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Megan Treacy of Treehugger reports Silent rooftop wind turbines could generate half of a household's energy needs

A Dutch company cased The Archimedes has developed a small, highly efficient, and silent rooftop wind energy generator called the Liam1, which it claims could generate half the power a typical house would need, and which they say would be ideal for combining with solar rooftop PV panels.

The company states that the Liam F1 turbine could generate 1,500 kWh of energy at wind speeds of 5m/s, enough to cover half of an average household's energy use. ... When used in combination with rooftop solar panels, a house could run off grid. "When there is wind you use the energy produced by the wind turbine; when the sun is shining you use the solar cells to produce the energy," The Archimedes CEO Richard Ruijtenbeek said.

The Liam's blades are shaped like a Nautilus shell. The design allows it to point into the wind to capture the most amount of energy, while also producing very little sound. The inventor of the turbine Marinus Mieremet says that the power output is 80 percent of the theoretical maximum energy that could be harnessed from the wind.

“Generally speaking, there is a difference in pressure in front and behind of the rotor blades of a windmill. However, this is not the case with the Liam F1. The difference in pressure is created by the spatial figure in the spiral blade. This results in a much better performance. Even when the wind is blowing at an angle of 60 degrees into the rotor, it will start to spin. We do not require expensive software: because of its conical shape, the wind turbine yaws itself automatically into the optimal wind direction. Just like a wind vane. And because the wind turbine encounters minimal resistance, he is virtually silent," said Mieremet.

The Archimedes is now working on an even smaller turbine that could fit on top of lamposts, boats, and smaller applications.

With the announcement today of the EPA's proposed new standards for reducing carbon emissions, we have all the more reason to look to renewable energy options to supply our energy needs.



Here is a link to the embedded video below that the company offers to explain the history of the Liam1 turbine. The Archimedes windmill movie ENG high quality

Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:04 AM PT: Please check out my post of late last night on the continuing outbreak of Ebola in western Africa which illustrates why we should be proud of our Democratic Party's support for competent government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, CDC, and the U.N.'s World Health Organization which are standing as our front line of defense in cases of potential epidemics.

West African Ebola death toll rises to 193 out of 291 cases, 34 new cases in Sierra Leone  

Originally posted to SciTech on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kosowatt, Sustainable Senior Living, Los Angeles Kossacks, Southern California Inland Empire Kossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, California politics, and San Diego Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (287+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:08:10 PM PDT

  •  I hope the product is better than the music they (23+ / 0-)

    chose to put on that video. Ugh.

    But it does look like cool tech.

    GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:14:58 PM PDT

    •  au contraire(sp)- the first tunes are standard (8+ / 0-)

      for these tech intros and i was pleasantly surprised when they torqued it up!

      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:10:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OT: training and licensing to pick youtube music (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, caul, orlbucfan, HoundDog

      really should be a requirement in general.


      A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned. -- Firefly

      by Jim P on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:21:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You mean Epic Music (6+ / 0-)

      This is what happens when an entire generation or two are raised on video games and metal.

      And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

      by The Lone Apple on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:15:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They're looking at an international audience,.. (0+ / 0-)

      language barriers are a consideration, (of course, musical taste should be, too, ;-) ).

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:29:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  High School band music for me (0+ / 0-)

      I enjoyed the first couple minutes more than the remainder.

    •  Yeah, but... (7+ / 0-)

      I'm an engineer that has worked with a lot of solar PV  equipment, as well as wind equipment.

      In the solar industry, equipment tends to perform as expected in promotional materials.  Solar panels tend to output the expected amount of power, and predictions of power generation capacity tend to be on par with actual results.  As long as you include some sort of catastrophic loss calculation in for periodic hail storms that will require equipment replacement, even the ROI calculations are reasonably accurate.

      In my area, a solar system will produce a large fraction of full rated power for at least 300 days per year, so it is a predictably dependable source of power.

      However in the small wind turbine industry, there is a gap in information available to the consumer, and that gap is intentional.  Wind CAN be a dependably predictable source of power, but the people that make the equipment do not go out of their way to provide enough information to know what kind of results you can expect.

      You can find predictions of available wind energy for your area, and you can get information on the maximum power output of a turbine installation, as well as hints of "actual" information that isn't usually complete enough for a consumer to judge without a background in engineering and wind power.

      What I have found in wind energy systems is that while they work great, and can produce power when Solar systems cannot, they don't produce as much power as consumers are lead to believe by the promotional materials.  Most turbines are rated for maximum power output, as well as minimum wind required to get any output.  But they are not rated in actual how many watt-hours of usable energy can be delivered.

      So a typical turbine system will intermittently produce some fraction of the full power, but in most parts of the world, they do not produce nearly as much power as the same investment in Solar will yield, even though you might get a salesman to tell you otherwise.  For example a 200 watt system may be capable of producing 200 watts in a gale, a typical 200 watt turbine will perform on average more like a 5 watt unit.

      The problem with wind is while it works great, the hardware must be over sized to handle high winds, and that impacts efficiency in normal conditions.  Worse, normal conditions are typically well below the maximum capabilities, so much so that it gives a lot of room for the manufacturers to depend on misunderstandings on the part of the consumer to make sales.

      Unlike solar, wind energy from small consumer turbines is not suitable for 90% of locations.  In most locations, 1000 worth of solar will out-produce 1000 worth of wind generator by a LARGE margin.

      Now that said, I am excited by the new turbine design, because I can tell by looking at it that is performs better at low wind speeds than traditional turbines, and at high wind speeds, the turbine efficiency drops off enough that the turbine doesn't self destruct in high winds.  To make a tradition turbine this efficient requires extremely expensive mechanisms that are not cost effective for small systems, such as computer controlled  variable pitch blades.

      So this is an exciting development.  The largest downside is this is a very expensive design as compared to small units available now.  Expensive enough to fail to exceed the viability of solar in 90% of the locations.  Pricing has not been announced yet, so while they could try to give them away with a low mark-up, I'm expecting the price to be unreasonable for the size of the unit.

      There are areas where wind is better than solar, but few people choose to live in those inhospitable climates.

      I went into wind research really hoping it would be better and cheaper than Solar PV.

      Solar PV looses 80% of it's energy when you store the power in batteries, because of the inefficiency of batteries, but even so it produced power more cost effectively than wind.  I mention batteries, because many people try to remind me of that, and how you can use wind power at night without storing it in batteries (can't do that with solar)...  But my reply back to them is it is still more efficient, even with battery losses...  Not to mention that with a small Solar PV system to augment utility power, you can omit batteries, and use 100% of the power for cooling your home, eliminating losses to batteries...  This workd for most urbam homes, because in many areas, home cooling is the main power consumer, and the sun mainly heats during the day anyway.

      So while I find this new turbine great news, I think there is more hype than reality here...

      •  Might work great for around here. (0+ / 0-)

        We don't get sun at all during the winter, just lots of cloud and rain. Summers we get sun.

         BUT... we also get a strong offshore breeze every afternoon that lasts the whole remainder of the day. It usually starts at 1pm, especially in summer. Somewhere around 10 to 15 knots is the usual. Perfect for a household turbine.

        A fo ben, bid bont. - Welsh proverb. ( translation: If you want to be a leader, be a bridge.)

        by Gwennedd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:58:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oops!! That's 7 to 10 kph, not 10-15 knots. (0+ / 0-)

          A fo ben, bid bont. - Welsh proverb. ( translation: If you want to be a leader, be a bridge.)

          by Gwennedd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:11:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  yes... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TKO333, graceadams830

          Coastal areas are second and third only to mountainous areas and frozen tundras.  Frozen tundras are the best...

          But even so, the light breeze will provide constant power, but a 200 watt rated turbine will still only produce 10 to 15 watts at that time.  

          The rated wattage of a turbine is about the wattage point when the generator might fail or burn up, that rating has nothing to do with real-world power production.

          What is happening is the wind engineers know better, but their sales people don't.  So a salesman will sell a wind turbine based on calculations that fictionalize the max rating, rather than the actual measured output.  This produces estimates of ROI that have no basis in reality, and are often over inflated by 1000% or more.

          On the other hand, say you are a farmer, and all you want is a light for the barn that has no power, a small turbine and battery will do great, and is easier to install than solar, and takes up less space.  As long as you don't care about efficiency, and you aren't trying to do more than run lights, a single small wind turbine is an excellent solution.  

          But for powering a conventional home, you get 3 times more power for each dollar spent to go with solar, in most areas.  Obviously in areas of constant clouds and frequent rain that is not going to be true.  For example, In Austin or Denver you will get 300+ days of powerful sun, but in Seattle you might only get 60 days of good sun, so suddenly wind looks really good.

          But they don't tell you that up front when they sell you the equipment.  But for whatever reason, the Solar industry tends to give very conservative predictions.

          But all that aside, the Archimedes screw concept looks like a strong performer in lower speeds, without the tendancy to fly apart at high speed because of the ratio of centrifical edge force to the blade's connection to tha axel.  So the Archimedes screw is dozens of times stronger mechanically than traditional wind turbin props.  This should make them last longer, and be more survivable in storms.  It is a very cool design.  It is not the only very cool design out there, turbine design is getting a lot of attention right now, lots of good things are coming....  But even so, it is important to avoid the hype.

      •  That's a great explanation, ty. (0+ / 0-)

        Though as I live in a river valley in the northeast US, wind might well be a more viable solution than sun even though the area is far from inhospitable.  The wind blows through the valley like a gale.

        Currently reading: * People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities * The 5th Discipline * It's All About Work

        by Aramis Wyler on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 05:41:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Those wind turbines really look cute. (0+ / 0-)

        They should be easier on birds than standard type.  As you say they do better in light winds and stand up better to high winds than the usual.  Being quiet is really an advantage--less NIMBY problem.  I like the idea of combining wind and solar half and half to get a fair amount of power.  And hope you can cope with poor conditions sometimes.

  •  What happens when there is no wind and no sun? (28+ / 0-)

    The missing link is still inexpensive storage and power management.

    Seems like a cool technology.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:15:30 PM PDT

    •  It's already there but... (59+ / 0-)

      ...freaking utilities are fighting it;

      Battery-Stored Solar Power Sparks Backlash From Utilities

      Solar systems with batteries attached have gained a foothold in the market as costs fall, allowing customers more flexibility for using their own power at night or when local supplies fail. The systems average about $12,000 to $16,000, adding about 25 percent to the cost of rooftop power plants

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The utilities aren't going to let anyone stay on (45+ / 0-)

        the grid for free, or ride a gravy train and only sell power back to the grid so the utilities owe them money each month. That's a business model that will shift power costs primarily to the poor. Consumers will need to make a choice, get off the grid completely or make some monthly, positive, cash contribution to the utility. This movie has already been played in Europe.

        Tesla and SolarCity have a test here in the SF bay area using the Tesla battery pack and power management system. If those batteries could be made in the millions, and achieve significant economies of scale, it would change the industry dynamics.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:34:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Germans got it right (65+ / 0-)

          The Future of Large German Utilities: It’s Already Here

          Facing similar changes in the energy market, major German electric utilities RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall have also opened their eyes. They have realized that PV, the technical curiosity they ignored and even hindered for so many years, has become one of the major electricity sources in Germany, and even threatens their survival. Perhaps they learned from the telephone industry, but they seem to have decided to follow the old saying: “if you cannot beat them, join them.”
          Why can't we?

          Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

          by Shockwave on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:47:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  possibilities... (36+ / 0-)

            (1) Smart grid--expands the geographical area in which power can be shifted around, and thus increases the odds that at any given time, somewhere within the grid's reach, the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.

            (2) Flexible pricing--charge more per watt when supply is low relative to demand, and less when supply is abundant. Will prompt people to shift usage to off-hours for things like washing machines, dishwashers, maybe recharging electric cars.

            (3) (gasp!) regulation--for decades Public Service Commissions have set rates to allow utility providers reasonable (at least!) profit while protecting (more or less) consumers. No reason the same model can't work for funding the grid.

            (4) (double gasp!) taxes--we spend tax money for infrastructure like roads and airports. We could spend it to build and maintain the grid.

            (5) Large-scale storage, like pumping water uphill into reservoirs with excess power, and letting it flow back down at high-demand times to generate hydro. Underground compressed air.

            (6) Nuclear. Nnadir, we hardly knew ye.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:34:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Guess I missed Nnadir's banning. (6+ / 0-)

              But since I haven't seen him around lately, I'm not shocked. Pity. He had a lot of good insight, but was so easily provoked.

              Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

              by Mike Kahlow on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:08:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Po: there is no grid. (8+ / 0-)

              What if there were no grid? This diary, right here, is a nice jumping off point for such fancy.

              I think a smart grid is a terrible idea.

              Distributed, ubiquitous non-commoditized energy is a laudable goal, i think.

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:46:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nuclear centralizes power excessively (12+ / 0-)

              Wind encourages multiple regional power bases.  And as we've seen with the Kochs, power is Power.  The more decentralized, the better.

              •  Not either-or. Both. (7+ / 0-)

                Priority #1 should be eliminating fossil fuels. That means developing & expanding ALL the non-fossil tools available--distributed small-scale renewables AND grid power, including large-scale renewables and nuclear.

                When atmospheric CO2 is down to 350PPM, THEN we can start to worry about phasing out nuclear in favor of more renewables.

                Ever read Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia?" A prime example of common people defeated by their inability to unite against their common foe.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:49:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nuclear is a non-starter in an economy like ours: (14+ / 0-)

                Extremely high start-up costs, a few decades of useful life followed by 60-100 years of decommissioning at a cost higher than the initial cost of the plant.
                   Lenders don't want to lend for nuclear. Insurers won't insure without government imposed liability limits.
                   Not to mention the usual: Storage of nuclear waste. And the vulnerability of the cooling water source to climate change.

                •  You've been badly misinformed. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Odysseus, Roadbed Guy, HeyMikey

                  Start-up costs for nuclear are lower than solar on a per-Watt basis. Decommissioning costs for reactors are roughly 10% of construction costs, not much larger than other large projects. All three of the current nuclear builds in the US today (Watts Bar, Vogtle, and VC Summer) obtained private financing without government subsidy -- in contrast to the two recently completed large solar plants in California. which required large loan guarantees before construction could begin.

                  And it's not waste if we don't waste it. The current stockpile of "spent" nuclear fuel contains enough energy to power the entire US electric grid fossil-free for 150 years, if we have the intelligence to use it. Bright students at MIT have already designed a reactor that could use SNF directly as fuel, as-is, and formed a start-up to do just that.

                  We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

                  by Keith Pickering on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:16:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wrong. Very wrong. (6+ / 0-)

                    Decommissioning costs are far higher than you claim.  See, for instance, this article: for example, decommissioning the Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, MA took $600 million, compared to construction cost of $39 million, plus $8 million per year essentially forever.  Start-up costs for solar have come down considerably, and I seriously doubt that you can find a source of credible numbers that will support your claims.

                  •  They're no doubt glowing from careless handing of (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sunspots

                    the nuclear waste?

                    Bright students at MIT have already designed a reactor . . . .
                  •  Chernobyl. Fukushima. Three Mile Island. (0+ / 0-)

                    Lovely!

                    •  math (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jm1963

                      death-rate-per-watts-Seth-Godin

                      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                      by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:18:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  40x thyroid cancer in Japanese children, since (0+ / 0-)

                        Fukushima, and radiation is washing up on our west coast now.  

                        It takes a while to kill people with radiation exposure, even if all of them are counted.

                        •  Old reactor design, built in stupid area. (0+ / 0-)

                          Liquid thorium reactors will be cheaper, smaller, and safe: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                          by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 11:29:00 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  And... (0+ / 0-)

                            Multiply that little-bitty nuke box in the graphic above x 40. You still won't come close to the size of the coal box.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 11:29:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And then multiply it by 20 years, at a minimum (0+ / 0-)

                            Most cancers take a long time to develop.  Fast appearance is unusual for cancers.

                            Imagine if even one of those children were yours.

                          •  And then multiply it by 20 years, at least (0+ / 0-)

                            Most cancers take a long time to develop.  It's unusual for them to appear quickly.

                            Imagine if even one of those children were yours.

                          •  Why are cancer deaths worse than other deaths? (0+ / 0-)

                            Cancer is bad--lost my dad and father-in-law to it; my wife's mom suffered greatly from it before dying of something else; my mom is a 10-year cancer survivor. So I know a bit about family with cancer.

                            But deaths are, more or less, deaths. More of them come from fossil fuels than from nuclear--and it's not even close. Not to mention the suffering caused by drought, famine, flooded farmland due to global warming.

                            The math is horrible, but it's still the math.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:54:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The math is: multiply what's there by 800 at least (0+ / 0-)

                            20 x 40 = 800

                            And this is just what's easy to see.  Plus our nuclear plants are disintegrating, and many of them have the same design as Fukushima.

                            There's a reason no insurance company will touch nuclear plants.

                            Not to mention how much worse it could get if/when one of our plants does a Fukushima.  They sit on active faults and in flood plains and have come very close already.

                          •  Two points. (0+ / 0-)

                            (1) You have to multiply the deaths on fossil fuels, too, if your plan is to keep operating them for decades.

                            (2) You're still confusing old designs that are already in place with new designs that could be put only in geologically stable areas.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 05:17:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wishful thinking (0+ / 0-)

                            kind of like "clean coal."

                          •  "Homage to Catalonia." (0+ / 0-)

                            Mentioned in one of my previous comments above. Purism = defeat.

                            I am basically on your side. People like you and people like me should be working together against the common enemy. The differences between you and me are small compared to the differences between us and the fossil fuel industry.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:19:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  comparing apples and oranges (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gwennedd, Late Spring

                    Nuclear and renewable sources can't be directly compared, and the comparison goes completely off the rails when trying to compare big, centralised nuclear to small home solar.

                    Construction costs are incredibly high for a nuclear power plant and it takes many years before you finally get power out of it. If anything goes badly wrong (accident or attack) you can poison a landscape for thousands of years and damage the genetic material of generations.

                    Solar power for a home can be installed in a single day at a cost affordable to a home owner. It starts generating power that very day. If anything goes wrong then there is no major calamity because the giant fusion reactor it generates power from (our Sun) is safely 93 million miles away. The additional security of having distributed power instead of putting all your eggs in one basket with centralised power should be obvious to anyone who is not wearing blinders. (Remember the big blackout from the domino-effect shutdown of several nuclear powerplants on the eastern seaboard of USA not so long ago?)

                    Nuclear power has amazing potential (especially fusion), but we can't trust people to do it right when the stakes are as high as they unfortunately are. They cut corners on construction or personnel training or safety measures. (Fukishima's warning signs were ignored by staff, and what idiot builds a nuclear power plant in a seismically active zone anyway?) Low level and high level radioactive materials always find their way into military uses. India signed a contract promising to only use Canadian uranium for peaceful purposes and built a nuclear bomb with it anyway. Depleted uranium shells litter warscapes everywhere USA has been and children are contaminated when playing with the curiously heavy pieces of metal. In Afghanistan a worrying analysis has turned up undepleted uranium in the blood of locals which leads some to think USA is using very radioactive rounds in its war there, contaminating not only innocent locals, but their own soldiers.

                    Nuclear could be a great technology if we could trust the people involved, but more than half a century of experience shows that we can't. No matter how many good people are involved in nuclear power, there are still far too many who are untrustworthy... making nuclear power, by extension, too dangerous. It is a pity, but it is unavoidable.

                    Maybe in a thousand years (coincidentally when some of the radioactive waste has become a little less dangerous) we might have matured to the point where we can be trusted with nuclear power. But not today.

                    What dumbfounds me is that those who love centralised power completely ignore the elephant in the room: geothermal power. It's free after building the plant, there's plenty of it for producing baseline power, especially in fault zones, and it doesn't produce toxic waste. WTF?!?

                    ----- The brain is the only organ where you'd prefer to be the donor instead of the recipient.

                    by miriam e on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:20:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Taking them one at a time ... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      HeyMikey

                      Construction costs are high for a nuclear plant, but so is the amount of energy you get out of it. On a Watt-hour basis, nuclear is as cheap as any non-fossil source, and cheaper than many. The "poisoning a landscape for thousands of years" argument is nothing but hype. People are living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone right now (illegally), and are outliving their counterparts who accepted relocation. Birds captured by ornithologists in the zone show the lowest levels of DNA damage in the areas with the highest background radiation, due to the hormesis effect. The area around Fukushima could be repopulated right now except for the unhealthy level of irrational fear.

                      As I said elsewhere, distributed power is great if you're already a landowner with enough capital to install it. But if you're poor and urban, it's an additional expense that is yet-another mechanism that moves wealth from the poor to the well-off. That's not a progressive value. We're already seeing this in Germany where a renewable-heavy grid is driving up retail electricity prices by large amounts -- costs neatly avoided by the landowning rich, and falling heavily on the urban poor.

                      Fukushima's warning signs were known by staff and ignored by government bureaucrats, who delayed a critical depressurization by hours against the advice of engineers. If they had not, it's likely that all three meltdowns would have been avoided.

                      Regarding military uses, the military uses solar power too. Should we therefore ban solar? The whole argument falls into absurdity when examined closely. And undepleted uranium in anyone's blood almost certainly comes from the soil, not from any military device.

                      Regarding the alleged "danger" of nuclear power, Chernobyl killed about 60 people. Three Mile Island killed zero, and Fukushima killed zero. Or rather I should say Fukushima killed zero from radiation, but about 2000 died from the fear of radiation, in the mostly unnecessary evacuation. On a levelized basis, nuclear power is one of the safest forms of power there is.

                      Geothermal is great, but the geology that can support geothermal is not widely available. (The same is true of hydro.) So we need more than that.

                      We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

                      by Keith Pickering on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:17:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  cherry-picking (0+ / 0-)

                        When you say that people living in the Chernobyl area are outliving those who have relocated, you neglect to mention that those who have stayed are generally old, that the incidence of radiation-linked cancers among young people in "lightly" contaminated areas has risen, and that any people who are moved forcibly -- refugees -- tend to end up with bad health problems. None of this is any kind of vindication for nuclear power. It is another indictment of it.

