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Comment: Re:Article ignores variability (Score 1) 610

by indros13 (#48141571) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows
Baseload is concept of a 20th century grid run by monopoly utilities with a vested financial interest in operating certain inflexible power plants at maximum output. If I have a paid-off coal or nuclear power plant, of course I want it to run at max output 24/7! And because I'm the monopoly utility (true in 30 U.S. states), I get to prioritize output from my power plant. Winner winner chicken dinner!

In truth, our power system already has a helluva lot of capacity built to accommodate variability from energy USERS (supply = demand at all times or system crashes), and it can also be used to manage variability from energy PRODUCERS, like wind. It's not an extra cost, it's built in until the level of variability far exceeds current situations (except in isolated geographic areas of the grid, or island power networks).

In the long run, we will need a power system with more flexible sources of generation or storage to manage higher levels of variability associated with wind and solar power. But for now, on most power grids? Not even close.

And guess what, fossil fuels aren't without variability, either? What if you can't get a coal train to a coal power plant?

+ - To Save the Internet We Need To Own The Means Of Distribution->

Submitted by indros13
indros13 writes: Net neutrality took a hit when the FCC gave its blessing to "internet fast lanes" last week and one commentator believes that the solution is simple: public ownership of the hardware.

Owning the means of distribution is a traditional function of local government. We call our roads and bridges and water and sewer pipe networks public infrastructure for a reason. In the 19th century local and state governments concluded that the transportation of people and goods was so essential to a modern economy that the key distribution system must be publicly owned. In the 21st century the transportation of information is equally essential.

Is the internet essential infrastructure? Should local governments step in to preserve equality of access?
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Manipulative headline (Score 1) 102

The title may be manipulative, but it's also right. Even with plenty of coal-fired power still on the grid, electric vehicles offer lower greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas vehicles, and the grid continues to get cleaner as more renewable energy is added to it. EVs are a great complement, too, because their batteries allow for energy storage of variable wind and solar. And even the 1st generation EV batteries have enough storage to power 60% of daily vehicle trips in the U.S. From a climate perspective, we have no business trying to increase extraction of fossil fuels. From an infrastructure perspective, we have no business trying to build another fossil fuel fueling network when we already have electricity everywhere to power electric vehicles.

Comment: No, because they are not compatible (Score 2, Interesting) 551

by indros13 (#46163119) Attached to: Should Nuclear and Renewable Energy Supporters Stop Fighting?
Wind and solar have variable output, so they need to be partnered with flexible power generation. Nuclear is fundamentally inflexible because you can't quickly ramp up or down electricity output from a nuclear power plant. See this short video for a nice explanation of the incompatibility:

+ - Interactive Map Shows When Solar Gets Competitive in U.S.->

Submitted by
indros13 writes: "A new interactive map illustrates how much solar photovoltaic power could be installed at prices competitive with retail electricity (without subsidies) over the next decade in all 50 U.S. states. Move the slider to see the impact of falling solar prices, as well as the huge impact of current tax incentives.

Full disclosure: I did the research behind the map and I think it's a very useful tool for planning our energy future."

Link to Original Source

Comment: It's about the perception of safety (Score 1) 353

by indros13 (#39035427) Attached to: Mozart and Bach Handel Subway Station Crime
The Lake St. light rail station in Minneapolis is one of the few with an indoor area (an enclosed escalator) and heat. In the winter, the students from nearby schools tend to congregate in the stairwells and escalators, smoking (which is illegal, of course). The music works because it drives them outdoors, helping passengers feel safer because they don't have to push through a crowd of high school students. Of course, whether or not people should feel unsafe because of a crowd of kids smoking is a different issue, but I'd guess most of the adult travelers coming through the station prefer the loud music to the loitering teens.

Comment: Complaining about defaults? (Score 1) 554

by indros13 (#35578126) Attached to: Firefox 4 Released!
I'm rather surprised that so many Slashdot users complain about the default settings in FF4. Yes, they changed the toolbar, statusbar, tab location etc.... But every single one of those things can be changed with in-browser settings or extensions. In my mind, those aren't problems - that's exactly what makes Firefox a great browser. Isn't this a site for nerds?

System going down at 1:45 this afternoon for disk crashing.