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Meine Geshcichte ist nicht angenehm, sie ist nicht Süß und harmonisch wie die erfundenen Geschichten, sie schmeckt nach Unsinn und Verwirrung, nach Wahnsinn und Traum wie das Leben aller Menschen, die sich nicht mehr belügen wollen.
 - Herman Hesse, the Prologue of Demian.

With no disrespect to the transcendent poetry associated with the original which as language cannot be matched, I will translate, using my crude German, the above passage as follows:  "My tale is not pleasant; it is not sweet and harmonious as invented stories are, for it tastes of insanity and confusion, madness and illusion, as do the lives of all those who no longer wish to lie to themselves."

"No longer wish to lie to themselves..."

For more than half a century, it has been an element of public dogma - I would argue that the dogma "tastes of insanity and confusion, madness and illusion" -  that the world is about to "go solar," and that "going solar" would be a great thing to do.   I plainly confess that I was until not so long ago, an adherent of that peculiar faith - inasmuch as I once believed that investing in solar energy was a good idea - at least in part, although I have no apologetics to offer for my strong long time pro-nuclear stance.

It is a matter of some tragedy that when Donald Fagen mocked, in his great 1982 album, "The Nightfly" - in the song I.G.Y - the solar dream with the words...

 

Here at home we'll play in the city
Powered by the sun
Perfect weather for a streamlined world
There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone

...he was writing ironically of his nostalgia.   Almost 30 years have passed since the ironically nostalgic album, and more than 50 years since the year to which the song refers, the International Geophysical Year, which lasted from 1957-1958.   (A famous lecture by Admiral Hyman Rickover around that time discussed a possible solar - and nuclear - future.   "Energy resources and our future"  Plus ça change...)

A liberal Democrat such as myself who criticizes the solar fantasy is often subject to derision from his own side, but my contention - my hope - is that my party is more wedded to something called reality than their party, although it not always clear to me that I can always make the case.   Perhaps it is the case that Americans as a culture have become wedded to lying to themselves and one such lie is that solar energy (coupled with wind energy) can sustain even a fraction of the American lifestyle.

Nevertheless, the "solar will save us" meme needs to be questioned, because frankly, it is becoming wasteful to the point of absurdity.

Not so long ago, I noted that the nearly bankrupt nation of Spain invented nearly 45 billion Euros to build the equivalent of a 665 Megawatt power station - albeit one that inherently required redundancy and one that was inherently unpredictable in its performance.

Should Nuclear Energy Be a Panacea?

Moreover, the external costs of solar energy, in particular its toxicological impact is entirely missed precisely because solar energy has failed miserably at becoming a significant form of energy.   Here in New Jersey, where we are cutting school budgets, cutting services to the poor, cutting mass transit budgets, PSEG spent tens of millions of dollars installing rickety solar cells attached to telephone polls in the last year.    It will be very interesting to see - once the roads are all reopened - to see how many of these were ripped down during hurricane Irene being instanteously transformed in electronic waste of a particularly toxic sort.

Now we learn that the much ballyhooed Solyndra Solar PV manufacturing plant in Fremont California (where so called "green" industries have permanently destroyed the groundwater with halogenated solvents) is shutting its doors after burning $1.6 billion dollars investments, including public investments.

Fremont solar tech firm Solyndra to shut down, lay off hundreds of workers

Solyndra, a Fremont-based solar panel manufacturer that flared then sputtered, abruptly ceased operations on Wednesday and immediately laid off all 1,100 of its workers.

The shutdown marks a high-profile collapse of a company that received more than $1.6 billion in federal and private funding in recent years.

"This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate," Brian Harrison, Solyndra's president and chief executive, said.

The company received $535 million in taxpayer money from the U.S. Department of Energy and $1.1 billion in private venture capital funding.

"We have always recognized that not every one of the innovative companies supported by our loans and loan guarantees would succeed," said Dan Leistikow, a spokesman for the Department of Energy. "But we can't stop investing in game-changing technologies that are key to America's leadership in the global economy."

Solyndra workers who were laid off on Wednesday were dismissed without layoff packages.

"They are getting no severance," said Dave Miller, a Solyndra spokesman. "They are getting nothing..."

Now, as a person who is extremely critical of the "solar will save us" fantasy, one may think that I am engaging in schadenfreud when I remark on this remarkable expensive failure but that is hardly the case.

That said, I do wonder to myself about how many educations could have been undertaken - some in useful fields like say, um, nuclear engineering - for 1.6 billion dollars.    We hear that people have lost their health insurance, but how many people could have had all their health care needs met for 1.6 billion dollars?    How many library shelves could have been stocked for 1.6 billion dollars, how many rail cars purchased for that much money.

People lost their jobs, 1,100 of them, and of course this is not a good thing, but the kind of jobs that build a strong and viable society are productive jobs.   How many productive jobs could 1.6 billion dollars provide?

Now the article is accompanied by a "it's all China's fault" kind of argument, but this too is garbage and wishful thinking.

It's the fault of physics.   The solar industry cannot be made economic, nor can it be made clean or sustainable.    In the best case, the very best case, it is a little better than diesel engines in niche settings.   It cannot, will not, and moreover should not be subject to vast investments that attempt to put this hexagonal peg into a trapezoidal hole.

Unfortunately, this real lesson of this exercise in waste - is that solar energy has a physics problem (as well - if you study it - a chemical toxicological problem) inasmuch as its energy density is extremely low.   This is true in the United States, it was true in Spain, and in reality it is also true in China.

Solar will not save your American lifestyle - even were said lifestyle worthy of being saved - and all the pipe dreams to the contrary will not change that fact.

Our energy and climate crises are real, very real, and I am the last one to deny that, the last one to lie to myself about the subject.   But I will say this, that anyone who tries to speak the truth these days has a 100% probability of learning to relate to Cassandra.

Have a nice day tomorrow.

Regards, your pal,

NNadir.

Poll

Have you had that Cassandra experience?