                        Chernobyl killed about 60 people immediately. How do you assess the increased incidence of cancers? Leukaemia and thyroid cancers in particular have increased, and I think I recall reading that bone cancers have too, though I'm less sure of that.

                        The genetic damage to birds? Well, I can't comment on it because I don't know about it, but I'll find out more. I suspect it will be due to unexpected side-effects, such as those prone to die from radiation do so, leaving those that are more resistant, or that their predators die more easily from the radiation, giving them an easier life. Again, I doubt it will belittle the dangers of radiation.

                        We have half a century of knowledge of the medical effects of nuclear radiation. No amount of hand-waving and fringe-cases will change the fact that it is dangerous.

                        When you say the bureaucrats ignored the safety warnings at Fukishima, that doesn't make it safe -- it actually proves my point. In any case, if you look at the investigations you'll see both bureaucrats and the workers, almost everybody, ignored the safety warnings. The event was virtually guaranteed to happen. People can't be trusted to operate nuclear power plants. And I just know you'll point to other nuclear plants that have that have been operated safely, but that doesn't affect my point. The big problem with nuclear power is that all you need is a few that are unsafe and you have thousands or millions of people at risk, not only immediately, but potentially for centuries.

                        When you say there were no deaths from Fukishima, again you are focussing on immediate deaths. Radiation tends not to work that way (unless used in a bomb). Also it is a bit silly to say everybody ran away from the scary radiation, thus avoiding getting contaminated, proving that the radiation is actually safe. It kind of damns your own argument.

                        Have you heard the much-publicised complaints from the German nuclear industry that wind power has reduced the cost of energy below the point where nuclear plants can make a profit? That stands at odds to your suggestion that sustainable sources have raised the price of energy there. In the USA energy prices appear to be low, but that's because the government hands out massive subsidies and tax-breaks to fossil fuels and nuclear. The real costs are hidden. If there was a level playing field sustainable sources would trump all unsustainable sources, including nuclear. Wind power is already cheaper than coal, even with coal's prop-up from the public purse.

                        Your point about the military using solar power is a mislead. The military don't leave solar panels scattered over regions, giving generations of children leukaemia. The military can't use solar panels to level an entire city in an instant. Here, I can prove your point is a mislead: which would you prefer al Qaeda to have? Solar panels or enriched radioactive material?

                        Again, you can fob this off and wave it aside as hysteria, but the fact is, we have a mountain of undeniable medical knowledge about the dangers of radiation. We also have other ways of getting energy that are sustainable and involve no risk of radiation. Why would you opt for putting people at risk when you don't need to?

                        I can understand the geek love for gadgets. I am just such a geek, and I do think the concepts behind nuclear power are very cool. But I don't let it override my sense of danger when I see how history has proven over and over again that people intentionally or unintentionally misuse it and turn it into a very risky technology.

                        We waste most of the energy we generate. We seem to believe we have a right to waste truly lunatic amounts of energy and all other resources. If we used sane and sensible efficiency measures we could have all the energy we need, and more, from sustainable sources. There would be no question of bothering with nuclear power. If we could curb our irrational desire to waste colossal amounts of everything it would mean we wouldn't be running into problems with all our resources.

                        ----- The brain is the only organ where you'd prefer to be the donor instead of the recipient.

                        by miriam e on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 06:04:33 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  So many dead miners. (0+ / 0-)

                      I don't know why the potential of massive death rates that have never happened overrides the enormous number of actually dead miners that are still being blown up on a monthly basis to mine fossil fuels.  Fukushima was probably not half the disaster to the local sea life that Deepwater was, and will be for generations.

                      Currently reading: * People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities * The 5th Discipline * It's All About Work

                      by Aramis Wyler on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:50:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Okay... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                charliehall2

                How would YOU provide 24/7/365 baseload power to a medium-sized city?

                Strengthen the Senate! ROCK THE HOUSE!

                by mwm341 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:17:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A 100% renewable-energy future (10+ / 0-)

                  is technically feasible, and at low or no cost to GDP, especially when you consider the fuel savings involved for most economies and, not to forget, the necessary removal of the $650 billion a year or so in subsidies to fossil-fuel production and consumption. The question is whether it is politically feasible.

                  •  Technically feasible, yes. Low cost? Hell no. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, charliehall2, mwm341, HeyMikey

                    Read this:

                    Budischak, Cory, et al. "Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time." Journal of Power Sources 225 (2013): 60-74.

                    Bottom line: running an all-renewable grid with current 99.9% reliability requires overbuilding wind by a factor of three, and tripling the cost of electricity.

                    We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

                    by Keith Pickering on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:27:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Depends on where it is. (6+ / 0-)

                  In AZ, solar and wind everywhere (roofs, parking lots, etc). It's sunny almost year-round, and cloudy days are usually accompanied by wind.

                  To supplement that, a waste-to-energy plant, which also helps reduce landfill use.

                  "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

                  by Hayate Yagami on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:27:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                  One. House. At. A. Time.  Every house has some generating capacity, like 1-2 of these Archimedes rooftop, perhaps some solar panels, everyone is connected to the grid with a meter allowing in- and out-going metering, industry of course would have more.  Some decent back-up generator centrally, hydropower, geothermal, heat pump, biofuel burning, etc. depending on the locale.  There, problem solved.  Don't worry your little head about it.

                  •  I love being patronized by those who (0+ / 0-)

                    Would rather spout fashionable phrases than actually answer or consider questions.

                    Go away and read a (green fuzzy detali-challenged gluten-free) book.

                    Strengthen the Senate! ROCK THE HOUSE!

                    by mwm341 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:30:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Now go pat yourself on the back.... (7+ / 0-)

              ....for the immense amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere burning coal, gas, and oil, as compared to the much smaller amounts that would have been produced with the widespread use of nuclear energy. You went running after the nuclear shiny, and completely missed the real danger until very late in the game.

              The funniest thing is that if the left and the environmental movement hadn't gone all lizard-brain on nuclear, we probably would have been transitioning out of it now, shifting to true renewables. It's only within the last decade or so that solar and wind power has been practical.

              This is the landscape that we understand, -
              And till the principle of things takes root,
              How shall examples move us from our calm?

              (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

              by sagesource on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:25:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wasn't it the insurance companies that killed (7+ / 0-)

                nuclear?  Refusing to insure 4 new plants in the Northwest, if my lizard brain remembers correctly.

                •  In my view, 2 major issues killed nuclear. (6+ / 0-)

                  First, pressurized water reactors are inherently enormously expensive to build and run. Second, and probably more important, the private sector builds and maintains them. In France, 80% of the country's electricity comes from nuclear. All French nuclear power stations are identical and the entire system is run by a State utility. The USA is a patchwork system, like just about everything else here. Our grid is really decrepit and our energy management is so fragmented as to be a joke. Hey, you know what we need? A Department of Energy! Oh, wait...

                  Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

                  by Anne Elk on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:36:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nuclear is not dead. Exelon is making a play (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Gwennedd, hooper

                    to fight renewables here in IL.  Mike Madigan just passed a resolution benefitting them that refers to nuclear as "clean energy" because of it's lack of ghg emissions.  This is outrageous as "clean" energy renewables don't leave waste around for 6000 years that future generations have to worry about.

                    The next thing you know they'll be wanting REC's for nuclear.  It's amazing the angles these dirty energy shills will come up with to slow development of renewables.  

                    Natural gas is anything but clean.  However, the industry must have 200 ads a day trying to convince people that it is.  It is unbelievable that CA did not pass the moratorium on fracking given their fault lines and drought conditions.  

                    We should be looking to conserve and protect water everywhere that we can.  And, fracking and thermoelectric power plants (coal, gas, nuclear) are not the way to go if we are sustain ourselves through the climate change impacts that are already irreversible.

                    We need to increase renewables (that don't require water to produce electricity) into our energy mix much faster.

                    •  Here's the language of the adopted Illinois House (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BYw, Gwennedd

                      Resolution 1146 that appears to be now classifying "nuclear, wind and solar" as "clean energy" sources.  Not surprising that Exelon, who owns all of our nuclear plants wants them now to be clean energy sources, just like wind and solar.

                      •  Depends on what you mean by "clean". (0+ / 0-)

                        If, by clean, you mean doesn't put CO2 into the atmosphere, then nuclear is clean. I am a fan of thorium reactor technology anyway. Doesn't use masses of water at high pressure and doesn't create long-lived highly toxic radioisotopes. Can't melt down either. China is cranking up its R&D on this. Hey, maybe we can just buy the technology from them once they perfect it.

                        Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

                        by Anne Elk on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 04:41:21 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  It wasn't the environmental movement that killed (9+ / 0-)

                nuclear. It was Wall Street. It's not like there were no places to build because in every square meter of desert there was a NIMBY mob out there waiting. It's because nuclear cost estimates kept on rising, in particular decomissioning costs, to the point that it was no longer economical to build. And that's with the government's help of capping liability (Price-Anderson, 1957) because insurers were unwilling to cover such a massive liability.

                K-Street has long been a lot more pro-nuclear than Wall Street.

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:16:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Late 1970s interest rates.... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  charliehall2
                  It's because nuclear cost estimates kept on rising
                  in conjunction w/ Three Mile Island in 1979.

                  "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                  by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:14:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The biggest cost increase... (0+ / 0-)

                    has historically been decommissioning costs. Which have nothing to do with TMI.

                    The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                    by Rei on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:02:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I was mainly referring to *construction* costs, (0+ / 0-)

                      spreading out over an increasingly-extended building cycle (i.e., borrow a couple billion dollars for 10 years at double-digit interest rates, then see how much you have to charge for electricity to pay it back).

                      I'm quite sure decommissioning costs have skyrocketed as well, but I also don't remember hearing much (to be charitable; any, to be accurate) public discussion at the time of the handling of decommissioning costs. At the time of TMI, Shippingport, the first commercial plant in the US was just over 20 years old (granted, it ceased operations and was decommissioned a few years later, but it was mostly a prototype--60 MW output v. ~1,000 MW (=1 GW) for typical plants since). But the many, much larger nukes were/are slated for much longer lifetimes, on the order of 40-60 years. (As an example, the TEPCO Fukushima plants were placed into service during the 1970s and, but for the March 2011 disaster, would undoubtedly still be running.)

                      I'm really not trying to be argumentative here, but I was working in the electric utility industry around that time and had an interest in energy policy in addition to pursuing my engineering studies, so I consider myself more than a casual observer of the industry. And I don't recall hearing anyone say they were pulling the plug on construction projects after TMI due to concerns about decommissioning costs 50 years down the road. I'd say that increases in decommissioning costs were/are the 'cherry on top of the sundae' of reasons not to go any further nuclear.

                      Kudos also for mentioning Price-Anderson, requiring a modest down payment from industry before the US taxpayer picks up the rest of the tab for any real damage. That was one thing I always loved to toss up in the 'free-market, dammit!' pro-nukes' faces. Not that it ever changed their minds....

