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Comment Re:Doesn't work that way (Score 4, Insightful) 66

To put it another way, this whole line reminds me of the same thing with charity. You have a person with money who supports a charitable cause, and they give a lot of money to it, and someone responds, "..but you still have possessions X, Y, and Z! if you really supported the charity you'd donate more!". But it's a line of attack that the person donating to charity can never win: no matter how much they give, they can still be attacked for owning things, unless they donate to the point that they're homeless in the streets scrounging for food from trash cans.

If the argument was that Al Gore had a particularly high level of environmental impact relative to his wealth and other factors worthy of consideration (his job, where he lives, etc), then that would absolutely be grounds for charges of hypocrisy. But otherwise what you're really complaining about is wealth inequality, and doing the unwinnable argument, "If Person X really cared about Issue Y, then they'd give even more than they currently do!" - regardless of what that level of giving is.

Comment Re:Half assed... (Score 4, Insightful) 66

I think you're confused. They're not buying "carbon credits". They're literally putting money into the manufacture of wind turbines. More wind turbines will exist because of this. 285MW nameplate more. Wherein does the problem lie?

What's the point of them buying stakes on renewable energy companies if in the end their data centers and factories are still using unregulated coal power, usually in cities that desperately need to move away from those?

And what do you think that the additional produced turbines will do - lie around on a factory floor? They'll be installed and generating power on the grid. Who cares where?

And more to the point, you don't just get power from a single power plant. You're connected to a grid which moves power among numerous plants. In particular, on the Chinese grid there's a number of HVDC and HVAC lines that bring power from the sparsely populated interior (wind, hydro, etc) to the densely populated coast. Directly reducing the need for power generation infrastructure on the coast, even though the wind / hydro / etc hardware isn't located on the coast.

Comment Re: Your new president doesn't pay taxes (Score 4, Insightful) 66

And don't claim you didn't vote for Trump. The American ppl did.

Actually, the American people voted for Hillary. 65,4 million to 62,8 million.

If you disagree then you either don't believe in democracy

No, if you disagree, then you support facts. And, for that matter, if you support democracy (aka, the person who gets the most votes wins). The US is, however, not a democracy - at least when it comes to electing the president. Which is why Trump will be president.

Comment Re:Doesn't work that way (Score 1) 66

Are you under the impression that environmentalists think that everyone should stop flying, driving, heating and cooling their homes, etc? Yes, you may find some radicals that believe things like that, but that is not a mainstream position. The mainstream positions are that consumption efficiencies need to be improved and production impacts need to be reduced.

Now, if your argument is that you think that it's unfair that there's such an economic wealth disparity that some people like Al Gore own private planes while many Americans can't afford a car, that so much of the world's production (and thus environmental impact) goes toward servicing the wealthy and so little toward the poor and middle class, and you think that government officials need to be voting for policies to minimize wealth inequality rather than huge tax breaks for the wealthy that give them an even larger share of the total environmental impact on the planet, then I have only one thing to say to that: "Welcome to the Democratic Party!"

But if you're of the impression that the concept of environmentalism is the same thing as reducing income inequality (and thus consumption inequality), you're sadly mistaken. Mainstream environmentalism is built around across the board improvements - things that effect everyone, not just specific groups.

Comment Re: What I want to know is who keeps telling Tom H (Score 5, Insightful) 77

... the Circle alwaus seemed...

I know from context that you meant to write "always", but my mind interpreted that word as "walrus" ;)

liberal fascism

Now how does that work?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Fascism /fæzm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4] ...

One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.[25][26][27] According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far right.[28]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as "a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism".[29] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: "(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism and (iii) the myth of decadence".[30] Fascism is "a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism" built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist "armed party" politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.[31] ...

