Pay more for green energy?????

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Michael Vickers
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Pay more for green energy?????

Post by Michael Vickers » Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:00 pm

Who among us 'would be'/'is' willing to pay more to their utility for green energy, and if so how much more?

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haklesup
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by haklesup » Thu Aug 01, 2002 10:43 pm

I personally would only tolerate a very small premium for power simply because it were green. Probably only a percent or two.<p>However, if such a company were to offer other features to augmant the extra cost, I would be more interested and pay a higher differential. <p>For example, if the power I use during the day (peak)could be priced differently than during the night (off peak). In that way. I could use other green technologies like solar or wind during the daytime when these resources are rich and pay for power at night when the sky is dark and calm and power is cheap. (sort of like the phone bill)<p>Additionally, this (time of day based billing) makes it possible for me to manage the usage of power in my household to optimize cost. The utility could even provide me with a computer program to help me do that.<p>Presently, in California we see TV commercials telling us to use power after 7:00pm but this only helps prevent shortages and saves the utility money, it dosen't save me a penny.<p>Provocative question, thanks

russlk
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by russlk » Fri Aug 02, 2002 8:06 am

I use solar energy for heating, which has a high up front cost. The system has been in use for 15 years now and I don't think it has paid back the investment, but I am glad I did it. With wood heat, I only use 200 gallons of oil per year.<p>What do you mean by "green"? Solar energy is the only one that is unlimited (for all practical purposes). Wood is renewable, but coal & oil will eventually run out. We need to reduce consumption, reduce population to have a sustainable future.

billdar
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by billdar » Fri Aug 02, 2002 9:22 am

Green power just won't supply the energy we need. Currently it supplys 2% of US power demands.<p>The facts are simple.
- Solar is 8% efficient, 50% of the day (w/o clouds)
- Wind is 25% efficient, when speeds above 25mph
- hydro turbine is 60% efficient, but you need a river to dam.<p> - geo-thermal - natural is the most efficient, but locations are rare. man-made: drilling investments take 50 years to pay off<p> - bio-mass: who really wants a stinking mulch pile in their neighborhood.<p>All these draw backs and inefficiencies to produce 2% of demand. Plus we pay more, and in many cases do more enviromental damage (how much land does it take to dam a river).<p>The answer is unpopular here.. do what the europeans do. Recombined nuclear power plants. The US ones that are 50+ years old supply 21% of our demand. Think of what new technology, that re-processes the waste to make more energy and mildly reactive final waste, can do for electrical energy.<p>The supply for uranium will outlast oil, and give us time to develope more efficient, bio solar cells.

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Externet
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by Externet » Fri Aug 02, 2002 11:01 pm

Please allow my spoon in your plate...
How does an electrical power meter knows if it is day or night to change consumption rate fares? I have seen this mentioned several times.
And as opinion, spent nuclear fuel would mean costs of sending it to on a collision course to the sun via spaceships to keep it "green"
Miguel
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

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haklesup
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by haklesup » Sat Aug 03, 2002 10:21 am

Most meters cannot determine time of use or change rates. The supplying utility would need to install a "smart" power meter on your house. This is computer controlled and addressable from the utility's main office (like a cable box) either by carrier current signals (like X10), radio, telephone modem link or drive by meter readers (RF short range).<p>Green has many definitions depending on your politial bent. I prefer to use it in its most general context (as the media does) where it applies to any technology that is precieved by the general populus (the media again) as more renewable or less poluting than existing prevailing technologies. <p>Nuclear energy is a mixed bag. I have mixed feelings. On one hand it yeilds the highest power density and new reactor designs are much safer. On the other hand there is the waste issue. I hope someday they can develop a process to repidly decay the waste so we don't have to wait 10k years (but this is a pipe dream). Not to mention that safety and storage costs almost wipe out the cost advantage of having a material with high power density. Hopefully they will figure out fusion and demonstrate it's safety and lack of waste. Sending waste to the sun would be great if it werent so dangerous getting off the earth.

