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Jeff Wexler

I'm going SOLAR!

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What can i say - and it's hotter than even in Bombay this year - going up to 39 degrees nowadays! Bombay never had a real winter, and this year it went down to 10 degrees in January. It's crazy.

I guess people can do with more civic sense all over the globe.

-vin

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Reducing coal burning is even better! 

Billy,

Going Solar is great - but I don't think it reduces the use of gasoline, since 50% of the power plants are coal powered.

If a cheaper alternative to oil can be developed and the entire world embraces it, especially China and India, then that hoped for reduction will happen.

I don't think the oil spill in the Gulf will bring an up tick in solar energy installations, but it will bring higher prices at the pump.

RL

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In Canada, we have the MicroFIT program (FIT = feed in tariff). 

Essentially, you buy all the equipment (that is tax deductable), install it on your roof and feed electricity to the grid - not to your own house.  The government charges approx 12 cents a Kwh but pays you for the energy you create at 80 cents an hour.  It subsidizes the purchase of the panels this way.  The 80 cents is a guaranteed contract for twenty years.  It's not a big ROI but you'll have paid off the solar panels (interest and all) in approx. 12-13 years and the rest is profit (20-25,000).  It's not a bad plan.  Sun is always renewable, it falls and always comes back to rise.  The idea from the government is that neighbourhoods support themselves with their own power.

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Here is a link to a PDF of the 34 pages of facts and regulations required by the government of Ontario, Canada.

http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/pdf/microFIT-Program-Overview.pdf

Here are some interesting posts by people who have opinions on the Solar/Green trail.

http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=35632&p=334007

RL

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<Sun is always renewable, it falls and always comes back to rise. >>

For now...

" For now..."  and when its over I think we can safely say that our lives and the life of the planet is over as well.

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Until 2005 the state of New Jersey paid for 70% of the installation costs for a PV solar array up to 10 kW on a NJ homeowners property.  The installation contractor did all of the paperwork, the site was pre-inspected by the state for appropriateness, and then the funding was approved.  After installation it was again approved by the state and the funds were released to the contractor.  The homeowner then paid the 30% difference to the contractor, and the homeowner was then the owner of the system.

The program is still on the books, but it is unfunded, and a new funding model has evolved through the use of "Green Tags".  Green Tags are a commodity traded on the open market.  Each kW generated gives the system owner a little more than 1 tag, which has a ceiling price set by statute.  A 7 kW system generates 8 Green Tags annually, and these are issued for 15 years.  These are then either posted to a bulletin board, or sold directly to a broker that one has established a relationship with.  The end buyer is a NJ electricity generator (utility), who by statute must buy an amount of green tags to offset the utilities use of non-renewable resources.

This funding model currently has life in two distinct modes:

1) A homeowner pays for a system install outright, and has 15 years of Green Tags to sell and attempt to recover the costs.

2) A homeowner utilizes a program offered by a utility or another venture that funds the install and then owns the system and the green tags.  The homeowner would benefit from the reduced electricity costs.  This mode could come in different, negotiated degrees of shared ownership and costs.

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Congrats, Jeff!  I've had a 5.0kW PhotoVoltaic system since 2003, replacing 90-100% of my electricity bill (the 10% variance is from driving battery electric vehicles).  In my case, solar cells directly replaced consumption of gasoline.

At the time I installed my system, leasing was not available.  I chose to do it anyways, because I know I will always need electricity.  Few mutual funds offer a guarantee on your return.  Figuring 2% annual photo degradation, I've got 30 years left of viable production.

Richard, 50% of the power in CALIFORNIA is not from coal, only 18% is from coal.  In Montana, it's 95% from coal.  California SB 1305 required Power Content Labeling. 

An often overlooked serendipity from solar generation is the reduction in load to the grid during peak consumption.  Between 10am and 6pm, when demand is highest, I'm producing electricity.  At night, when power is cheap and plentiful, I pull from the grid.  Solar installations lower costs indirectly for everyone, not just the end user.

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We do not yet have viable, cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels.

Nuclear plant building was stopped after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.

RL

There are 4 nuclear plants being built currently in the usa. I believe the completion date is

2016.

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There are 4 nuclear plants being built currently in the usa. I believe the completion date is

2016.

Nuclear is the absolute least attractive alternative to fossil fuels. Don't get me started on that.

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Nuclear is the absolute least attractive alternative to fossil fuels. Don't get me started on that.

