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A Nonny Moose

2012 Climate Report Published

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Now lets leave it to the ignorant idiots we elected politicians to claim that because the report establishes no clear link between human behavior and climate change that its just a natural process and that there is nothing we can do about it so we might as well continue doing business as usual. 

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Now lets leave it to the ignorant idiots we elected politicians to claim that because the report establishes no clear link between human behavior and climate change that its just a natural process and that there is nothing we can do about it so we might as well continue doing business as usual.

Humans have no more control over global warming than squirrels do.

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Now lets leave it to the ignorant idiots we elected politicians to claim that because the report establishes no clear link between human behavior and climate change that its just a natural process and that there is nothing we can do about it so we might as well continue doing business as usual.

Humans have no more control over global warming than squirrels do.

 

Don't be unimaginative.

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  • The next phase is the release of methane from the permafrost.  That's a lot of greenhouse gas that is much more potent than CO2, not that we haven't been releasing our share with every anal eructation.  However, the amount in the permafrost is from the decay of all those massive corpses of things like wooly mammoths that were killed by the last ice age.

     

    The next phase after than, if we are still around to enjoy the show, will be the release of all the frozen methane from the bottom of the oceans as they warm up.  This will really wrap the old dirt ball in thermogene, and life, if any, will be very interesting at the poles.  At this point, the stage is set for the next ice age. 

     

    I wonder who will be around to enjoy the cooling off.

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  • Environment Canada's Chief Climatologist will say yea and nay.

     

    I have lived nearly 76 years, and the climate is noticeably warmer now than when I was a kid. Mostly, the precipitation pattern has changed from very snowy winters to much less snow. This generally means less water for the farm fields in the spring.

    The cycle seems to have advanced to providing very spotty water supply in many cases: floods here, drought there, not experienced in recent decades.

    Overall, things seem to be subjectively warmer but I have not arrived at the need, here in very Southern Ontario, for the need of air cooling devices. Nice to have, but I get along with a rather sophisticated fan.

    I do my bit to reduce my carbon footprint by using low wattage (CFL) lamps and LED lighting where possible. Wonder how many others do the same? Don't count on the lame brains in government to do anything about climate, the picture is too big for them. It is up to the individual citizen to do what he can.

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    The reason the term "Global Warming" was changed to "Climate Change" is not PR. There are areas such as yours in which the climate grew warmer, but there are also places that will experience lower temperatures and the weather patterns will generally be more unpredictable and extreme in the future.

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  • Yes, that's becoming apparent.  I wonder how long it will take the City of Calgary to adopt the recommendations from the penultimate flood.  They ignored them to their great regret.

     

    Meanwhile, Vancouver had a dry July for the first time in a very long time.  In a city that theoretically gets 200 days of rain a year, this doesn't seem right.

     

    There is some kind of adjustment going on, and mother nature isn't telling us what exactly is being done.  We can observe and guess, but one wonders.  I seem to remember that there was a recent report of a slight orbital change for the Earth as well.  The solar system is dynamic and the mixed gravity fields do strange things at times.  Not only is the climate being affected by atmospheric pollution, but there seem to be some cosmic changes going on as well.

     

    We know enough now to be a little alarmed, but we don't seem to have a good handle on what is really going on.  By the time we find out, it may very well be too late for cities on the sea shores.  Nature is also reminding people not to build houses in flood plains just because the river hasn't done much for a while.

     

    "There upon the solid rock

    "The dreary houses stand.

    "Come and see my shining palace,

    "Built upon the sand."

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge (from memory - errors mine).

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    Humans have no more control over global warming than squirrels do.

    Science disagrees with you. And I agree with science.

    So by all means please tell me how us, puny little humans have some how altered the climate of the earth in any substantial way...

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    So by all means please tell me how us, puny little humans have some how altered the climate of the earth in any substantial way...