                      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                      by bartcopfan on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:46:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nuclear plant service lifetimes... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bartcopfan

                        have been continually rising, and that's primarily a consequence of the rising decommissioning costs. Decommissioning is so expensive that it pays to handle an ever-rising maintenance load and push the decommissioning costs down the road. While they were rising before TMI, decommissioning costs have significantly risen after TMI (not because of it, mind you), which is the primary reason for the extended lifespans of existing plans. Yankee Nuclear Station took five times as long to decommission as to build, and over 15 times as much money - and they still haven't dealt with the fuel rods. Many decommissioning costs have been rising at double-digit percentages just in the past few years alone. The more people learn about what it costs to actually decommission reactors, the more they realize that it's way more expensive than was previously thought. And that scares the heck out of investors.

                        Not that construction costs and times haven't also risen; they have significantly, no question. But do we really want to pursue a road that argues that nuclear plants need less safety analysis and safety features? The cost of a nuclear accident isn't primarily in lives, it's in cash. Nuclear disasters are disasters in slow motion, and that means that you can run away from them. But it also means that they persist and persist and persist, rendering large areas unliveable / unfarmable / unfishable year after year, compounding the economic damage - let alone the cleanup costs. Think of the economic cost of a major accident at Indian Point, for example - it's almost inconceivable. Yeah, the odds of a major accident at that particular plant are quite low, but even multiplying low odds by the cost of having to evacuate large chunks of the NYC area for years or decades is still a massive, massive number. I find it very hard to argue that there should be steps taken to cut the regulatory and safety burdens that have been added to nuclear power plants, if anything it needs to be increased.

                        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                        by Rei on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 03:02:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree w/ all you've said... (0+ / 0-)
                          ...decommissioning costs have significantly risen after TMI (not because of it, mind you)
                          ...except I don't think I ever claimed (certainly, I never even thought) TMI caused decommissioning costs to increase (other than what I'd consider the obvious point that it would cost more to decommission a damaged plant like TMI, Chernobyl, or Fukushima Daiichi than a non-damaged one).

                          My point was simply to posit my opinion that orders for new plants--which went to zero after TMI--were more strongly related to the accident there, high construction and work-in-progress costs, and perhaps some concerns for long-term waste management and disposal than to decommissioning costs 50 years in the future. I would posit that, post-TMI, those concerns exceeded 50% of the total concerns for potential nuke utility investors. Granted, they may have been 50.1% and decommissioning cost concerns 49.9%, I don't know--I can't say I've attended (m)any gatherings of potential nuke utility investors.

                          To put it more succinctly, I never heard a nightly news anchor say, "Utility X today canceled their order for the ABC nuclear plant, citing concerns about costs of decommissioning the plant at the end of its projected life...."

                          That's all I was trying to say.

                          Regarding the future of nukes, while I used to be pro-nuke, I haven't been since the very early '80s. Heavily influenced by Amory Lovins, among a few others, I consider them to be an overly-costly (at EVERY stage of their life-cycle--absolutely including decommissioning and the safe long-term (thousands of years) storage of high-level wastes); overly-resource intensive; overly-fragile, dangerous, and susceptible to human error and natural and/or deliberate damage/attack/sabotage, not to mention the dangers of possible diversion of fuel and/or waste; and ultimately--and most tellingly--needless. By all means, let's use the ones we've already got in operation as safely and effectively as possible and wind them down as better, competing alternatives (by which I mean: efficiency, wind, solar (PV & thermal), waste- and/or natural gas-fired steam plants (esp. centralized w/ district heating)) ramp up.

                          I've heard vaguely interesting things about the possibilities of scalable, fail-safe thorium reactors, but not enough to think even they are really worth pursuing.

                          I've heard the building of nukes (in the 1950s and 60s) w/o a firm plan for long-term waste (transportation and) storage likened to building airplanes w/o places to land and. so far, find little reason to doubt the aptness of the comparison. IIRC, the first legislation for creating a permanent storage site for the US at Yucca Mountain, NV was only passed in 1982--years after many US plants had already been operating. All that leads me to suspect that nuclear plant designers and--especially--the companies and utilities they worked for probably assumed decommissioning costs to be "acceptable" if not negligible.

                          Of course, as I've maintained for years, "CYA" really stands for "check your assumptions". As you rightly and passionately make clear, those assumptions were powerfully, detrimentally erroneous.

                          Were I to ask anything of you, and I'm quite sure we've beaten this horse well past death, it would be for evidence that the AEC, or Ike('s advisors), or Rickover, or some low-level (but forward thinking) plant designer, or any of the other "creators" of the nuke power industry had given much thought to plant decommissioning by the time they first fueled Shippingport.

                          Thanks for your interest.

                          "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

                          by bartcopfan on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 10:23:18 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Please explain how "renewables" is used in (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                brentut5, Sunspots, Shockwave, BYw, Gwennedd

                the nuclear energy context.


                "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

                by Pescadero Bill on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:26:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  they are decentralizing distribution, to work with (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mookins, Shockwave

              people in communities that want solar or wind, which one day will keep the power on for more people in storms

              "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

              by merrywidow on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:42:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Compressed air (0+ / 0-)

              Compressed air is similar to pumping water up hill for storage.  It is a mechanical "potential energy" system with a lot of friction that translates to energy losses.  The efficiency is generally lower than battery (I say that as an engineering "belief" based on anecdotal evidence, rather than an indisputable fact,  so someone please prove me wrong).

              I don't want my power storage to melt, explode, catch fire, or accidentally release it's energy in some other catastrophic manner.  Compressed air can explode, and water up a hill can burst a dam and flood a city...  Dang it.

              Feeding power to the grid, and not trying to store it in the first place, is great during the hot days where cooling is the main  power consumer.  So grid intertie is the most efficient system we have available now.  It is a good stepping stone to buy us some time as the R&D continues on.  If we combine grid intertie with other smartgrid technologies (such as selective load shedding, as in turning off a small number of AC compressors for a few minutes when a load surge demands it, thereby reducing the required grid capacity during high demand moments).  

              But back in my school days, my idea was that we should not have power plants at all, we should only have a grid, with distrubted generation capabilities.  If you want to use grid power, you must install your own share of  power generation first, either PV wind, or whatever you have for your location.  If every home on the planet Earth has solar panels in place of roof shingles, and we interconnect the grids with cables under the oceans, there would always be half of the Earth producing power while the other half was using it while sleeping.  Of course this is an idea for a utopian planet, and the undersea cables are superconductors...  But other than being nonviable on the Earth, it seems viable in a 20-year-old's daydream.

          •  The Germans got it wrong (0+ / 0-)

            They pay 3x what Americans pay for electricity. That would literally kill poor Americans because they would not be able to afford air conditioning in hot summers. Most Germans don't have air conditioning because the climate is much more mild than most of the US.

          •  Oil is more profitable... (0+ / 0-)

            And profit trumps everything else in a country that allows the rich to have more political power than the poor.

            In Germany, the mindset is a great deal different.  In Germany they would rather have something that is very well designed, profit is not the primary goal.  It is still a goal, but there is a cultural difference there that elevates science and engineering over greed motives.

        •  The utilities are simply parasites and (22+ / 0-)

          need to come to terms with he fact that they cannot justify exhorbitant fees and profits since they incur no risks having a guaranteed monopoly.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:22:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  el - the profits of utilities are regulated (4+ / 0-)

            and hardly exorbitant.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:48:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh really. nt (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tobendaro, caul, enhydra lutris, Odysseus

              A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

              by onionjim on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:12:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  NY and CT pay the highest rates but Coned is (4+ / 0-)

                a good investment, shareholders have gotten dividends for decades.....

                "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                by merrywidow on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:43:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Con Ed actually does a good job (0+ / 0-)

                  at maintaining the NYC infrastructure. Those costs may well be justified.

                  Its unionized employees also get paid decently.

                  •  Agree. I live in Manhattan and almost never (0+ / 0-)

                    lose power not even during Sandy, living uptown.

                    but they do juggle shareholder needs with not fixing leaky gas pipes in Harlem....

                    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                    by merrywidow on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:34:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Absolutely Terrible Job (0+ / 0-)

                    In NYC ConEd routinely suffers blowouts when too many air conditioners max out the century old transmission wires. Every decade or two there's a total blackout, either from local overload or from a regional grid cascade that NYC handles worse than the rest of the region.

                    In Westchester they refuse to bury wires, and neighborhoods routinely blackout for a few seconds to a minute several times a year. Which wreaks havoc with "always on" electronic equipment, both resetting them and then slamming them when the voltage shoots back up with the return of power. And there's an one or two hour or two blackouts every year or two.

                    All this on a network that  charges as much for just delivery (not the energy itself) that is the total amount paid on average for electricity generation+delivery in the country.

                    And if you have to wait for ConEd to service your home, including turning it on when you move in, or fix their overcharging errors when you catch them, you'll wish your cable repairman were covering their shift.

                    ConEd's maintenance of its infrastructure is a nightmare. I don't know what ConEd you're talking about.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 01:23:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm also in NYC (0+ / 0-)

                      and they do a great job here. Maybe there is a reason they are doing better in NYC than in Westchester?

                      •  Blackouts (0+ / 0-)

                        You don't remember the blackouts? The exploding transformers that kill people? The subway shutdowns due to their equipment and service failures? The overcharging "meter estimates"? The endless waits and deferrals of onsite service? All for double the average KWh cost, in the city where all the infrastructure is long paid off, the density means maximum bills per infrastructure and guaranteed paid consumption.

                        What exactly is "great job" to you? That there are plugs everywhere?

                        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                        by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 01:47:59 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  They are totally exhorbitant, and (6+ / 0-)

              "regulaed" only means that a group of pro-utility friends of theirs approve their rates. The CA PUC publicly stated that its principal and primary duty was to ensure the utility shareholders an adequate rate of return. That return is consistently exhorbitant which is why brokers and investment advisors have always recommended having utilities in ones portfolio.

              Return is supposed to be proportional to risk. When return is guaranteed, you have a no-risk situation and that return should be negligible. Utility stock returns ae not negligible.  The utilities themselves ae guaranteed a profit, no matter how bad the business decisions and guaranteed a monopoly so that the customers can't bail because of the criminally shitty service they often provide.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:29:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Investment advisors traditionally recommend... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                trumpeter

                ...utilities because they pay dividends reliably.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

                by The Termite on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:05:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That can change. (0+ / 0-)

                  Profitable companies should upgrade their physical plants out of their profits.

                  Dividends can be seen as an unnecessary friction.  No corporation is required to pay them, and to the extent that investors expect them, they may very well be wrong to do so.

                  You want a guaranteed income stream, buy bonds.  Nothing requires stocks to be a substitute for a good bond portfolio.

                  -7.75 -4.67

                  "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                  There are no Christians in foxholes.

                  by Odysseus on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:36:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Anything can change (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think anybody is arguing the untouchable majesty of the status quo here. Just clarifying a point.

                    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

                    by The Termite on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:55:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  No, utilities do both, they are guaranteed (0+ / 0-)

                    sufficient revenues to do so, as well as t pay any penalties, fines and damages.

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:16:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  that's because they are guaranteed to profit (0+ / 0-)

                  They are regulated monopolies in most places, which effectively means that the government decides what they make.  That can be OK as long as they operate in the public interest, but if they don't, we might as well fire management and operate them as public utilities (declare eminent domain and buy the utility).

                  •  Joe - the distuption of the utility market will (0+ / 0-)

                    be so dramatic that I wouldn't be surprised to see government agencies buying utilities because the cost of the disruption will be borne primarily by the poor.