Some years back I worked on a film about alternate energy options. We were interviewing a fellow who had built his house to take advantage of the sun for passive solar heating. I always liked his view of the matter. He said,

"I am a big fan of nuclear energy. I just like to keep the generating plant a comfortable 93-million miles away."

David

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Jeff,

What is your solution to our transportation and energy needs that will not take 30 years to develop?

I'll get you started with this; France gets almost 80% of it's electricity from nuclear power. They've been doing this for over 45 years.

And the problem with this is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

RL

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"I am a big fan of nuclear energy. I just like to keep the generating plant a comfortable 93-million miles away."

I totally agree. The other thing I've always said is that if we are not bright enough to figure out a method to boil water without rendering a one acre piece of land dangerous for 200,000 years, handling one of the most toxic substances known, and risking an accident that could wipe out an entire country, we don't deserve to survive. Some day I will debate with you on this Richard but at the moment I don't real have the energy (pun intended).

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Richard and I generally don't agree on political issues but I'm actually with him on the nuclear power plant issue. I'd like to see more power plants built although I would feel better about the whole thing if Jane Fonda were looking over the shoulders of the construction foremen.

While the prospect of a serious nuclear accident is horrific, and the associated risks of contaminating the water table ratchet the consequences up even more, the risks associated with harvesting and transporting oil are equally troublesome.

Some years ago there was a book called (if memory serves), Supership. It detailed how oil is pumped into gigantic tankers for distribution throughout the world. Virtually all of these tankers operate under Liberian flag because Liberia has the most lax maritime laws. They are typically single hull, single rudder, single engine designs. By comparison, the Queen Mary (the one in Long Beach) has four screws and 27 engines, each capable of being coupled or de-coupled to the propeller shafts as needed. With that kind of fail-safe design, the Cunard ship could continue under power even in the event of a large accident below decks. The Liberian tankers, by contrast, are completely adrift if they experience even a minor failure.

Even more compelling than the general seaworthiness issue is the matter of spawning grounds, Plimsoll lines and seasons. A Plimsoll line is the painted waterline mark that one sees on every vessel. It is a calculated waterline indicator that marks the maximum load that a ship can safely handle. It will still be seaworthy when loaded to the Plimsoll line but not with additional cargo. Less generally known is the fact that ships have two Plimsoll lines, one used in the summer and one in the winter. The reasoning is that seas are generally more quiet in the summer and storms more frequent in the winter.

Adherence to rules of loading is determined in the port of loading. So, a tanker loaded in the Persian Gulf is routinely loaded to the summer Plimsoll line because it is always summer - relatively speaking - in the Persian Gulf. But many of those tankers will round the Cape of Good Hope on their way to American and European markets. It is always stormy winter - relatively speaking - at the Cape of Good Hope. Heavily laden ships will often get into trouble rounding the Cape (and also Cape Horn). When the safety of the ship is imperiled, the captains pump off enough oil to lighten the load. These ships carry between 350,000 and 450,000 (maybe more today) tons of oil so the amount of oil regularly dumped off the Cape is considerable.

The area around the Cape of Good Hope is a major (perhaps the major) spawning ground for plankton. They feed the little organisms that feed the little fish that feed the big fish - insert image of a series of progressively larger fish poised to bite down. The oil dumped off the Cape endangers a main food source for much of the planet.

In that context, anything that diminishes the number of 400,000-ton ships rounding the Cape with a cargo of oil is a very good thing. Of course, we could just encourage all the greedy transport companies to use multi-hull vessels flying American or European flags to move that oil safely. But this has been a known liability for decades and no one has been able to accomplish that objective. And you can't simply ban the big tankers from our coasts. The very large ships draw at least one hundred feet, sometimes more, and are not navigable close to the continental shelf. Consequently, they offload their cargo at a Chiksan Column in deep water (there's one in Nova Scotia; I don't know other locations) and never come under U.S. laws. It's a conundrum.

In balance, while the risks of nuclear power are sobering, I think we have a better chance of managing those risks with plants built and operated here.

David Waelder

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Nuclear is the absolute least attractive alternative to fossil fuels. Don't get me started on that.

I actually spent the last 2 days at Westinghouse doing interviews about nuclear power. Way safer than people think and VERY clean.

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I actually spent the last 2 days at Westinghouse doing interviews about nuclear power. Way safer than people think and VERY clean.

Drug counseling from your dealer...  I would be very suspicious of anything coming from Westinghouse. I think it also very important to define CLEAN while looking at the whole process starting with the uranium mining and working your way towards the necessity to safely store spent materials well after the plant is producing nothing. I know, fusion, fusion, fusion, reuse, etc., etc. Talk about unproven technologies that are many years in the future.

