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  1. Post
    #26
    Analgia wrote:
    If it's not powered by fossil fuels, nuclear, solar or wind then it doesn't exist. Where has all the discussion about other renewables like underwater turbines gone, especially on overseas websites were they promote nuclear heavily.
    It's hard to do for a bunch of reasons.

    People seem to think that because we make technological progress in certain areas that we'll magically make it viable to run a machine in salt water in a few years if we just start such a project. It's not like anyone in the entire history of humanity has ever tried running a machine in a salt water environment before. I'm sure if we just build some properllers or some **** down there we'll start farting out new materials over night.

    There's probably some pretty solid reasons why geothermal power isn't used more as well.

    If there's money to be made of something someone will do it.

  2. Post
    #27
    massive wrote:
    It's hard to do for a bunch of reasons.

    There's probably some pretty solid reasons why geothermal power isn't used more as well.
    Lol, probably because Rotorua gets annoyed when you deplete their tourist attractions. And look at the environmental issues raised against the Kaipara turbines. Not sure how much of it is true, supposedly it's a blue cod spawning area, but it demonstrates that there's always impacts.

    That said, there's some interesting ideas floating about. I like the science-fiction concept of a large thermoelectric generator utilising the temperature difference between, say 100m down in the ocean vs the top 2m of the ocean.

  3. Post
    #28
    bradc wrote:
    Pretty simple really, volume brings actual costs down (or moreover allows something to survive). Some of that 80% drop you're wishing for likely requires a large amount of uptake.
    1. Volume (to a point) brings down the costs to the producer, not the consumer.

    2. Good technology like solar power is not going to go away because a country doesn't mandate its use.

    3. A huge drop in price needn't come from increased use, advances in the technology are a far more likely source of a massive price drop. Also, other's use (like Germany) will increase production/lower manufacturing costs, allowing us to buy cheaper in the future.


    On top of all this, you seem to be oblivious to what actually happens in these situations.
    If everyone is forced to buy something, people will meet their needs, and because they can charge whatever they like, they will. On the other hand, being urged to buy something, you will only buy at a reasonable price. Look up what has happened to the price of Pink Batts since they became mandatory.
    Spoiler:

  4. Post
    #29
    Hamish_West wrote:
    Look up what has happened to the price of Pink Batts since they became mandatory.
    Spoiler:
    Ok, obviously being an estate consultant you might have the upper hand here, but from my point of ignorance being in the construction/trades industry, the price of a lot of building commodities have skyrocketed in the last few years also. Even all the non compulsory ones. This is due to:
    A) The rebuild
    B) Manufacturers have had to hold their pricing for a couple of years during the worst of the GFC, since the pressure came off they've increased costs over and above what they'd normally inflate to.
    Hamish_West wrote:
    3. A huge drop in price needn't come from increased use, advances in the technology are a far more likely source of a massive price drop. Also, other's use (like Germany) will increase production/lower manufacturing costs, allowing us to buy cheaper in the future.
    While solar rebates may have been reduced this year, solar power system prices have been slashed by over 70% in the past 12 months according to the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES). The reductions have been largely due to the massive growth of solar in China - and Australian householders are reaping the benefits.

    China had little solar capacity as recently as 2009 and while setting a target of 15GW for 2015, it's expected the nation will achieve 26GW capacity by that time. The massive scaling up of production of solar panels, inverters and related equipment has rapidly reduced prices; with the flow-on effect meaning solar power is now within the reach of more Australian households.
    And what's brought about that massive increase in production, and lower costs to producer and consumer? Why, that'd be government intervention.

    Mmm, facts are delicious.

  5. Post
    #30
    Zeon wrote:
    If you have ever been to Germany you can see how crazy the whole windmall thing has become. Like literally every field has a windmill in it. Down a vallery there may be 50+ - down a valley with no wind? Its ****ed up.
    Nevermind that everything with a roof has a solar panel on it.

    Honestly that country is a relative Utopia.

  6. Post
    #31
    bradc wrote:
    And what's brought about that massive increase in production, and lower costs to producer and consumer? Why, that'd be government intervention.

    Mmm, facts are delicious.
    They are, and I'm glad you're posting facts that back up my arguments, if a little confused.
    And the fact still remains that prices are more likely to drop when use is encouraged.

  7. Post
    #32
    LOL, yeah you just keep using conservapedia as your knowledgebase.

    Cost realities means green tech must have some government intervention. The market won't fix everything on its own.

  8. Post
    #33
    Personally I think Germany's policies on energy are fantastic, for many reasons. One point that I don't think anyone has raised yet is the benefits to the distribution network. There are always energy losses during transmission, and the grid is more susceptible to outages. By having distributed energy generation there is less energy lost in transmission and the network is much more robust.

    The decision to ban nuclear plants is completely political however, and isn't really necessary. Nuclear plants are far better than coal plants in terms of efficiency and waste/pollution.

  9. Post
    #34
    Anyone wanting to read about the future of solar and price developments should keep an eye on the energy section at Technology Review.

    E: Oh look, http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39934/?p1=A4

  10. Post
    #35
    Attach an electricity-generating water wheel to my taps, turn taps on. Profit.

  11. Post
    #36
    This looks interesting:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-...ain-night.html

    Solar power, and its relatively weather/night-proof due to generating electricity from stored heat rather than direct sunlight. It cost EUR200 million, powers 30,000 homes. I should imagine you'd be able to graze livestock underneath those things too. That area does receive more sunlight hours than most parts of NZ, though there are some areas which come close.

