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Comment Re:Connecting things to the internet. (Score 1) 126

Quite possible. It's just that at this point 'internet connected' allows for easier maintenance/updating.

Other options for *successful* internet connected items might be parking meters. Pay for your parking on your smart phone.

Probably not worth it - internet connected street lights. A light & motion sensor is enough for them.

Comment Batter prices. (Score 1) 102

Lithium battery technology needs much more sophisticated charge/discharge/monitoring controllers than lead-acid. There's a bit of way to go before domestic PV/battery controllers are up to the task.

From my review of the situation, it's more that they're different. Yes, you can get away with a dumber charger on lead-acid, but when you're doing domestic PV with a large battery array, you want a sophisticated charger anyways.

Same deal with LiIon, really. the minimum charger is a bit more complicated, but again, as the size of the battery increases so doesn't the sophistication of the charger to handle it. Tesla chargers, for example, are really fancy, but we're talking about a HUGE array here, capable of powering the average house for around 2 days.

As such, from what I've read, theres are 'smart' LiIon batteries that are capable of working with a dumb lead-acid charger and thus working fine - see LiIon replacements for car & motorcycle batteries that are drop-in replacements. They handle the safe charging aspects on their own.

But if you have a solar setup, you don't have a dumb charger, thus conflict emerges. So yeah, you'd have to change out the charger at that time. Though when I looked at solar last year, the battery controllers the store had were compatible with Lead-Acid, NiMH, and Lithium. You know your own system though.

And yes. If you have a system currently that's working, the last thing I'd do would be to suggest replacing it before it's EOL.

Just keep an open mind when replacement time does come around.

Comment Re:And who was the big believer in carbon credits? (Score 1) 147

On that basis you can't tax me. You need CAUSATION.

Ah, and it comes out. You're coal power. Gotcha. No, I don't need 'causation' to tax you, no more than Uncle Sam needs causation to tax my income.

On that basis you can't tax me. You need CAUSATION.

Let's see. We have studies that:
1. Show emissions from coal power plants. We know what they are, quantities, etc...
2. Show air samples in communities around said plants containing elevated amounts of said emissions.
3. Show elevated amounts of illness

At this point, yeah, it could still be considered correlation. However, that's not all
4. Laboratory tests of said emissions, in the amounts experienced by the communities, have shown that the lab animals exposed suffer higher rates of illness/death
5. Biological studies have even identified the mechanisms involved in creating many of the illnesses.

Face it dude, you're a tobacco exective saying that the increased incidences of lung cancer among smokers is 'only correlation'.

People that don't grasp the distinction between correlation and causation shouldn't cite statistics AT ALL.

Well, it's a good thing you don't cite any, now is it?

As to power plants being dangerous to workers etc... don't be obtuse. It makes you sound petty and quarrelsome which is not helping you.

I thought it was a valid arguing tactic going by your example.

As to internalizing costs, you cannot do that unless you can nail down causation on a case by case basis.

You may not be able to be precise about it, but you can get it in the ballpark.

As to 29%... we're talking about PM2.5 in San Francisco actually if you read the source. And the amount of air pollution in San Francisco is pretty fucking low.

Compared to China, yes. They still have problems with it.

Let me make this clear, you know there is arsenic in many natural water sources right? That's something we often use as RAT POISON.

There's also Uranium in my water. Do I need to point out why I don't need to worry about having a functioning nuclear reactor for a body anytime soon? Man, you assume all sorts of ignorance on my part. And then you go on and on and on about it...

Yes, dosage is incredibly important. But the point is - there's enough pollution from coal power plants, combined with other pollution sources, to cause serious negative health benefits. Remember how I mentioned taxing gasoline for it's pollution as well? You're ALL responsible.

As to the geo engineering... if you're not familiar with the proposed methods of geo engineering than you're not well read on climate change. Period.

And this matters why when my point was only tangently related to climate change? Again, reading your sources, these are not 'shovel ready' proposals.

The cost structure for these plans is well under a billion dollars for either one. And either would entirely negate the effect of global warming. Understand... ENTIRELY negate the warming. ALL of it.

If that was true, I'd expect a lot more scientists to be jumping on it.