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Drug counseling from your dealer... 

Naa Im just the sound guy remember?

Internal video, so no one was selling anyone anything.

Just a lot of very interesting information for a change. Usually

I try to just to ignore the content and listen to to the soothing sounds of the HVAC system, but I learned a few things.

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France does there own reprocessing of spent fuel rods - even for other countries very successfully and safely.

I think those really, really into a total green world will never stop blaming mankind and refuse to accept any other concept, facts included.

Could some one please explain how Al Gore gets away with buying a gigantic NEW carbon footprint estate in Montecito, CA?

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal... The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

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France does there own reprocessing of spent fuel rods - even for other countries very successfully and safely.

I think those really, really into a total green world will never stop blaming mankind and refuse to accept any other concept, facts included.

Could some one please explain how Al Gore gets away with buying a gigantic NEW carbon footprint estate in Montecito, CA?

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal... The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

When the world really does go green we promise to leave a state for people who want things to stay as they are right now.  Will Wyoming work?  We promise not to let Al bother you there.

Philip Perkins

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France does there own reprocessing of spent fuel rods - even for other countries very successfully and safely.

I think those really, really into a total green world will never stop blaming mankind and refuse to accept any other concept, facts included.

Could some one please explain how Al Gore gets away with buying a gigantic NEW carbon footprint estate in Montecito, CA?

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal... The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

If he didn't have it built for him then what's the problem? If he didn't buy it then someone else would have.

Eric

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As David Waedler pointed out, the oil industry is extremely destructive to the environment.  Nuclear is much better... until something goes wrong (which it does and will).  Maybe there will only be a major nuclear mishap every 70-80 years or so.  But when they go, they go bad.  Nuclear power generation is a business run for profit by people who naturally try to cut costs to maximize those profits. lol, how many components in nuclear plants were made by Halliburton (the same people who made the now famous blow out preventer which is preventing nothing a mile under the Gulf of Mexico).  First generation plants are now past their designed for life span.  What do you do with industrial complex sized poisoned real estate?  Tear it down and build an elementary school?  There are many benefits to using nuclear but the risks negate those benefits.

New technologies will emerge, but the best we can do now is promote conservation, insulate homes and businesses, improve fuel milage in all vehicles and promote alternative energy sources.  We can EASILY reduce the burning of fossil fuels by 75% in this country without impacting life styles.  I drive a diesel jeep.  It gets double the milage of a gas Jeep Liberty and only cost $800 more.  My home is 75% more energy efficient (I still burn natural gas for heating in the winter) and my total outlay is a loan which costs me $175/month (while I'm saving close to $300/month).  Multiply this by 100 million and the need for more nuke plants or coal/oil burners decreases exponentially.

Wow, I'm having fun on this thread!  Thanks Jeff!

Billy Sarokin

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Maybe there will only be a major nuclear mishap every 70-80 years or so.  But when they go, they go bad.  Nuclear power generation is a business run for profit by people who naturally try to cut costs to maximize those profits. lol, how many components in nuclear plants were made by Halliburton (the same people who made the now famous blow out preventer which is preventing nothing a mile under the Gulf of Mexico).

Billy Sarokin

The point made here that I find important is that any and all methods of generating electricity, certainly as we preserve the model of centralized generation and distribution, will be done by for profit businesses with varying degrees of regulation. I'm a capitalist, of sorts, and I don't think there is anything terribly wrong with this, until the business that they are conducting, for profit, endangers us all in profound and uncontrollable ways. This is why the so-called health industry cannot be left to the for profit insurance companies, this is why maintaining our security and defenses cannot be left to for profit companies like Blackwater and Haliburton. As I have said before, generating electricity by boiling water using ANY nuclear technology is a mistake. The technology, even if 99% reliable, is just too dangerous. If any of these companies that are planning on building the next nuclear power plant decided instead to build a large scale solar array in the desert and they cut corners, screwed everything up and there were accidents, mishaps, etc., it would just be bad business --- in no way could it threaten our lives or the future health of the planet. Even if the entire solar array failed and had to be dismantled, the parts that went into its construction would not have to be buried underground in Yucca Flats and protected for 100,000 years.

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I think that Billy and Jeff lead by example. They are doing everything they can to minimize their individual energy usage. They really walk the talk.

However, Al Gore, who is the biggest spokesperson and booster of reducing man's impact on the environment, lives his life in a totally opposite direction. Gore owns two sprawling mansions with carbon footprints several times the size of a small nation. I think he's a hypocrite and a phony.

RL

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