    The reflectors also look very flat, I'd be interested to know if there is a slight parabolic curve to them (to focus reflected light), and if not then how much of a gain could be achieved through this.

  12. Post
    #37
    bradc wrote:
    Cost realities means green tech must have some government intervention. The market won't fix everything on its own.
    Incentivising can be government intervention. You could probably just admit you were wrong and we can move on now.

  13. Post
    #38
    I'm not sure how but if it helps feed your ego, yes Hamish I was totally and utterly wrong about whatever argument or distortion you have in your head. Too bad your version of wrong ends up being a double negative IRL.

    To re-cap where I'm wrong:
    -Cost increases in Pink Batts aren't unusual relative to cost increases in general in building supploes/materials.
    -Increased adoption rates bring down the cost to everyone for green tech.

    So it is not outside of the realms of financial sense that mandating adoption would be a good thing, plus we get to where we think we should be going, quicker. It involves a far deal greater foresight than the bulk of our current mechanism allows for. We are rapidly depreciating the value of our most valuable, seemingly irreplaceable asset.

  14. Post
    #39
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/27/...fied-of-solar/

    Interesting comment on Germany's experience with Solar Power

  15. Post
    #40
    Good, I hope more powerful countries follow in their path.

  16. Post
    #41
    murphy wrote:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/03/27/...fied-of-solar/

    Interesting comment on Germany's experience with Solar Power
    Yeah, now have you considered:

    How much are our SOE power generator companies going to be worth down the line, will they still be rocking solid dividends then?

    Their future isn't as rosy as most of the ideological left make out.

    Power generation is not a natural monopoly now and no way it hell it will be in the future with everyone rocking solar panels!

  17. Post
    #42
    Ragnor wrote:
    Yeah, now have you considered:

    How much are our SOE power generator companies going to be worth down the line, will they still be rocking solid dividends then?

    Their future isn't as rosy as most of the ideological left make out.

    Power generation is not a natural monopoly now and no way it hell it will be in the future with everyone rocking solar panels!
    70% of nz power generation is already renewable...

  18. Post
    #43
    This is about money though. If solar got cheaper than hydro, the hydro companies should expect lower revenue and lower margin.

  19. Post
    #44
    bradc wrote:
    This is about money though. If solar got cheaper than hydro, the hydro companies should expect lower revenue and lower margin.
    Yep, I don't see it happening anytime soon though. Hydro is effectively a secondary source thanks to solar energy vaporising water, which condenses and is used by a hydro station. The difference being that solar to electricity is much more efficient than solar - thermal - hydro - electricity but hydro gets to take advantage of a much, much larger solar catchment area.

    This means that there is a) a fixed percentage that solar can be cheaper, and b) a solid rational for why hydro won't disapear (unless you want to turn nz and about 10x its land area into a PV cell field instead of just letting nature do its thing for us?).

    Then of course there's the whole non-steady state thing going on here. PV cells are dropping in price rapidly but there's still plenty of life left in other forms of energy until PV can dominate the market. Not investing in other forms of production at all just because at some unknown point in the future a new technology might be better is not sound investment thinking.

  20. Post
    #45
    All true but the nature of markets and valuations means that rationale may not matter. I imagine much of the value of a power generator currently will be overinflated by an assumption its a perpetual winner with somewhat of a monopoly. Continual news of possible obsolescence or even harsh competition is likely going to rock that value.

  21. Post
    #46
    I don't know about you but if the cost/benefit ratio OR pay back time of solar ie: installing solar panels on my roof + storage mechanism (batteries or something else) stacked up I'd be getting it installed ASAP.

    The cost of solar is falling and the yield is increasing, the cost of power from the grid is increasing year on year... it's only a matter of time.

    Also since 2007 regulation you can also sell excess power back to the grid at a fairly decent "buy back" rate.

    Every now and then I look at the numbers to see if the time taken to pay back the investment makes it worthwhile. It was ~8 years last time I checked, not quite attractive enough for me (yet).

  22. Post
    #47
    Solar water heating is viable from an economic standpoint, 5-10 year payback time for a lot of setups, not to mention you can still get hot water if the power is out.

  23. Post
    #48
    Blue Vein CHEESE wrote:
    Nuclear? We all know what happened in Fukushima, and 1/10 of NZ (myself included) live in Christchurch. TBH anyone who can walk down Colombo street and still honestly believe that nuclear is an option for NZ really does need their head read.
    How can you compare the construction of a nuclear power plant with some ****ty unstable buildings that don't meet the 1931 building code?

  24. Post
    #49
    Analgia wrote:
    Where has all the discussion about other renewables like underwater turbines gone, especially on overseas websites were they promote nuclear heavily.
    To answer my own question I read that greenies stopped promoting hydro based solutions despite being viable due to the possibility of hurting life in the waterways

  25. Post
    #50
    Analgia wrote:
    To answer my own question I read that greenies stopped promoting hydro based solutions despite being viable due to the possibility of hurting life in the waterways
    Sounds about right. You can't have it both ways, but frustratingly I often see environmentalists trying to do both. Don't want nuclear? OK, sure. Not prepared to talk about a real viable alternative? Fun