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  #1  
Old 03-28-2009, 04:40 PM
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Some inconvenient truths for alternative energy.

These excerpts from a speech by an Exxon-Mobile exec. I don't care what personal hatred you may feel for Exxon-Mobile, but its their job to know the truth about energy. Their investors depend on them to know all about energy, both consumption and resources: (Bold added by me for emphasis.)

Yet as energy fuels development, this development in turn results in new energy demand. In the years to come, growing populations and increasing prosperity in nations such as India and China will drive energy usage to ever greater heights. As a result by the year 2030 – less than twenty-five years from now – the world’s energy needs will be almost 40 per cent greater than they were last year.

Over the next 25 years, some renewable energy options, such as wind and solar energy, are expected to experience strong growth. But most experts agree that even so, emerging renewables like wind, solar and biofuels will still only contribute about 2 per cent of the world’s total energy needs in 2030. This reflects the massive and growing scale and scope of the energy industry.

So it will be conventional energy sources – oil, natural gas and coal – that we will depend upon to meet 75 to 80 per cent of the world’s energy needs through 2030.

The resources are available. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Earth was endowed with more than three trillion barrels of conventional recoverable oil resources. When we take into account non-conventional forms of oil, such as heavy oil and shale oil, we estimate that the resource base rises to over four trillion barrels of oil.

Consider that in the entire history of the oil industry, we have collectively produced just one trillion barrels and you can see that resources are adequate for the foreseeable future.

end of excerpt.

This forecast takes into account the massive new spending on wind and solar. Even with that growth, they will only supply about 2% of the world's energy needs.
Conventional gas and coal will have to supply the bulk of the world's energy for the foreseeable future.
Nuclear, as in the French model, may provide some relief.

All this to say that those of you who actually believe that solar and wind power will have any measurable effect on the world's energy situation over the next 20+ years are deluding yourselves If you want to get off of Middle East Oil, the only practical, short term alternative is nuclear. Find a way to mitigate the problems with nuclear, and you will perform great service to mankind.
If you are opposed to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear, what are your solutions? Do you really think that there are any alternate solutions that can deliver the amount of energy required?

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Old 03-28-2009, 04:54 PM
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Your assumption in this is that we will continue to use energy such that those forecasts are accurate, and that we are well served by that energy use.

Nuclear has its own problems. New reports are coming out that 3 Mile Island had worse effects than were reported.

Eventually, the upward trends of energy usage and population growth will change. No way around it. How we manage that is the biggie. Getting further and further out on the limb is not an answer.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:26 PM
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Reduce consumption. Many, many ways to accomplish this, not least of which involves a reorienting of priorities and lifestyle.

While I am not delusional about the contribution that alternative sources will make given today's technology, I do believe that unexpected breakthroughs will likely occur as a result of the increase in research.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:07 PM
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It is a valid assumption because the only way for consumption to go down OVERALL is for the per capita consumption to drop at a greater rate that the population is growing. With a growing and expanding economy, consumption will ALWAYS go up. The bottom line is as technology goes forward, you have to pay for it somehow, both in resource consumption and other ways.

Nuclear is the only viable alternative on a scale big enough to make a difference. The effects of TMI are irrelevant, more people die from aspirin each year than ever dies due to nuclear issues.



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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
Your assumption in this is that we will continue to use energy such that those forecasts are accurate, and that we are well served by that energy use.

Nuclear has its own problems. New reports are coming out that 3 Mile Island had worse effects than were reported.

Eventually, the upward trends of energy usage and population growth will change. No way around it. How we manage that is the biggie. Getting further and further out on the limb is not an answer.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:08 PM
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True, and the incentive for forward research in any area hinges on the ability to have economic incentives, which primarily are tax incentives. Obama is getting ready to screw with those next....

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Originally Posted by JonL View Post
Reduce consumption. Many, many ways to accomplish this, not least of which involves a reorienting of priorities and lifestyle.

While I am not delusional about the contribution that alternative sources will make given today's technology, I do believe that unexpected breakthroughs will likely occur as a result of the increase in research.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
It is a valid assumption because the only way for consumption to go down OVERALL is for the per capita consumption to drop at a greater rate that the population is growing. With a growing and expanding economy, consumption will ALWAYS go up. The bottom line is as technology goes forward, you have to pay for it somehow, both in resource consumption and other ways.

