Wouldn’t It Be Nice (splendid early Beach Boys)
Cute, but solar doesn’t work on a cost per watt basis. Someday it will but we’re not there yet even when sweet, light crude is at $100 a barrel.
Of course, if you don’t mind the poor starving and otherwise failing due to increased costs of everything, that’s no barrier.
jonolan, it only ‘gets there’ price-wise if we use more of it. China et al are now heavily subsidizing American solar companies who are now building in China for China to export. Lovely. That’s where the progress is tech and price is being made.
If we give a damn about staying out of oil wars, if we COUNTED their cost in the cost of oil . . . . make the damn gas $6/gallon. Just do it. (I dream, I know.)
No, Moe; unfortunately it doesn’t “get there” price-wise if we use more of it. It’s too inefficient so far and has far too high of operational / maintenance expenses.
As for gas prices – those are different than fuel prices for installation power generation and, if you raise the crude / diesel / coal / natural prices high enough for solar or wind to be viable, you’ll starve out or freeze out the poor and collapse all segments of our economy, thereby creating a whole new load of poor to be starved or frozen out.
About the only thing that would work would be switching over to nuclear power and then only if we gave up our uranium / plutonium reactors and switched over the better thorium ones.
jonolan, you’re right that there are always unintended consequences to every choice we make. When I say ‘use more of it”, I make the assumption, a perfectly reasonable one, that increased demand leads to efficient manufacture and improved product. We subsidize fossil fuels and we’ve done it forever.
I’m a nuclear fan if we could figure out where to put the damn waste. But mostly, even if it takes another half century, we MUST get off fossil fuel.
We’ll spend trillions because Islamist extremist ‘theaten’ our way of life, but scoff at the idea of facing up to the biggest threat of all.
Whatever is easiest. And who is to blame, everybody who drives a car. Because if it really mattered to most of us we’d stop buying crude and demand different. Mirror’s, they really do reflect well. 😦
“We have met the enemy and he is us” as Pogo said so wisely a million years ago.
Why is it that 40 years of experience means nothing? We know what doesn’t work and what does. I just started driving during the first oil crisis in the early seventies. When gasoline went from 28 cents to 50 cents it was the end of the World. Then the second crisis in the late seventies with odd – even days and gas lines around the block. Good ole James Carter and his useless policies. Then the collapse of oil and gasoline prices in the mid eighties. Through it all we had the green energy evangalists peddling their superstition.
And then on the seventh day Global Warming was created.
Alan, you are right that 40 years of experience has no meaning . . . by your reasoning, we’d never have bothered to advance technology at all. Eniac, the first mainframe computer, was built in the 1940’s. It took well over 40 years to computers on desktops. And they were fierce expensive. When I bought the first desktop at my company in the 80’s (pre-Windows) I had to beg and beg for the money. The big changes take time and they change our world. That’s what we need to be doing.
Did you know that we just hit 400ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? But hey . . . Rush says it’s a myth, so why worry.
Yes I knew we hit the big 400. But of course your argument makes my case. Eniac was built for military purposes and was cost effective in it’s time. Even your 80s begged for computer was cost effective. Computers are always cost effective until they are replaced by newer computers.
Wind technology was cost effective when the Dutch used it to reclaim farmland from the North Sea. It ain’t today. Solar is cost effective in small scale and isolated applications. It ain’t cost effective in the applications the government subsidizes. They are expensive dead ends. In 1900 38% of all cars in America were electric. A dead end that like Dracula keeps returning to life in such atrocities as the GM EV1 and the Chevy Volt.
You are also totally wrong that my reasoning does not advance technology. The directional drilling and fracking developed for modern oil and gas drilling is whiz bang technology at it’s finest. It also produces sustainable jobs.
Found an article along the lines of what you are talking about here.
Hey Arb, nice to see you. Good article – it’s so irksome that everything in that story is ‘out there’, evidenced and fact-checked, but never gets the full media treatment. Big Oil wins. They always do.
I’m pasting this outtake (jonolan, this is for you – okay, for Alan too):
“Not only are renewables crossing the line from hippie dream to golden goose, the manufacturing sector is moving so fast that there is a “glut” of solar panels. That’s right. Solar panels are no longer “too expensive” or an “unrealistic” alternative to Big Oil’s monopoly hold on energy production. Instead, there is a production glut in solar manufacturing.”
How ’bout that.
One, all the “green” techs are very heavily subsidized by the government in order to allow them to “compete.”
Two, all the production in the world won’t change the sad fact that solar is still the most inefficient way to generate power, which may be part of why there’s a glut in the first place.
In 2010 govt subsidies for solar were almost $800 / Mw, whereas coal and petroluem’s subsidies were $0.25 / Mw. “Green,” especially solar, just isn’t there yet and won’t be in our lifetimes UNLESS we move to very decentralized power generation.
Let big solar and big wind put big oil-natural gas and big coal out of business. I could care less. But let them do it by putting out a superior product, not by political patronage.
My guess is that you guys will turn against wind and solar when it becomes practical because, how will you ever tax something that is free? Suddenly all those poor birdies getting chopped up in windmills will matter. Suddenly all the environmental changes that happen when you shade out the desert with massive solar panels will matter.
Let me add: cost comparisons of green (especially wind/solar) to fossil fuel are nonsense unless they include the costs (TO US!) of a century of subsidies and clean up. AND a century of pollution which has translated -and still does – into incalculable costs, again, TO US! The ‘fines’ out there today are easily absorbed by the big companies as just a cost of doing business.
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