Hyperloop is a pipe dream


I don’t think even wind “has potential.” It takes more energy to manufacture, transport, install and service a wind turbine than that turbine will generate in its normal life-expectancy.


I don’t suppose you’re going to source that are you? Or can I just chalk that up to what you believe rather than what you know via evidence. And no, I’m not going to look it up, you made the claim now back it up…


Even if I concede all of that are you saying that you believe that solar and battery tech won’t be viable in the next 10 - 20- 30 years?


There you go again, never ever said that. In fact I have said I see "breakthru’ somewhere down the road on solar panel/battery, cross the 50% efficiency on panel and get the life cycle out to 20 years on batteries and it well could be a game changer at that time.

As for wind: The costs for a utility scale wind turbine range from about $1.3 million to $2.2 million per MW of nameplate capacity installed. Most of the commercial-scale turbines installed today are 2 MW in size and cost roughly $3-$4 million installed. They have a working life of about 20-25 years.


I wasn’t quoting you. I think you are referring to a post where I was quoting FC.

We agree and I think those breakthroughs are as little as 10 years away. My complaint is the lack of world leadership on this. Looks to me like China is going to lead the world. Energy is pivotal to national growth and I think the backlash against solar is going to leave us, as a nation, at a competitive disadvantage. I don’t think we should be waiting for break through, I think, as a nation, we should be making them.

Those are interesting stats, but what does that mean to me?

The page you got that from says that wind is best deployed in favorable areas in large installations. The viability really depends on conditions and scale.


Out in western Oklahoma, we have a LOT of wind “farms”. I drive by them regularly (or at least I used to before retiring.) I’ve YET to go by ANY of them where 1/3rd to 1/2 of the turbines aren’t functioning. In asking about it, I was told that they were “down for maintenance.”


I don’t know, but I don’t believe in betting on unhatched chickens. Battery technology has come a long way, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve been trying to make electric cars and solar power viable for decades. So far as I can see, they’re not very close.


First of all, when deciding on whether or not to invest in a technology, the opportunity cost is a factor.

If solar and wind are viable, and even more so because of the potential that batteries in the near future will be able to hold the power of today’s battery in about 5% of the volume, what are the opportunity costs for failure to incentivize markets?

This nation was built on leveraging technology, most of which, CWolf points out failed, and look where we are still. Think of the money that was spent developing nuclear, imagine what the world would have been like if our adversaries had developed it first. Now I realize that solar and nuclear arent exactly the same, but taking a substantial lead in solar could result in economic advantages for our adversaries.

I think there is a conspiracy in current energy industries like coal, gas, and oil to undermine renewables because they threaten future profits.

But somehow you’re going to tell me that conspiracy theory is far fetched even though it’s rooted in money and profit, but you’d argue that the movie industry doesn’t consider profits as it’s top priority rather, the movie industry is most interested in pushing a liberal agenda with the goal of manipulating American culture.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like movies that pander to social issues. Wall-E, Avatar, District 9 and Dances With Wolves were all excellent movies but not for the blatant political messages behind them. However, this isn’t cultural corruption, but rather the kinds of things people believe and want to see in the most densely populated areas of the country playing to the most valuable demographic (24-35yo).

Having said that, in your defense, if you live in a very rural area I completely understand why you feel the way you do, genuinely, I just don’t see it as a nefarious plot to subvert your young, but rather capitalism doing what capitalism does. The industry is shaped, right or wrong, by the markets (places and age groups) it makes most of its money from.


Yes there is a lack of world leadership on this, other than words and there is a reason for it. And the reason is: Building solar or wind does NOT remove ANY of the existing power sources, Coal, Gas, Hyrdo or Nuke. Its the “Fatal Flaw” I spoken of earlier. IF the wind blew all the time and the sun shone 24x7 then we could take coal or gas off line and a MW for MW, but that does not and cannot occur since wind/solar are at best only temp power source.

The world KNOWS that wind/solar is at best false economy because it accomplishes WHAT??? Adding more greenhouse gases and pollution, not less.

It will never be viable until a breakthru occurs that will ALLOW it to REPLACE coal/gas.

The stats on costs to build/install wind were meant to convey the cost factor as compared to conventional gas/coal/hydro lifecycle. Some of the hydro plants have the original hydros installed pre WWII, in other words the conventional has a long life cycle as compared to wind and solar at about 20-25 years.

