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Progress on Coal, But 'Much, Much, Much More Needed'


Progress on Coal, But 'Much, Much, Much More Needed'

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The world's wealthiest nations appear to be slowly acknowledging the destruction that decades of coal burning has wrought on the environment, though campaigners are warning that pledges to curb subsidies and close power plants still fall substantially short of the "radical shift" necessary to keep global warming beneath the stated goal of 2°C.


We talk about corruption and oligarchy but it is perhaps best illustrated by the demise of coal yet that not heralding a complete shift to alternatives, we get instead a substitute for coal with fracking and nuclear!

Why not solar and wind instead? Exactly why not? What is the answer to that question? The facts are in, solar and wind are competitive so why not shift to safer and cleaner alternative energy?

It has to be sympathy for the very rich. Our governments must be shocked at the extreme deprivation that will be suffered by the very rich when their engorgement is reduced by shifting off the profitable fossil fuel economy. Pity the rich who will still be rich but won't get any richer quite as fast as they are now.

It has to be corruption that makes governments throw the fossil fuel rich this whole carcass and alternative energy a bone.

I imagine the subsidies will continue for fossil fuel and nuclear too. Far be it that those subsidies be given to implementing solar and wind.

We say the word corruption but we look for dirt on personalities and who had their hand out for a noticeable bribe but the corruption is much higher and more diffuse though more extensive as well.

When governments offer subsidies to develop nuclear and fracking rather than shifting over to solar and wind... somebody is not being honest somewhere... everywhere... anywhere... right here!


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Wind and solar have an important role, but can't be used for 100% generation. What happens when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing or the 70% cloudy months of winter in many areas?


Solar furnace energy plants store heat underground during the day and release that heat to create steam to power the same turbines the sun powered during the day. New wind turbine designs spin at low wind speeds (remember how tall they are and go up on the roof of a tall building and feel the wind at that height).Off shore wind farms are never idled. Tidal turbines and river flow turbines never stop. You will see in the near future that several industrial countries will be shooting for 100% solar and wind energy generation.

Even at a minimum the Southwest states should go 100% solar since for them it would be quite easy. Just solar during the day would reduce energy consumption during the peak use part of the day thus saving 4/5ths (?) of energy use. Add energy storage and you'd get 100% pretty easily.


All the thing you mention in this post are speculative technologies at best. Solar thermal is completely impractical outside of desert areas and this "underground heat storage" (why underground - the ground is going to rapidly conduct the heat away?) scheme is entirely impractical or existing power plants and industrial processes would already be using it. Sure there is pumped-storage hydro - but there are very few socially and environmentally suitable sites left for that. Other real alternatives include banks of batteries and underground or underwater compressed air schemes, more speculative are flywheel schemes - but nothing that can provide the amount of storage needed. A more robust smart grid using high-voltage DC lines that can transmit power over transcontinental distances will help - but just like wind turbines themselves, the needed power lines generate NIMBY resistance wherever they are proposed.

And just because a wind turbine might spin in light winds does not mean it is producing enough torque to produce much power. The wind turbines near where I live stop on light wind days.

I envision a CO2 free electric coming from a mix of renewables and nuclear, but reliance entirely of renewables isn't going to work.


You are way behind the times on this. They were speculative twenty years ago but have long been proven effective. Your unfamiliarity with new developments is surprising but easily remedied by a simple google search. You need to do that. Just because you have never heard of it before doesn't mean that it isn't viable. You are easily twenty years out of date.

A solar furnace collects sunlight and focuses it on a furnace to produce superheated temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun. This heat drives a steam turbine just like the heat if coal had heated it (but better actually). While generating this phenomenal heat during the day, some of the heat is stored in underground (simply for insulation but it could be stored above ground but why build the needed insulation?) salt/oil filled tanks. At night this stored heat continues producing the heat needed to run the steam turbines. Thus the energy generated is continuous, this technology is not speculative as many solar furnace plants are already operational across the USA and the world and are being built as we speak. It is this kind of technology which is called industrial solar or 'big solar' (a big plant that provides electricity for say a 100,000 homes like would have a coal plant) as opposed to 'small' or personal solar like a house roof or building' roof top.

Wind turbines are not all the same. Yours must be the old kind. The famous ones in Altamont Calif. are older ones and often aren't operating. New designs have reduced the required amount of wind needed to make them function until even in a light breeze they will continue to produce energy. That NIMBY bullshit was a fossil fuel industry con promoted by cynical (bribed ?) politicians. Somehow fracking operations were not talked about NIMBY even though whole communities begged to not have their backyards and water poisoned. Oil drill rigs in National Parks which were bitterly protested were not discussed as NIMBY by the media but off shore wind turbines that can barely if at all seen were? Yeah okay! A con job!

Ask the Dutch (Dutch windmills) - the truth is everybody likes watching wind turbines spin. They don't like seeing oil rigs and refineries though. Nor telephone poles and so forth. NIMBY was a con job on the sheeple paid for by guess who?


You are not an engineer, that is for sure. Earth materials are much more thermally conductive than air. I am familiar with the few solar thermal plants around - they focus the sun on a boiler and produce steam onlt as long as the sun is shining, They are an old carter-era idea - and have fallen to more beneficent photovoltaics. The wind turbines in my area (Pennsylvania) are of the new type.


You are ridiculously uninformed and too lazy to even do a simple google search before posting. The salt/oil is in tanks not an earthen ditch. Solar plants are big business and many new ones are being constructed at this very moment.

I see no point in this. My mistake.

Yes you are ...whatever you say ...you certainly are. Okay? Whatever you say. Whatever.