause our own extinction. The Earth has shown it can repair itself at the expense of putting a stop to the cause (species extinction). This is really not about how to better produce energy to save the planet, it is about how to better produce and use energy to save ourselves. It is better to focus on the real issue, address it, and solve it through innovation that bolsters the economy with as close to zero negative environmental impact as possible so that the Earth has the time and resources it needs to heal itself. It can be done.
29th January, 2011 @ 1:15 p.m. (California Time)
The utopian dream using current technology would be devastating, from the absolutely filthy method currently prevalently used of extracting the rare earth metals to the immediate replacement of the infrastructure that would be primarily constructed using equipment and factories primarily powered by fossil fuels; we won\'t even discuss the shear expense of upgrading current end use of every public building to private residence as opposed to the eventual replacement as they age with higher efficiency new construction, we have seen the consequences of central planning with the ill conceived US cash for clunkers, higher income individuals prematurely replacing perfectly good vehicles that were destroyed, median to lower income forced to keep their older vehicles because the used car market became deprived of the vehicles destroyed . Free markets and industial innovation will eventually move us toward a far superior solution than central government planning ever could.
29th January, 2011 @ 5:55 p.m. (California Time)
Love all the comments!
I saw a very interesting way to encase nuclear waste in glass which is then encased in drums etc... And buried. Nuclear waste for each member of the family for a year is the size of a dime.
Zero would be best but honestly today\'s nuclear is the way to produce the most for the least. We only produce a little less than 19% of our total electricity with the cleanest source!
Coal accidents and associated health costs are pretty sad if you take a look at them, much worse than nuclear worldwide (including Chernobyl), but they just don\'t produce the images that come with the word nuclear.
29th January, 2011 @ 7:01 p.m. (California Time)
yeah, guys, what the other one said: just another \"study\"
did you realize you actually have to \"implement\" the plan and for the \"plan\" to be a \"success\" before a \"plan\" is more than just another waste of paper?
cheap plans are a dime a dozen
30th January, 2011 @ 5:14 p.m. (California Time)
How amazingly weak this study is. I see no mention of many promising technologies and solutions - especially algae. Algae both absorbs CO2 from dirty fossil fuels such as coal and gas but is also sustainable, cost effective, clean and creates fuel that is dropable into todays engines, etc. It can also now be used for any and all oil based products such as pharma, chemicals, feed stocks, etc. This algae to fuel business is in test production sites around the globe particularly with dirty industries like utilities (coal based). It really is cleaning up smoke stake polution by diverting it to algae growth production, extraction and refinery systems. The airlines are particularly interested. Why is none of this in this very restricted \'study\'? Inquiring minds want to know.
31st January, 2011 @ 6:50 a.m. (California Time)
I agree with the energy guru at RMI, Amory Lovins. He said we would have no energy problems if we had a level playing field, e.g., no government intervention. The market works just fine solving economic problems if left alone. How? We don\'t exactly know, but it seems that without gov regulation or interference of any kind, i.e., freedom, we have prosperity without limits.
One possible solution is to decentralize production. Distributed energy avoids the cost and loss of transmission. Local solutions for local problems would come about through individual innovation. In 19th century America, before suffocating regulations, it was called \"Yankee ingenuity\".
31st January, 2011 @ 6:44 p.m. (California Time)
How many people posting here read the actual published papers?
3rd February, 2011 @ 2:07 p.m. (California Time)
this gizmag is terrific . lots of hope and ingenuity. I get lots of e mails from them, and you can subscribe. no i dont get $ for referring, just sharing
5th February, 2011 @ 4:14 a.m. (California Time)