Instead, from the articles it's made very clear that there remains a LOT of research left on the Sulfur Dioxide problem, and the second points out that it'd only be a partial solution, and reducing CO2 emissions would still be needed.

The carbon credit scheme will do nothing of the kind whilst costing trillions.

if you want the warming to stop, support a plan that will ACTUALLY work.

Which is all well and good when you realize that I never supported carbon credits. I viewed them as an over-complicated crock long before this thread.

And then take the MASSIVE savings and sink a portion of that into funding research for new technologies. Contrary to what you might think, funding for new technologies to replace coal etc are not actually that high.

At least you have 'might' in here. Because I agree that they're not that high. Massive savings, on the other hand, that's more debatable.

A straight up CO2 tax, on the other hand, would be bringing money in that could then be spent developing said replacement infrastructure, or even fund geo-engineering if that turned out to be cheaper.

We spend a lot of money on wind farms and solar farms but we don't spend anywhere near that kind of money on research into the technology that will actually get rid of coal.

Like nuclear power... For about the same price per watt of capacity, you can get three times or more kWh per year, due to the fact that nuclear can reach a 90% capacity factor, while solar/wind is lucky to hit 30%. Capacity factor being the ratio between actual power produced, divided by the theoretical maximum it could have produced if it ran at 100% the entire period.

As to conflating all subsidies as equal... *sigh*... please try to watch the fallacies. You seem to operate almost entirely in them and it makes it tedious to correct simple logical errors. There are small subsidies and there are fucking massive subsides. Saying "we subsidized something once so clearly all subsides no matter how massive are just the same thing."

Tedius? Well, I suppose carefully crafting a strawman to attack does get rather tedious. Reread what I said and add a hefty dose of pessimism to what I said. I wasn't saying that global warming subsidies aren't massive and corrupt. I'm saying that massive corrupt subsidies are a fact of life. Wool. Sugar. Citris. Automobiles. Planes. Corn. I was disagreeing with the 'contempt' part, not the corruption part.

Utter and complete nonsense.

Doesn't actually mean anything.

The point is as inconvienent to you politically and ideologically as it may be... is that the man you think you're sticking it to with the AGW rules... play directly into the man's hands. He gets to fuck over his competition by creating so much red tape and regulation that only the big companies can deal with it either because they have dedicated legal departments or because they can buy exemptions from congressman. And then the pork just flows and flows and flows. Is anyone scrutinizing the funding on these solar power plants or wind farms? Who gets the contracts, if whatever is being installed is being bidded out at a competitive rate?

...Didn't I suggest that you stop trying to think what I was thinking? Your rant also shows a simplistic view on how congressional corruption/pork/federal subsidies work.

If you don't know the tax payers get hosed on these projects more often than not... then let this be your wake up call. These programs are often as not given to campaign contributors, at marked up rates, and if you itemize what is actually being installed and do a cost analysis on what is being charged for it all... you'll find the numbers do not add up.

...When did I endorse solar/wind?

What is my solution for all that? I don't think solar and wind should be build in big centralized power projects. Instead, I think citizens should be given tax credits for installing solar panels and wind turbines on their own property.

They are. Though you pretty much have to be a farmer in order to install a wind turbine big enough to be economical. PV panels scale down really well. Turbines are better the bigger and higher they are.

Wind and solar are unique in that you can put them up almost anywhere and they're very defuse energy sources.

diffuse man, not defuse.

What I like about the defuse model is that it is hard for any one company to bribe a congressman to get a contract. Every individual panel buyer or wind mill buyer can buy a panel or a wind mill from any company they want.

Solyndra, man. Government pork to a company intended to sell panels to individual buyers. Like I said, your examples of pork are rather simplistic.

Okay, the way government subsidies work for solar/wind.
1. Individuals get extra tax credits/deductions installing
2. Businesses get extra deductions/credits for installing
3. Companies that produce solar/wind often get local subsidies in the form of reduced taxes(note: Very common outside of renewable energy companies as well).
4. Renewable energy companies get grants to develop stuff.
5. Renewable energy companies get things like loan guarantees from the fed, enabling them to borrow money, or at least borrow money at a lower interest rate. Cheap(to the government) when the company succeeds, expensive when it fails.

