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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Just wanted to get your attention. :-)

    What I really wanted to say is that whether or not global warming is caused by man, I don't believe that any of these measures to have "green" energy are worth anything. We'd do a lot better to put our efforts into nuclear power, or researching better advances in power than the same old "green" technologies that aren't poised to really solve anything, except maybe guilty consciences. ;)
    • The trouble with nuclear power is that it isn't a renewable resource either.

      At some point, we are fundamentally limited by the total solar radiation hitting the planet.

      These wind power initiatives generate genuine long term results, they do it immediately, they can be developed incrementally with low lead time, have none of the safety issues, use almost no land (since you can continue to use them as farm land in the NZ example), have no waste products whatsoever, don't require any water for steam, and since they require almost no manpower are likely to be more efficient once the wind power technology develops to the same degree as nuclear is today.

      The new turbines going in to the New Zealand projects for example now rate at 1 megawatt each, and the next generation of turbines will head up into multiple megawatts each.

      The price for wind power has dropped 80% between 1990 and 2005. I'm regurgitating statistics here from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power [wikipedia.org].

      That doesn't make them necesarily useful as base load generators, but that could be where something like the solar tower power stations (assuming they end up working properly, and I promise to send photos once the one here gets built) could come in.

      Also, for a 25% cost increase, you can link buffering systems (like pumped hydro) into the mix and steady the output.

      As things stand now, all the world's wind projects combined generate 60 gigawatts (2005), projected to double to 120 gigawatts by 2010.

      So by all means lets do nuclear, but every gigawatt of installed wind capacity is a gigawatt of power that is effectively available to us forever, with the turbines itself replaced every 20 years or so.

      And that installed capacity is going to keep rising indefinately, until we start to hit the limits of land area that is windy. Which I'd imagine is going to take quite a while.

      As one (very small) additional bonus, the energy harvested from the wind would normally have been released as friction. So wind energy also contributes to cooling down the planet directly! :) (although by such an incredibly small amount as to make no difference)
      • Another indefinitely renewable resource: geothermal. The drawback is that it’s harder to exploit than wind as it requires digging up the place. On the other hand, it’s not subject to seasonal or meteorological variations. For a great instant introduction read Malcolm Gladwell’s post about it [typepad.com].

        Of course, the ultimate source of energy would be The Other nuclear power: sustained H fusion. It too is fundamentally more limited on Earth than tapping the solar output, of course, but it’s a

      • The trouble with nuclear power is that it isn't a renewable resource either.

        It doesn't need to be. It will last us a very long time.

        These wind power initiatives generate genuine long term results, they do it immediately, they can be developed incrementally with low lead time ....

        And they provide only a fraction of the energy that other methods produce, and while they take up "almost no land" they WOULD have to take up a TON of land in order to provide the same level of output. I am not against wind power,