Yeah I get what you mean, in Italy we have lots of sun and still have good tax savings for solar in our house, but I guess every EU country has its own policies.I tend to think its more a question of national priorities than of technology and costs, and of the role of the legacy power market.
(Changed the topic title to save people some time who wanted to talk about music or cooking or …)
True; just 2 points:
1st: I mentioned it only to illustrate, that there is no such thing as “clean” energy, because every energy production has it’s downsides.
2nd: In fact the overpopulation of cats is already threatening the population of some songbirds; still, they hardly ever catch birds of prey or storks (and I know, that more birds of prey are dying of lead ammunition or are being killed by passing high-speed trains and cars).
Your conclusion is correct obviously, if you always are looking out for the cheaapest green energy on the market. Do you include every offer into that search/comparison, like tariffs by Vattenfall, EON and the like?
To me, there is just a limited choice, as I only accept suppliers of electricity, that don’t sell coal or nuclear power as well. And they should clearly state what they are doing for the developement/building of new sustainable power plants.
Especially suppliers certified with the OK+ label (Germany)
That way you have more influence where your money goes and what it is used for; although it might be more expensive.
It’s comparable to Fairphone.
You could chose an IPhone and have the good feeling, that according to the latest Greenpeace report, you have chosen a phone, that is built using renewable energy only.
But you can chose a Fairphone and have the even better feeling that you have chosen a phone, that is being produced with all steps of the prodution process in mind when aiming for fairness (social, ecological, operational …)
Most of them are not listed at all by well known comparison databases not even when pure green energy is selected. (I was not so amused reading the name Prokon here though).
Looks as a basic form of greenwashing to me…hence I have my first ever smartphone FP2.
Not so sure about that.
My guess would rather be, that this is compatible to the lifestyle of their target group. More a kind of “Silicon Valley” thing. Therefore it might really be conviction.
Tax and other business reasons should not be disregarded as possible explanations though.
In my opinion, the main issue that we have to solve is waste. We have to reduce and reuse it.
We have to build a society that use resources whithout abusing them.
Renewable energy is a solution only if we found ways to reduce the need of energy itself: optimizing the technologies that we already have and thinking about it building the future ones.
P.S. I’m happy that the FairPhone community discuss about something that is not just a product, but about ideas.
Yea so, I’m against everything except fusion, and I’m only really for fusion as a bridge until we come up with safer technologies. The main reason I’m for fusion actually has to do with the waste. We could get rid of it! All of it!!
This is how. Fusion waste is stupidly radioactive for fifty years, and pretty radioactive for another fifty–much like thorium, if you’re familiar with that. It also can’t melt down, and doesn’t create weapons grade anything–it actually destroys it. So, fusion doesn’t really create longterm waste. It creates, very very dangerous waste, but not for a long time at all.
Due to that nifty property of being so radioactive, and having such a short half life, there is a very good chance that if we stick all of our spent fission material, as well as payloads for bombs into these reactors, that they’d come out with the half life of fusion waste–so a hundred years.
This is a far better option than trying to store something for ten thousand years, that we have had a lot of trouble storing for a hundred… And we get some free juice…
We could build clean power, if capitalism died a lil quicker, and people got their stuff together, I ain’t counting on that though…
Like I said, building the plants isn’t the issue. We don’t have the technology to store such a large amount of energy. You need batteries for your clean energy plants, and we simply aren’t there yet.
We have solar, wind, water…
So you are positive that a technology that is very very dangerous for a short time will never be used as a weapon? What if you want to quickly wipe out a nation, but don’t want their land to be uninhabitable for a long time so you can conquer it?
It won’t die out quickly if we keep enabling them.
But they can’t supply the full grid now, not without better storage tech.
It already is used as a weapon. Hydrogen bombs use fusion already bruh, thing is you need a fission bomb to set it off. So, as long as we don’t go nuking fusion plants, no, that’s not a worry.
Uhhhhhh, this isn’t really enabling them. It will only enable them when all our governments give them all this research they have done for free–which they will do. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the research.
I’m afraid the cost factor is important here.
Building new fusion reactors (or adapt existing ones) to bridge te time, is a giant investment. Both in money and time (see the new reactors in France or Finland…). This investments should be done in renewable technologies, to make sure they will be ready in time.
It’s the debate we have in Belgium now. Since 2003 we have a law that says the nuclear reactors have to close down. But lack of investments in renewable energy made it “impossible” to close down the reactors. Why didn’t we invest enough in renewable energy? Because there was no need for it: there was enough (nuclear) energy and the law clearly stated that the reactors didn’t have to close down if there was no replacement available. Investments in renewable energy where therefore not profitable.