    Well, how about by releasing uncountable tons of CO2 into the air, while simultaneously cutting down half of the worlds rain forests in the past 50 years so essentially destroying part of the worlds natural air purifier. Also over fishing the seas to the point that numerous of sea species are on the brink of extinction while at the same time dumping so much plastic garbage in the sea that if you start collecting sea water it is now filled with tiny bits of plastic. Nah, I'm sure that has absolutely no consequences whatsoever for our environment or our climate.

     

    You know, the world is one big ecosystem, which means that nearly everything in nature is interconnected, meaning that even minor changes can have drastic consequences. And we have not been making minor changes to the Earths ecosystem, we have completely trashed the place. 

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  • Well, I see you've fallen for the main distractor.  CO2 isn't so interesting a greenhouse gas as cow farts (CH4 ).  Methane is much worse than Carbon Dioxide.  CH4 is generated by decaying organic matter such as that found in land-fills, compost heaps, and frozen into the now melting permafrost.  The oceans also have uncounted tons of frozen CH4 which will be added to the party if the oceans get warm enough. 

     

    We can try to control our emissions, and contain the Carbon Dioxide, emission of which on a large scale is rather reprehensible, but our civilization has been built on this, and retrofitting CO2 scrubbers everywhere would bankrupt the world.  So now, the political world now finds itself between a rock and a hard place, with no quick solutions.

     

    In western society we might be able to do a few things, but the main problem is arising from the now industrializing third world countries which are really no longer third world as they become out largest trading partners.  So there is hardly any point in bleating about it.

     

    Furthermore, we are in a geological cycle that has happened before in not too distant millennia.  We are at the end of the last ice age which always has resulted in a warming period, then we begin the dip into the next ice age.  As population increases and pours more garbage into the atmosphere, this will be slightly accelerated, but in the end it is going to cold outside, especially if some super-volcano like Yellowstone finally erupts producing what will probably be an ELE.

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    We can try to control our emissions, and contain the Carbon Dioxide, emission of which on a large scale is rather reprehensible, but our civilization has been built on this, and retrofitting CO2 scrubbers everywhere would bankrupt the world.  So now, the political world now finds itself between a rock and a hard place, with no quick solutions.

     

    Oh nonsense. Fitting every rooftop in America with solar panels would have been cheaper than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Imagine how much energy would be saved if every building in the US was turned into a mini power plant? Not to mention the immense amounts of money it would have directly saved taxpayers? But no, no one is willing to spend money on projects like that. If we can't declare war and drop bombs on a problem its not worth our attention. 

     

    There are so many initiatives and things that we can do that would make a significant impact if only we put it higher on our priorities list. But there is the problem right there. The environment in most countries is not on anyones priorities list and as a result nothing gets done until its to late. 

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  •  

    We can try to control our emissions, and contain the Carbon Dioxide, emission of which on a large scale is rather reprehensible, but our civilization has been built on this, and retrofitting CO2 scrubbers everywhere would bankrupt the world.  So now, the political world now finds itself between a rock and a hard place, with no quick solutions.

     

    Oh nonsense. Fitting every rooftop in America with solar panels would have been cheaper than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Imagine how much energy would be saved if every building in the US was turned into a mini power plant? Not to mention the immense amounts of money it would have directly saved taxpayers? But no, no one is willing to spend money on projects like that. If we can't declare war and drop bombs on a problem its not worth our attention. 

     

    There are so many initiatives and things that we can do that would make a significant impact if only we put it higher on our priorities list. But there is the problem right there. The environment in most countries is not on anyone’s priorities list and as a result nothing gets done until its to late. 

     

    Too narrow a view.  Also the amount of insolation in norther latitudes is insufficient for the task.  How much CO2 is emitted in the manufacture of solar panels, and is there enough material to do this in any case? 

     

    Carbon is not the problem with power generation anyway, it is radioactive ash, except in backward countries like the U.S. that is still fear-mongering over nuclear power.  There is clearly no quick fix here thanks to the environmentally ill lobby in the U.S.

     

    As for priorities, if you want them to change, it starts at the ballot box.