Isenbergdoug
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by Isenbergdoug » Sat Aug 03, 2002 2:01 pm

I'm not sure I would be willing to pay more, unless it was to come from some outrageous source that I would find interesting. For example, a few windmills here aren't justified, but load half of the midwest with windmills and I would definately pay extra. The geothermal prospect is another good one, especially if it involves boring large holes deep below the surface. Basically, if it is creative, I would pay for it, if it is political, I wouldn't. <p>I believe I would have to go with the European waste recycling idea in the mean time.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/

keymaker
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by keymaker » Sat Aug 03, 2002 11:43 pm

It seems to me, They SHOULD re-use the waste if it's as usable as they say and if it's as unfit for weapons as they say since it comes out impure, as far as not being all 238/239 or whatever it is.

keymaker
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by keymaker » Sat Aug 03, 2002 11:44 pm

Can they REALLY get it down to several hundred years, That's my question. To me, a 25000 year "half life" is unacceptable as hell. Anything to avoid that is a plus.

Dean Huster
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by Dean Huster » Sun Aug 04, 2002 3:04 pm

I think that the power consumption question is a lot like home finances. Having no money in the checking account is usually a matter of how you're budgeting your spending vs. how much income you have. Overall, we're plugging more and more things into the wall. Yes, some things have gotten a LOT more efficient, e.g., your refrigerator. But other things, though efficient, drag the system down. Do we really need the refrigerator in the kitchen -- and then the freezer in the utility room, a second refrigerator in the garage for keeping soft drinks cool, a reefer in the wet bar and an ice machine in the kitchen? Do we really need a TV and VCR in every room? Do we really need more than one computer? Yeah, it's pretty, but is necessary to light up the house like a Christmas tree just for the sake of home decor? Does the A/C need to be set at 75° and come on as soon as the outside temperature pops above 72°? And why do we run the A/C and then have a space heater under the desk to keep our feet warm? Are blazingly hot and long showers necessary? Do we need to fill the bath tub to the brim? How necessary is the hot tub, Jacuzzi and swimming pool? Does our house HAVE to have 4500 square feet to be comfortable? We can go on and on.<p>A premium to help out the greenies? Why not? We're getting surcharges for 911 service for our landlines and our cellular phones. In fact, there are enough surcharges on my landline and cellular bill to make me puke every month. So, the power companies see this and figure they can do the same.<p>A utility is (usually) a company that's in the business of manufacturing electrical energy for sale to private individuals, commercial customers and the government. Treat them just like General Mills. There's a certain amount of overhead that's required to build plants, buy raw materials, manufacture the goods, advertize, distribute and repair the system. It's all part of doing business. Your overhead goes up, your end price has to go up to stay in business.<p>A surcharge to help them develop green juice? What would you say to the carpenter who's adding on to your home if he tacks on a surcharge so that he can buy a new table saw for more efficient operation? Just doesn't make sense to me.<p>Dean<p>
Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

billdar
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Re: Pay more for green energy?????

Post by billdar » Mon Aug 05, 2002 9:21 am

Better an enemy you know...<p>The argument for not using nuclear is always based in ignorant fear ( i don't mean this as a slander) Coal, gas, and oil burning fossil fuel plants are much more toxic than nuclear.<p>http://geology.cr.usgs.gov/energy/facts ... 63-97.html<p>Radioactivity, gaseous mercury, ash, carbon/sulfer dioxide just to name a few little 'goodies' we get from coal.<p>And putting nuclear waste into space? I saw that movie too.<p>The reality of it is that current technology processes the uranium waste twice, then processes it a third time into a glass like material for long term storage (IEEE spectrum, July 2002). This material has low activity, releasing alpha particles (can be stopped with a sheet of paper) and will not leech into ground water.<p>All these benifits using just 15% of the energy departments funds. What do you think we could do if they put real money into the technology?<p>Then again, we could just keep killing ourselves with coal.

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