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Developing alternatives to fossil fuels

 
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 8653

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject: Developing alternatives to fossil fuels Reply with quote

One of my very smart friends compared the transition to renewables to the adoption of cellular technology. What is of interest to me from a public policy perspective is that businesses that have a large market share or monopoly, will work with the government to erect barriers to competitors. That certainly is true about phone technology. When I was in my 20's, I worked for Western Electric. As a regulated utility, they were guaranteed a profit based on their investment. So they had no incentive to move forward with electronic switching because it was a smaller investment--more efficient, but less actual profit. The government regulations helped them maintain that barrier until cell phones shifted the landscape. Western Electric failed to evolve--and land lines are nearly dead.

Some are arguing that the movement towards solar power is at the beginning of an S curve, with rapid penetration expected in a similar manner to cell technology. Big oil is fighting it with all of their might--not because they welcome the competition, but because they fear the competition, and they fear leaving fuel in the ground. That is clearly going to happen, at least for the remainder of my life, with coal.

In this respect, the efforts of the Republicans under Obama, and now the Trump administration to shore up the oil energy sector are the opposite of what conservatism used to be about. It is an attempt to use the government to constrain the market and dictate winners and losers instead of the market. Strange bedfellows and an even stranger economic intervention. Slow walking research for solar collectors under Obama left leadership in technology in other countries, particularly China. Ignoring the potential of solar, and erecting barriers as Republicans have in Florida won't stop the technology--they just warp the economy.

This is an interesting take on the European approach:
http://www.economicboardutrecht.nl/sites/nl.economicboardutrecht.www/files/Position%20paper%20smart%20solar%20charging%20-%20EN.pdf
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jpbassman



Joined: 19 May 1998
Posts: 3173
Location: Leo

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very impressed with the Tesla. They are fast, quiet and look good.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 4217

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, back on planet earth.......despite decades of government promotion and huge subsidies, solar energy provides less than half of 1 percent of the total global energy needs...........all backed up by carbon facilities that don't stop producing when the sun doesn't shine. The oil and gas companies are trembling in their boots.
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2027

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, back on planet pragmatism -

The Scottish drive for economic independence, to fund their lavish Socialist Utopia, has always been based on 'their' gold mine' Scottish North Sea oil fields.

Somebody ought to tell them that the real future will be to fit windmills (no sun-no solar cells) on top of their battery driven cheaper (ho-h) new cars. I'm sure they are daft enough to believe in perpetual motion! (Those pesky brain rotting beastie little midges have a lot to answer for!!)
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 8653

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
And, back on planet earth.......despite decades of government promotion and huge subsidies, solar energy provides less than half of 1 percent of the total global energy needs...........all backed up by carbon facilities that don't stop producing when the sun doesn't shine. The oil and gas companies are trembling in their boots.


Kind of missed the point that such was the story of cell phones 30 years ago. Also missed the point that having the government pick winners is the antithesis of conservatism. Not very bright is he.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 4217

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Half of one percent.
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