Here is the prob: I know of no one outside of the military that looks a life cycle costs 10 years out. Typical in Corp US is a 3-5 year look and there is a reason for this. Its because out year costing (beyond 5 years) often (in fact almost always) are so high). Typical life cycle in IT is a 5 year from Inception to maintenance cycle (some as short as 3 years, major systems are 5). But in the military My projected life cycle costs went out 10 years. At a level of detail non-existant in Corp America.

But what drives the train? Taxes especially the line item called Depreciation. (IMO this should be total removed from taxes. Allow XYZ corp to write off 100% of all CAPX when bought and carry over excess instead of classes (time) of various CAPX. SInce the military does not have depreciation we see things as a cost and look at it over a 10 year, 5 fielding, 5 for out-year maintenance.

Take away: The front costs on Wind/Solar are quite high and its life cycle is short at 20-25 years and we do not even know the 5 yr-25y interim maintenance costs??? My exp (military systems from tanks to SW development) is that the initial 5 yr costs x 2-7 = the second 5 year costs. If it costs $100 for the first 5 years total investment, the second 5 years cost would be between $200 and $700, the 3rd 5 years you double the 2nd 5yr cyle etc etc; until what time the system becomes fully mature then the costs begin to go down. BUT this is rare. Few sytems of any kind last longer than about 10 years and the military tends to scarp the system and build new around the 10 year mark…WHY? Due to out year maintenance costs exceeding new development costs…



Toshiba’s new fast-charging battery could triple the range of electric vehicles


Oaks, there’s more to it, your understanding lacks imagination.

With respect to wind, you are right, all mills don’t operate at their rated output all the time. It’s variable. But when you connect them to a grid, if you have thousands of them over a wide enough geographical area and years of statistics then you can calculate how much power as a group they can supply. In other words, let’s just say that all the windmills in a geographically connected area of the grid are capable of producing 1GW, but each unit, when moving only supplies 70% of its rated-power on average. And then within that is only moving 50% of the time.

So as a group, they make the 700MW peak, but can only be relied upon to make 350MW sustained. That’s 350MW of other power sources that can be taken offline IF the money spent to create 350MW is cost effective.

(Please don’t guy hung up on the numbers I pulled them out of thin air, they aren’t meant to represent reality, rather just explain the concept in principle).

And I agree, with you. Windmills that, as a group that can make 1GW of power has a hefty price tag if they can only be relied on to make 1/3 of that.

Battery tech will play a HUGE role. If each windmill could save up its surplus power and feed it into the grid while it wasn’t spinning or was spinning slowly, that would solve the problem.

As far as solar, I agree that solar has the limitations you speak of. Solar only works if it creates more power that is needed during the day with the surplus supplied at night. But there are many specialized applications where solar will be a good fit. Many businesses operate during daylight and if they have a building large enough, covering it with solar may be cost-effective (vs solar supplied by an energy producer). When enough people and businesses invest in renewables the effect on the grid is the same. Some minimum amount of power will be made by renewables. This means that other sources can be scaled by at least that amount.

This means batteries must get better AND cheaper.

This is where we are today.

A 3000mHh (3ah) battery that weighs 1.5oz that can be discharged at a 20amp rate.

Put 10 in parallel and you get 30ah @20ah rate at 15.5 ounces? Or 20 and get 60ah for just over 2lbs?

Dunno about you, but I fish in a few lakes with electric motor restrictions (they are reservoirs) and carrying 2 - 5lb batteries (with case and wiring and such) will be better than the two 60lb behemoths I carry now.

I’ve never argued that we’re ready to go solar or wind today, but the theoretical limits of solar, wind and battery tech are there.

To be honest. I’d like to see money put into molten salt nuclear reactors. I think they’d provide the bridge between now and the time it takes to develop reliable cost-effective renewable technologies.

Molten salt nuclear’s advantages (Source Wikipedia)


*MSR offers many potential advantages over current light water reactors:[5]

  • Inherently safe design (safety by passive components and the strong negative temperature coefficient of reactivity of some designs). In some designs, the fuel and the coolant are the same fluid, so a loss of coolant removes the reactor’s fuel. Unlike steam, fluoride salts dissolve poorly in water and do not form burnable hydrogen. Unlike steel and solid uranium oxide, molten salts are not damaged by the core’s neutron bombardment.

  • A low-pressure MSR lacks an LWR’s high-pressure radioactive steam and therefore do not experience leaks of radioactive steam and cooling water, and the expensive containment, steel core vessel, piping, and safety equipment needed to contain radioactive steam.

  • MSRs make closed nuclear fuel cycles cheaper and more practical. If fully implemented, a closed nuclear fuel cycle reduces environmental impacts: The chemical separation makes long-lived actinides back into reactor fuel. The discharged wastes are mostly fission products (nuclear ashes) with short half-lives. This reduces the needed geologic containment to 300 years rather than the tens of thousands of years needed for a light-water reactor’s spent nuclear fuel. It also permits society to use more-abundant nuclear fuels.