You don't actually see much where the government is paying for a specific project via a specific line item in a funding bill, especially at the federal level. What happens is that some business proposes putting up a wind/solar farm, and takes advantage of existing federal subsidies/credits for it.

And consider their tax dollars are currently being funneled to big companies to install these power stations. Why not stop issuing those contracts ENTIRELY and direct ALL of that money to subsidies for private solar and wind at the consumer level?

Because, as I just stated, said contracts don't actually exist? One can certainly argue about ending subsidies for 'large power plants' though. You'd just want to put in some wording so that businesses putting panels in on their roof still get the appropriate subsidies, as long as you still support subsidizing them.

The closes to the contracts you're implying, IE directly between the government and the installer, would be for projects involving putting solar panels and wind turbines up on government property. And such make a LOT of sense in some situations for the government.

For example, deployed locations. You haven't seen expensive power until you're looking at generators running on diesel delivered by convoy. Meanwhile, the camp has a massive amount of clear space simply to make targeting by mortar/rocket difficult. I figured out one deployment that, even figuring on air delivery of the panels, the payback would be 3 months on solar panels. Sure, they wouldn't work at night, but hey, the reduced number of convoys necessary would save 'several' lives a year.

Here you'll say "it isn't as efficient because the units used at the utility level produce a lot more power per dollar input"

Man, you're bad at guessing what I'd say. Now, as I said earlier, wind doesn't scale down that well(the wind is more consistent at higher altitudes, and bigger blades are more efficient), so solar PV is the primary residential install. Now yes, a power company can install PV 'cheaper' than consumers can, between bulk purchasing(vs retail), 'ideal' panel placement(as opposed to pre-existing roof angle), and automation. But the price point they're competing against is also different. They're competing at wholesale prices - IE the 2-4 cents a kWh baseload generators are making. Maybe a couple cents higher in competition with daytime peaking plants. Meanwhile, home solar is competing against retail electric prices - averaging 12 cents a kWh in the USA.

In much of the USA, if you have a suitable roof and are located far enough south, PV makes good sense.

... yes and no. The distribution system is not calculated in that... and i'm not talking about what any power has to deal with but specifically costs associated wtih dealing with solar and wind power introduced to the grid. They play merry hell with the grid because the power jumps around all over the fucking place.

...Not enough to really cause problems until they reach an OOM more penetration than they have in most of the country. Hawaii's being a good test bed in that respect though. See above where I talk about capacity factors otherwise. See earlier posts where I mention natural gas taking over from coal...

Beyond that, municipalities often exploit residents by jacking up power and water costs because they can't justify raising taxes. They'll jack up water or power costs and then redirect the money at program X or Y that had nothing to do with water or power.

That's amazingly difficult to do in most areas. For example, my power company is a cooperative, not a government body. Jacking their prices up nets the government nothing. In other areas they're outright commercial companies.

Generally speaking, the reason power & water costs are going up is that expanding capacity and meeting new government regulations is expensive. Such as the pollution controls on coal. Nitrate levels in water. The EPA keeps tightening the screws.

Still, you get hilarious things like the water company pushing conservation, which leads to less water being used, then, because less water is being used and the treatment plant costs about the same to run no matter how much water they treat, they end up having to raise rates because they're selling less water but have the same expenses.

Comment Bonds vs Capital (Score 1) 126

In which case they've already gotten millions/billions to develop the system, but it's still nothing compared to what deployment in an actual city would cost.

Though in that case it can become something of a bidding process - a city that promises to provide land and at least some funding is going to have more 'skin' in the game, likely making the permitting process easier. So they'll be picked first.

Comment It's not just about the 1 light. (Score 1) 126

That's locally responsive though, not system responsive. For example, where I live there are roads where if the lights were to cooperate ALL directions of traffic could sail through without stopping.

As is, all too often all their responsiveness(they're camera triggered) does is force ALL cars to stop at the light. I see it all the time. Cars pull up and stop on the side street, while the highway is completely clear. Then the highway goes red just as cars are approaching(from the last red light), to let the cars that could have sailed through a minute earlier go.

It could be a matter of simply placing cameras further out, but there you're again getting to the point that networking makes more sense.

