Thursday, February 7, 2013

On Power Density

Here are the stats (from Robert Bryce's book, "Power Hungry"), folks. A large nuclear power facility - 56 Watts per square meter.......An average sized American natural gas well - 53 Watts per square meter.......An oil stripper well producing approximately 10 barrels per day - 27 Watts per square meter.......Solar PV - 6.7 Watts per square meter.......An average sized wind turbine - 1.2 Watts per square meter.......A biomass-fueled power plant - 0.4 Watts per square meter.......Corn ethanol - 0.05 Watts per square meter. To say that these so-called green forms of energy are somehow going to be major players any time soon is a delusion (solar easily being the best of the sorry lot)......................................................................................And this doesn't even take into account the element of resource intensity; the raw materials and energy that are required in order to get these power sources up and functioning. According to Per Peterson, a professor in the nuclear engineering department at Cal Berkeley, when you take into account the capacity factor of wind turbines (all of which require coal-fired backup), each megawatt of wind power requires 870 cubic meters of concrete and 460 tons of steel. Contrast that to a nuclear power plant which requires 90 cubic meters of concrete and 40 tons of steel (90% less and 89% less, respectively). That's a massive difference................................................................................So, the bottom-line here is that wind turbines are a low power density source of energy that a) take up copious amounts of land and b) require a massive amount of material (the vast majority of which will be created by coal-fired plants!) in order to get started. Green shmeen.

13 comments:

dmarks said...

No arguments here. If these matters were left to the free market and what made sense, there'd be a fraction of the wind turbines we have now. A few, but hardly any.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The Kennedys and Walter Kronkite made a big deal about windmills being built 5 miles off of Hyannis but didn't make a sound when they started chopping down beautiful trees in the Alleghenies to build them there. That pretty much says it all to me.

Roberto Severino said...

This makes perfect sense, though the dogmatic Green Party member or super environmentalist Democrat politician would dismiss any of these findings as pseudoscience and continue to peddle exaggerated claims about how wind turbines are going to become a main source of energy in the future.

Ronald Reagan's birthday was the other day. What do you think about him as a president? To me, he seems fairly overrated and by the sounds of it, he was also a deficit president but emphasized what was called supply-side economics at the time, which some would say is basically just Keynesian economics focused on tax cuts, etc. or heavily rooted in Keynesianism. The Wikipedia page says that it was basically a reaction to what happened in the 1970s after neo-Keynesianism went out of favor.

The Republicans I have seen online think Reagan was the greatest Republican president ever. I think Barry Goldwater should have deserved that title if he had been elected to be honest. The infusion of the religious right with neoconservatism was one of the worst things to have ever happened to the Republican Party, and we have clearly seen that over the past decade.

dmarks said...

I think Lincoln was the best Republican president.

dmarks said...

Will said: "The Kennedys and Walter Kronkite made a big deal about windmills being built 5 miles off of Hyannis"

Yeah, that was one of the worst examples of NIMBY. Wonder what was with it? They blocked the view less than, say, sailboats a half mile out. Did they want to ban those too?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Reagan I give about a B/B-. He did a great job at bringing down inflation, interest rates, and unemployment and his work with Gorbachev was virtuosic. But there was also the savings and loan fiasco, the Lebanon bombing, Iran-Contra, and like Roberto says, the deficits.......Favorite Republican President for me would probably have to be Ike. 8 years of mostly peace and prosperity, the interstate highway system, his speech on the Military Industrial Complex, and underrated on civil rights.

BB-Idaho said...

Ike will continue to rise as future history is written. Heck,
even I had an 'I Like Ike' button.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Ike was kind of like the James Monroe of the 20th Century. Neither man had a serious crisis to contend with (and, hence, neither one of them had that majestic moment) but sometimes avoiding the crisis is the better way to go.......I think that Ford was a good man, too.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Oh, and, Clinton, a lot of people think that he was a secret Republican.

Roberto Severino said...

Ah! I forgot all about Ike. He seems very underrated to me and I'm surprised people don't bring him up as often as he should. I liked that Reagan had Milton Friedman as one of his advisors, but I think people who are opposed to austerity and don't like anything related to laissez-faire or tax cuts use that as vitriol against him.

BB-Idaho said...

Don't know about Monroe, but Eisenhower dealt with some 'proto-crises'..Suez invasion, Hungarian uprising, Little Rock. IMO, any of these could have exploded had not
the admin been proactive and pre-emptive.
"“He knew what his principles were,” says Nichols. “He knew what he wanted. He couldn’t predict what would happen. But he believed that you should plan like mad, not because the plans will work, but because you will be so disciplined that when something unexpected happens you will keep your head when everybody else is going nuts.” It was a slow process, and one that many inside and outside Eisenhower’s administration found frustrating. “There was no democracy in National Security Council meetings,” says Nichols. Eisenhower listened, then he decided. And at the end of his second term, Eisenhower was able to say “we kept the peace” because of the tough decisions he had made. “People ask how it happened,” said Eisenhower. “By God, it didn’t just happen.”
-Nichols 'Eisenhower 1956'
..SCHAEF command was a good training ground...perhaps better than law school.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I also like how he refused to bail out the French in Vietnam. That was a hit (the Iranian situation obviously a miss).

dmarks said...

Ike did keep Iran from becoming a Soviet colony, and of course from the extermination of a noticable percent of the population which is a common hallmark of the imposition of socialist rule.