  • The fuel’s liquid phase might be pyroprocessed to separate fission products (nuclear ashes) from actinide fuels. This may have advantages over conventional reprocessing, though much development is still needed.

  • Fuel rods are not required.

  • In new solid-fueled reactor designs, the longest-lead item is the safety testing of fuel element designs. Fuel tests usually must cover several three-year refueling cycles. However, several molten salt fuels have already been validated.

  • Some designs can “burn” problematic transuranic elements from traditional solid-fuel nuclear reactors. (That’s a HUGE advantage!! I’ve read that MSR’s can use spent fuel as a fuel source reducing it’s size and volume by 100 times.)

  • An MSR can react to load changes in less than 60 seconds (unlike “traditional” solid-fuel nuclear power plants that suffer from xenon poisoning).

  • Molten salt reactors can run at high temperatures, yielding high production efficiency. This reduces the size, expense and environmental impacts of a power plant.

  • MSRs can offer a high “specific power,” that is high power at a low mass as demonstrated by the ARE.[3] Simplified * *

  • MSR power plants may be suitable for ships.

  • A possibly good neutron economy makes the MSR attractive for the neutron poor thorium fuel cycle.

  • LWR’s (and most other solid-fuel reactors) have no fundamental “off switch”, but once the initial criticality is overcome, an MSR is comparatively easy and fast to turn off by letting the freeze plug melt.

  • And like other kinds of nuclear does not burn carbon based fuels. IT’s GREEN :slight_smile:


Interesting trivia…

Shipping lithium-ion batteries is notoriously difficult, as they are classified as the number one most dangerous good in the world due to their explosive nature onboard airplanes.

[eidt] I just read that again and I have no idea what “due to their explosive nature onboard airplanes.”. Not sure why a battery would be more prone to exploding on a plane, however, the violent shock to a battery can cause it to release all of its energy in a very short period which usually results in a lot of heat and fire.


The conspiracy is backwards. There’s a conspiracy to push off investment in renewables when they’re not yet viable. And to do so for the renewable industry profits, propped up by government subsidy. Because the tech isn’t market viable. I agree with investing in solar R&D at the federal level - that’s very different from making a bunch of very expensive inefficient solar plants today.

As for Hollywood, I think that’s also backwards. Hollywood is only about making money. Virtue signaling is what they do because they don’t think it will hurt their revenue. If they ever experience any meaningful push back, it will stop. Marvel is learning rapidly that pushing social justice at the expense of good story telling is terrible for business. Hollywood has generally done a better job of just slipping stuff in, without over doing it. If they start doing ridiculous things like turning Iron Man into a 15 year old black girl, then yeah, they too can expect a lot of people to lose interest in their stuff.

It is a real concern since comic book movies are the main thing keeping Hollywood afloat right now. If they dip into the latest mistakes of the comic book world and bring that onto the screen, then they may indeed be in for a lot of trouble. But I think their investors are smarter than that.


News Flash: Wind Power is Not Cheaper than Coal

Wind advocates frequently argue that wind power has competitive prices. Recently, PolitiFact even granted a rating of “True”—its highest rating—to President Obama’s claim that “in Texas, wind power is already cheaper than dirty fossil fuels.” Let’s ignore for a moment that the word “dirty” could be ascribed to nearly any industrial process, including the process used to mine materials for and manufacture wind turbines. On the question of wind power being cheaper than coal, Obama’s statement could easily have received a rating of “mostly false” under Politifact’s rating system because, as Politifact defines that rating, “[t]he statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.”

Read this: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/news-flash-wind-power-not-cheaper-coal/

San Antonio has got the number down:


Renewable power from West Texas and the Texas Coast
We are the largest publicly owned purchaser of wind power in the country. Through power purchase agreements, we currently have 1059.1 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity in commercial operation.

Most of our wind power comes from a number of wind farms in West Texas and along the Texas coast. Together, these wind farms are capable of generating electricity for roughly 240,000 homes.

Combined with our efforts in solar power and other renewable projects, CPS Energy hopes to achieve 1,500 MW of renewable energy power, or 20 percent of our total generation capacity, by 2020.


Oaks, the problem with your article is that it’s written by a political organization.

IER was founded in 1989 by Robert L. Bradley Jr. in Houston, Texas.

