Why get an EV?

Open for any sort of non-technical discussion regarding EVs
Squiggles
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Post by Squiggles »

Peter C in Canberra wrote: Easily fixed! Worry no more! Make one phone call, say you want 100% GreenPower (greenpower.gov.au), pay about 7c/KWh extra, and the electricity retailer is obliged to purchase as much renewable energy as you consume.


So you still believe in Santa Claus then Peter Image

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Post by Peter C in Canberra »

Squiggles wrote:
Peter C in Canberra wrote: Easily fixed! Worry no more! Make one phone call, say you want 100% GreenPower (greenpower.gov.au), pay about 7c/KWh extra, and the electricity retailer is obliged to purchase as much renewable energy as you consume.


So you still believe in Santa Claus then Peter Image


I knew this would happen. Sigh. Why so cynical? Do you have evidence that the GreenPower scheme is entirely fraudulent? I don't mean nitpicks about aspects that might be improved in the whole area of renewable energy accounting. The Santa Clause comment suggests something far stronger than that.
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Post by Squiggles »

I don't have any problem with the intent of the scheme, I have serious doubts over its implementation. Having worked directly in the electricity supply industry for 20 years (all be it not recently) I am aware that there is nowhere near enough "green energy" generated to supply the green demand.
I also find it hard to cope with the fact that a 20% premium is added to the price of something that can't actually be fully delivered.

If I was King I would decree that the power generating companies had to produce ???MWhrs of "green" power and I would increase electricity charges across the board by x% (maybe 5%). I don't think that the enthusiasm of the minority who can afford the premium will give enough incentive. As it stands it is a nice cash cow, as long as the suppliers can claim to be trying to buy green power. I know here in Newcastle EnergyAustralia installed one yep one 600kW wind turbine as a publicity stunt about 10 years ago....then lit it up with 400kW of lighting so every one can see it....yes I exaggerate but you will see my point.

At the moment yet another huge coal loader is being built on a site that could have been a great wind power farm....

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Post by Johny »

Squiggles wrote:...I am aware that there is nowhere near enough "green energy" generated to supply the green demand.
So if this scheme is audited how is that possible. Who audits the scheme and what happens if there is a shortfall in the amount of Green power available?

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Post by Peter C in Canberra »

Johny wrote:
Squiggles wrote:...I am aware that there is nowhere near enough "green energy" generated to supply the green demand.
So if this scheme is audited how is that possible. Who audits the scheme and what happens if there is a shortfall in the amount of Green power available?


According to http://greenpower.gov.au/our-audits-and-reports.aspx
"Each year the GreenPower Program commissions an independent organisation to conduct an annual technical audit of GreenPower products. The objective of the audit is to determine the level of compliance between participating retailers and their GreenPower accredited products, and the National GreenPower Accreditation document."
That is followed by links to down load the auditors' reports.

The problem is not that there is less production than demand. If that were true the price of RECs would be high. Instead we have a glut due to some flawed though well-intentioned policies which have become an impediment to investment in large scale renewable energy production. The government has belatedly recognised this with a decision to separate the Renewable Energy Target into a small and large scale parts. The proposal is that small scale will be uncapped and a minimum RECs price set. The large scale target will continue to build each year towards the 20% by 2020. The effect is that small scale production (adding PVs on my roof for example) will be additional to the original target rather than being counter-productive.
Last edited by Peter C in Canberra on Thu, 18 Mar 2010, 11:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Squiggles »

If every household in Australia elected to receive green electricity there would need to be the equivalent of 35,000 600kW wind turbines in operation. Before you complain I know this would only be for peak demand, my point is the scale of the issue. There are certainly not thousands of turbines in operation and there are a few significant solar systems appearing but we are way short of the possible requirement.

When the authorities can guarantee that the electrons arriving at my house are green and not black I will start to believe.

