posted on Feb, 3 2019 @ 09:43 AM
Does no one understand energy anymore? I know, you just plug something in and it comes on, so that's how energy works, right?
Right now, we as a planetary species are still vastly dependent on organic fuels for energy. Organic fuels contain hydrocarbons, which burn readily,
and they are extremely plentiful. That means if we have organic fuels, we can usually get energy fairly quickly.
I'm using the term organic rather than fossil because it is firstly more accurate and secondly more inclusive. Wood is not a fossil fuel, but it is
organic, for example.
The OP makes a viable point. There are those, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who simply don't know what they are talking about, and they could, if not
opposed, do things legislatively that would not only cripple our economy, but also kill
millions of people. We cannot survive without energy,
with the exception of a few of us (myself included) in a few locations. We are semi-tropical creatures. We have much better and more efficient
biological processes to combat heat than we do cold. Our expanse into colder climates is only possible because we use energy.
Now, as to those great green renewable energy sources (which I do support):
- Solar power is not efficient, at all. It's not just that it only
works in sun, but it is also that the voltage produced is low-voltage DC which is very difficult and expensive to transport. The loss in wattage due
to power transmission through a conductor is I^2*R, where I is the current and R is the resistance. Copper (and aluminum) have very low resistances, a
few milli-ohms per meter... but when one considers a length of many miles, that adds up. Current is the real killer, though. A single 120V
single-phase circuit in a house can use 15-20 amps of current. An electric stove can use up to 50 amps of current. A heating unit can use 80 or more
amps of current. Now multiply that by a couple dozen circuits in a house... each house can pull 200 amps of current!
Most admittedly do not, but they can.
Now take an average over a week of 15 amps per household, and multiply that by a few thousand homes... now square that and multiply by the resistance
of tens of miles of power cable... and that, friends, is how much energy is lost just trying to get it to your home.
The way we get around that is by using transformers. A transformer changes the AC voltage without changing the wattage, which means that by stepping
up the voltage, we use less amps. Less amps mean less energy loss. Shorter lines mean less energy loss. Combined, we have a usable grid.
Now, we have solar which uses low-voltage, high amperage, DC power. Transformers do not work on DC... so the DC has to be converted to AC before it
can be stepped up, and that is an expensive process as well. Ever used a car inverter? They get hot, pretty quickly when you're running something that
requires a lot of power. That heat is lost power, lost energy. In addition most inverters do not produce true sine-wave outputs, and there are some
devices (like larger electric motors and transformers, both inductive loads) than really need true sine wave power to work properly. True sine wave
power from DC is extremely difficult and loss-intensive to produce, even compared to modified sine wave inverters. So to use solar, we first have to
convert the power form DC to true AC, then step it up many more times than we do with organic fuels, then finally we get to use what's left.
Now add in the fact that solar cells use materials that are made from oil... solar cells remove incoming solar heat from the environment and convert
it to electricity... does anyone see the problem yet?
- Batteries are NOT energy! They never have been! They never will be! They have to be charged to have any power in them. A battery is energy as much
as jug is water.
The older non-rechargeable dry cells do come out with their initial charge, but that is the single most expensive energy source known to mankind.
That's why we use rechargeable batteries in cars: you'd need a battery bank the size of your garage to crank your car one time using alkaline cells.
And while i'm on it, the battery in your car does NOT supply electric power... the alternator does, and it uses gasoline or diesel. The battery just
- Hydroelectric is awesome! It's clean, it's not harmful to the environment, and it is reliable if there is a constant running water supply. But we
only have so many rivers, and hydro does not work well when the rivers ice over. It's hard to get ice to flow. The last wave energy proposal I heard
actually uses the same principles of hydroelectric production to get power from ocean waves... a fantastic idea IMO, but only applicable to those who
live reasonably close to a shoreline.
- Wind power is good. But winds are not reliable... they can blow too much or not at all. There is also the concern that every watt of energy removed
from the winds is one less watt of energy in the winds, and too much overuse could affect the climate much more than the invisible boogeyman gas.
- Gassification is a great idea, but it is not ready for prime time yet.
We have no replacement for organic fuels that can possibly sustain us
at this time. None. Technology does not simply spring into being because we want it and we outlaw other methods. I have no issue with someone putting
up a windmill and solar panels to try and live off the grid; I wish I were in an area where that were feasible. But when someone decides that everyone
should do so, while demonstrating so clearly the fact that they have absolutely no idea how energy even reaches them... no. Just no.