As for hooking your toaster up to the internet, I refer you back to the 'no business plan' part of my post.

Comment Re:For starters... (Score 1) 587

Doing it anonymously is the only way. Unless you're a fame-seeker like Trump, having that much money can be a real PITA because it'll bring so much attention to you, and you won't be able to have a normal life or normal relationships; everyone will be after you for your money.

Or go with the Gates methodology - don't worry about anonymous, consider your 'new job' to be running a charity foundation. Examine charities in-depth to find the good ones that can efficiently help the world with the money they're given, then give enough money to really make a difference.

By getting out there and making a difference, he'd have that contact.

Still, he's a programmer, not a CEO. His skillset is different, so it's going to take some time to adjust.

Comment Re:Why is the city paying? (Score 1) 126

No? Well, I guess you have little confidence in your product then.

I'm really hopeful that PRT - Personal Rapid Transit, can help with a subset of a city's transportation needs, reducing dependence upon cars and taxis, where subways and Buses aren't quite responsive enough.

However, the companies working on it just don't have the capital to cover a true pilot program.

Comment Connecting things to the internet. (Score 1) 126

Okay, I know of at least one example. Red lights and traffic signs. In ye old days, each was manually set and timed on the spot.

However, by networking them and sometimes adding extra sensors, that allows you to have a more responsive traffic system, thus reducing delays and increasing capacity, and improving ability to route around damage.

By providing an interface to the public web, that enables devices like traffic aware GPS and eventually self-driving cars to help assist in 'routing around damage/congestion', again, improving the situation.

That being said, 'Internet of Things' shares a lot in common with the .com boom. Lots of 'neat ideas', not nearly as many sound business plans that even went as far as 'Sell advertising' - IE Google. 'Sell things, especially niche items that might be hard to find in local stores*' - Amazon. Sell games without the need to keep track of discs - Steam. Etc...

*Consider their original model of book selling - Finding a book in a bookstore, or even the local grocery store, is easy. Finding a *specific* book is harder, and ordering through your local bookstore is something of a pain, and yes, I did it before Amazon.

Comment Re:kWh? (Score 2) 102

Why are articles citing battery sizes in kWh these days?

Probably because it's a more useful metric, as it tells you the total *energy* in the battery without extra steps. To determine the Ah equivalent, you'd need to multiple by 1k, then divide by the battery's voltage. After all, to convert Ah into Wh, you multiply by the battery's voltage.

quote the battery's size in kWh and you don't need to know the voltage(for the generic purposes of an article). Volts for extremely large battery packs are somewhat optional, after all, it all depends on how you wire them.

Comment Re:Spontaneous combustion (Score 1) 102

Sustainability: 'Very'
Recyclability: Effectively Total. Only problem right now is that there isn't enough of them to justify the recycling centers that are present for lead-acid types. That's quickly changing.
Long term cost effectiveness: Improving all the time as we improve manufacturing.

Comment Re:Flow Batteries (Score 2) 102

Rube Goldberg reaches from the grave. For some reason people think complex means advanced

Rube was about unnecessary complexity. A lot of our refining of technology is indeed about reducing complexity, leading to more reliable products. For example, a GenIII nuclear plant is supposed to have 50% fewer valves than a GenII. What does getting rid of half your valves and something like 30% of your piping do? It means that there's a lot less stuff to break, and you can build the remaining stuff sturdier with the freed up space.

To get back to the flow batteries - a steam power plant is hella complex compared to an internal combustion engine, but at that scale the complexity pays for itself with added efficiency.

Same deal with flow batteries. While they're unlikely to make sense in a car, when you're looking at extending power production or covering gaps at a wind or solar farm, flow batteries start looking simpler than assembling and managing the pile of conventional batteries that would be necessary for the same capacity. After all, with the flow battery, while the 'terminals' might be complex as heck, expanding storage is almost as simple as putting in another tank of electrolyte. Not having to put in a building, install racking, move in and wire X hundreds or thousands of batteries.

Comment Re:Yay for price drop (Score 1) 102

You might see racks upon racks of lead-acid batteries providing infrastructure support for telco rooms be replaced with smaller, longer-lived Lithium-Ion batteries,

In 2012, Li-Ion was 'niche' for battery backup. By late 2013 it was making inroads into data centers.