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0%0 votes
3%1 votes
9%3 votes
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3%1 votes
15%5 votes
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| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Building libraries with money diverted from the... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the solar enterprise, training engineers with money diverted from the solar enterprise, Spanish bank stocks, Spanish bonds, $1.6 billion dollars not being enough to keep 1,100 people working the hidden reality of solar waste dumps in China, other hidden and avoided realities, generic hide rates, and highly financed and sustainable troll rates all go here.

  •  8 Billion Cash on Palettes Disappears From Iraq (24+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:06:46 PM PDT

  •  So you've given us one example (Solyndra) (22+ / 0-)

    of a green company that went bust, and some insinuations but no proof that Spain built an unworkable power station and your hope, maybe, that all the solar cells installed by PSEG were all blown away by Irene.

    I am not a scientist, nor am I an engineer (I sell birdseed for a living). I have been convinced by others who know far more than I do that we cannot continue to burn fossil fuels to power our future and that renewable sources are the answer. I just installed an 8.14 kW solar array on my roof and you are telling me that it's a waste of money? Watching my electric meter run backwards tells me differently, so I am going to need a lot more than what you have provided here to be convinced that we should just keep on truckin' down the fossil fuel route.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:16:42 PM PDT

    •  In fairness (14+ / 0-)

      The diarist does NOT advocate  "truckin' down the fossil fuel route."

      Nukes, yes. Check diary history.

      Meh.

      If the road to social transformation can be paved only by saints who never make mistakes, the road will NEVER be built. ~ Van Jones

      by ozsea1 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:25:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, I see. Thank you. (Shudder.) n/t (10+ / 0-)

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:26:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the diarist is more for us cutting back (12+ / 0-)

        WAY back on our energy consumption habits. But if we're going to insist on living high on the energy hog that we can't do it on solar. Yes, some amount of energy can come from solar. But residential power consumption is ~10% of the total US power budget and even getting that converted to solar would be a Herculean task. The next biggest sector is commerical buildings, then industrial/manufacturing, then transportation. We burn thru 100 Quads of energy a year in the US (that's quadrillions of BTUs or 1oo,000,000,000,000,000 BTU) and the sun won't be shining on enough silicon or black PVC any time soon to make a significant dent in that amount. So we have hard choices to make, either scale back our energy usage massively (European countries use 1/2 or 1/3 of our power per capita) or find non-fossil fuel solutions that can be scaled up rapidly. Or do nothing and continue to dump CO2 into the atmosphere. Pretty sucky options no matter how you slice it.

        Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

        by ontheleftcoast on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:01:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have no argument from me on that point. (11+ / 0-)

          One of the neat things about residential solar is that we are much more focused on the energy we use. We've never been big on appliances, but we think more about our usage and there is more incentive to turn things off, or find a manual way to do something.

          It has spilled over into our business. We use low levels of lighting in our store, and every single light bulb is fluorescent. We keep it cool in the winter and warm in the summer. (Our roof would be ideal for solar, but we don't own the building.)

          I believe there is significant room for improvement in the commercial sector in terms of awareness, but I think you are right, it's way too big for solar to cover alone.

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:14:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In more Northern latitudes, commercial space (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Siri, marleycat, Wee Mama, translatorpro

            is the way to go.

            Homes tend to use more electricity when people are there, i.e outside of working hours, where businesses tend to use more during working hours i.e in daytime when the sun shines.

            In more Southerly latitudes - Texas, Florida, Arizona etc power consumption is driven more by airconditioning which draws most during the day, and the very most on hot clear sunny days, when solar is most efficient.

            A combination of a thermal heat/airco pump, reducing consumption by around 60% and a few solar panels could give a Texan free heating and airco.

            "Lethality is the prime function of a firearm why pretend otherwise?" 2dimeshift!

            by senilebiker on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:13:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  agreed (11+ / 0-)

          with current tech, solar alone will not replace FFs at our current consumption rates.

          Which we could and should cut 1/3 to 1/2.

          Fission heated steam-generated electricity, in its present business model, is unsustainable and life-threatening.

          If the road to social transformation can be paved only by saints who never make mistakes, the road will NEVER be built. ~ Van Jones

          by ozsea1 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:28:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow, that has to be the most pleasant comment (7+ / 0-)

            exchange in an NNadir diary ever. Maybe the world really isn't doomed. And while I am an advocate for the potential of nuclear I agree the current business model (largely driven by the DoD's desire for fissionable materials) is a disaster on many levels.

            Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

            by ontheleftcoast on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:49:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the problem is not with fission power per se... (8+ / 0-)

              it has its place in the energy portfolio (how important, that's open to some discussion).

              The problem is with this diary. It is premised on falsehoods and overgeneralizations.

              •  Thanks. That's useful. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1

                For my part, I believe that solar power has many useful applications, and with advances in efficiency, storage and transmission those applications will expand.

                We need a clean source of base-load generation, and I suspect that fission is the best prospect at this time. I certainly agree that there are problems with fission also, and that they can be overcome.

              •  Well, with due respect to your opinion, as I... (2+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                bryfry, gzodik
                Hidden by:
                The Werewolf Prophet

                ...see it, the "problem with this diary" is that it slaughters some sacred cattle.

                There is very little involved with the solar faith that is based on truth or specifics, almost nothing in fact.

                If there were, 50 years of mindless cheering for solar energy would have made it a significant source of energy, which it isn't.

                More than 40% of the production capacity for polysilicon was destroyed in the Sendai earthquake, and, um, nobody noticed.

                That says all one needs to know about the grand solar "success."

                •  Hide-rate for generalized ad hominems ... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice, ozsea1

                  ... such as "50 years of mindless cheering" and "the solar faith".

                  Nuclear is dead! Long live Renewables!

                  by The Werewolf Prophet on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  bullshit. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1, kalmoth

                  Here's a specific: these people are installing residential solar for $0 money down. Guess they must be running a charitable institution since solar is so uneconomic.