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    Oh nonsense. Fitting every rooftop in America with solar panels would have been cheaper than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Imagine how much energy would be saved if every building in the US was turned into a mini power plant? Not to mention the immense amounts of money it would have directly saved taxpayers? But no, no one is willing to spend money on projects like that. If we can't declare war and drop bombs on a problem its not worth our attention. 

     

    One of the things that never gets mentioned is that the US electric grid is designed around a top-down generation model.  It is not designed to support deployment of a wide network of low-level generation capacity.  Build enough of that capacity into the network and it will never achieve stable, much less safe, operation again.

     

    There is also the wonderful issue that everyone running around with the capacity to generate their own electricity makes restoration work after a major incident (like a hurricane or major thunderstorm) significantly more dangerous and time consuming.

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  • Sounds like it is time to consider a paradigm shift. 

     

    The old model with its top-down design could be a problem with the new "fashion" of going either off-grid or generating enough power to occasionally sell to the grid.  Sounds like some sort of membership set up is needed where members can either be pure consumers or part-time contributors.  I don't know enough about power engineering, but I feel that a new design will be necessary for the whole grid and especially local nodes.  Transformer stations are going to have to be pretty fancy.

     

    We need some modern guys standing the shoes of Tesla, Edison and Westinghouse.

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    One of the things that never gets mentioned is that the US electric grid is designed around a top-down generation model.  It is not designed to support deployment of a wide network of low-level generation capacity.  Build enough of that capacity into the network and it will never achieve stable, much less safe, operation again.

     

    There is also the wonderful issue that everyone running around with the capacity to generate their own electricity makes restoration work after a major incident (like a hurricane or major thunderstorm) significantly more dangerous and time consuming.

     

    What? If everyone generates their own electricity and therefor requires less electricity from the big power plants, the electrical grid will collapse? How is that even possible? 

     

    And how exactly do solar panels on top of a roof make restoration works after a major accident more dangerous or time consuming? 

     

    @A Nonny Moose, Ive said it before, and I will say it again, it is very much possible to switch over from normal electricity to green electricity en masse if we wanted too. Yeah, it will cost some money, but as I've stated, we are quite willing to spend that kind of money (more actually) on dropping bombs on illiterate goat herders. Now you tell me, whats money better spent, bombing desert goat herders or becoming energy independent? Oh yeah, and did I mention that by going green on the long term you save money? And that such a massive investment might actually lead to more jobs and economic growth? And did I also mention that bombing failed states in some backward desert actually only costs money and doesn't actually pay itself of in any kind of way in the future? 

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    1. Photovoltaic panels are NOT the most efficient means of turning sunlight into electricity. Concentrated solar arrays, including solar troughs, solar farms, and parabolic solar collectors are far more efficient. They also use less valuable metals.

    2. The northern latitudes do not receive enough sunlight for solar power to be feasible.

    3. Coal power plants need to be replaced or upgraded. Generation 1 and 2 Nuclear Reactors need to be decommissioned and replaced. What should we replace them with? We should build new Generation 4 Nuclear Power Plants, Geothermal power plants near volcanos, tidal power plants in certain straits, wind farms where appropriate, and the aforementioned concentrated solar arrays in sunny areas.

    4. We the consumers of the world should also make the switch from inefficient incandescent bulbs to halogen bulbs (which are a special kind of incandescent) and better yet, LED light. Twisted CFL bulbs have mercury and are primarily made in factories with poor environmental and human rights records.

    5. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas but it is also a good, clean fuel. If we worked to harness natural gas from landfills, sewage treatment plants, etc and used it to generate electricity, we would greatly help the environment.

    6. There should be a good, reasonable incentive to improving the ecological impact of households and especially businesses. Cap and trade is NOT one of them. If anyone looks it up, some of the worst European polluters actually sell carbon credits for making minor improvements that should have been implemented years ago. A tax on greenhouse gasses would be most reasonable. This could be accomplished through a tax and a tariff on coal, petroleum, and natural gas (and fees/charges/taxes on buildings/facilities that emit methane). Of course, certain taxes will have to be lowered for the low-income citizens (such as payroll tax) so that they can afford electricity if they are unlucky to be powered by coal. Another thing to consider is increasing the minimum MPG of new cars manufactured or imported into the USA. Tax credits for truly green energy projects should also be implemented.

