Clean Power

Published on October 31st, 2012 | by Important Media Cross-Post


Great Transition Part I

October 31st, 2012 by  

Lester R. Brown and others over at the Earth Policy Institute are some of the most astute climate and energy folks I’m aware of, and I’m always grateful to see a new post up from them on suster site sustainablog. Here’s the latest:

The Great Transition, Part I: From Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy (via sustainablog)

By Lester R. Brown The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about pollution and climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging.…

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.


About the Author

-- CleanTechnica is one of 18 blogs in the Important Media blog network. With a bit of overlap in coverage, we sometimes repost some of the great content published by our sister sites.

  • freedomev

    ——–As a wind supporter I find this overblown. While it can excellent source wind is only one of many. And it as much RE best when done on or near the load by home, building owners, not by utilities.
    ———There was nothing about hydro which is the best storage, peak supplier or tidal/river current generators both of which can be 20% of RE generation in the future without any more dams..
    ———–While nukes are not great now the new smaller and far safer ones coming up now are very cost effective and the best use up present reactors wastes for fuel.
    ———– Let’s not let our love of one source cloud your judgment of other good sources. We need them all.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Wind is currently the cheapest way to generate electricity and should remain the cheapest. Wind also produces more hours per year than does solar. Based on that we should expect wind to be our dominate energy source.

      Smaller nukes are an idea. They haven’t appeared in the real world and are not likely to do so. They certainly won’t produce cheap electricity.

      The entire nuclear industry is in trouble. Even existing plants are having problems competing with much cheaper wind and natural gas.

      And, please, no more about nuclear being safe. It is not. Nuclear requires extraordinary efforts to keep us from getting fried and those efforts are sometimes not enough.

      • freedomev

        ———–I agree about wind but it isn’t good everywhere. No? And I’m going to go into production of a 2kw size unit after testing so can hardly be said I’m against it.

        ——–Actually they, lead cooled nuke ones have been running since the earliest nuke days powering submarines. While nothing including wind is completely safe, these simple, smaller nukes are far, far better than the pressurized water reactors/PWR we have now that should be replaced by better ones soon.

        ———The good thing about these lead cooled ones is they use up nuke waste as fuel getting rid of it which I like to see.
        ——– Let’s welcome all reasonably safe low/non polluting energy sources as we need all of them to get rid of coal, PWR’s, our biggest threats.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There’s this stuff called “wire”. It can carry electricity from where it is windy to where power is wanted.

          Again, nuclear is so expensive that it is not being built except with government money. The nuclear industry is winding down.

          • freedomev

            There is this thing called copper wire is made from that costs $4/lb. Shall I send you the bill for those transmission lines? They cost as much as the wind farm in many cases. It’s called full cost accounting.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s a map showing some of the world’s wind resources. You’ll notice that most parts of the world have a nice share. And, remember, data was taken at only 8,000 locations, there are a lot of unmeasured dot-locations.


            Transmission does have cost. To make a blanket statement that transmission costs “as much as the wind farm in many cases” is something that needs documentation. But let’s assume that you are accurate and not just blowing smoke, what would that mean?

            The LCOE of wind in the US is currently $0.05/kWh. If transmission actually doubled that number we’d be looking at a dime per kWh. That’s well under the cost of new nuclear power. And nuclear comes with its own transmission costs.

          • freedomev

            ——–Bob I know wind is a great power source and have told you so. But one has to have multiple sources that are complimentery. I actually build wind generators so hardly against it.
            ———But if you think wind can do everything you just are not thinking or rational. wind can only be about 20-25% of the grid before it, like nukes too becomes a problem on the other side as too steady and when a present on scams it knocks out a whole GW. And if more than 30% of the grid wastes power as it can’t turn off.
            ———– Vs wind which varies which won’t be a problem unless it’s the main source. If you don’t understand that you have to learn more how the grid works. Luckily in some areas like the US east coast the sea breeze happens just when power is needed most. Sadly where I live the sea breeze counters the prevailing wind making most of it’s power at night when not needed.
            ———- The copper of transmission line would be better spent making more windgens at the load needs especially on homes, buildings and lowering the cost of copper by not wasting it. There really is no need to a lot of long transmission lines except to make some people rich at the expense of others. Big wind farms like solar ones are actually investment vehicles where the energy production is a byproduct and commissions, interest income and tax breaks are the real point.
            —————- Far better is reducing load and local generation, Not really much reason for most any home or building not to make not only all their own power but more to sell.
            ———— You wind source guide is obsolete because of climate change which has greatly shifted wind flow moving north in general about 2-300 miles. Luckily for me Fla is getting more wind than before.
            ————-On nukes it’s cost problems have to do with both gov and industry trying to hold onto their power and share. Other places nukes run as low as $2k/kw. The far safer, smaller lead cooled and others will solve the problems of cost and safety and burn up the present nuke waste so bombs can’t be made from them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            1. At no time have I suggested that we should obtain 100% of our electricity from wind.

            2. Small wind turbines are inefficient.

            3. Nuclear is too expensive to be considered. “$2k/kw” is overnight cost, and a low-ball cost.. The cost of financing essentially doubles the cost of nuclear. Small, inexpensive nuclear reactors are an idea, not a reality.

            Please furnish a source for your claim ” climate change which has greatly shifted wind flow moving north in general about 2-300 miles”.

          • freedomev

            ———- It sure seemed like that is what you meant by your words. What other energy sources do you approve of?