                  Scientific Materialism debunked here

                  by wilderness voice on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 12:59:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is a real solar scam and this is it in CT (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bryfry, Hiyodori

                    There is a scam running like that here in CT, supported by the electric bills of all the apartment dwelling electricity buyers (as well as home and business owners).  You will find however, that the Better Busines Bureau does not endorse it.

                    The scam is paid for by the government, but the actual money comes from all the rate payers as a surtax on your electric bill.  This is why the scam works: No solar products are ever scrapped, however defective.  Products rejected by a manufacturer's quality control group, or products damaged in shipment,  are sold as lower quality items, cheaper.  If you buy the cheapest, most junk-like solar product from a manufacturer, it is then economic for you to put it on people's houses with minimum wage, unqualified installers (cleverly requiring the home owner or business or municipal government  to pay the engineering cost to cover your liability for said substandard installers) and be paid back by the state.  If they remain in place following federal budge cutting, there will also be alternative energy credits which are assigned to the scam artists by the home owner.

                    The home owner is actually happy (unless the panels are installed badly and said bad installation damages his house) because he is getting some electricity for nothing.

                    The scamsters are overjoyed.

                    The public is uninformed about the deal.

                    So it goes.

                •  Nah (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice
                  More than 40% of the production capacity for polysilicon was destroyed in the Sendai earthquake, and, um, nobody noticed.

                  We noticed, we just did not come to the same sophomoric bullshit conclusions that you did.

                  Not worth a donut.

                  If the road to social transformation can be paved only by saints who never make mistakes, the road will NEVER be built. ~ Van Jones

                  by ozsea1 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:04:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Maybe you NOTICED, but being a cultist, (1+ / 1-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bryfry
                    Hidden by:
                    indycam

                    you were unable to draw a CONCLUSION about what it meant.

                    The proper conclusion is that solar energy is insignificant, despite the wild-eyed mythology that has bet the future of the planetary atmosphere - from a prism of wishful thinking that has become toxic thinking.

                    It is unsurprising that you don't get it, since you entire contribution to this site is mindlessly, and without a whit of understanding of a single fucking issue important to humanity, issuing hide rates.

                    You are, reified, the IGNORANCE I address - somewhat uselessly here.

                    Have a nice mindless and useless day.

                    •  May you haven't noticed (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kalmoth

                      and probably didn't read the entire comment thread.

                      I issued no HRs in this diary, and I did give you the benefit of the doubt about fossil fuels upthread.

                      The emotionally overwrought tone of both your diary and your responses doesn't lend weight to your thesis; this is your diary, and it's your responsibility to argue with ALL the facts, not the ones you cherrypick. WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO AGREE WITH YOU.

                      As I read the comments, the main impressions I get are that current tech solar can't do it all, and that current tech/business model nuclear power is hazardous to our health.

                      Still want to hear about your plans to SAFELY dispose of nuclear power waste and to link that upcoming diary to the ongoing "events" in northern Japan.

                      If the road to social transformation can be paved only by saints who never make mistakes, the road will NEVER be built. ~ Van Jones

                      by ozsea1 on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 10:27:25 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  I'll talk to you... (0+ / 0-)

                  once you provide that peer-reviewed article I requested, or retract your afactual statements and publicly apologize. In the meantime, you have as much credibility with me as Harvey Wasserman.

                  And, by the way, the building my office is in has a 120-kW solar power station using zero silicone in the collectors.

                  •  Um, no we WON'T talk. Apparently, you cannot (1+ / 1-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bryfry
                    Hidden by:
                    indycam

                    distinguish silicone, which is a family of polymers, from polysilicon, which is a crystalline allotrope of an element.

                    I do not intend to apologize for telling the truth, never have, never will.

                    The world output of all the solar plants on earth is easily found using EIA or OCED or IAE data.

                    You could fucking look it up yourself if you weren't so damn lazy.    I've produced this data here many times over the year.

                    Last I looked, not a single gas plant, not one, zero, zilch, was shut because the solar energy scam put it out of business.

                    Stupid little anecdotal trash about your bourgeois office building is meaningless.    There is not a single 120 kw solar facility on this planet - they all rate themselves on peak power and not on average continuous power - that has produced 120 kw for even for 15 minutes.

                    I discussed this point on the actual energy output of the MOCA solar installation in Massachusetts, where I calculated from live data, that its capacity utilization was about 10.6%

                    I have Christian fundementalists in my family.   I don't produce scientific references they request either in order to prove that the world was made in six days.

                    I consider the anti-nuke fundementalists to be the equivalent of creationists, and the "solar will save us" squad to be pretty damn close to them.

                    I couldn't care less about how you regard me.    I'm not here to seek popularity.   I am simply pointing out that enormous resources are being wasted on a fantasy.

                    I have referenced many hundreds of papers from the primary scientific literature in my writings here, which was, in fact, a waste of time, since the scientific level here is mostly informed by fear, ignorance, and superstition

        •  Incorrect basis (6+ / 0-)

          I'm all for efficiency improvement (cut my total energy usage by half in the last several years.)

          You've used an erroneous basis that neglects actual use vs. waste.   Electrical production losses (the lion's share of electricity production) are about 26 quads of the 94.6 total quads from all sources used in 2009.)  http://energyfuture.wikidot.com/...  Transportation wastes 20 quads.  Commercial and industrial waste another 6 quads while residential wastes less than 2 directly.

          If you re-normalize residential comes out to ~24% of actual use, commercial at  ~16%, and industrial at ~44% with transport at ~16%.  (All done in my head so forgive the imprecision.)

          Well over 1/3 of the total quad usage of energy (not electricity) comes from petroleum, primarily transportation and partially industrial.  Interestingly, nearly all of the transportation category is wasted as "rejected energy."

          While I have my doubts about EV vehicles in the near term, PV makes a lot of sense of them as it eliminates horrendous wastage by transportation losses.  In fact, my primary objections is that PV can FIRST back out electrical production from coal while using hybrid vehicles to cut transportation losses in half.  In other words, I see hybrids and PV/wind as complimentary.