    --Ocram

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    1. Photovoltaic panels are NOT the most efficient means of turning sunlight into electricity. Concentrated solar arrays, including solar troughs, solar farms, and parabolic solar collectors are far more efficient. They also use less valuable metals.

    2. The northern latitudes do not receive enough sunlight for solar power to be feasible.

    Those smaller solar panels that can be placed on roofs do become more efficient each year. The solar panel from 10 years ago is not the same as the ones you can get today. Furthermore, the issue is not so much to make a house completely self sufficient, it is simply a way to reduce the need from the big power plants. Say you consume 10 megawatts of power (hypothetical example) and you can produce 4 of those megawatts yourself, you only need 6 megawatts from the power plant. Thus, you need less power plants. Not only that, but you make electricity cheaper for the consumer as their electric bill becomes less. 

     

    If with northern latitude you mean the north of Canada then yes. If you mean the north of the United states (not counting Alaska), then no. 

     

    Anyways, I'm just saying, the technology is there, if we really wanted to, we could drastically reduce our need for polluting fuel sources. It would cost money, but again, we have no problem spending that money on such pointless pursuits like bombing backward deserts. Just saying, imagine how many green energy projects you could fund with the budget the army gets on an annual basis. It just shows how completely screwed our priorities are. 

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  • The political will is to stay with the status quo long after the quo has lost its status.  Nothing will be done until there is a FIRST CLASS CRISIS, and then it will be too little and too late.  Done on the cheap and never good enough.

     

    Using methane as a fuel would be fine if it was energetic enough.  However, the combustion products of methane are CO2 and water.  The water is about as pure as you can get being molecular water from a chemical reaction, but there is still all that CO2.  Perhaps a slight reduction, but now what do you do with that carbonic acid anhydride?  (Alarming words for soda water fizz, eh?  -- Ah semantics!)

     

    And, of course, there is the energy question.  You certainly don't get the energy you would get by burning a higher hydrocarbon for the simple reason that you are not breaking any really energetic covalent bonds.  A methane fire might be hot enough to cook some food, but probably not good enough to drive your internal combustion engine without vast quantities of the compressed gas product.  Engineers?  Physicists? 

     

    I've always believed that natural gas was mostly methane, so we know it can be done.  But is it worth it to collect all that exhalation from land-fills, oil-refineries, etc.  Mostly you see it being burned off.

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    1. I read an article last year that stated that solar panels take more energy to make them than they produce during their lifetimes. The newest solar panels used in space last year barely broke even. Therefore, solar panels are a waste of resources for anywhere in Canada, not just the northern part.

    2. It is worth it to collect methane from refineries, landfills, sewage treatment plants, and certain other areas but current economics does not encourage it.

    --Ocram

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    1. I read an article last year that stated that solar panels take more energy to make them than they produce during their lifetimes. The newest solar panels used in space last year barely broke even. Therefore, solar panels are a waste of resources for anywhere in Canada, not just the northern part.

    2. It is worth it to collect methane from refineries, landfills, sewage treatment plants, and certain other areas but current economics does not encourage it.

    --Ocram

    Thats strange, given the fact that those solar panels work just fine in Germany. And that is about on the same height as a large part of Canada. And Germany relies on these things (along with wind energy) to be solely running on green energy in 2050. 

     

    And again, the solar panels of yesterday are not the solar panels of tomorrow. They keep getting more efficient with each new generation. But if we do not invest in them, that progress will be slowed down. And that attitude is the problem in so many countries. There are all these people saying 'yeah but green solutions are not efficient enough right now, so we are not going to invest in them'. Yeah well duh, and if we keep avoiding them then it will take forever before they are efficient enough. Its like saying in the 80's that because computers were to slow back then you wouldn't invest in them and just stick to your typewriter. And look what a mistake that would have been. 