Don't get me wrong, I want to see as much environmentally friendly power generated as possible, I just believe we are being conned at the moment. It is a voluntary tax as it stands. I am pretty sure that the community was not asked to chip in a bit extra when the government decided to build a new power station, and I believe it is the responsibility of the government to provide the next green generator.
We are more heavily taxed now than ever before yet our government provided services are constantly diminishing! rant...rant...rant....somebody shut me up
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Post by Nevilleh »

Come on guys, with all that Uranium Australia must go nuclear! What could be greener than that?
(Snigger, snigger as the Aussie cricketers all glow - green - in the dark)

Poor old NZ has heaps of wind generators (and the bloody greenies all moan that they spoil the view), heaps of hydro, a fair bit of geothermal and still they have to fire up the gas and coal powered things from time to time, so don't complain.
Electrons coming out of the wall is a fantastic thing and we will do (almost) anything to keep them coming. Black, geen, brown, red, we just love 'em.

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Post by Peter C in Canberra »

Squiggles wrote: When the authorities can guarantee that the electrons arriving at my house are green and not black I will start to believe.


I suppose then that you are not happy unless the bank gives you back the same notes you deposited in your account. No assurances from an accountant or auditor would be good enough.

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Post by Squiggles »

Peter C in Canberra wrote:
Squiggles wrote: When the authorities can guarantee that the electrons arriving at my house are green and not black I will start to believe.


I suppose then that you are not happy unless the bank gives you back the same notes you deposited in your account. No assurances from an accountant or auditor would be good enough.


Not at all, but I do have serious doubts about the ability of anyone to "audit" green generation V green consumption, it would be a monumental task. It would certainly be virtually impossible to prove the auditors right or wrong, as far as I know electrons don't have serial numbers.

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Post by Peter C in Canberra »

Squiggles wrote:
Peter C in Canberra wrote:
Squiggles wrote: When the authorities can guarantee that the electrons arriving at my house are green and not black I will start to believe.


I suppose then that you are not happy unless the bank gives you back the same notes you deposited in your account. No assurances from an accountant or auditor would be good enough.


Not at all, but I do have serious doubts about the ability of anyone to "audit" green generation V green consumption, it would be a monumental task. It would certainly be virtually impossible to prove the auditors right or wrong, as far as I know electrons don't have serial numbers.


So you don't trust power meters?
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Post by Digger11 »

Squiggles wrote:
Peter C in Canberra wrote:
Squiggles wrote: When the authorities can guarantee that the electrons arriving at my house are green and not black I will start to believe.


I suppose then that you are not happy unless the bank gives you back the same notes you deposited in your account. No assurances from an accountant or auditor would be good enough.


Not at all, but I do have serious doubts about the ability of anyone to "audit" green generation V green consumption, it would be a monumental task. It would certainly be virtually impossible to prove the auditors right or wrong, as far as I know electrons don't have serial numbers.


Do you get new powerpoints when you sign up for Green Energy ??? or are you just connected to exactly the same electricity grid as your neighbour ???
I like the guy who wants to be Kings solution - Currently Green Energy is a total Con (like most of the Green movement) and is totally ineffective at solving the real environmental problems.

Typical Australia - make us either feel guilty , or feel good about buying Green ENergy - meanwhile the MCG has 25 games at night this year and for 10 of them there is no day game ???? Maybe the sun isn't bright enough for a good game of Footy ??

Streetlights ablaze all night (in the Court I olive in , rarely does anyone drive in after 11 p.m. at night) , but we must keep the lights on !!!
It is all really BS. Politicking at its absolute worst.

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Post by woody »

I also worked for a power company (pp.nsw.gov.au) - this is the story from 10 years ago, I don't think anything changes :-)

The fact is that big coal power stations can't be turned down or up quickly and/or efficiently. It takes days to turn one off and on. So off-peak power is essentially free since if we didn't use it they'd have to pump water uphill all night at the hydro stations in order to keep the coal stations running.

So using power at night is not something you need to feel guilty or angry about. It's using power at the peak which does it - aircon on a 40 degree day and cooking dinner.
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Post by Squiggles »

Precisely, pump water uphill, nice. Is that more efficient than charging batteries?

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Post by woody »

Even if it's 20% efficient complete cycle (pump uphill, hydro generate downhill), it's better than nothing.

It's cheaper than batteries :-)
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Post by marcopolo »

Squiggles wrote:
If I was King I would decree that the power generating companies had to produce ???MWhrs of "green" power and I would increase electricity charges across the board by x% (maybe 5%). I don't think that the enthusiasm of the minority who can afford the premium will give enough incentive. As it stands it is a nice cash cow, as long as the suppliers can claim to be trying to buy green power. I know here in Newcastle EnergyAustralia installed one yep one 600kW wind turbine as a publicity stunt about 10 years ago....then lit it up with 400kW of lighting so every one can see it....yes I exaggerate but you will see my point.