          Passive solar could knock out a lot of natural gas heat rejection...as could drainwater heat recovery, etc.

          If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

          by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:05:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, waste is a huge problem (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marleycat, Odysseus, gzodik

            And it will vary with different usage patterns. But PV has a huge waste problem in off hour storage. You can only get useful local solar generation an average of 8 hours/day. Storing energy locally in batteries or heat storage (water for example) will waste energy converting it back and forth from different forms. Entropy is a harsh reality of physics.

            Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

            by ontheleftcoast on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 06:45:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  i looked into that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry, Deward Hastings, gzodik

      and realized i'm not quite rich enough to put the panels up.

      Even with all the subsidies you have some serious cash outlays (depending on your state) up front for the system. My sister-in-law did do it in Jersey and it seems that other (mostly less wealthy people) are now subsidizing her electric bills.

      In a real competitive market, solar goes nowhere, for now.

      •  Other (mostly less wealthy) people are (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Siri, ozsea1, BYw, Egalitare, Wee Mama, Odysseus, melo

        subsidizing a lot of other things that are a lot worse than solar technology. My state has some pretty good tax breaks (kind of like the ones they give to big oil, or big banks, or the health insurance industry) to encourage people to invest in solar technology. The more people who go solar, the more viable it should become. Without investment in a new technology it's hard to refine and improve it. The company I used works with a bank that gave me a one-year interest free loan to pay for the system up front. Once I receive the tax breaks (about half the total cost of the project) in the next year, I will use those to pay off half of the loan. The payback period for the remainder of the balance is about 5-7 years, in terms of what I save every month on electricity, vs. what I pay back to the bank.

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:52:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And just to clarify - you refer to other people (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Siri, northsylvania, BYw, Wee Mama

          subsidizing your sister's electric bills. I assume her set up is similar to mine, in that the subsidies come from the initial tax break to install the system. Once it is up and running, I am generating electricity that I sell to my electric company during the day. I buy it back from them at night. The goal is to get to a point where it all evens out and I am generating as much electricity as I use. No one is subsidizing my electric bills.

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:02:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And yet (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gzodik

            I'm willing to bet that, if the government were to pay a large part of the costs for a new power plant for the local utility (either directly or through tax breaks), you would be one of the first to scream about "corporate welfare."

            I don't own the roof under which I currently live. Can I get a tax break to "even out" my electricity needs for the next decade? I pay electricity bills and I pay taxes. Why do you get a break, when I cannot?

            What kind of denial do you live in to think that I'm not subsidizing your low electricity bills?

            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
            -- H. L. Mencken

            by bryfry on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:10:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll repeat. I generate electricity during the (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mythatsme, LaughingPlanet, Siri, kalmoth, BYw

              day. I sell that electricity to the electric company. I buy that electricity back at night. I pay the same rate that you and every other customer of that company pays. No one is giving me a break on that rate.

              A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

              by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:19:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, my question is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gzodik

                why do you get a tax break to install the system?

                If you want to become a merchant electricity generator and enjoy the benefits that result, shouldn't you pay for your own equipment?

                An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                -- H. L. Mencken

                by bryfry on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:32:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because the government has decided that (10+ / 0-)

                  it is in the best interest of the country that people be encouraged to install renewable energy systems. I have no problem with government giving support to fledgling technologies. It did so with nuclear power - rightly so, I believe. There was no way to know back then what the dangers were and it would have been remiss of the government not to encourage further investigation. But there comes a time when we discover that something just is too dangerous and/or the industry is fully capable of standing on its own (like big oil) and tax incentives are no longer needed. Solar is hardly there, as you and the diarist point out. I think it deserves the same chance as oil and nuclear got and is far more conducive to small-scale implementation than nuclear or oil.

                  A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

                  by marleycat on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:54:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  If the power company needs to build fewer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karl Rover

              generators that benefits you, because of the high capitol costs of new generators.

              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 08:10:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  If those others claim child tax credits (13+ / 0-)

        and your sister-in-law is paying property taxes that go toward schools, she is subsidizing their kids. That's the way the tax codes go. The community pays in taxes for what it wants to see in a civilized society. They are not subsidizing her electric bills, she likely has minimal bills if any as she's generating her own electricity. She received a tax credit for the purchase and installation, a one time credit in that year.

        Yes, installation can be prohibitively expensive. These costs have been coming down and should continue to do so.

        In a real competitive market, oil companies and nuclear plants wouldn't receive any tax subsidies either.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

        by Siri on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:58:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Leasing the solar panels... (5+ / 0-)

        requires little to no money up front. And with a prepaid lease, I get an even better deal than I would if I purchased the system. Why is that? It's because the leasing company gets even more tax breaks than I as an individual can. An example: I have a quote for $10,000 for a 9 kW system installed. The lease requires no additional payments for 20 years, then I have an option to purchase the system for the princely sum of $1.

        As for less wealthy people subsidizing my solar system, I'm not about to feel at all guilty. My partner and I can't get married and take advantage of the tax benefits married folks get. We don't have children so we can't get the child tax credits and of course, even though we are childless, our property taxes go to subsidize the education of everyone else's kids.

        In a "real competitive market", where would nuclear be if government didn't indemnify those operators against a catastrophe?

        Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

        by Ian S on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 06:41:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Much of it" was private funds, not public (11+ / 0-)

    Public funds in the form of loans took up ~1/3 of the total.  

    Meanwhile how many tens of billions in cost overruns and failed public ventures have poured into fission?  And how many nuke reactors do we have now that are insufficiently engineered for foreseeable disasters?  (Including but not limited to the extremely poorly engineered Mark I BWR's.)

    If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:26:09 PM PDT

    •  Right. Just because we haven't... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tbetz, Karl Rover

      ...yet found the proper mix of technologies to harness solar energy doesn't mean it's a blind alley.

      We know that solar works, even in high latitudes.