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    I think one thing that can definitely be agreed upon is that the term 'global warming' is highly misleading and that while 'climate change' makes sense on a macro level... I think it would be best to try not to resort to such broad terms. 

     

    Now Moose says it is warmer now. My grandfather is 89 years old and he says the weather isn't as predictable or normal as it used to be. All I know is that in English winters I have to wear gloves if I want to use my hands for anything outdoors. Back in Wollongong it was easier to believe in global warming.

     

    At work a lady said I had to stop working in the greenhouse because it was 30 degrees celsius. Rather silly, of course. But it demonstrates that our concept of a normal climate differs from one place to another. If 30 degrees is a heat wave then maybe we should be alarmed haha.

     

    Whatever we do to our industries to make them less polluting the Sun will continue to get hotter and hotter and eventually consume the Earth. I assume there is some escape plan?

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  • <snip>

    Whatever we do to our industries to make them less polluting the Sun will continue to get hotter and hotter and eventually consume the Earth. I assume there is some escape plan?

    Whatever gave you that idea?  The sun is pretty constant, has about five billion years' supply of hydrogen, and will not much change its output until it goes over to the Helium Cycle which is a very long time in the future.  And yes, sometime in the distant future when the sun becomes a red giant, it will consume the planets out to at least the orbit of Mars.  However, its ultimate fate is to become a dwarf of some kind since Its mass doesn't lead to a black hole (we think).

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    <snip>

    Whatever we do to our industries to make them less polluting the Sun will continue to get hotter and hotter and eventually consume the Earth. I assume there is some escape plan?

    Whatever gave you that idea?  The sun is pretty constant, has about five billion years' supply of hydrogen, and will not much change its output until it goes over to the Helium Cycle which is a very long time in the future.  And yes, sometime in the distant future when the sun becomes a red giant, it will consume the planets out to at least the orbit of Mars.  However, its ultimate fate is to become a dwarf of some kind since Its mass doesn't lead to a black hole (we think).

     

     

    It's called a White Dwarf.

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    What? If everyone generates their own electricity and therefor requires less electricity from the big power plants, the electrical grid will collapse? How is that even possible? 

     

    Modern electric grids are designed to operate around a tight set of specifications.  The US electric grid is designed to deliver household consumers a 60Hz electromotive force operating at 120V RMS.  (This degree of technical knowledge is already beyond what the average consumer knows or cares to understand.)  Beyond the specifications in place to ensure that household customers receive consistent and reliable electric power, there are specifications in place to ensure reliability of the grid as the industrial machine that it is.  Acceptable voltage ranges, current maximums, frequency deviations, temperature deviations, and more are in place to protect the grid and the customers that rely on it daily.  Modern electric grids are complex machines that require highly controlled operations to maintain safe and stable service.  The US electric grid is no exception to this reality.
     
    Ensuring safe and stable operation of the US electric grid is a 24/7 cooperative effort between utility companies and the power plants supplying them generating capacity to ensure that supply is appropriately balanced against demand.  In an ideal operational scenario, power supply is perfectly matched to demand on a second-by-second basis.  Experience has shown that this degree of controllability is unnecessary, which is good because it is impossible to achieve.  Operation of the US electric grid has shown that there is a fudge factor where it is possible for supply to exceed demand and the grid will self-balance.  It’s a very small fudge factor, but it’s enough of one that we are able to operate inside it.  Operators use this fudge factor to give them a few minutes to call for the power plant to fire up a turbine a minute or two before demand shoots up, thus enabling supply to meet demand without significantly oversupplying the grid.  Obviously this requires that the electric utility have a very good idea of network utilization and appropriate models to predict demand changes a few minutes before they happen.
     