                    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                    by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:25:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Precisely, significant ones, because they (0+ / 0-)

                  are guaranteed sufficient profits to do so.

                  That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                  by enhydra lutris on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:14:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Not in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              They're free to make as much profit as they wish.  They were deregulated some time ago.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:25:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You are repeating the "big lie" (58+ / 0-)

          of the utility companies.

          I look on my power bill, and the first item is the "Basic Monthly Service Charge". This has nothing to do with how much power I use - I pay the same even if I use zero. This charge is the cost of maintaining the grid, so it will be there when I need it.

          The whole "freeloader" meme is pure bullshit. Not only do solar households pay the same charge for the grid despite drawing far less energy off of it, but studies have found that utility companies actually save money in proportion to the number of solar households hooked up, reducing the energy cost non-solar customers pay. So who are the real "freeloaders"? And that's not even taking into account the pollution non-solar households are causing to be dumped on the commons.

        •  or treat the grid as a public good. (14+ / 0-)

          the cities should use eminent domain for the grid
          and let the power companies just broker power
          across the grid.

          •  pat - that may be what happens in the end (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joffan, FarWestGirl

            taxpayers may have to acquire the grid, but they will have to buy it even through an eminent domain type process.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:50:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  assume growth curves in battery and solar (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FarWestGirl

              Solar is growing some 30%/year in capacity,
              Battery is falling in cost some 18%.

              very soon people will be able to go grid zero
              which means that new construction particularly
              away from things won't need power or that a large
              number of people can defect.

              What if i were to defect with a 5 KW array and a 10 KWH battery pack?  I could throw an extension cord over
              the fence to my neighbor and borrow some power
              for the occasional bad day.

              if that scales up at a minimum the well off will abandon
              the grid.  

              with a defection rate above 5%, the value of the grid
              economically goes to zero, the municipalities may
              become the only buyers.

              •  There is no doubt this transition is going to be (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nextstep, FarWestGirl

                disruptive. I think the challenge for the state utilities commissions will be how to manage it in a way that doesn't unduly burden those people who can't afford or deploy solar. A friend of mine just rotated off the California Public Utilities Commission as a Commissioner. It's an issue the CA PUC is struggling with and there are no easy answers.  Solar is taking the best utility customers, those who pay the highest rates.

                "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:27:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  did you see what Hawaii PUC just said? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib, orlbucfan, FarWestGirl

                  They were ordering HECO to figure out how their
                  business model was going to work
                  in an era of high PV.  

                  personally I think Utilities will need to change to
                  a series of fees

                  1) Basic Grid capacity charge tied to the size of your
                  SE Cable.

                  2) Voltage support, tied to the number of times your
                  home system sagged.

                  3) Frequency support, for X hours you were connected
                  and getting sync.

                  4) energy sales to you at Cost* Markup

                  5) Energy re-brokering where your surplus was brokered off.

                  6) EV Car charging services.

                  7) Geothermal energy well time.

                  i think the Electrical utilities need to eat up Gas Station
                  revenues and Natural gas revenues.

                •  That's easy. Grants. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib
                  I think the challenge for the state utilities commissions will be how to manage it in a way that doesn't unduly burden those people who can't afford or deploy solar.
                  There is no reason why solar deployments have to be an individual undertaking.  We can pool county or regional dollars, including tax dollars, to build where needed.

                  -7.75 -4.67

                  "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                  There are no Christians in foxholes.

                  by Odysseus on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:40:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I wonder how the new solar PV leases will fit (0+ / 0-)

                  into that. Since there're no up front costs, it won't necessarily be confined to those that have cash to sink into a system.

                  Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                  ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                  by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:41:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  FWG - the leases make the most sense for (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FarWestGirl, Gwennedd

                    home owners who have high power bills and good sun exposure. That usually means upper-middle class homes and higher. There is no doubt that the lease programs are driving faster adoption. In addition Tesla and SolarCity are testing a solar/battery combo that could allow many people to drop completely off the grid.

                    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                    by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:43:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  It is the intercity grid that is the problem (0+ / 0-)
        •  People already pay interconnect charges (13+ / 0-)

          And line charges, and taxes.

          There's no "free ride" happening - except on the part of the utilities, who get to not have to sink a boatload of capital into building new power plants.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:31:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, in CA, nuclear clean up charges. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl, BYw

            on every residential bill. Monthly. Nice subsidy.

            “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison, 1931

            by nzanne on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:30:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The right way to do it, not a subsidy (0+ / 0-)

              Decommissioning charges are paid for in the cost of the electricity. That's as it should be.

              This is not a sig-line.

              by Joffan on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 10:04:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I disagree. The charges are an additional (0+ / 0-)

                line item, a "tax" as it were. For me, that means the industry - the original cost - is not sustainable / self sufficient.

                “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison, 1931

                by nzanne on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 11:23:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The utilities don't own the power plants anymore (0+ / 0-)

            since deregulation. They own the grid, and independent operators provide them power.

        •  if the private utilities cannot survive (9+ / 0-)

          then they should be nationalized and run for the public good. not everything worth having makes a profit for shareholders.

        •  Or, people could deploy a smaller number of (0+ / 0-)

          solar panels, not tie in to the grid, and continue to pay the utility, but a much smaller amount.

        •  Utility does have to cover fixed costs of the grid (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, FarWestGirl

          and all that, so someone has to pay if you are still part of the grid, and everyone is unless they get 100% of power from the solar panels

          "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

          by merrywidow on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:41:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm fine with getting off the grid (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Betty Pinson, Gwennedd

          I feel no obligation to subsidize the utility's business model.

          When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

          by Unbozo on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:14:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oklahoma tax (0+ / 0-)

          "Anyone living in Oklahoma planning to power their home using a rooftop solar panel will soon be charged a fee for the right to do that while still being connected to the local power grid."

          http://www.weather.com/...

          Absolutely senseless.

          •  PattyM - it actually makes a great deal of sense (0+ / 0-)

            Everyone who stays on the grid has to pay a portion of the building, improvement and maintenance of the grid. It's what has happened in Europe. If you don't charge a hefty monthly connection fee the cost of keeping the power grid in place falls disproportionately on the poor and middle class.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:36:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Make them non-profit, public utilities (0+ / 0-)

          Let the Wall Street investors find some other way to make a profit besides captive markets that exist for the public good.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:23:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are lots of municipal utility companies (0+ / 0-)

            The LA Dept of Water and Power is one of the largest. I wouldn't be surprised to see more government ownership of utilities.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:38:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cleveland Public Power (0+ / 0-)

              When then-mayor Dennis Kucinich fought the corporations who wanted to take it private, they forced the city into bankruptcy.  

              No, you won't see governments regain control of public utilities without a huge fight.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:42:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see why it has to be complicated. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan, Odysseus

        There's a variety of services related to power. People should be able to choose which ones they want and pay for those, and not be restricted or bundled.

        Want to generate your own power for your own use? Fine, do it, it shouldn't change anything else.

        Want to generate your own power to sell? Fine, do it, you should be able to sell it (so long as it meets whatever voltage/frequency/stability etc specs required) at a rate corresponding to the current net market rate for utility power delivered in your immediate vicinity. This will fluctuate significantly with time based on current supply and demand, and to a lesser degree, with location.

        Want to buy power? Fine, you should be able to buy it at, again, your current local rate.

        Want a connection to the grid? Fine, you should be able to purchase or lease the requisite connection, rather than having to have it bundled into a single "power bill" that gives power companies motive to hate people who generate their own power. You want a connection, you pay for the connection, and that's the end of that.

        Don't want a connection to the grid? Fine, it's nobody else's business.

        Want a battery backup? Fine, it's nobody else's business, so long as you meet code.

        Want to buy and sell through that backup? Fine, again, nobody else's business. Doesn't matter whether you're a commercial entity with a giant battery or someone's personal home backup or even their electric car, it's nobody else's damned business.

        Want to get privileged sales rates for solar power generation? Okay, but you have to be able to prove it, so you need a custom meter how much they're generating vs. how much they're consuming, and only the kilowatts generated in excess at any given point in time qualify for privileged rates.

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:10:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You plug you electric car into your personal grid (11+ / 0-)

      and take the power from it.

      When you get surplus power, you recharge your car.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:19:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, the point is not inexpensive storage. (25+ / 0-)

      The point is the survival of the planet and the species that live on it.

      What is the point of being rich or having cheap things when everything and everyone is dead? Further, what is the point of being rich when you are miserable? We need to stop looking at all this from a 19th century point of view where the only measurement for efficiency is purely monetary as in "inexpensive".

      There is no "standard of living" if we are all dead.

      "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

      by basquebob on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you, but VClib did not say (9+ / 0-)

        "the point", he said "the missing link" -- IOW, the last piece of the puzzle to make renewables a complete solution.

        Without that, getting the political will to save ourselves -- already a formidable problem -- may be out of reach. People will not give up reliable electricity no matter how certain they are of catastrophe down the road.

        Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

        by memiller on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:19:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's just a myth (26+ / 0-)

          With a smart grid, the need for storage is almost entirely obviated. They've found this out in Europe, where the neanderthals haven't had control over the various parliaments, so they've passed actual laws that promote and support the rapid conversion to renewables. What they've discovered, in the process, that the myth of massive storage needs is a myth. The wind is always blowing somewhere, and with the tall towers of modern windmills, even when there's little wind at ground level, there's often plenty of wind to generate power up where the blades are located.

          As for sun, it's a great replacement for methane based peaker plants. The less those plants have to spin up, the less methane (also called "natural" gas") the fossil fuel industry needs to extract from the ground.

          And ^------ that -------^  is the reason for all the propaganda against renewables.

          They threaten the profitability of fracking and other higher cost extraction methods, by cutting the amount of time the peaker plants have to run when the demand is greatest, and thus the prices charged are highest. Solar's biggest advantage (providing the most power when the demand is highest) is the fossil fuel industry's greatest threat. So they're throwing all the bullshit they can at the concept of renewables in the grid, in hopes that enough will stick to convince legislators to get in touch with their inner Oklahoma, and end subsidies for grid tied solar installations.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:18:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes... Totally. (7+ / 0-)

            Mothballing, stonewalling, lying, cheating, and going to war for these fuckers.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:50:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  rs - what the data shows is that the actual (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            peak power need is later in the afternoon and early evening as the sun starts to set and the solar yields start to decline. There is no doubt that rooftop solar provides power in the middle of a hot day, but on a utility wide basis distributed solar power has not had a material impact on peak capacity needed by the utilities.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:56:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Weeelllllll, yes and no. (14+ / 0-)

              With enough solar power, the midday peak gets mashed flat.  The pre-sunrise and sunset-to-bedtime peaks are considerably lower.  During the transition to renewable power, I imagine we'll burn some natural gas during those times.  

              OTOH, researchers at the University of Delaware, using actual, historical power demand and actual, historical wind and sun data, found that it was possible to cover demand using entirely renewables. http://www.udel.edu/...

              "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

              by Calamity Jean on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:46:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Always cool when a researcher you know (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tobendaro, JeffW, bartcopfan, FarWestGirl, BYw

                Gets cited outside of the immediate world of science.