      We know that solar is only part of a proper, realistic, comprehensive solution to Energy with much less Carbon - which, yes, includes creating massive energy storage infrastructure.

      And we also know that we aren't "there" yet.

      The current state of affairs simply means the Carbon Merchants and their Nuclear Cousins are still very successful in inhibiting aggressive research and development in true renewables.

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 06:35:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  so (13+ / 0-)

    the price of solar cells has fallen so far that companies expecting to sell them at a profit are going bust instead.

    And this proves that solar is uneconomical.

    Got it.

    Politics is the art of changing what's possible.

    by happymisanthropy on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:31:11 PM PDT

    •  Yep, the reason this company failed... (9+ / 0-)

      ...from what I read was that their model was one of higher cost installations.  That's a dangerous position to be in during a global recession when there are lower cost competitors.

      What interests me as a residential consumer/homeowner is that we are getting within striking distance of the point where a mid-latitude install, with panels, electronics and install labor will break even for the consumer.  (I'm talking about ~6-8,000 kwh/yr electrical demand and production.)

      By comparison it seems unlikely that any new nuke fission plant could be built with better economics than what we might achieve with the same capacity installed in residences...with zero risk...and a more distributed power grid.

      If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

      by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:00:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do you want to bet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, skymutt, Celtic Pugilist

    that the Solyndra plant gets boxed up and shipped to china ?

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China

    http://online.wsj.com/...

    The Department of Energy on Wednesday defended the Solyndra loan. "The company was considered extraordinarily innovative as recently as 2010," a department spokesman said. "Solyndra was a victim of the aggressive Chinese solar-manufacturing pricing policies" and market conditions.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:31:27 PM PDT

  •  I don't think a company going out of business (16+ / 0-)

    during the worst economic downturn since the great depression is indicative of the entire industry being a washout always and forever. Start up companies, in all kinds of industries, which are financed through venture capita, go bust all the time.

    The $535 million of "taxpayer money" cited in this article is misleading since those were loan guarantees from the DOE not any kind of federal grant. Whether or not taxpayers will actually be on the hook for any of this depends on how the bankruptcy in handled.

    I really feel for the people that are now unemployed in this horrible job market. Again, it's happening everywhere across all industries right now. I don't think you can take the failure of this company and extrapolate it to not ever opening this kind of business again.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

    by Siri on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:36:19 PM PDT

  •  China wins again . (7+ / 0-)
    It's the fault of physics. The solar industry cannot be made economic, nor can it be made clean or sustainable.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/...

    After the failure of the IPO attempt, Solyndra sent half its manufacturing to China.

    I guess you know better than the Chinese ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:38:02 PM PDT

    •  No, the Chinese are smarter (1+ / 2-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother Shipper
      Hidden by:
      Celtic Pugilist, Deep Texan

      They have no EPA.

      That's good business, but not so good for Qiao Shi Peng.

      Thanks for caring.

      An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
      -- H. L. Mencken

      by bryfry on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:44:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow , are you not the one who is so concerned (0+ / 0-)

        about the date  ? "March 9, 2008"

        You praise the polluters ?
        Why am I not surprised ?

         

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:49:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, things have (0+ / 0-)

          changed so much in three years.

          Go Solar!!

          An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
          -- H. L. Mencken

          by bryfry on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:52:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's what the Chinese are saying and doing . (0+ / 0-)

            If you don't like what they are doing , why do you praise them ?

            "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

            by indycam on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:56:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indy, my friend, what ARE the Chinese (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mother Shipper, gzodik

              doing, exactly? I mean, do you really know? I'm well read on the subject and sometimes I don't know either.

              coal
              Hydro
              nuclear
              wind
              gas (something new, relatively speaking)
              solar
              geothermal
              tidal

              That's recently approved or under construction in order of GW hrs produced.

              This is a very important discussion and, if you look at the facts of their planning, you can see what they are doing. Without narrowly focusing on "wow, they're doing tidal, SEEEEE!" to use a really irrelevant example. Harvey Wasserman is famous for this narrow field look at his favorite 'solartopia' wishful thinking.

              They Chinese are doing everything. Period. A large part of their wind production IS for domestic production. VERY LITTLE of their solar is for domestic consumption, they want into the US and European subsided markets. They are not stupid. I understand, second hand, Haven't looked it up, that fully 99.6% of their PV cell production is for export.

              Look at the UAE. 4 nukes planned and 4 more likely to be approved. But wait...they are also building what is likely the worlds largest solar 'institution', this advanced "Solar city" of theirs (which will be more an architectural wonder of efficiency and natural cooling) but backed up by...well...nuclear. I applaud what they are doing as it simply makes sense. And it's the cheapest way to go. The R&D alone in building efficiency and the use of elevations and cooled-caverns for places like the UAE can have incalculable savings in terms of energy. All power to 'em.

              David

              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:42:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  HR for RW talking point. nt (3+ / 0-)

        If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

        by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:02:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uprated. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik

        It's a valid and relevant comment.

        •  how so? (0+ / 0-)

          has the EPA been obstructing solar plants?

          Scientific Materialism debunked here

          by wilderness voice on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:24:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gzodik

            From the diary:

            Unfortunately, this real lesson of this exercise in waste - is that solar energy has a physics problem (as well - if you study it - a chemical toxicological problem)...

            Pointing out waste problems in the industry is relevant. I wish China DID have an EPA.
          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry, Hiyodori

            Builders of PV solar plants in the US know that you can't use the chemical processes and  dumping of said chemicals that you can use in China.  The diarist cited an excellent article on the subject of what the PV solar industry does in China.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

            The Washington Post is not a right wing rag either:

            GAOLONG, China -- The first time Li Gengxuan saw the dump trucks from the nearby factory pull into his village, he couldn't believe what happened. Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their compound without a word.

            This ritual has been going on almost every day for nine months, Li and other villagers said.