    Let’s break away from this for a second and talk about a different, but related issue: control engineering.  As one studies control engineering, something that quickly becomes apparent is that complex systems can behave in both stable and unstable ways.  From a graphical perspective, systems have regions of stable behavior and regions of unstable behavior.  Depending on the nature of the system, you will have a set of parameters that you are able to manipulate for the purpose of keeping the system inside the stable region.  The manipulation of these parameters to achieve safe and stable operation is, in a nutshell, the entire purpose of control engineering.  This is relevant to our discussion because modern electric grids are the successful marriage of electrical and control engineering.  As I said, electrical grids are complex machines that require highly controlled operations (especially to manage the scale of interconnection seen in the US).  Furthermore, as the US electric grid is tightly specified, there are limited parameters available for manipulation to keep the grid inside a region of stable operation.  The only two meaningful options are to scale supply up or down or scale demand up or down.  Realistically, neither the electric utility nor the power plant has the capacity to perform demand shaping, so they are forced to operate in a reactionary mode, scaling supply up or down to match demand and thus keep the grid balanced.  As the Northeast Blackout of 2003 amply demonstrated, it is critical that the utility companies and power plants successfully coordinate their efforts to keep the grid balanced.  A small failure in one portion of the grid can induce failures hundreds of miles away.
     
    To better understand how this can happen, consider a scenario where the collaborative effort to balance supply vs. demand fails and a power plant fails to heed the call to reduce supply.  Under such a scenario, an interesting phenomenon occurs: the grid’s oscillatory properties change and the grid experiences a climb in electric frequency.  The US electric grid tolerates a frequency imbalance 0.5Hz or less.  Automated protection systems monitor for issues like this, and will initiate protective action should such an event occur.  In our scenario, the power plant steps out of frequency with the rest of the grid, and the protective systems disconnect the power plant to protect the facility and the grid.  The power plant safely powers down, but the grid now has a serious problem.  Demand remains, but supply has fallen too far, too quickly to match demand.  Demand now exceeds supply, and the grid responds by attempting to push more current through other portions of the grid.  This pushes those portions of the grid past their specified limits, and more automated protection systems respond by cutting customers off from the grid to relieve stress on the distribution system.  This protects the distribution line, but causes another oversupply and the corresponding frequency climb.  One or more power plants again disconnect from the grid as a result of the associated protective systems, repeating the scenario of too little supply to match demand.  This disturbance continues to ripple through the system until it fades out to the point that the impacted portions of the grid are able to absorb the disturbance without triggering their protective measures.  This scenario is very real.  The Northeast Blackout of 2003 roughly followed this chain of events.
     
    blackout.jpg
     
    At this point, we return to the issue of photovoltaic systems installed on rooftops.  Research into the viability of photovoltaic installations in North America has shown that most homes would alternate between periods of net consumption and net generation.  If the photovoltaic cells merely reduce household consumption, this is doable situation.  The problem occurs when they become net generators.  It is critical to match supply to demand, and the only realistic means to do this is to control the available generation capacity, but photovoltaic systems do not offer this.  As the photovoltaic system is private property, the electric utility cannot forcibly shut it down if its generating capacity is unwanted, nor does the utility have a practical means to isolate the home from the rest of the grid.  In other words, the photovoltaic system sits on the homeowner’s roof doing whatever physics compels it to do, and the electric utility and power plants have no options except to cope as best they can.  When it’s just a small number of homeowners doing this, the grid is usually capable of absorbing the imbalances associated with this, but when a large number of people are all doing the same thing, the imbalances can combine to become more than the grid can absorb and beyond the coping mechanisms available to the utility and power plants.  To bring back the control engineering stuff, this is the point at which the system’s behavior crosses out of the stable region and into the unstable region.  Furthermore, the grid’s operation would remain unstable until a sufficiently large portion of the photovoltaic supply was zeroed out.  In other words, the stability of the electric grid would become a function of solar cycles.  The grid would destabilize when the sun came up and reestablish stability when the sun went back down.  Furthermore, long-term stability would drop as we approached the summer solstice and stability would increase as we approached the winter solstice.  This may be an acceptable approach to grid management for households, but it is completely unacceptable for industrial services.  To put it in pictures from a similar incident elsewhere:
     
    F4jqXEH.jpg
     

    And how exactly do solar panels on top of a roof make restoration works after a major accident more dangerous or time consuming? 