Nuclear is the only viable alternative on a scale big enough to make a difference. The effects of TMI are irrelevant, more people die from aspirin each year than ever dies due to nuclear issues.
1. The population on the planet is arguably unsustainable and should shrink, as difficult as that would be for capitalism to deal with. (This does not mean that I believe there is a better system, but I recognize that capitalism really only works when there is growth.)

2. I don't accept that a growing economy necessarily means growing consumption. As an example, the economy could easily grow even if every automobile achieved 40+ MPG, which is entirely practical.

3. It is hard to accept the argument about annual deaths from nuclear issues when every bit of nuclear waste created this year will be a potential lethal threat for... what, about 1200 generations to come?

If it weren't for the pesky problem of nuclear waste being forever (in all practical terms), I'd be a reluctant supporter. Reluctant because nothing is foolproof, but I do believe the risks of accidents can be managed. I do not believe the risks of 25,000 years of storage can be managed.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:32 PM
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energy

I believe the only way to satisfy the energy demands of the future is the nuclear power plant.

In the 60-odd years since the first use of atomic energy to bomb a citizenry into submission, we have found ways to use such energy for good and peaceful means. As an science-based society it amazes me that by now I don't have a basketball sized reactor buried under my house providing all the heat and electrical power I need. To take it a step further, a softball sized reactor under the hood of my car could provide an inexhaustable heat source for an automotive steam engine. Unsafe you say? Baloney. The U.S. Navy has had tens of thousands of sailors living within feet of nuclear reactors ever since the 60's.

The problems are surmountable, we need cooling for the reactor and waste disposal or at least storage until dissipation. As a first cut it is possible to load the stuff into big dumb rockets and fire them into the sun.

I guess I expect a lot of howls of outrage or laughter at my attitudes but they are mine.

Last edited by rocky raccoon; 03-28-2009 at 08:35 PM. Reason: correct spelling
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:52 PM
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An inconvenient truth about Exxon-Mobil

Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
These excerpts from a speech by an Exxon-Mobile exec. I don't care what personal hatred you may feel for Exxon-Mobile, but its their job to know the truth about energy. Their investors depend on them to know all about energy, both consumption and resources: (Bold added by me for emphasis.)
What a surprise, an oil exec claiming oil is the only answer. Didn't see THAT one coming. Their investors count on them to continue posting record profits, and that's what they are going to do as long as we all see oil as the only answer. If people and corporations became more committed to energy reduction and personal generation of power, we could take a huge bite out of our consumption. My goal is to have an energy producing home within 10 years. Oh, and to continue to defend ANWR against greedy oil.

And Rocky Raccoon, I'm with you on nuclear.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocky raccoon View Post
I believe the only way to satisfy the energy demands of the future is the nuclear power plant.

In the 60-odd years since the first use of atomic energy to bomb a citizenry into submission, we have found ways to use such energy for good and peaceful means. As an science-based society it amazes me that by now I don't have a basketball sized reactor buried under my house providing all the heat and electrical power I need. To take it a step further, a softball sized reactor under the hood of my car could provide an inexhaustable heat source for an automotive steam engine. Unsafe you say? Baloney. The U.S. Navy has had tens of thousands of sailors living within feet of nuclear reactors ever since the 60's.
Do you believe the general population to be as well trained, disciplined, and safety conscious as US Navy nuclear vessel crews?
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:02 PM
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Have you priced a nuclear sub lately? Makes a McLaren look cheap. Sorry, nuclear may "work" for power plants and submarines, but it really isn't practical for small distributed or mobil applications.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:06 PM
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Have you priced a nuclear sub lately? Makes a McLaren look cheap. Sorry, nuclear may "work" for power plants and submarines, but it really isn't practical for small distributed or mobil applications.
Yet.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:33 PM
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Yet.
Fusion, maybe someday. Fission... never (imo).
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JonL View Post

If it weren't for the pesky problem of nuclear waste being forever (in all practical terms), I'd be a reluctant supporter. Reluctant because nothing is foolproof, but I do believe the risks of accidents can be managed. I do not believe the risks of 25,000 years of storage can be managed.
I don't necessairly disagree with what you've stated previously but question why if tech/research can lead to breakthroughs in alt energy efficiencies, why you feel the same can't/won't help solve nuclear waste/storage too?
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:44 PM
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Concerning nuclear waste: From dust ye came, unto dust ye shall return.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:58 PM
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Yeah the French proved that nuclear is a not an option....

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