            In China, a country buckling with the breakneck pace of its industrial growth, such stories of environmental pollution are not uncommon. But the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co., here in the central plains of Henan Province near the Yellow River, stands out for one reason: It's a green energy company, producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world. But the byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.

            "The land where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place. . . . It is like dynamite -- it is poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it," said Ren Bingyan, a professor at the School of Material Sciences at Hebei Industrial University.

            And no, it will not be gone in 30 years or 100 years, either.  This waste lasts forever.

            No one needs to tell companies in the US that you can't do that, but they bear the expense of not doing it.  Even the Chinese know they couldn't do the same things in the US:

            Shi, chief executive of Pro-EnerTech, a start-up polysilicon research firm in Shanghai, said that there's such a severe shortage of polysilicon that the government is willing to overlook this issue for now.

            "If this happened in the United States, you'd probably be arrested," he said.

            An independent, nationally accredited laboratory analyzed a sample of dirt from the dump site near the Luoyang Zhonggui plant at the request of The Washington Post. The tests show high concentrations of chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which can result from the breakdown of silicon tetrachloride and do not exist naturally in soil. "Crops cannot grow on this, and it is not suitable for people to live nearby," said Li Xiaoping, deputy director of the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences.

            Or perhaps not.  Both here in CT and in VT, while computers must be treated as hazardous e-waste, solar panels containing exactly the same pollutants, including lead solder, if you're talking about many of the Chinese solar panels, can be thrown in the town dump.

            The Chinese are using the same theory:

            For each ton of polysilicon produced, the process generates at least four tons of silicon tetrachloride liquid waste.

            When exposed to humid air, silicon tetrachloride transforms into acids and poisonous hydrogen chloride gas, which can make people who breathe the air dizzy and can make their chests contract.
            ...

            Early this year, one of the villagers put some of the contaminated soil in a plastic bag and went to the local environmental bureau. They never got back to him.
            Zhang Zhenguo, 45, a farmer and small businessman, said he has a theory as to why: "They didn't test it because the government supports the plant."

            Stuff is the same all over.

  •  Meanwhile, on the other side of the country (0+ / 0-)

    Evergreen Solar Seeks Bankruptcy With Plans to Sell Itself

    Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR), a maker of electricity generating solar panels, filed bankruptcy with plans to sell itself at an auction in order to pay creditors owed $485.6 million.

    This is after accepting almost $60 million in government subsidies.

    An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
    -- H. L. Mencken

    by bryfry on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:51:27 PM PDT

  •  Hesse and Ecclesiastes; (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings, ozsea1

    some days are like that.  

    Too many such some days these days.

  •  "solar ... has ... a toxicological problem" (18+ / 0-)

    So nuclear waste is utterly non-toxic, children can play in soil contaminated by it, and Mom can feed them veggies grown in that same soil, right?

    Tell that to the good people of Fukushima prefecture.

    Nuclear is dead! Long live Renewables!

    by The Werewolf Prophet on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:11:23 PM PDT

  •  how pathetic this hit piece is. (15+ / 0-)

    Nukes are the only answer then. got it.

    Keep screaming it.

    Solar is so very evil. Like Greenpeace, which you also hate.

    Choosing to refrain from commenting in our own diary?

    Classy.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:17:21 PM PDT

  •  Dear colleagues... (13+ / 0-)
    It's the fault of physics.   The solar industry cannot be made economic, nor can it be made clean or sustainable.

    This is fucking bullshit, and I know whereof I speak.

    Sapienti sat.

  •  Gonna trot out the same line I usually do. (17+ / 0-)

    Solar is far cleaner than any of the fossil fuels that we currently use.

    1.6 billion is pretty cheap when you consider the fate of the planet is at stake.

  •  Oatmeal cookies (10+ / 0-)

    1/3 cup Butter (margarine)
    1/3 cup Lightly packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup  warm water
    1 cup Flour, divided
    1/4 cup aside
    1 cup quick rolled oats
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1/2 tablespoon baking soda

    Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly, then beat in water. Set aside 1/4 cup flour for rolling. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients, then stir them into the creamed mixture. Add the remaining flour gradually to the dough until it is stiff enough to roll.

    Divide the dough into 3 lumps about the same size. Roll each lump of dough out about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 12 pieces or use cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

    Bake at 350°F about 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from pan, cool. Store in a covered container. This recipe makes about 36 cookies.

  •  Not surprising... (9+ / 0-)

    ...that a U.S. solar manufacturer would fail, when there's a severe price war among Chinese manufacturers who have a much lower cost structure to begin with.

    But whether the solar power manufacturing business is booming or busting is really not that relevant if what you are interested in is the rate of implementation of solar power.  The prospects have never been better for solar power in terms of its costs and benefits.  The costs of solar power are quickly falling to the point where it is becoming very competitive with other power sources, and it is becoming a small but rapidly increasing part of the power mix in many countries.  

  •  Radioactive Sewage in Japan (6+ / 0-)

    Silicon tetrachloride contamination in China is obviously a much more dire problem and the failure of a US solar company is probably much more of an economic waste but people might be interested in this report on radioactive sewage in Japan: http://www.youtube.com/...

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:12:08 PM PDT

  •  Sad that nobody wants to build ANY more nukes? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, gzodik

    Except the Chinese also who want all our polluting PV solar production facilities.

    Besides for the Southwest we have a GREAT alternative in CSP,

    http://www.stirlingenergy.com/...

  •  Lanny Davis, is that you? (3+ / 0-)

    Liberal?  What an amusing title you give yourself.  Amusing that you espouse typically non-Liberal thinking in the few diaries, and comments I have read that have your name on them.

    The only nuclear power we need is the sun.  You appear to support the most expensive, and least safe form of nuclear energy instead.  The kind of nuclear energy that no insurance company in the world will touch, because of the inherent long term danger of catastrophe. Any fool still chirping for nuclear power after Fukishima is living in an ignorant fantasy world.