     

    When a natural disaster, such as a strong storm, damages the grid, it becomes necessary to send workers to apply hands-on effort to restore power to the affected areas.  Unfortunately, this is a time consuming process, exacerbated by the fact that the average individual never gives the electric utility sufficient time to complete restoration work before grumbling that the utility is taking too long to restore power.  Cognizant of the fact that people are frustrated and want their power back, and in some cases legitimately suffering from the loss of power, the electric utility usually authorizes the restoration crews to ignore some basic tenets of electrical safety to help cut a multi-week process down to a few days.  The utility’s ability to do this without getting its people killed rests on the utility’s ability to fully understand what parts of the grid are energized and what parts are not.  In an environment where the homeowners are totally dependent on the grid for power, this is a safe way to speed up restoration work because the utility will know where things are powered and where they aren’t.  When the homeowners have personal generating capabilities, this is no longer a safe way to operate.  Unfortunately, the average customer doesn't know this and doesn't care, so the electric utility is forced to make a judgment call on how to balance the risk to its workers versus the legitimate need to protect its public image.  When the risk is considered low, the utility will usually place image above employee safety and authorize the shortcuts.  When the risk is considered high, the utility will reverse decisions and place safety above image.  The problem is that this risk is a function of installed generating capacity.  If a lot of people have generating capacity, the risk goes up and the utility no longer feels that it can afford to take the shortcuts, so restoration work gets more complicated and takes more time to complete.  This in turn convinces more individuals to install personal generators, which drives the risk up higher and further justifies the utility’s decision to take the extra precautions.  A positive feedback loop is born where both sides are encouraged to adopt more extreme measures to protect against the extreme position taken by the other party.

     

    …it is very much possible to switch over from normal electricity to green electricity en masse if we wanted too.

     

    Unfortunately, this is a claim born from ignorance of how the electric grid is managed, the nature of various generating technologies, and their impact on the controllability of the grid.  Wind and solar systems are inherently unstable systems, and even under centralized control, large enough installations cause grid instability.  In the case of wind power, deployment of as little as 2% of the total generating capacity can cause grid instability.  Deployment of more than 20% generating capacity has been suggested to have the capacity to render the US electric grid permanently inoperable.  Solar power is a little less finicky, but at some point, you have to deal with the fact that it doesn’t make power when the sun goes down.  There is also the fun fact that the production of photovoltaic cells often involves the pollution of large quantities of water with arsenic.  Hydropower suffers the fact that many of America’s good hydropower locations are already taken and the proposed technologies either risk the possibility of ecological damage, cost ridiculous amounts of money to test, or both.  Geothermal solves most of these problems, but again, lack of suitable siting becomes a major stumbling block.
     
    Even when good news comes out regarding renewable energy, much of it is still bad news under the surface.  A recent report was released providing solid evidence that it was technically possible to power the US via wind power with a 99.9% uptime.  On the surface of it, this is excellent news and cause for “We told you so!” comments from wind proponents.  Unfortunately, the ability for the grid to actually be successfully controlled under such an extreme scenario was not considered.  Further souring the news was the realization that we would need to install 6 wind turbines for every 1 turbine we actually wanted generating power, which is a tough pill to swallow.  Last year, the geothermal crowd made some noise with what is believed to be the first commercially viable means for enhanced geothermal, and a real answer to the issue of siting availability.  The only problem is it requires the use of the same hydraulic fracturing process that the oil & gas industry is being criticized for using, which raises the question of whether we are willing to throw away or delay a viable renewable energy technology, or are we willing to make hypocrites of ourselves for the sake of promoting the greater good.
     

    2. It is worth it to collect methane from refineries, landfills, sewage treatment plants, and certain other areas but current economics does not encourage it.

     

    FYI, most refineries have systems in place for methane recovery.  The majority of the time, it is used as an energy source for various refinery processes, as a hydrogen source for hydrocrackers that product diesel, or as a feedstock sweetener for catalytic cracking units (which produce gasoline).

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