Some scholars consider fascism to be right-wing because of its social conservatism and authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism.[42][43] Roderick Stackelberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is "a radical variant of fascism"—on the political right, explaining that, "The more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be."[44]

Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s.[45][46] A major element of fascist ideology that has been deemed to be far-right is its stated goal to promote the right of a supposedly superior people to dominate, while purging society of supposedly inferior elements.[47]

Benito Mussolini in 1919 described fascism as a movement that would strike "against the backwardness of the right and the destructiveness of the left".[48][49] Later, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: "We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right,' a fascist century."[50][51] Mussolini stated that fascism's position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue to fascists...

Fascism is what we today call the "alt-right" - right-populism. The greatest enemy of fascism is those who prefer, support and embrace diversity - what the alt-right calls "cucks". Fascists seek a return to the "good old days", some sort of lost "days of glory", where "traditional" values reigned, while simultaneously rejecting the globalism and the focus on the upper classes that are embraced by many other right-wing movements. Because of the populism aspects, they can sometimes find common ground with left-populists on measures against globalism and support for the working class - while simultaneously despising them as "cucks" who are ruining society by embracing ((( insert list of "problematic" social groups here ))).

Comment Re:Let me guess... (Score 0) 77

Google's an easy target; this is hardly the first time. Anyone here seen Ex Machina? Plot summary: "Sergey Brin's home pet project is to put Google's neural nets into robots, what could go wrong?". They don't call him Sergey Brin and they don't call the company Google, but they don't exactly hide their basis either.

Comment Re: This works for me (Score 2) 410

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/moscow-had-contacts-with-trump-team-during-campaign-russian-diplomat-says/2016/11/10/28fb82fa-a73d-11e6-9bd6-184ab22d218e_story.html?tid=sm_tw

Russian government officials had contacts with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team, a senior Russian diplomat said Thursday, in a report that could reopen scrutiny over the Kremlin’s role in the president-elect’s bitter race against Hillary Clinton. ...

"Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Rybakov said. “ I cannot say that all of them but quite a few have been staying in touch with Russian representatives.”

I'll repeat for emphasis: staying in touch with most of his entourage during the campaign. And what did they have to talk about?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/09/putin-applauds-trump-win-and-hails-new-era-of-positive-ties-with-us?CMP=share_btn_tw

Markov also said it would mean less American backing for “the terroristic junta in Ukraine”. He denied allegations of Russian interference in the election, but said “maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks.”

The Obama administration accused Russian authorities of hacking Democratic party emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks. Putin has previously dismissed as “nonsense” claims of Russian interference.

Whether or not you choose to believe that Putin and his party are responsible for his win, they think that they are.

As for the other stuff, I'm not sure what you're questioning - that's just history; pick up a history textbook.

Comment Re: Thanks, Trump! (Score 1) 176

HVDC lines have one big problem against them, cost. These wires cost money. The losses may be minimal on paper but they also add up over time.

I'm going to try the peer-reviewed study in Nature that I read on the subject, which determined that they save nearly four times as much as they cost.

(I've also done back of a napkin calculations, and ended up with a number well less than the Nature estimate)

This is compounded by the issue that wind and solar are not cheap.

Once upon a time that was true. Not any more. Even solar, which used to be playing catchup with wind, way behind, is now coming in at some crazy low cost figures, like the $1/W plant that just opened in India, which is bloody nuts.

Not even going to bring the conversation into the costs of dumping pollution into the environment. Or the costs and consequences of having to have huge amounts of cooling water (and the curtailments you have to do during droughts). Or geopolitical issues.

r just to avoid the "N" word... nuclear.

Yeah, if you have $10+/W just to spend on construction, not even counting operations and decommissioning or the government-provided catastrophic accident insurance (which no private industry would ever put themselves on the line for - Fukushima's now estimated at $200B). And of course which uses even more cooling water than fossil fuels. And if you like having to estimate future power supply and demand 10-20 years into the future before your plant even comes online.

K Street loves nuclear. Wall Street, not so much.

We've seen government subsidies for wind and solar power going on for decades and little to show for it

You have to be joking. First - beating around the bush here - wind subsidies are not that great, and more to the point, the constant year-to-year uncertainty on the PTC has been a big hindrance to the industry. But more to the point, wind has gone from absurdly expensive to very cheap (as low as 2,5 cents per kWh in 2014), growing with an average annual 30% rate of growth for 10 years. Last year wind made up 41% of new nameplate generation and solar 26%.