    Your critique of solar power is small-minded, and presents us with yet another series of false choice scenarios: schools, or one small solar power project, Nuclear engineering, or one small solar power project, libraries or one small solar power project.... blah, blah ,blah.

    I'm guessing you are may also be one of those wind power critics who say that wind turbines are killing lots of birds, yet large unobstructed windows, house cats, and cars kill many hundreds of thousands more birds a year and you would probably not go after them because it does not fit your ideology.... just guessing.

    Solar power is one part of our energy future, not a panacea, and your pathetic attack on it is completely understandable if you are a paid hack of the Nuclear power industry, but not so much if you are a critically thinking Liberal.  Talk to you later Lanny.  Oh, your Koch Bros check is in the mail.  Stay classy.

    John

  •  Nuke Power is not the Messiah... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaughingPlanet, esquimaux, Rich in PA

    It's a very naughty boy.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 07:08:03 AM PDT

  •  okay drudgereport (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    not.

  •  After having read a number of his pieces, (3+ / 0-)

    I have come to the conclusion that the diarist is not really interested in promoting solutions to our energy problems. He is solely interested in reminding all of us as to how fucking smart he thinks he is. A very malnourished little ego, indeed.

  •  Peer reviewed journal shows solar/wind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northstarbarn, gzodik

    not economic:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/...

    If you want i can post dozens of "peer reviewed jouransl" that show wind, but mostly solar, is hugely expensive way more than gas, hydro, wind, coal and nuclear.

    Just to go the climate activist blog bravenewclimate.com they list there.

    we are not talking about how my Paciifca neighbor had 75% of his whopping $35,000 (actual total COSTS) paid for by...me and my neighbors. That will out the massive increase in gas fired, dangerous fossil fuel burning gas turbines, the grid itself is what provides most of his power 82% of the day (when it's sunny, BTW, which is only 20% of the time.)

    Serious "renewables" are hydro, geothermal and, yes, even wind, some of the time. PV everywhere is a sad expensive joke.

    The load...that is what people are using, is only 30% residential, at best. No solar PV factory in the world can be totally, even close to totally, run on solar. Love to see an aluminum plant run on solar.

    The 'left' position is any position that does two thing: expand... read that is increase make more of the productive forces in an equitable and just manner and, that puts generally human needs before profits.

    Since we can exclude hydro from any serious study of 'renewables' we are really talking about solar and wind. Simply SPOUTING OUT in the faith-based belief that solar can save us, you might actually point to somethng that shows this to be hte case.

    Beyond that, the reality, is that nuclear is not only hear to stay but is building out in a lot of countries that reject the German non-change in the policy (they are just phasing out nuclear faster...they say). The future of non-carbon energy on a planetary basis, the only context worth talking about, is going to be hydro and nuclear in a big way, wind, in an intermediate way, and solar, in an effectively irrelevant way. Why do I say this? Because if you look at non-carbon/low-carbon generation plans and builds (by plans I mean those that have actually been approved) that's what is going on.

    As the economics of solar become real: hi feed in tariffs contributing to it's own demise in Spain, France and other countries, it is totally dependent on give aways. Wind stands a better chance and requires less subsidies, and nuclear, per unit of energy produced gets almost no subsidies. By subsidies I mean Money-From-My-Pocket-Into-Theirs. Not loan guarantees but actual grants.

    We will need a lot MORE energy per-capita in ever flux energy denser forms to get us off fossil fuel. More, not less.  Used in efficient and smarter ways, but more.

    It is a reactionary not a "liberal" position to think we should use "less". Tell that to the 1/3 of the worlds population with NO ELECTRICITY. NO HEALTH CARE. NO EDUCATION. More folks, a LOT more. Wind and solar won't make it, nuclear can. Nuclear is the left's answer to war, poverty and social dislocation.

    David

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:06:36 AM PDT

    •  you can site all the articles you like (0+ / 0-)

      but the fact remains private investors are ponying up for two 500MW solar plants in the California desert.

      Scientific Materialism debunked here

      by wilderness voice on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:30:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That last paragraph is a crock (0+ / 0-)

      The real liberal position links our overuse of resources to others' under- or non-use.  It actually works for electricity a lot worse than for any other resource I can think of (it doesn't work that well for water either), but still it's a little weird to use the need for the poorest Earthlings to go from zero-to-modest energy use as cover for the richest ones to go from excessive-to-obscene.

      Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

      by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 11:59:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meanwhile, on the other side (0+ / 0-)

    of the Big Pond:

    During the first half of 2011, the share of renewable energy sources used by Germans in their total energy mix grew to one-fifth -- a hefty boost over 2010. It's a small step toward Germany's ambition to phase out nuclear power.

    http://www.spiegel.de/...

    And before our pro-nuke friends jump in and scream "but, but, but - they're building more coal plants". let me tell you that not a single new planned coal-powered plant (the grid and what feeds into them, by the way, are under the aegis of the individual STATES, not the federal government)  has gone online or been approved because of massive protests from the PEOPLE. The environmental movement in Germany is huge and active, and has been extremely effective in stopping all new coal-powered plants. This has happened to the last 5 or 6 planned plants. The interim solution will be gas, which the Grünen are not nuts about either, but it's cleaner than coal, and if you want references, you're going to have to be able to read German, because very little of these protests are written up in English.

    And then there's this, which our pro-nuke contingent also conveniently ignores:

    Reducing emissions: What has Germany accomplished so far?
    From 1994 through 2006, Germany cut its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 19%. This was chiefly a result of modernisation processes in the new Länder, but measures implemented as part of the German government's climate protection programmes played a key role as well. Germany expects to fulfil its 21% emissions reductions target within the 2008-2012 commitment period without needing to adopt any additional measures.

    http://www.bmwi.de/...

    Just as a reminder - I'm an American expat and longtime resident of Germany, and I get really, really tired of the bs that the pro-nuke people write about Germany, half-truths and no understanding at all of the mentality, culture, or structures here. And most of all, I get sick of them underestimating the Germans' incredible engineering skills. Just look at their cars, need I say more?