The Institute’s CEO and founder, Robert L. Bradley Jr., is a visiting fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, a research fellow at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.[4][5] He has written seven books, including Capitalism at Work and Edison to Enron.[6]

IER is a nonprofit 501©(3) organization and is funded by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.[1][7] IER has received funding from the Brown Foundation (started by founders of a construction and energy company), the Searle Freedom Trust and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.[8][9] They have also previously received funding from ExxonMobil,[10] the American Petroleum Institute,[11] the Center to Protect Patient Rights,[11] and Peabody Energy.[12] IER says that it has not sought for or accepted financial support from the government.[1]

IER has been described as a front group for the fossil fuel industry since it has accepted financial donations from firms in that sector.[12][11][3]

Ok, ok, so arguing the source is poor debate etiquette, though it’s been employed against me if I cite articles from “liberal” sources (though I do that very seldom).

However, if you believe (and I’m asking) that scientists are corrupt because they pander for grant dollars, therefore they can’t be objective, then why should I accept the ERI isn’t corrupt because of the donations it accepts?

Addressing the actual argument, honestly, I’m not qualified enough in the science.

Here is an article where scientists rebut claims that the nation could be renewable energy independent by 2055.

I’m not blind to the overpromising of wind. If you read my last post you’d know I know that. Even when part of a power grid, they won’t generate anywhere near their CF.

In order for wind to be viable, it needs some combination of lower price and/or greater longevity and or lower maintenance.

Wind is, IMO, an auxiliary source, something that you point out in so many words, and I think for it to be viable it needs to be installed in the few places in the nation and offshore where the wind almost never stops.

There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical and doubting pie-in-the-sky claims. I just wish, as a group, the right could question everything, not just claims about renewables and climate change.

For what it’s worth, I really like you (as much as I can knowing you via this forum). You’ve conceded points and I think you argue on principle and I respect that. I have a different perspective than you, but I try to live up to the same ideals.

Thanks for sharing.


Then I guess you dispute their findings or has your grasp of reality become lost in your extreme left vision?

AND I am guessing you are going to try and make us believe that wind power is cheaper than coal???


What CWolf said about having it backward; the GOVERNMENT is trying to enable solar, wind, ethanol, etc. with SUBSIDIES while REGULATING coal and oil to death.

Yes it is cultural corruption. I repeat what I said in the other thread: There’s a ton of money to be made from the conservative demographic, and Hollyweird is avoiding it like the plague.


An 11-gallon gas can has as much energy density as a 2,000 lbs battery in the base of Tesla vehicle.

The gas is easier to transport, manufacturer, replace, repair, can be bought from multiple sources to keep the price competitive…

… and is increasing in efficiency, right alongside batteries.

8% over 20 years isn’t good enough. You need to both increase density by a factor of 20, and make the technology accessible to mechanics rather than highly-trained technicians.


Where did I say that? I agreed with you, there are some very real limitations. I said that to be viable in a greater number of applications, wind will need some combination of cost less/ produce more power/ lower operating cost, maintenance etc…

Coal is a mineral we dig out of the ground and burn. It has incredible energy density. It’s going to be tough to beat. I realize that.

Now we’ll (probably) disagree on the environmental impact, but set that aside, coal is viable.

I think like many technologies, wind will probably evolve and improve to the point where its cost comes into line with expectations.


Energy density isn’t everything. If solar and/ or wind have low enough costs and high enough efficiency and batteries similarly are low enough cost and high enough density, then I can create and store my own power in my own home. Every home that can make its own power via renewables reduces the need for non-renewables (saving those sources for other uses that renewables may never be viable for).

As far as cars your assessment of gas vs batteries, you’re forgetting that ICE’s are 1/3 as efficient meaning that when you compare a can of gas to a stack of batteries, gas is the clear winner, but once you put those in the car, things change.

The 11 gallons of gas powers a system that is 25-30% efficient, thus 2/3rds of the energy is lost as heat, where the batteries are in a system that is ~90% efficient.

Today, ~733lbs of batteries can do the work, of 11gals of gas once in a car.

Now before you remind me, 700lbs is a lot. But there are technologies on the horizon that will cut the weight to power ratio in 1/2 with theoretical limits closer to 5% of weight by volume compared to today’s Li-Ion.

So in the future, you might see 70lbs of batteries might be able to deliver the same quantity of power to a car as 11gals of gas. I admit that’s a long shot and that may be on a longer timeline, but even if we get to the 50% lighter than today mark in 6-10 years, that’s 366lbs of batteries to match your 11gals of gas.

Add to that the ability to generate power at home means that you can power your car for solar at home.

Now the actual cost will depend on the cost of the underlying tech…