I'd almost rate it like HD vs SSD - while performance metrics are different, LiIon is a superior battery held back only by cost. Drop the price of it by 60% and suddenly it's cheaper to ship(lighter per Wh), lasts longer(double or more of lead-acid), more efficient(~95% efficient vs 80%, and lower standby loss as well; takes deep-discharges better), etc...

BTW, the batteries in the telco office would likely take up the same space - LiIon is a lot more power dense by mass, not by volume. A similar amount of energy takes about the same amount of volume. The difference is that the racking could be a heck of a lot lighter.

Comment Re:And who was the big believer in carbon credits? (Score 1) 147

What you have are statistics where countries that have lots of power plants have a certain rate of lung cancer and countries with none have a lower rate.

That's far from the only source for such statistics.

That's literally your methodology. And its fallacious.

You're still assuming, thus making an ass of yourself. It's not even a majority of the method for determining that pollution from coal power causes negative health effects.

The reality is that it is a great deal more complicated than that. The power plants obviously are not dangerous to people in and of themselves.

Never been in one, I take it? Steam explosions are a killer, though fortunately rather rare today in developed countries.

It is rather the emissions. And the emissions are only dangerous if you breath them in a given concentration over a given period of time. And even then whether or not you develop cancer at all is a probability and not a certainty.

Again, you're carefully explaining something that I already know. I'll explain it to you again: I know this and state that, because we can statistically determine that coal power increases expenses through various ways, we should internalize that expense by charging for pollution.

To expand upon this, I support charging for ALL pollution, not just that from coal power plants. Steel production would be hit some as well, as would things like paper mills. For cars, well, because monitoring the pollution from 'every' car would be impractical, we'd have to fall back to statistical methods - figure out a baseline, add that to fuel taxes. Then, depending on whether an individual vehicle is estimated to be more or less polluting per gallon of fuel burned, an appropriate differential tax would be charged. Either at purchase or registration, I'm not sure which.

As to emissions from china, its so diluted by that point that it doesn't really matter.

29% of California's air pollution 'doesn't really matter'? Wow...

As to lawn mower taxes you're comparing the bureaucratic overhead of managing a few hundred power plants to managaging the taxation on a lawn mower?


Strawman again. I was looking at one of the biggest tax systems in the country - the taxation of gasoline for the purposes of road funding. Thus, the lawn mower becomes an example. It can also be used for off-roading, standby generators, 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and everything else other than driving on roads we do with gasoline.

Look, I suggest you stop trying to predict my positions or lines of thought because you're really bad at it. Not putting you down as a person, but I'm rather non-standard on the best of days.

As to geo engineering methods... you've apparently spent literally no time at all looking into such things. This is disappointing.

I read an awful lot, and this is the first time I've seen these proposals. People read different things. The salt crystal proposal looks very interesting, but also very preliminary. 30MW for how large of an area? For 5% reflection gain, how much is this estimated to be?

The second has a proposed effective period of 20 years, and would require 20M tons of SO2 every 1-4 years. You're not fitting that through 'garden hoses'.

As to the gas released... that was actually surfer dioxide. I know... you don't like the idea of emitting that... but the amounts required to get the effect are so low that you really can't complain about it.

For the record, as long as there's reasonable evidence that it'll stay up there until it's degraded to something less dangerous, and that the positive effects outweigh the negative, I'm not opposed to it. Shocking, isn't it?

The pork spending on this issue unheard of before this issue. Previously every time the government did some tawdry deal with business with kickbacks it would be sneered at as corruption.

Not really? The federal government has a centuries long history of subsidizing things, and considering the age of the country, that takes some work.

I mean, wool was subsidized back in the day, under the guise of ensuring it'd be available for soldier's uniforms if necessary.

Comment Re:And who was the big believer in carbon credits? (Score 1) 147

Now... lets say a man in the neighboring town gets lung cancer.

Why are you going after this strawman? I've already said that, being able to tie any one case of cancer/illness/death to any one polluter is impossible, but ultimately irrelevant. You can reasonably prove that without your powerplant there would have been 10 deaths from lung cancer, but statistically speaking, your plant is causing 1 case of ultimately fatal lung cancer a year.

