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The June 2008 Energy Update


The June 2008 Energy Update

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The June 2008 Energy Update

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Someguy
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Nuclear has its challenges, but it's the only proven technology that could handle the kind of power generation that we need for the next 100 years until other alternates take over.

There are only two challenges, both worthy of consideration.

1) What to do with spent fuel? The French have been recycling fuel effectively for the last 30 years. Because spent fuel is a recognized challenge, we're developing better and better ways to recycle.
See link:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,318688,00.html

2) Meltdown. Pretty serious. Again (and I'm not usually a big fan of the French) the French have been running their reactors safely for a long time.

We've learned how to build and operate nuclear plants safely for the long haul, and concerns that might have been legitimate 30 years ago no longer apply now. It's the only legitimate way to go at the moment. Solar and wind are great, but we need something that will produce power when the wind stops blowing and he sun goes down.

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I too have been trying out other light bulbs, I don't care for the light the CFL's put out. I guess we will have to get used to not being able to dim our lights since the government's war on dimmer switches....It would have made far more sense for people to want to use CFL bulbs because they save you money theoretically, and have the companies develop efficient bulbs that can actually run on a dimmer switch. But regulation will always trump innovation.

Good luck on the windmill - I know a company in WI has been working on a design that won't kill any birds, which appears to be a big sticking point in this part of the country.

One person I know of used old cell tower batteries to store his energy from his windmill, and used a diesel generator to supplement his power needs. Rather than just replacing everything for energy efficiency, think of recycling and reusing - that will inevitably save more.

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jay-h
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One of the most annoying problems with CF is their spectrum.

I have that lighting in my closet area, and I cannot tell dark blue from black pants in that room.

I agree with you, we need nuclear power (we should have had it 30 years ago). Here is an interesting article about numeric analysis of what is actually feasible as energy in the long term.

...

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Andy Leonard
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Steve, I love these articles and updates!

Not trying to go all engineer on you or anything (and I haven't read the linked article - it may mention this already), but one efficient way to store energy for peak is to use it to pump water into human-made retention ponds/lakes of hydroelectric facilities. Pump it at night when power is cheap and then release it to the generators at peak.

I didn't think of this, I heard it on a tour of Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake) years ago and thought it was a cool idea... at least until gravity runs out.

:{> Andy

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Someguy
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P.S. - Steve, let me chime in in saying thanks for articles like this. Normally, I come to this site for technical insights (which you normally feature of course) but it's fun every now and then to take a break and discuss current issues with other technical minded people. I thought I'd mention this before we get the entry about "why are we wasting our time with non-tech stuff like this..."

I'll give the normal caveat that I don't always agree with everyone, but it's still interesting. Cool

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JJ B
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I'm completely fascinated by the Mariah wind generator. It sure has me thinking that I might actually be able to afford personal wind power. The idea is heady. Thanks for the link.
jay-h
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I forgot to include this link with my post

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/20/mackay_on_carbon_free_uk/

...

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Steve Jones
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I've heard about the pumping of water, it's really a "gravity well", using current power to move something higher, creating potential energy, and then gravity to bring it back down and release this energy as kinetic. It's just like a roller coaster.

Meltdown can almost be eliminated in some modern, gravity fed nuclear designs. Korea has made big strides here. It's still a problem, but not a deal breaker.

I agree with the light on CF bulbs. LEDs have a very white, almost bluish tint as well. Not sure how well LEDs would work in a closet, course you could just buy all black pants P)

We have a CF bulb in our room as a side light and it was weird at first. Definitely doesn't throw off as much light as a regular bulb, but it's not bad. The spectrum isn't too bad for reading.

I think we might end up removing the dimmers (they came with the house) and moving to CF bulbs in a few more places. I think I might need to invest in 3-4 more LEDs and replace one whole room with them and see how it compares. Right now I've replaced one in a few places with a flood in the ceiling cans, but it's overwhelmed by the incandescents, so it's hard to tell if it's acceptable.

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Steve Jones
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And the Mariah, vertical windmill (darius or egg-beater shape) doesn't seem to affect birds. You have a relatively narrow impact zone as opposed to the large sweep of horizontal blades.

PacWind is another company doing them if you want, but Mariah seems to be ahead of them.

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