At the moment yet another huge coal loader is being built on a site that could have been a great wind power farm....
Possibly explains why you are not KING!!!

Evidently my harmless observation has promoted a considerable controversy. So I might as well contribute my 2 cents worth!

Oddly enough, I agree with Neil. The green power scheme has the potential for undetected misuse. Power Production is an issue of some import in EV development. Without a doubt the nuclear option must be explored in a calm and rational manner to achieve an scientific objective perspective. Whether this can be done with all the vested baggage involved is another matter.

The advocates of green power generation are very divided, while the coal lobby still claims that it is possible to burn coal efficiently and without environmental drawbacks! This statement is greeted with derision by the Green Left on moral grounds, but just how valid is any objection without substantial scientific evidence to contrary? The clean coal advocates deserve a fair hearing. Most of the opposition seems to come from those with a hatred of large business or emotional, out of date information. Political/philosophic dissembling from either side is unhelpful.

Whatever, the power source for the EV revolution, it can't be more detrimental than Oil?

Well, that just one mans perspective!

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Post by Squiggles »

marcopolo wrote: Oddly enough, I agree with Neil.


Holy cow, I feel faint Image

I don't profess to know much about "clean coal" save for the fact that I imagine the process can be improved. But even if they improve it by 50% it is still BAD, but better than REALLY BAD.
We hear a lot about the CO2 output and the SO2 but you never hear about the huge ash dams that the ash gets pumped into. These have high concentrations of heavy metals and radioactive material, but if we don't mention them they don't exist.

Go to maps.google search for eraring nsw and look just north east and you will see what I mean.

Also for those who could bother do some research on pebble bed reactors, there are other technologies out there.

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Post by acmotor »

If zero emmision eletricity can be produced for 7c per kWh more than dirty power then why, seriuosly why don't we just go 100% zero emission ?
I pay 37c/kWh peak already !
Answer 1   zero emission (green) power system is actually a paperwork lie.
Answer 2   serious subsidies are paid to generate zero emission electricity. Is this public info ?
Answer 3   sorry marco, the old vested interests dominate and we are to suffer.
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Post by evric »

I'm paying a max. of 23.68 cents/kWh. I'm puting power back onto the grid which my supplier is getting for free (the Govt. gives me 44c/kWh). Why should I pay more for "green" power?
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Post by marcopolo »

Squiggles wrote: I don't profess to know much about "clean coal" save for the fact that I imagine the process can be improved. But even if they improve it by 50% it is still BAD, but better than REALLY BAD.
We hear a lot about the CO2 output and the SO2 but you never hear about the huge ash dams that the ash gets pumped into. These have high concentrations of heavy metals and radioactive material, but if we don't mention them they don't exist.


As I understand Peter, he believe that the government can sufficiently audit his power provider to ensure that he recieves only electricity derived from a renewable source.

Laudably, he is willing to pay extra for this facility.

I'm a little sceptical, since such schemes inevitably get redefined and 'exemptions', granted until none of the original integrity remains!
However, Peter has faith in the auditing system and without detailed knowledge to the contrary, Peter's proposition must be accepted. Just deriding the concept on vague grounds, and accusing Peter of believing in Santa, is hardly evidence of anything more than the usual paranoid "I don't care what you say,if it come from the govt or Big Business, I'm agin it!".

I'm not an advocate of coal-fired power generation. However, the problem of power generation in a post oil economy must be faced. It seems to me there are four camps.

1) 'Clean' Coal, LPG, etc
2) Nuclear
3) Solar, Wind, Geo-Thermal, Tidal, etc
4) Reduce consumption to pre-industrial levels.

I agree with Neil, I don't think Coal can ever be made 'clean'. (However the proponents of this technology should be provided a fair hearing).

The bleating of the puritanical about excessive use for MCG night game usage, air-conditioners on hot days, public lighting, Xmas decorations, etc.. is just irritating! Power rationing is alien to our economy prosperity, and such self-righteous sanctimonious pronouncements have no value except to make the author feel virtuous.