              •  As utility scale storage and sophisticated power (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW, FarWestGirl

                management, become cheaper it will solve the problem of wind and solar not being 24/7/365 reliable sources of power. Here in CA utility scale solar facilities are being built with a sister natural gas fired plant to deal with the reliability and power management issues. At some point, those sister plants won't be needed.

                 

                "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                by VClib on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:13:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't see why they are needed now. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JeffW
                  Here in CA utility scale solar facilities are being built with a sister natural gas fired plant to deal with the reliability and power management issues. At some point, those sister plants won't be needed.
                  The nation is full of natural gas burning power plants that are already running 12 hours a day or more.  As solar and wind power is installed, it should cause some of those gas-fired turbines to be shut down.  If they aren't demolished (and they shouldn't be), they are available to re-light if the wind and solar aren't providing enough power at any particular time.  

                  "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

                  by Calamity Jean on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 05:18:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And they could run on biogas... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...when the fracked wells run permanently dry.

                    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

                    by JeffW on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 02:36:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The fracked wells will never run permanently (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JeffW

                      dry.  They could always be re-fracked to squeeze out another few BTU.  What will happen is that since fracking is an expensive process, biogas will become cheaper and natgas wells will be abandoned.  

                      Also, the turbines could be used so seldom that a cheaper way to fill in for power shortages will be found.  It will probably be some form of demand reduction.  

                      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

                      by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 02:51:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  true, (7+ / 0-)

          he did say missing link instead of the point. My apologies. However the argument is pretty much the same, monetary efficiency does not trump everything else. Also, no one is talking about giving up reliable electricity but what is it worth paying for it. Even carbon based energy will cost a lot more in a not so distant future and if we continue to consume it at current rates to save a few pennies today that future will be here a lot faster with the added calamity of more damage to the environment.

          "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

          by basquebob on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:16:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  or fast demand management. (3+ / 0-)

      if supply is going to be of lower quality,
      then you need lots more low quality demand.

    •  Storage Tech (8+ / 0-)

      Ambri says that they'll have their batteries ready for the market by 2016.  Other companies with other battery technologies are also getting ready to introduce their products to the market.  Germany is doing a pilot project of providing 4000 solar homes with batteries for what may be an islanding micro grid system.  

      Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh is going in a different direction.    They have been developing solar systems combined with biogas for microgrids in rural areas.  Farmers and shopkeepers providing lights and cooking gas for a few homes and stores.

      Solar income is income and there are many, many ways to make it pay economically.

    •  The advent of cheap storage - solar, plus storage, (15+ / 0-)

      plus power management - equivalent to the grid is almost here.

      Within 4-5 years, prices will have fallen to where it is cheaper to generate and store your own power.

      Cheaper than Grid Solar photo CheaperSolar05282014_Solar_Chartsreduced.jpg">

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've seen a house powered by solar and a shed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl, Betty Pinson

      full of regular old deep discharge batteries.
         At this point, what is stopping solar is the upfront cost.

    •  Where I Live (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gwennedd

      there's always either wind or sun.  Put me down for two so I can get off the grid.  I prefer wind to solar because it can work 24/7.  I REALLY hope this works!!!  Some of these gizmos get my hopes up and then I never hear about them again.

      Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

      by sendtheasteroid on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:09:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep (0+ / 0-)

      The super-capacitor is the missing link.  They have been working on them a few miles from here, for vehicular applications, because they weigh a lot less than lead-acid batteries, AND are almost 4 times more efficient than lead-acid.

      The only problem is making the transition from a lab item, ti a manufacturable item.  When a super capacitor fails while storing power, the entire thing turns into lava...  It just melts, and since it is ceramic and metal, that melt is pretty warm.

      20 years ago the super-storage system we were seeing promise with was the flywheel.  A company related to ours through it's VC funding source was developing small flywheel systems that could store several hundred kiilowatt hours of energy in one small flywheel the size of a PC, many many many times more energy than can be stored in a battery, and with twice the efficiency of the battery.  At the time I was under pressure from the VC company to switch my research from using battery to using flywheel...  But then it became known what the failure mode of the flywheels is...  A flywheel can store so much energy that it flys apart explosively, and destroys everything it it's vicinity...  So the flywheel systems must be burried in underground concrete bomb-proof bunkers, but only one flywheel per bunker, so massive power storage isn't overly practical that way...

      High temperature superconducting super capacitors are a possible nearly perfect storage system....  But any time you store energy, you must be able to withstand the potential damage of a failure in your storage system.

      Lead Acid batteries can explode or catch fire too, but they store so much less power, and it is stored chemically so it isn't free energy, so they tend to be a lot safer than any super-storage system tested so far.  If you can sequester energy chemically, or physically (as in lifting a weight on a chain) you have a far less volatile storage system, as compared to capacitors or flywheels.  

      The energy storage system I have not seen explored much is lifting weight.  I saw an application where water was pumped up hill to store energy, and allowed to drive a turbine to release the energy, and in that system the efficiency was far lower than battery due to friction.  Hundreds of years ago the first power storage system was created for clocks... The original clock "battery" was a weight on a chain, and later it was a wound spring.  The weight on a chain was very efficient, but it was not overly practical for large energy storage.

      But you are right, the only thing I would add is the word "efficient".  It has to be inexpensive AND efficient.

  •  Interesting idea (21+ / 0-)

    On a larger scale, the Invelox Wind Turbine seems to have promise as well.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:16:45 PM PDT

    •  Thanks Wayward Wind. I will check it out. (8+ / 0-)

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It looks interesting (5+ / 0-)

        I read an article about them in Focus (dead tree copy), but can't find a link to an online version of the article.

        Beyond quiet, the fact that they will work in winds as low as 3 kmh caught my eye.

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:00:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  what Invelox is: (16+ / 0-)

        In terms of the basic physics, it's like a large funnel and duct around a smaller set of turbine blades.  The efficiency gain comes from capturing wind over a larger area, and concentrating it into a smaller area of increased wind speed.  This should allow making use of wind turbines of smaller diameter, at a substantial cost savings.

        The device shown at the link is less efficient than it could be.  It is shown with the wind direction making complex turns as it goes through the vertical pipe and then the horizontal pipe.  But every change in direction of a fluid flow causes some amount of frictional loss of energy.  This is understandable in a test system, and would presumably be corrected in the final implementation.

        The more efficient way to use this would be:

        Place the capture funnels at the top of a tower (the higher you go, the higher the average wind speed).  Change the wind direction once only, to vertical, downward through a large pipe that gradually narrows toward the bottom. Install the wind turbine with a vertical axis at the narrow point in the pipe, then widen the pipe below the turbine.  At the bottom of the installation, allow the exhaust to escape vertically downward, and fence off a sufficient area that the ambient wind velocity of the diffused exhaust stream outside the fence is not a problem.

        Additional benefits of a system like this would be:

        The funnel assembly is not a heavy high-precision system in the manner of a conventional wind turbine nacelle.  Thus it should be easier to erect and assemble.  The turbine itself is located closer to the base, making it easier to service with a small crane rather than a specialized (expensive) tower erection crane.  A turbine on a vertical axis will have less wear on its bearings and power transmission gearing than one on a horizontal axis.  Also potentially less frictional loss in the gearing, thus slightly more energy output as electricity.  Wind overspeed damage is reduced: even if the funnel assembly gets torn off its mounting, replacing it is far less expensive than replacing a turbine nacelle.  A simpler design of foundation & mounting would be needed as compared to a system with a heavy nacelle at the top of a tower (wind pressure on the funnel will still be equivalent to that on a conventional turbine, but the leverage on the tower will not have the added inertial mass of a heavy nacelle to contend with).  Also, complex yaw controls are not needed: with the correct design of wind scoops at the top (scoop entrances facing all directions), wind would be harvested from any direction without need to rotate the scoops.

        So this gets a Yes in my book, though of course comparative empirical tests are the necessary standard.  The way to test this is to install a conventional turbine next to it, where the conventional turbine's swept blade circle is the same area as the funnel intake (that's the critical part of the test), and then measure the energy output of both turbines.  If this design is good, it should boost output by 10% to 20% compared to a conventional design.

        It will still need something to keep birds away from the intakes, as a bird that flies in will be caught in the concentrated wind flow and be unable to escape.  A brightly colored chain-link mesh may be sufficient for that purpose.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:46:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the economics will be poor most likely. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean, Keith Pickering

          it's a lot of material and footprint to get a
          small turbine running.

          •  small turbine is exactly the point. (5+ / 0-)

            Large wind turbines have slow rotor speeds plus gearing to spin the generators at high speeds.  

            A smaller turbine with a wind concentrator will have a higher rotor speed, which means less gearing to the generator.  

            Each of the above can theoretically convert an equivalent amount of wind into an equivalent amount of electricity.  

            The actual output depends on doing a bunch of engineering math that I'm frankly too lazy to do for the sake of a DK comment, but no doubt the designers of this thing did at some point.

            To use a rough analogy, you can pedal a bicycle with a given amount of effort.  That effort can be geared one way to rotate a large diameter wheel at a smaller number of RPMs, or it can be geared another way to rotate a smaller diameter wheel at a higher number of RPMs.  In both cases the effort of pedaling can be the same, and the road speed of the bicycle can be the same.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:28:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Um, (0+ / 0-)

              These are pumps, usually pumps are governed by
              Hub-Tip ratio and solidity factors.

              When I look at this I don't see a good H/T and
              the solidity is high.

              That high solidity probably helps it turn in low speed winds
              because it has a lot of sail area, but, it means it has a
              very poor output capacity in high wind conditions.

              If you look at a conventional Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine
              HAWT you see a big H/T and a low solidity number.
              that means that they will stall in winds below their design
              point but in higher winds they will crank out  megawatts.

              the amount of material needed in a HAWT is low and
              the blades are designed to work well in 80% of wind conditions.

              The Engineering optimization of pumps isn't my strong suit but I hang around pump designers.

              I've also seen a lot of people fall in love with whacky ideas
              without really doing the math on them.

            •  you seem fixated on gearing. (0+ / 0-)

              gearing is only needed if the generator is not designed
              for the fan speed.

            •  Theoretically size doesn't matter for generation, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, mwm341

              only cross-section... but for economics it has a huge impact. The cost per watt for setting up a small turbine, of pretty much any variety, versus for a large industrial-scale turbine is nearly an order of magnitude difference. That's why I shrug whenever I see any of these new home-scale turbines mentioned, the money would be vastly more efficiently spent on large-scale.

              Other problems: mounting on your house means you have to build the house stronger to withstand the increased wind load (the power comes from resisting wind, after all). Low winds are weaker than high winds even on open plains, and they're significantly weaker when there's obstructions, which are common in residential areas. It's a poor idea to mount a wind turbine less than double the height of the nearest obstructions (trees, etc), not just for the increased wind flow, but because obstructions make the winds turbulent, which means more stress on the turbine and whatever it's mounted to. To top it all off, low-altitude wind turbines tend to interfere significantly more with wildlife - you want your turbine high up and turning slowly, not some near-ground cuisinart.