Your notion is to institute some assumed damages on every bit of emissions and put this money into some kind of state fund and then when people get cancer they draw upon that fund.

Not exactly, but it's reasonably close.

So... no one is actually breaking that smoke in until it has diluted to such an extent that the ability to cause respriatory issues is no longer even remotely credible.

Impossible unless you set up on the moon or something. California is getting a decent percentage of it's air pollution from China. Also, people go all over everywhere. You can't prove that your plant's emissions aren't getting to people. Or do you shut down every time the wind shifts?

Must I still pay your fee? Of course. Because while you claim to be dealing with externals, your real intent is to discourage the use of coal.

And you assume that you know what I'm thinking. Making an ass out of you and me. Anyways. As I said above, I don't see you actually managing to prevent your pollution from reaching humans, and besides, the pollution charge wouldn't just be for damage to humans, but the environment and such. So your proposed change of building the plant somewhere where the emissions don't reach humans fails, so yes, you would still have to pay the fees.

Part of the problem is, as you say, being precise with externalities like this is difficult. Road taxes on gasoline are intended to pay for the roads, but it's considered just too expensive to do things like exempt the tax for the gasoline you're buying for your lawn mower. So you end up paying tax on that gasoline as well. So yes, there's quite a bit of averaging in my proposed charge system.

On the other hand, let me tell you how you DO avoid the charges: By not emitting them in the first place. You install pollution controls so you're emitting less. Your pollution charges go down in proportion. Simple, measurable, done.

Two of them that I like:

Citations please. I want to see engineering proposals. Also, carbon monoxide is a GHG, so no, pumping it up there wouldn't help from what I remember.

And keep in mind the big corps are the ones making solar panels, wind mills, LED lights, and all the other stuff that is supposed to save you from THE END TIMES.

Big businesses are also the ones burning coal and such... Personally, I like LED lights mostly because of longevity and savings on my power bill. I'm also not highly affected by AGW, living in the middle of Alaska and all.

Comment Re:And who was the big believer in carbon credits? (Score 1) 147

You're right on precision vs accuracy. Result of 'training' to try to keep me from using complex words too much.

No, saying the link between coal power and deaths/illnessess is 'weak correlation' is like denying global warming. There's plenty of proof sufficient to say that the burning of coal for power causes pollution that lowers the quality and quantity of life for those around it. It's accurate. It's precision can be in question - which is why high end estimates are double that of the low end, but their presence is not in doubt.

As for lung cancer from coal power vs campfires, that's what statistics are for. Not 'everybody' living close to a coal powerplant loves camping. Yet they still demonstrate a higher incident rate of lung cancer which isn't explained by variances in smoking rates, economic status, etc... Hell, that's what autopsies and scientific studies are for. It's not like air tests are hard to do with the proper equipment.

You don't NEED to prove that any given case was caused by them in order to prove that the quantity of said cases is, at least by standard scientific measures (IE standards like '99% likely to explain the difference'.

As for CO2 - I wouldn't say that it isn't a problem either, and like I mentioned, by the time you clean coal up enough to be close to natural gas, much less power sources like nuclear, wind, or solar, it's more expensive than nuclear. Personally, I've seen enought evidence to believe in man-made global warming. As CO2 per kWh is pretty much the worst with coal, I'd like to see less of it from that angle as well.

Because you pount the 'correlation vs causation' thing several times, I'll rebuff that with this: The correlation is extremely strong, and we don't just have correlation. We also have labratory studies where we have shown that coal power plant emissions(yes, including the 'clean' ones), do indeed cause cancer in lab specimens.

I didn't say that I hate coal. I hate dirty coal, and from what I've seen, clean coal is no longer cheaper than the alternatives. Speaking of which, no, coal is no longer the cheapest power source. Natural Gas beats it so much that they're converting coal power plants to natural gas on a regular basis, and coal is losing market share.

As for 'cheaper', well, ask why we no longer use asbestos, lead paint, leaded gasoline, mercury switches, etc... The level of 'clean' required for power generation, especially coal, keeps going up, increasing expense.

Also, Cheap is no longer such if we end up having to abandon cities due to rising water levels because of global warming. That's just even more indirect than air and water pollution.