None of the current renewable technologies, seems to have the immediate potential to replace coal. I am not saying these technologies are not worth pursuing, or lack future potential. But, right now?

This would appear to leave Nuclear, which, if you take away the largely moral, philosophic objections, is a practical, available solution in the short term. Especially, as new technologies, such as pebble bed reactors etc, provide more flexible installations.

What we can't do, is sit 'round refusing to accept conventional power generation, while sanctimoniously whining on about idealistic technologies that will never become reality, or dreaming of some pre-industrial utopia.

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Post by acmotor »

On the basis that CO2 emissions are a problem (so we are told by some), then burning (oxidising) coal, a process that produces CO2 in vast quantities (chemical reality), can never be clean !

Here, geo-sequestation is not a solution to the fact that CO2 is produced. Even if achieved it hides the CO2 despite its full intention to be free now or in the future ! The carbon in coal was already geo-sequested in a very stable form before it was dug up. (see earlier in this topic and others). The 'clean coal' idea is driven by jobs and dollars not reality.
IMHO, to buy the clean coal idea is just wishful thinking. (we've got plenty of it, I wish we could dig it up !)


marco, whilst I agree with your verbal diarrhoea re the bleating of the puritanical (kinda goes with being a lexus driver), I consider support for nuclear is a cop out. IMHO
To do nuclear even remotely safely actually costs more than coal, oil, gas and many renewables according to power generating authorities. That is why there is no push from them as the economics don't stack up yet.
e.g. http://www.nucleartourist.com/basics/costs.htm
Fusion reaction (if we ever get there) may help that equation.

Nuclear waste, like geo-sequested CO2, are not items I am prepared to put in the hands of financial profit driven organisations.

PS It is not conducive to debate for you to belittle the objections of others.

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Post by Squiggles »

I think the nuclear debate is far to influenced by years of hysteria and misinformation. One should not make definitive comments until they do substantial research. I just had a look at that nuclear tourist site, without knowing if it is pro or con it is easy to pick holes all over the first page.

Honestly, if you are really interested in the debate, do a lot of reading, don't rely on what the media/governments/greenies/coal producers feed us. Look up pebble bed reactors, thorium. Research the hidden environmental costs of coal power station, if the power stations where forced to clean up & decontaminate the waste dump sites they would start bleating pretty damn loudly. Have a tour of the mining areas in the Hunter valley and look at the enormous damage open cut mining is doing.
It really is a very complex issue and simply writing off nuclear power because of its history is to easy.
Personally if I was given the choice between another 660MW coal fired power plant or a series of smaller pebble bed reactors I would go for the latter. In fact they can potentially be used to replace the furnaces/boilers of existing power plants.

edit: damn I wish I could spell!
Last edited by Squiggles on Fri, 19 Mar 2010, 18:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by marcopolo »

acmotor wrote: On the basis that CO2 emissions are a problem (so we are told by some), then burning (oxidising) coal, a process that produces CO2 in vast quantities (chemical reality), can never be clean ! Here, geo-sequestation is not a solution to the fact that CO2 is produced. Even if achieved it hides the CO2 despite its full intention to be free now or in the future ! The carbon in coal was already geo-sequested in a very stable form before it was dug up. (see earlier in this topic and others). The 'clean coal' idea is driven by jobs and dollars not reality. IMHO, to buy the clean coal idea is just wishful thinking. (we've got plenty of it, I wish we could dig it up !)

marco, whilst I agree with your verbal diarrhoea re the bleating of the puritanical (kinda goes with being a lexus driver), I consider support for nuclear is a cop out. IMHO To do nuclear even remotely safely actually costs more than coal, oil, gas and many renewables according to power generating authorities. That is why there is no push from them as the economics don't stack up yet.e.g.http://www.nucleartourist.com/basics/costs.htm
Fusion reaction (if we ever get there) may help that equation.
Nuclear waste, like geo-sequested CO2, are not items I am prepared to put in the hands of financial profit driven organisations.


Ok, everything you've written makes a certain amount of sense. But your reasoning is a little difficult to follow. You condemn the use of Coal, but argue that the only viable alternative should be rejected on economic grounds. (The problem of safe nuclear waste is relatively easily solved.)

My observations in regard those who wish to return to a pre-industrial era, were not intended to focus, target or belittle, any particular individual, but were intended to expose the motives behind the banal, sanctimonious killjoy movement that always hovers at the edge of the environmental debate.

