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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Default Let's talk about sustainable energy.

There's a distinct lack of tech stuff happening here so let's remedy that with an interesting discussion about renewable energy sources.

Currently allot of places have a goal to have a certain percentage of their power generation done by things such as solar panels and wind turbines. Allot of people also are getting wind turbines and solar panels for their private homes as well, around my area the only restriction is that you have to have a way to cut off the power generation in the event the main power grid goes down. There might be more regulations but that's the main one I hear about the most.

I wonder what else could be a potential power generation source.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:14 PM
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A small turbine on every house, combined with solar panels and large scale wind farms would serve almost all of our energy needs.

Why don't we do it?

Because it costs money, and money is more important than preventing or mitigating man-made climate change. I'm sure our great great grandkids will love that excuse. Oh, and the fact that money = political power, so Petroleum companies continue to roadblock every attempt to bypass fossil fuels on a national level in favour of their own products.

Meanwhile oceans rise, temperatures rise, seasons ameliorate, species reach extinction... the only question is; once humanity has wiped itself out, will enough of the planet survive to sustain life at all?

90% of people think they are above average.

Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:23 PM
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Nuclear Fusion might be viable. Underwater turbines powered by currents possibly too.

Your vision of the future is really dark Sethis. Life has sprung up on the planet almost as soon as is could. There have been quite some mass-extinctions, and life has survived much harsher conditions than humans could create. The question is whether that life will evolve fast enough to find a way off this planet once the sun's time's up.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
A small turbine on every house, combined with solar panels and large scale wind farms would serve almost all of our energy needs.

Why don't we do it?

Because it costs money, and money is more important than preventing or mitigating man-made climate change. I'm sure our great great grandkids will love that excuse. Oh, and the fact that money = political power, so Petroleum companies continue to roadblock every attempt to bypass fossil fuels on a national level in favour of their own products.

Meanwhile oceans rise, temperatures rise, seasons ameliorate, species reach extinction... the only question is; once humanity has wiped itself out, will enough of the planet survive to sustain life at all?

Pretty much this!

Good to be green

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
A small turbine on every house, combined with solar panels and large scale wind farms would serve almost all of our energy needs.

Why don't we do it?

Because it costs money, and money is more important than preventing or mitigating man-made climate change. I'm sure our great great grandkids will love that excuse. Oh, and the fact that money = political power, so Petroleum companies continue to roadblock every attempt to bypass fossil fuels on a national level in favour of their own products.

Meanwhile oceans rise, temperatures rise, seasons ameliorate, species reach extinction... the only question is; once humanity has wiped itself out, will enough of the planet survive to sustain life at all?

Rather grim outlook, but I suppose that is what unfettered capitalism will do! I meself have been looking at getting solar panels and such for my house but man they are fucking pricey, to get the panels that will just give me hotvwater will cost me about €5000-6000 easy, I live in a Dublin suburb, so not even sure if I could go "off grid" with solar without expensive retro fitting to the electrical set up in the house.

Are there any dooms day prepper on heresy that know of quality and durable off grid systems for urban dwellers, input greatly appreciated?!

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Rather grim outlook, but I suppose that is what unfettered capitalism will do! I meself have been looking at getting solar panels and such for my house but man they are fucking pricey, to get the panels that will just give me hotvwater will cost me about €5000-6000 easy, I live in a Dublin suburb, so not even sure if I could go "off grid" with solar without expensive retro fitting to the electrical set up in the house.

Are there any dooms day prepper on heresy that know of quality and durable off grid systems for urban dwellers, input greatly appreciated?!
How old is the house, and when was it last wired?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-14, 11:47 PM
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How old is the house, and when was it last wired?
Built late 90's so nearly 20 years, rear of the house is south, south, west so I get plenty of sun, when it does shine.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-14, 12:02 AM
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Wind farms are rapidly being debunked as horribly inefficient and, even worse, extremely unreliable and unable to "bank" energy in the way that fuels can. They couldn't even cover half of our energy needs at peak (100% gale force wind 24/7) levels, so honestly they're more like a diversion of effort.

The only thing we can destroy is our civilization. Our species is much more resilient than our knowledge, and to think that the Earth, let alone the rest of creation is at our mercy is hubris at best. At some point the collective consciousness "forgot" that civilization's very existence is a never-ending war with nature, so unless you intend to go tribal and let the species die out from some asteroid collision or the death of the sun a few billion years from now, trashing civilization is not the answer you're looking for. Nor are you going to find it in technologies being pushed by special interest groups that are only considered "partial" solutions, since by definition that implies inefficiency and a divestment of resources because of diminishing returns: Such plans would only work if you genocide several nations off the map and lower the energy need by terrific proportions, and if you vouch for that then you are truly sick in the head.

No, every time I run through this the conclusion is the same: Fusion or Bust. Clean fossil fuel research in the interim. I have yet to see a "green energy source" that is actually green and practical at the same time. Short of some miraculous power-saving technologies, the only thing that will really balance the scales is an energy source that can be harvested from the Sun, stored, and provide more returns than the cost of its production. The only source that fits that description thus far is fusion via Helium-3 isotopes collected in space and/or scratched off the surface of the moon and launched back to Earth via mass-driver.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-14, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Wind farms are rapidly being debunked as horribly inefficient and, even worse, extremely unreliable and unable to "bank" energy in the way that fuels can. They couldn't even cover half of our energy needs at peak (100% gale force wind 24/7) levels, so honestly they're more like a diversion of effort.