            ———– Small Wind gens are as eff as bigger ones in fact more so in many areas because the big ones don’t start producing until higher wind speeds they aere designed forthan small wind does.
            ———$2k/kw for nuke has the same financing cost as a $2k/kw NG plant. Prove otherwise.
            ———– Your link abouit nukes in Europe was about EON getting out of the nuke business. There are plenty of others to take it’s place.
            ———- Just look at plant zonal changes that have moved as far too. Weather has changed, deal with it. Ask any old time farmer who can no longer plant the same crops because of this. Ask any seed company or garden supply.
            ——— Facts are no one knows exactly how it will change but we know it has. Thus all historical data is suspect. No?
            ——– Just look at most recent wind data at your local airport, etc and compare it to the historical average. Facts are when 100 yr storms, floods, etc happen every few yrs means they are no longer 100 yr storms, etc.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What do I approve of? Wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, wave, biomass and biogas. Any way to generate electricity that is renewable, safe and cost effective.

            I accept the fact that we’re going to use a lot of natural gas while we wait for more affordable storage to crowd it out. Most generation decisions are made on economic grounds, not what is best for the environment.

            First, private money will finance gas plants. Private money will not finance nuclear reactors unless taxpayers assume the risk. And we’re also seeing that taxpayer risk assumption is not enough. Reactor companies are now starting to ask for guaranteed prices for their output, asking to be protected from market prices.

            It takes roughly ten years to build a nuclear reactor. During those many years the borrowed money is accumulating interest. Natural gas plants take less years to build. Wind farms are built in less than two years, sometimes in less than one. Large rooftop solar arrays are installed in weeks.

            The faster generation goes into production the less its cost is hurt by accumulated debt.

            China has cut back its nuclear build plans. The US has cut back its nuclear build plans. Most of Europe will build no more. Japan is finished building. I have no idea where “plenty of others to take it’s place” are going to appear.

            Again, please furnish documentation for your claim that winds have shifted 200 miles north. Tap dancing does not qualify.

            If you know anything about the wind industry you will realize that turbine size is increasing because larger turbines are more efficient.

            There are some limited areas where the winds are lighter. The industry is dealing with this by installing larger blades, not smaller turbines.

          • freedomev

            ———–While we have your choices in abundance but many others do not like China who while stopped new nukes until a safety review but that was just lifted and full speed ahead there, Deal with it. And try to keep up with current data. I think you actually know this but don’t want to admit you are wrong.
            ————– Again it only takes 10 yrs to do nukes here for the reasons I’ve already stated. Most other places do it in 3yrs. or so and others more. Now you’ll give some examples but no reason they can’t be done resonably faster. And your Fininsh example is all paid by private funds directly opposing your rant.
            ———— One reason I like smaller, far safer new nukles is they are much easier to finance along with lower cost/kw.
            ———— I gave the places to find local wind data and proved the weather is changing . If you think wind won’t change as weather has proven it has, then you are just nort able to think other than trying to win an argument. That’s your problem.
            ————- Large wind turbine are only being put where average wind is 12mph or greater which mostly is well west of the Missippi and even they get a 30% tax credit plus a $.02 production credit to bre profitable. They are investment vehicle more than power producers
            ————They are also limited in wind range making them less eff than small home, building units. For the same swept area small done right harests more power from an avarage wind soource of 10mph. that cover much more of the country. Plus these make 2-3x’s the payment or savings that big wind gets so far more cost effective by at least x’s 2. Deal with it. Or do you think all these shouldn’t get wind power?

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, you’re building a great reputation here. Not one that I think you want.
            1. China decreased their nuclear goals from 50 GWs to 40 GWs. That is not full speed ahead.

            2. You have failed to provide documentation for your claim that winds have moved 200 miles north after multiple requests to do so.

            3. Whatever the reasons, it takes 10 or more years to build a new nuclear reactor in the US or on Europe. Those years allow interest to compound which makes the cost of new reactors very expensive.

            4. There are no “smaller, far safer new nukles”. No one is building any. And because no one has built a “smaller” reactor we have no cost data.
            5. The deal to build a new reactor in Finland is falling apart. The number of years and budget overrun for the Olkiluoto reactor is probably playing a big role in that happening along with the deteriorating financial conditions for nuclear.

            6. Wind farms do not get a 30% tax credit and a 2% PCT. It’s a ‘one or the other’ choice.

            7. Subsidies are not included in LCOE calculations.

            8. If you look at this map you will see that there are significant numbers of wind turbines east of the Mississippi. It is a fact that most of our best onshore wind resources are west if the Mississippi, but there is also a considerable amount on the east side.


            9. In the first half of 2012 wind produced 3.5% of all US electricity. I think that qualifies wind as a “power producer”.

            Now, please produce the data to back up your wind claim.

            Please list those “Most other places do it in 3yrs. or so” nuclear builds.

          • freedomev

            Appparently you don’t have a life. Just what do you do besides trying to bully others who are not in agreement ewith you 100% Good luck as I have other things to do beside argue with a zealot.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s some free advice.

            Be careful about making claims when you aren’t sure that you can back them up. If challenged then produce facts or withdraw your claim. Don’t continue to make claims you can’t support.

          • freedomev

            You are just a bully troll trying to get reactions to make yourself look smart but in reality you are just a zealot unable to learn. I supported my claims and have no desire to keep correcting as I actually do things like putting RE and EV’s into production. You just bully people troll.

  • jburt56

    How about “A solar panel a day keeps a hurricane at bay!”

Back to Top ↑