    A proud supporting member of Native American Netroots

    by translatorpro on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:10:55 AM PDT

    •  And so here is what is going on: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northstarbarn, gzodik

      Germany:

      The German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for promoting clean energy and combating climate change.

      The plan has come under stiff criticism, but the Ministry of Economics and Technology defended the idea. A spokeswoman said it was necessary as the government switches from nuclear to other renewable energy sources and added that the money would promote the most efficient plants possible.

      Funding for the initiative is limited to five percent of the energy and climate change fund’s annual expenditure between 2013 and 2016.

      Annual funding for the new plants could total more than €160 million per year between 2013 and 2014 alone, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported on Wednesday.

      The fund was first established to encourage nuclear plant operators to develop new, renewable forms of energy production. Now that nuclear power is to be phased out by 2022, the fund will pay for research into reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, developing renewable energy sources and storage technologies for them.

      Opposition politicians and environmental groups said the plan was wrong because it would promote what they argued were climate-damaging plants. They also worried that money earmarked for other valuable projects could be reduced as a result.

      Oliver Krischer, a member in the Bundestag of the Green party, told the Berliner Zeitung that the country would do better to encourage more investment in energy efficiency

      And the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said additional coal-fired plants were entirely unnecessary.

       Bituminous coal 11.1% and Lignite 11.4% have gone UP in usage as the coals plants are running balls to the wall since the non-re-starts of german nuclear. GAS TURBINE construction, which is what all this 'renewable' nonsesne is based on (and never, ever, counted as part of the expense of solar and wind, it seems) has, as wind advocate journalist Jerome de Paris has noted, been "building like crazy all over Germany". Actual share of NG has gone up.

      What you have in German and Spain and Denmark is essentially fossil being permanently married to solar and wind as even the combined effect of more of both can't balance the grid or provide the baseload power necessary to run Germany's advanced economy.

      The point is not that they not increasing the % of both solar and wind, it's at what huge cost they are doing this at. And yes, talk to any grid operator in Germany and they will tell you then need those fossil plants (or French nuclear) forever.

      The UK continues apace in building 12 new nukes to replace their older ones and shutdown more coal.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:28:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hello David, at least you have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        learned to use sources, apparently. I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in the one you chose, but at least I'll give you a "Pass" for trying.

        What you are continually missing is that the present government of Germany is conservative and pro-business. If it had been up to them, they would have stuck to nuclear power, but the only thing they could get through the parliament was to modify the 10-year-old SPD-Green plan and extend the nuclear shut-down plan by 12 years, i.e. keep the nukes online for 12 more years, with a lot of resistance from the Greens. It was the massive protests by the PEOPLE (and don't start with your conspiracy garbage that the people were paid by the natural gas lobby without proof, please)  and an imminent important state election that made Ms. Merkel do an about-face. Well, her party lost big to the Greens in Baden-Württemberg, a bastion of conservative politics for the last 60 years, anyway. And the common knowledge here is that the decision was based on political expediency. On the other hand, Ms. Merkel holds a PhD in Physics, so she's no slouch when it comes to science.

        The point I'm making is that there are a lot of politics in play which will influence the final decision, especially regarding what plants will be built where, and the last word has not been spoken. No matter what the Ministry of Economics WANTS - which is what the article specifically says - that doesn't mean they will GET it by a long shot. And it's hardly a surprising statement coming from a conservative minister. But a lot can happen between now and whenever there might be a final vote on the matter. The Germans value consensus, and laws must be passed unanimously - something unheard of in the US, I know. Believe me, it takes quite a while for laws to pass that way, since there is obviously a lot of jockeying going on beforehand.

        So before you and your pro-nuke friends grasp at any straw at all which seems to support your viewpoint, or jumping on tid-bits here and there from news sources which are not really known for quality journalism, I would recommend you read the many, many links I have put up in the various diaries on this topic which are primarily German government sources, and their websites are usually all in English. How about that for transparency?

        And if you are still reading at this point, I'll toss you an Easter egg: Have you heard of the upstart "Pirate Party" in Germany? Berlin is having elections in a few weeks, and they stand to do well:
        http://torrentfreak.com/...

        I bet most people didn't know that the Germans really do have a sense of humor! LOL, I can hardly believe it myself. Well, I can't predict what German politics or policy will look like by the next federal election, but Merkel's party is not doing very well lately, so the whole argument of coal vs. gas. vs. nuclear power vs. renewables may well be moot in 2013 when the next federal elections take place. If the SPD and/or Greens win big again, the whole ballgame will change, but a lot can happen in 2 years.

        Here's a very general, relatively short article on German politics that may shed a little light on the subject. http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

        I have been doing my homework, David, reading up on German energy policy. Maybe you should educate yourself a little better, too, before trying to argue based on erroneous or speculative information. If anyone can pull this  100% renewables thing off, it's the Germans. That doesn't mean, however, that it will work elsewhere - I'll give you that much.

        A proud supporting member of Native American Netroots

        by translatorpro on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:23:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Sun is pretty damn impressive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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    I'm relatively confident that we will eventually be able to harness its energy (such as it is by the time it gets to Earth) towards our needs in some meaningful and cost-effective way.  The people who say we're there or almost there right now are ideology-addled (as PJ O'Rourke would put it), but so are people who say we'll never get there.  The far more likely option is that we'll get there in some medium tern.  

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 11:56:31 AM PDT

  •  What's the Fukushima clean up and economic (0+ / 0-)

    loss costing?  Hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars.  So a $1.6 billion tech company failure means we abandon the most promising renewable source around?  Apple computer rakes in $1.6 billion in revenue in every 4 days.  But a multi-trillion disaster in Japan means we maintain the status quo with nuclear?????  FAIL.  This is what happens when axe grinding and bias is dressed up as science.  Face it: the sun is setting on nuclear.

    Having a policy does not mean receiving care. -- Tzimisce

    by Miggles on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 09:38:19 PM PDT

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