All that is bye the bye, the two main issues facing a post oil future is firstly how to produce enough electricity, and secondly, at what cost to the environment?

How do you propose these two crucial issues be resolved? If you reject coal and nuclear, what realistic energy source can be relied upon to replace fossil fuels? Anyone can say, oh we'll use less, and a solar, geo-thermal, wind, tidal 'cocktail' of technologies will quickly, and cleanly replace fossil fuels? But there is absolutely no evidence of this becoming a reality in practise.

Without an answer, or one that relies upon the unrealistic premise that the western world de-industrialises, while the developing world cheerfully burns more fossil fuel, we are back to same question? Without some form of nuclear energy, how do we generate enough power to meet the demands of society in a post oil world?

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Post by marcopolo »

Squiggles wrote: I think the nuclear debate is far to influenced by years of hysteria and misinformation. One should not make definitive comments until they do substantial research. I just had a look at that nuclear tourist site, without knowing if it is pro or con it is easy to pick holes all over the first page.

Honestly, if you are really interested in the debate, do a lot of reading, don't rely on what the media/governments/greenies/coal producers feed us. Look up pebble bed reactors, thorium. Research the hidden environmental costs of coal power station, if the power stations where forced to clean up & decontaminate the waste dump sites they would start bleating pretty damn loudly. Have a tour of the mining areas in the Hunter valley and look at the enormous damage open cut mining is doing.
It really is a very complex issue and simply writing off nuclear power because of its history is to easy.
Personally if I was given the choice between another 660MW coal fired power plant or a series of smaller pebble bed reactors I would go for the latter. In fact they can potentially be used to replace the furnaces/boilers of existing power plants.


What is happening!!!! Twice in a thread!! Yep, Neil, everything in your last post is very valid. Like me, I think you are a reluctant advocate of considering the best technology to harness nuclear power generation.

No one, not even the Coal mining companies, would argue that Coal mining is without serious environmental drawbacks. The best it could be said, is Coal mining is a regrettable necessity.

Spellcheck?

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Post by Thalass »

I have very few issues with modern nuclear reactors. They produce very little dangerous waste (though still enough to be a factor) especially compared to the crusty old reactors from the 60s.

However you still have to mine the uranium, producing large holes in the earth, and then you have to find somewhere to put the waste, and nobody wants that - even in small quantities - in their backyard.

Fusion shows much more promise. The fuel is the most common element in the universe (though I think the current experiments use deuterium and tritium or something like that.) and the waste products are only dangerous for a few days, and only weakly even then. (*edit* actually, reading further into the wikipedia article they state that while the waste itself isn't radioactive for long, it can cause induced radioactivity in the structure of the reactor itself. Which isn't good.) And, best of all, the (theoretically) easier process that is currently being researched produces helium as the waste!

Helium that can be used in Airships! (woo!)

Of course, as I've said before, what we really need is a MrFusion like in Back to the Future 2.
Last edited by Thalass on Sat, 20 Mar 2010, 06:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by acmotor »

Helium is better than hot air. Image

Earlier in this thread I was bombarded with economic rationalism as excuse for acts which I condem.

Now I get such lines as "that the only viable alternative should be rejected on economic grounds." Image
At least this is as an admission that nuclear is not cheap, particulary if done properly. The main point of my comment.

That aside, the serious #1 mistake there is the amazing thinking that nuclear is the only viable alternative.
In whos' judgement ??? or have you stopped looking ?
This sounds more political than engineering or technical.

Now if you want nuclear fusion (we agree this is better than fission ?)
as a heat source driving a thermal power station then spare a moment to consider we have that already. Its called the sun (looked outside lately ?)
Want answers to your questions re future zero emission electricity source ? Want a research project ? develop further the already existing zero emission heat/solar radiation to electricity conversions. Solar thermal, PV, wave, geothermal etc. The answers are right in front of you.
Perfect the base load/peak load requirements and establish far reaching DC electricity grids (whole of Oz North South East West) for instance.
Honestly, the nuclear option is a cop out IMHO and perhaps reminds us to think as well as read. Image

Sorry if my frustration shows very directly. Sweeping "only viable" statements are what rudderless keeps telling us. Image
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