              Industry has found an optimal economical size for wind turbines, and it's a couple MW for on-shore (offshore is still scaling up, but will probably work out to be a dozen or so MW; offshore has a higher fixed-cost per turbine for the footings and a lower transportation cost for large parts)

              The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

              by Rei on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:31:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, wind is a "go big or go home" technology. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rei
                The cost per watt for setting up a small turbine, of pretty much any variety, versus for a large industrial-scale turbine is nearly an order of magnitude difference. That's why I shrug whenever I see any of these new home-scale turbines mentioned, the money would be vastly more efficiently spent on large-scale.
                Backyard windmills make almost no sense.

                -7.75 -4.67

                "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                There are no Christians in foxholes.

                by Odysseus on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:47:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

            1. Much easier to service
            The moving parts are all ground level.

            2. Scales better with wind cross-section.
            Capturing a larger cross-section of wind does not require more moving parts - just more funnel cross-section.

            3. Doesn't require turbines to rotate with wind.
            That simplifies the the turbines and makes them cheaper.

            "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

            by nosleep4u on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:08:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I seem to remember that this particular design (0+ / 0-)

          got debunked, or maybe it was that manufacturer. I could be wrong.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
          ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

          by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:50:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Check out the Helical ‘Wind Wandler’ Turbine (0+ / 0-)

        "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

        by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ugly as sin.. (0+ / 0-)

      and massive.. not meant for personal use, it seems.

      And.. I bet it sucks in birds like crazy!

    •  I like these guys... (2+ / 0-)

      http://www.google.com/...

      They get a 90% reduction in materials by not building towers; their materials are costlier, but they achieve a 50% reduction in manufacturing costs and associated financing costs; they come close to double the capacity factor for a traditional turbine at the same location; massively expand the wind map, and maintenance on the turbine can be done at ground level.

      •  Tethered systems are cool (0+ / 0-)

        but tethering has it's own issues. Airspace among them - that puts limits on locating such systems near urban areas.

        In rural areas, they might be the way to go.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:15:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That takes care of western Kansas! (5+ / 0-)

    And of course the Netherlands. Not sure where it leaves the rest of us, but it does seem very promising.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:22:13 PM PDT

  •  AW CRAP. (24+ / 0-)

    That's another design I should've thought of!!

    See here's another case of progress stumbling along overlooking things that could've been developed much earlier. With a generator this is 19th century technology. The nautilus wheel could've been built pre Bible.

    Probably is. It's almost an Archimedes screw.

    Sailing yachts have been carrying solar panels and propeller style wind generators all my life. This nautilus style looks like it would be preferable to a propeller on a boat, provided a compact foldup construction is used.

    Say I wonder if this is being /could be used for water turbine generation. There might be applications where it would be preferable to more common turbine designs; maybe crud filled water, 3rd world situations??

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:31:29 PM PDT

  •  Interesting, but average household (9+ / 0-)

    electrical consumption is over 11,000 kWh/year, not 1500, at least in the US.

    Anybody read enough German or Dutch to make sense of the data on the company's website?

  •  This is very exciting-I wish I could get one :) nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Mary Mike

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:33:47 PM PDT

  •  Way cool! (21+ / 0-)

    What I like most is that it is visible throughout it's entire cycle.
    Unlike a blade type turbine where the blade is only in a particular place for a very short time, moving at high speed, birds can't see it, can't predict when the next blade will be there.
    This thing is always there as it spins, birds can see it from a distance and will avoid running into it.
    I would like to see a wind turbine used to pump water up into a tower. That would store the intermittent energy in a form that could be used on demand.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:35:59 PM PDT

    •  Excellent point, I hadn't thought of this angle. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, G2geek, xaxnar, YucatanMan

      A big improvement.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:49:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would have to be one hell of a tower! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris

      1500 W (the average consumption chez codairem) times 1 day divided by g (acceleration of gravity) equals 13 million m*kg.  So I'd need a tower 13 m (40ft) high and with a capacity of 1000 tons in order to store enough energy for a day.

      It may be possible, but even an inefficient battery is way smaller and way cheaper to build and maintain, as well as more environmentally friendly.  Chemical energy is just so much more compact that mechanical energy.

      Great insight about the birds, though!

      •  But do you need to store a whole day's worth? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, orlbucfan, trumpeter

        Don't you just need to store enough for when both 1) the sun is not shining sufficiently, and 2) the wind is not blowing sufficiently?

        I'm not arguing for what is more practical, but with a combined system, you might not need a full day's storage. With solar and wind generator, I'd bet you'd get a portion of every day's energy already.  

        It's been 40 years since I last did the physics calculations for this calculation, so I'll take your word for it. ;-)

        Micro-generators can create quite a bit of power. It seems like 1000 tons of falling water is far more power than I use daily, but what do I know? ;-)

        Plus, here's an interesting link!

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:52:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  One of the first things I thought of. It appears (3+ / 0-)

      to be a solid at all times, so birds would see to avoid it.

      That alone is worth applause.  I wonder how much these can be scaled up?  I guess more time and research will tell!

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:47:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now we have to make them legally (15+ / 0-)

    available in CA without having to ransom your right to use them from PG&E, Con Ed, or whoever.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 07:20:11 PM PDT

  •  what is the diameter of the device? (5+ / 0-)

    it looks to be about 3m, tops. Thus it sweeps about 7 square meters, density of air is 1.2 kg per cubic meter, and stated speed for 1500 W was 5m/s (cubed is 125). Multiplying all this together and dividing by 2 (energy is equal to 1/2 the density times the swept area times the cube of the wind speed) gets us to 525 W, and that's assuming it captures all of the energy of the moving air (not probable - see Betz' law, for example). Modern wind turbines are about 30% efficient. If the device is much larger than 3 m diameter (and it appears that this is indeed the case), the material intensity of its construction makes it a non-starter, IMO. It's cute, however...

  •  I think one should read the comments on treehugger (4+ / 0-)

    before deciding whether this is a good or a bad idea.

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:14:48 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, good catch. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rarely comments, LookingUp

      I think the skeptics are correct on this one.

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:07:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have to question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Forward is D not R, orlbucfan

      The motives of these wind power skeptic commenters.  The science and economics of wind power are well documented.  The person who wants to see wind power discredited is usually the same person who wants to see nuclear power ascendant  (there is no third choice between renewable and nuclear power).  It's time for people of good conscience to start working for a decentralized power grid.  Bravo for this new product, and this diary.

      •  My motivation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        charliehall2

        is to decarbonize the grid as rapidly and as cheaply as possible. What's yours?

        Wind is great, as long as grid penetration remains low. I'm all for it -- up to a point. But when you get to the curtailment point, wind is no longer as cheap as nuclear. The owners of wind turbines will figure that out on windy days when we get wholesale price collapse, and they're forced to shut down their turbines (on the windiest days of the year) or give away their product for free.

        It's hard to see anyone investing in wind turbines in that kind of economic environment.

        And let's face it, distributed generation is great if you're a landowner and have extra capital to spread around. If you're poor and urban, a decentralized grid amounts to "I've got mine, screw you." That's not a progressive value in my book.

        We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

        by Keith Pickering on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 10:05:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a lot of non-progressive thinking here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Keith Pickering

          Lots of folks just want to screw the utilities -- which in my part of the country provide good jobs with good benefits to unionized workers. And fracked natural gas has resulted in better air quality in the poorest NYC neighborhoods along with lower electricity rates for all of us, so we can afford to run our air conditioners -- which will become more and more necessary as global warming continues.

  •  what The Archimedes is: (9+ / 0-)

    If this system works as well as claimed, it's probably due to the surface area of the blade system.  Conventionally, the electricity output of a wind turbine increases as a function of the swept blade circle: larger-diameter turbines are much more efficient than smaller-diameter ones.

    The Archimedes design packs a large surface area into a smaller diameter.  The semicircular cross-section of the blades may also be of benefit by capturing wind in a 3-dimensional volume of air, rather than in a 2-dimensional plane as a conventional turbine does: by analogy, eating soup is more efficient with a deeper spoon rather than a shallower spoon of same plan area.

    (gotta go, back to work for me)

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:46:06 PM PDT

  •  From the original post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, catwho

    A Dutch company cased The Archimedes has developed a small, highly efficient, and silent rooftop wind energy generator called the Liam1, which it claims could generate half the power a typical house would need, and which they say would be ideal for combining with solar rooftop PV panels.

    Could I just install two of these?

    gary

    •  You could, but it wouldn't power your house (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Wizard, charliehall2, LookingUp

      1) According to the manufacturer, one will make "up to" 1500 kWh/yr, which is about 15% of an average US household use.

      2) But this is calculated at an thoroughly unrealistic 5 m/s average wind speed (12 mph)

      3) And from comments pointed out by Villabolo above, there are strong reasons to believe that at least some of the claims are fudged.

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:15:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You need to mix solar and wind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bartcopfan

      and a modest amount of storage and/or grid tie.

      Wind is often blowing when sun is setting or rising, for example. Lots of complementarity, but not complete. Thus need for some time-shifting via battery or other storage, and/or using grid to sell your surplus and pull in during your deficits.

      #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

      by ivote2004 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:03:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  construction looks like a lot of work but maybe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beanbagfrog

    they figured something out

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 09:22:54 PM PDT

  •  This is hope for me, as trees block the sun, here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall2
  •  I wonder how large these blades can be made? (0+ / 0-)
  •  I want a VAWT here in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    Yes, in Ohio.  Now, the state as a whole isn't all that hot for wind power, but there's this little place here in mid-Northern Ohio right on Lake Erie where I live that routinely scores from 7 to the upper 8's out of 10.

    It far outdistances most of the rest of the state for wind power, and there's clear, unobstructed access to that wind from the top of my roof for a VAWT.

    Plus there's a rich tradition here.  The first commercial wind power system was installed in neighboring Cleveland in 1887, and this local NASA research center developed the first modern wind turbine design in the 1980's.

    Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:44:29 PM PDT

  •  Interseting thought, but if you are selling your (0+ / 0-)

    surplus back, then it would seem you're using the grid to one extent or another.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:56:27 PM PDT

  •  That is really neat technology. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beanbagfrog, ivote2004, TofG

    I live in an area with a good sun exposure, and pretty reliable wind.  With battery technology improving also, I might be able to make an investment and go off-grid.

    "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

    by Delta Overdue on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:58:16 PM PDT

  •  Turbulence due to trees and buildings (0+ / 0-)

    greatly reduces the efficiency of household windmills and shortens their lifespans. Wind tunnel tests probably do not reproduce real-life application. Notice that the field tests are out in the open. Someone who is fluent in the engineering of wind power devices please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see how this device overcomes the usual problems with small-scale, household wind power.

  •  I'm so happy to see wind power featured (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, BlueDragon, orlbucfan

    If it takes a sexy new design to get people's attention, so be it.  The clock is really ticking on replacing fossil fuels.  

    (Nuclear power is not an option because of its centralizing, anti-democratic nature.)

  •  We are winning. (7+ / 0-)

    Decentralization of power and power generation is unleashing so many innovations in solar, wind, and other renewables.

    Meanwhile, here's the flip side, courtesy of Greenpeace Canada:

    Total blow to tar sands development: big victory for environment
    Blogpost by Mike Hudema - May 30, 2014 at 12:34

    Yesterday, the environment and communities directly affected by the tar sands won big!