The only thing we can destroy is our civilization. Our species is much more resilient than our knowledge, and to think that the Earth, let alone the rest of creation is at our mercy is hubris at best. At some point the collective consciousness "forgot" that civilization's very existence is a never-ending war with nature, so unless you intend to go tribal and let the species die out from some asteroid collision or the death of the sun a few billion years from now, trashing civilization is not the answer you're looking for. Nor are you going to find it in technologies being pushed by special interest groups that are only considered "partial" solutions, since by definition that implies inefficiency and a divestment of resources because of diminishing returns: Such plans would only work if you genocide several nations off the map and lower the energy need by terrific proportions, and if you vouch for that then you are truly sick in the head.

No, every time I run through this the conclusion is the same: Fusion or Bust. Clean fossil fuel research in the interim. I have yet to see a "green energy source" that is actually green and practical at the same time. Short of some miraculous power-saving technologies, the only thing that will really balance the scales is an energy source that can be harvested from the Sun, stored, and provide more returns than the cost of its production. The only source that fits that description thus far is fusion via Helium-3 isotopes collected in space and/or scratched off the surface of the moon and launched back to Earth via mass-driver.
I agree that fusion is a good way to go, but really wind turbines don't have to be efficient. Wind is a free resource so there really isn't a way to waste it.

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Built late 90's so nearly 20 years, rear of the house is south, south, west so I get plenty of sun, when it does shine.
You should be good, though I'd get an opinion from someone certified in your country, as things tend to change from place to place.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-14, 12:40 AM
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I agree that fusion is a good way to go, but really wind turbines don't have to be efficient. Wind is a free resource so there really isn't a way to waste it.
You're not thinking economically. That doesn't mean just dollar signs and government lobbies: It means planting crops using seeds from your last crop yield.

Think of it this way: There is a process, call it a machine, that creates energy or "work" at the cost of pollution.

You add 1 point of "pollution" for every 3 "working" points created, at a very reliable rate. It takes 1 "working" point to repeat this process by making a new machine. One pollution point can therefore create another 3 machines. The energy ratio is 3 work for 1 pollution, and 1 work for 1 machine.

Regardless of the pollution that you are generating, there is a surplus of energy created: it is possible to expand this "economy" by building one more machine while having 2 work points left over. This is "sustainable" from a civilization standpoint, at a ratio of 1 pollution for 2 work, assuming you are constantly building 1 more machine at every stage. It can not only expand, but provide for non-machine needs (aka Everything else).

Take this and apply it to the green energy source:

You have a green machine. It creates no pollution, but only generates 1 "work" point, and only some of the time. It takes 2 working points to create another green machine, because it is a very demanding and unreliable system. The net pollution will always be zero, but what is the net of the system?

There is not enough surplus energy to even replace the machines generating the work. The "work" points also expire and are time-sensitive to their use, whereas the machine that pollutes can generate it on demand and store it away when it is not required. Even in the best case, if it generated 1 work point reliably, and the cost of making the machine was brought down to 1, there is still no surplus for anything else: Nothing else could exist except for the supply chain that kept this green machine running. Compound this with the work points expiring and it's a dead end.

This is a diminishing return. The high cost in "money" for most of these systems isn't just an arbitrary number due to fossil fuel lobbies (who are actually being ruthlessly shut down in the coal department): it is a reflection of the cost in "work" required to get it up and running in the first place, plus the amount of "work" required to offset the energy you won't be generating!

You can't call something a "sustainable" energy source because it's ostensibly "free." All energy sources require the investment of existing energy and work to create them. As such, sustainability is also a function of the source's ability to sustain itself. If that efficiency level is 1:1, you can at least replace your machines, but if it's not above 1:1 you can't have a civilization since there is no surplus to build it from, and if it's below 1:1 then you are literally throwing energy into the wind.

On a macro scale, this is a massive waste of time and effort. It's a diversion. People have conflated "green" with "sustainable" because they are only thinking about the pollution generated, not the human civilization within the environment in the first place. If you pursue these inefficient systems full-bore, then you will inevitably reach a point where, without fossil fuels making up the slack (which they are right now), your civilization contracts in on itself and starves the "excess population" of energy. But the net energy created by this process is negative: The "excess population" will also continue to grow with each passing year, until you're down to the last ditch and there's no energy to mine the silicon that goes into the chips to make the windmills function properly, and nobody left to do the mining, or print the chips, or install them in the first place.

From this perspective the choice is absolutely clear: Damn the environment. If you destroy civilization there won't be anybody left who cares about the environment in the first place, whether that's through gross climate change or an asteroid impact somewhere down the line. Project this long enough into the future and it would be better if mankind did "destroy" the Earth so long as we survived outside of it and therefore bought the time necessary to develop better technologies and not screw over our next inhabited world.

Fearing for the environment is pointless: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, was it worth the eventual extinction of humanity for that tree to grow?

The living standards in the industrial West are better than they have ever been in human history. The amount of pollution generated by fossil fuels and those machines directly burning them is lower than their original technologies created by a startling degree. We're buying more time right this instant. Spending that time running in circles is a waste, and inefficient "green" systems are perfect examples. If you wish to argue about the poor allocation of resources, you have every reason to argue against such systems in the first place.


"There are old heretics and bold heretics, but there are no old, bold heretics. How do I know? Because I make sure of it myself."

Wing Commander Silo Barstad, Imperial Navy 3355th Fighter Wing

Last edited by Warhawk; 11-13-14 at 12:56 AM.
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