Investing in a new nuclear reactor will only lessen the investments in renewable energy (again). Thus, there will not be enough renewable energy to replace nuclear. Therefore, we will need to invest in nuclear. Of course, that means less investments in renewable… You can see where this leads to
IMHO this is the greatest challenge at the moment. With wind & solar, you don’t control how much power is produced at which time. You need to balance the grid in terms of supply and demand within tight margins, and you need production capacity that is capable of reacting quickly. As far as I know, in many places this means that with increased solar / wind, you also get an increase in small-ish gas-fired turbines (as they can react quickly) to be able to balance the spikes and dips relatively locally. The downside is that these aren’t the most efficient way of producing power. Transporting power over longer distances has it’s own cost (there are estimates of 8-15% loss (pdf) during distribution on the current grid). With a distributed efficient storage system, you can use that to balance supply and demand.
I still haven’t seen any calculations that show that current home battery storage is more environmentally friendly than having a grid connection. Especially in terms of CO2 output, the production of the current batteries are higher than the gains during the lifetime of the battery. There are many reasons why home storage can be useful, but I have yet to be convinced of any environmental benefit in locations that are already grid connected.
In terms of risk and actual outcome (old, but you get the idea. source):
Another option (not possible everywhere) would be hydro-electric energy to be used as “storage”.
I wanted to post about this some minutes ago, but decided against it after I had read the corresponding Wikipedia article:
Not every country has mountains like Austria…
Well, we even have one in Belgium
Because the problem of storing power was mentioned a few times, here’s an article I came across just now: Can cars be used as mini power stations?
Something similar has been piloted by a German company earlier: Elektroautos im Schwarm
Thorium reuses current waste, and thorium waste lasts 300 years not ten thousands years. Thorium reactors also work whereas fusion is still theory. It is just that Nixon didn’t go for thorium back in the days. Thorium molten reactor doesn’t require water for cooling, it uses salt.
Fission has a bad name thanks to Chernobyl and Fukushima but these are partly mitigated by thorium.
With regards to hydroelectricity. Sure, it is a great idea, but it just won’t work everywhere in the world. Wind also has that problem. Even solar has it. Good luck w/that on the poles or during winter season.
Just my two cents:
1 - Reducing energy consumption is the most important thing to achieve; energy production is a poor second (at best) to that.
2 - Producing energy decentralized should be the way to go (e.g. block-type thermal power stations). Take a look at this unique system: ELECTRICITY AND HEAT FROM WOOD PELLETS
Wood pellets are likely making things worse, not better, in the current setup:
With small scale systems this is confounded by the production of particulate pollution (damaging to health), which can be especially problematic in urban environments.
The claims on the site linked above:
- No heat loss as in the central power plant
Where possible, modern plants sell heat as well as electricity. There are many district heating examples of this.
- No power line losses as in central power generation
But in return we do get losses in terms of inefficiencies in fuel (wood pellet) distribution and potential scaling issues.
- CO2-neutral operation by the use of wood pellets
Depends on how you calculate this. See above.
- More independence from energy supply companies
How many companies are supplying wood pellets at the moment?
- More regional value creation through utilization of residual wood materials and avoiding energy imports
See above. The amount of wood pellet that the UK is importing from quite far away is astounding. In addition it turns out there isn’t enough residual wood material to do this at scale.
I did not mean that to be the solution to every case and problem.
But some of your critical points are missing what they aim to critizise.
With the pellet heat/energy combination, you get the electric energy as a kind of byproduct from heating your home.
It is not burning pellets for energy only.
So the alternative to pellet heating is oil, gas or natural heat of the earth (that needs a lot of power to produce).
Now we might start discussing the pros and cons of those different energy sources.
Yet: Inefficiency is minimized, as the pellets are burned to heat the house and produce energy by the way.
regional: Where I do live, the pellets are coming from sources like 50 km off, being produced by a family owned company and are made from natural wood waste (sawdust, wood shavings …)
independence: Family owned company vs. energy supply companies like vattenfall; hmm, let me think about it …
True; where possible.
And transporting heat is not as easy as energy or liquids, not to mention the special kind of “beautiful” architectural landmarks those district heating pipelines are forming.
In the end it depends on the individual case.
Which - in my opinion - proves my point, that decentralized solutions are preferable, as they can be easily adjusted to the local circumstances.