Whether you want wind and solar or not, they're happening. They've gotten too cheap to stop. You'd have to actively try to stop them with punative taxation policies at this point if you wanted to stop wind and solar's percentage of the grid from growing.

Comment Re: Thanks, Trump! (Score 5, Interesting) 176

Peaking does not cause blackouts; peaking prevents blackouts. I'm thinking that perhaps you're confused about what a peaking plant is.

Yes, but cross country grid loading is a bad idea. Very bad.

Interconnected HVDC grids offer increases in grid stability, as cascading failures can't propagate through them (AC failures are prone to cascade as different parts of the grid go out of sync with each other). Yet most of the time a nationwide renewables-supporting HVDC grid is not used at near peak capacity (its capacity is sized for peak load transmission requirements, not average), and thus can generally have their power routed through other legs if one line goes down without curtailments (often, even, without need for peaking - it depends on timing). The grid itself is designed, as with everything else concerning electricity generation and transmission, to provide a statistically-guaranteed level of power reliability.

It's important to remember also that in the US you have basically three separate power grids today - west, east (which is kind of a patchwork), and "ERCOT", which is basically Texas doing its own little weird thing. To allow them to support each other, they have a number of converters, mainly DC ties. Basically, HVDC terminals without any actual long-distance transmission lines. So it's already done to improve grid reliability and economics. Also, certain parts of the grid already rely on long HVDC lines. Not just for "moving peak power because of intermittent shortages in one region", as a grid for supporting high renewable penetration does, but actual baseload. For example, in the northeast, RMCC moves 2 GW of remote Quebec hydropower to New England. It's almost always run at near capacity.

Europe and China uses HVDC a lot more than the US. Europe mainly for undersea lines, China to move power from inland to its densely populated coast. Both have major plans for expansion.

Comment Re:Thanks, Trump! (Score 4, Informative) 176

What happens when the wind plants and solar plants aren't producing?

Peaking. Now do you have any other absurdly easy questions?

Covering average demand is ONLY covering average demand.

Yeah, it's not like variability has ever been a part of the grid before. Current grids have their own annoyances on the demand side, including daytime power consumption being much less than nighttime, summer and winter variations (sometimes major), etc - as well as also on the supply side, such as interlinks or plants suddenly dropping offline. It's not some sort of new ground.

The short summary of a high-renewables-penetration grid is:

1) Peaking plants (NG is a good choice).
2) Geographic smoothing (aka, while one front is leaving the US east coast, another is coming on the west; while there's a high stuck over one part of the country, a low is churning up winds elsewhere; also, midwest and east coast wind is strongest in the winter, while west coast wind is strongest in the summer)
3) Geographic timeshifting (aka, desert southwest sun is still shining when it's evening demand in NYC, the evening wind is blowing on the east coast during the morning rush on the west, etc)
(HVDC grid needed for #2 and #3 - est. 0,3 cents per kWh amortized cost for construction and maintenance, saving 1,1 cents per kWh in reduced generation hardware requirements)
4) Multiple source variability compensation (e.g., wind and solar tend to run opposite to each other - highs make low winds but lots of sun, and vice versa; winds are strongest at night, solar during the day)
5) Hydro uprating as storage. Optional storage additions = solar thermal, wind flywheel, battery (price is dropping fast), etc as needed/desired, but are not a fundamental requirement.
6) Demand shifting if needed (aka, power-hungry industries get favorable power rates if they're willing to occasionally shut off as needed; this is not a rare arrangement)

For the future, EVs also help, but are not required - insofar as they're mainly nighttime loads, steady draws, and easy targets for charge rate modulation (or even reversal). Nobody cares exactly when their vehicle takes power from the wall, so long as it has a full charge when they told it to be done by. The more flexible they let their car be, the cheaper they get their power for. But again, this sort of arrangement being wirespread is not a requirement - just a bonus.

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