    Total E&P, a major tar sands company, which is also a confirmed shipper for the proposed and now delayed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, announced it would put on hold indefinitely its plans for its massive tar sands Joslyn mine. The company said the economics for the $11 billion plan simply no longer added up.  

    To understand how big this victory is, over its lifetime, the Joslyn tar sands mine would have pumped hundreds of millions of metric tons of carbon pollution into the air. That’s equivalent to putting 2.4 million cars on the road every year for 45 years, according to Oil Change International. In addition, the mine would have produced 12.5 billion litres of toxic tailings every year - enough to fill 100 sports stadiums - and would have produced 874 million barrels of bitumen over its life span.

    The shelving of Joslyn means every year, based on annual peak capacity, we keep the equivalent carbon emissions of 2.4 million cars off the road, prevent 12.5 billion litres of toxic tailings from being dumped into the environment, and keep 36.5 million barrels of tar sands crude in the ground. Not to mention preventing the other impacts to health, Treaty rights, and communities that tar sands development causes.

    This announcement also severely undercuts oil industry arguments that the expansion of tar sands development is unavoidable. In fact, there is clear and compelling evidence that the growth of the tar sands industry is directly linked to the availability of pipelines like Keystone XL.  It is why the State Department must reject tar sands pipeline projects like Keystone XL because it would directly enable the growth of the carbon polluting tar sands industry.

    It also shows just how shaky tar sands economics can be.

    NRDC put it this way:

    “Overall, the tar sands industry is facing multiple economic challenges.  It is currently facing rising labor costs and shortages of workers as well as a significant discount for the low grade tar sands oil.  Industry has behind closed doors complained of how economically marginal it is to develop tar sands projects."

    These factors, combined with limited avenues for tar sands pipelines - favored by industry as far less expensive than rail – have made tar sands production more risky.
    Total E&P CEO Andre Goffart confirmed this challenge for the entire tar sands industry.

    “As a general comment, I would say that Joslyn is facing the same challenge as most of the industry worldwide in the sense that costs are continuing to inflate when the oil price and specifically the netbacks for the oilsands are stable at best, squeezing the margins,” Goffart said.”

    If you add to these shaky economic conditions the fact that the world needs to start taking robust action to combat the growing climate crisis, tar sands economics go from bad to worse. Many tar sands projects will simply be left stranded.

    The fact Total couldn't find a workable economic formula should be a warning sign to the Alberta and Canadian governments that they need to diversify Alberta's economy and job force rather than betting the farm on a high carbon asset the world may soon turn away from.

    So please take some time today to celebrate that the environment and local communities have been saved from further destruction and let’s keep working to ensure that even more tar sands stays in the ground because our future, and many directly affected communities present, depends on it.

    ((Posting more than 3 paragraphs because author wants to get this good news distributed widely.))

    #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

    by ivote2004 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:58:03 AM PDT

    •  Its the economics, stupid. ;) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, orlbucfan

      #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

      by ivote2004 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So how much does one of these babies cost? (0+ / 0-)

        Considering it generates ~ $250 worth of electricity a year, hopefully not more than $2,000 or so . . . . .

        •  Like all tech innovations (0+ / 0-)

          that have zero fuel cost and lots of R&D to recoup, the price starts high and drops and drops and drops.

          As they come down the learning curve, the only form of energy production this will be unable to compete with is solar PV, which inherently has an even better curve (no moving parts, solid state, no fundamental lower limit on the amount of material required, etc)

          But solar and wind are inherently complementary, since they are most productive at different times, so there is great opportunity for this and innovations like this.

          #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

          by ivote2004 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:54:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I have since googled the topic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ivote2004

            and see that any number of wind turbines for home use are already on the market.

            Some of them quite reasonably priced (e.g., <$2K).

            Not sure why they're not catching on - perhaps recalcitrant HOAs, or maybe some of the reservations being raised in this discussion are "real"

            •  "Catching on" is relative, and snowballs over time (0+ / 0-)

              +the sound issue could be a big factor in favor of this Archimedes innovation.

              #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

              by ivote2004 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:21:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  If we build all electric tractors and harvesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    machines,
    and put rail sidings out to all big farms,
    and to all big supermarkets,
    and put in the third rail in the railroads,
    so the trains are electric trains,
    if we do all that,
    then our wonderful wind and solar
    will feed us.

    I predict
    we will not do any of that,
    and when the oil runs out,
    the diesel fuel runs out,
    the tractors and harvesting machines stop,
    the trucks stop,
    the trains stop,
    and 300 million Americans starve and die.

    At least ten million Americans
    will survive,
    by hunting and fishing and farming.

    Farming without diesel fuel.

    This will happen around 2050,
    as I state in my sig line.

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:12:35 AM PDT

  •  Have the former coal miners make these in WV (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, stagemom, orlbucfan, Odysseus

    If Manchin really cared about the people of WV he would find a way to stop coal mining as a human occupation, so awful what we ask these men to do.

    get them above ground at least, making turbines or solar panels....coal is crazy, crazy to keep defending it

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:39:43 AM PDT

  •  love it!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    this type of decentralized innovation makes the Koch earth rapists very unhappy campers.

  •  1,500 kWH is not half... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon, charliehall2

    ...of a typical household's electricity consumption, at least not here in Massachusetts.  The average household here uses about 8,500 kWH annually, and in my line of work (I sell solar power systems) I've seen much larger bills for all-electric households.

  •  I'm thinking the Oklahoma and WV state leg. will (0+ / 0-)

    outlaw this technology, explaining it's a War on Coal!

  •  Wind power is a weird group of economies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, Odysseus, bartcopfan

    A nearby private power company put up a wind turbine farm about 30 miles South of us. They caved in to Federal regulatory requirements about the move to renewables.

    Local media coverage indicates that the project has already astounded the executives and stockholders. The return on investment is faster, larger, and less costly to maintain than any of their projections indicated.

    It works unexpectedly well.

    The company did not need the power, but had to begin meeting the renewable percentage requirements. Now, they sell the electricity into the grid and make bigger profits.

    We belong to an electrical cooperative (originally a Rural Electrification Agency function) that is "said to be" nonprofit and does not "own" any generating capacity. The power is bought off the grid.

    At the last 3 annual meetings, the executives and the board members have chosen to fight the Federal definitions of renewable energy, and these rightwingnutjobz are taking a hardline against wind, solar, and biologic generation. Their idiotic politics and stupid affiliation with our moran of a congress crittur has poisoned their minds with Neo-luddite drivel.

    Hilariously, a great deal of the energy on the regional grid that the co-op buys from originates at the nearby wind farm and another far larger one about 120 miles away.

    Change is coming.

    We're all just working for Pharaoh.

    by whl on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:58:29 AM PDT

  •  I live in a windy area. I want one! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:50:40 AM PDT

  •  Good find and it looks like this would (0+ / 0-)

    work wonders on residential housing.  I wonder how it would stand up to strong winds.

  •  I want one (0+ / 0-)

    I need it to be:
    --efficient...wind speed of 5 meters /sec = 11 mph, and better than the ones that look like a vertical corkscrew
    --quiet...OK
    --bird friendly...maybe
    --sturdy...when hit by a 3 lb. gull
    --salt water corrosion proof...we'll see
    --not too obnoxious looking
    --pays for itself in electricity bill savings

    We need the electrical companies to lease renewable sources to customers as one way to keep the companies financially viable.  I'd pay a reasonable lease fee for PV panels and a wind turbine.  I'm willing to pay a connection fee to stay on the grid.  I could put power into the grid when the wind blows and the sun shines, and take power from the grid at other times.  I want the grid; I don't want my own battery storage.

  •  T and R even though I'm having (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Waimer

    to translate a bunch of engineering speak. LOL

    Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

    by orlbucfan on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:58:08 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:59:08 AM PDT

  •  I'm no scientist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    ...nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently, so have mercy for what I'm about to ask.

    Could small wind turbines like this be used to power or recharge electric vehicles (or their batteries)?  Or at least in a supplemental role?

    I'm thinking the drag created would mess up the aerodynamics and cancel out any gains, but what if you positioned them in locations that already do that, like the side view mirrors cars/trucks, or on large vehicles that already have almost no aerodynamic qualities like busses, RVs, trains, etc?

    •  Yes, you'd almost think that they (or at least (0+ / 0-)

      one) could be mounted on the roof of a car.

      And generate energy from the air flow as the car moves (as any dog will tell you, the "wind" can be substantial).

      It almost sounds like a perpetual motion machine in fact (and to think that they told me in school that such things were not possible!)

  •  Great Idea and execution (0+ / 0-)

    Naturally there are ALEC members busily writing legislation banning their use wherever there is wind and houses. WHy do you suppose that the only time the VERTICAL windmills sprouting up all over Europe have never been shown except in the background of the Tour De France live helicopter footage? WHen I googled it I was flooded with bogus "scientific" explanations as to why the world was not ready for wind power and why it was physically impossible to generate much power with wind.... especially with non-propeller types of turbines. Really? THen why was there such an effort to prevent oil-drum turbines from being allowed 25 years ago? Notice it is Europe and Korea doing this development because their Universities are not stifled by Corporate dullards. We will be buying solar and Wind equipment from everywhere but here. And I do want fries with that will be our mantra.

  •  Looks bird friendly too (0+ / 0-)

    I like it

  •  Apparently, Captain Jack Sparrow likes it. (0+ / 0-)

    There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 01:39:43 PM PDT

  •  I'd been having a feeling that there would be a (0+ / 0-)

    big jump in wind turbine design soon, this looks fantastic!

    The start speed is a bit high, but I'm very glad to hear about this, thanks, Hound Dog

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:25:12 PM PDT

  •  Oh boy! (0+ / 0-)

    The Koch brothers, et al, sure won't like this. We must keep creating new avenues for green energy so that we can free ourselves of the dirty energy monopolies.

    If you like bicycles, check out the newest and coolest products at my site, "ZiggyboyBullet.com." You can also find my products at e-Bay under the name, "Ziggyboy." See all the products on my "See seller's other items" link.

    by JohnnieZ on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:26:45 PM PDT

  •  Wind Turbines (0+ / 0-)

    From their configuration, it seems, it will be safer for birds.

  •  Anybody (0+ / 0-)

    know if these are available in the USA yet?

  •  Silent Running (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you Viktor Schaumberger!

  •  Wildly Wrong Stated Annual Energy Consumption (0+ / 0-)
    The company states that the Liam F1 turbine could generate 1,500 kWh of energy per year at wind speeds of 5m/s, enough to cover half of an average household's energy use.

    The average household uses far more than 1500 KWh per year. In fact the average US household uses about 1.5 KW average throughout the year, across the 8766 hours in a year. That's 13149 KWh a year, which is 4.33 times what this company claims is half a household's consumption. American homes consume on average more than say average Dutch or most other countries' average homes, but not 4.33 times as much.

    If they're lying/mistaken about their primary benefit, the whole project is suspect.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 01:16:28 AM PDT

  •  I like those turbines, quiet and they look like (0+ / 0-)

    they won't kill any birds or bats.

  •  Since so many people have commented on the music.. (0+ / 0-)

    .... Starting at about half a minute in, there are two minutes from the Pirates of the Caribbean score. Seems appropriate for wind energy.

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