The Great Energy Crisis Debate

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Zeit

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Welcome to the Great Energy Crisis Debate!

This thread is a place to continue the debate on the current and future problems of population, energy needs/sources and pollution that will be affecting this generation and the next and so on. So to begin...

I believe that it is the responsibility of this generation to become more aware of the situation the world is in when it comes down to natural resources and energy sources and all the side effects of them. Populations are expanding and power/resource needs are going to skyrocket exponentially. The least we need to do is become knowledgeable of this fact so that we can start thinking forward to some solutions to this problem.

I'll add more as the discussion continues, debate on!
 
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Oil comp.s know people need gas, so they can rule there own energy empire.
Converting to vegetable oil cars, hydro cars, and solar cars are great... but a vast majority of them cost big bucks.

Hybrids are the easiest move to make.

Also, and I would HATE this, but if all major road's speed limits were 30 mph, gas milleage would be way up! Sad benifit is that people would travel less to a bigger town and drivetimes will take a extreemly long time. Don't like the idea but it works!
 

Darkfinn

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I'm gonna say this now... b/c not a lot of people realise it.

Most folks say that the electric car is the future. This is not true. Electric automobiles take us down a road we don't want to be on.

The power grid in America is taxxed enough as it is. It barely has enough power to keep us going. We remember the "rolling blackouts" in California several years back. What do you think is going to happen when thousands of people get home from work at 6:00 every day... turn on the lights, TV, computer, & plug their cars in to charge? It is going to be too much for the power grid to handle.

To meet increased demand for electricity... power companies are going to have to build new plants... and guess who pays for that? That's right... the consumer does. It will get to the point where inner-city folk who don't even have cars are paying increased power costs b/c the people that have cars are plugging them in. As it is right now... if you don't have a car... you don't have to pay any car-related costs. Make cars part of the power grid... and everyone pays.

Now for the thing that comes as a shock for a lot of folks.
Two thirds of the electricity americans use comes from non-renewable energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas.

So someone please tell me how switching cars to electric is going to save anyone or the environment?
 

MysteriousVisitor

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Nuclear power is key. It's safe, stable, reliable, and most importantly, here. We need to build more of the new, more powerful 4th Generation reactors. This, combined with energy conservation efforts already underway, will help the US wean itself off foreign fuels. We wont totally do away with fossil fuel usage, but if we could just get our fuels from domestic, Mexican, and Canadian sources, we could increase our energy security. If we can make electricity cheap and clean, we can build more electric vehicles, which will drive down demand for oil even more.
 

PuddleFopsKit

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Nuclear power is key. It's safe, stable, reliable, and most importantly, here. We need to build more of the new, more powerful 4th Generation reactors. This, combined with energy conservation efforts already underway, will help the US wean itself off foreign fuels. We wont totally do away with fossil fuel usage, but if we could just get our fuels from domestic, Mexican, and Canadian sources, we could increase our energy security. If we can make electricity cheap and clean, we can build more electric vehicles, which will drive down demand for oil even more.
Actually, nuclear waste, but yes, we have a bunch of it. An infinite amount, since it is supposedly rewenable forever..

I think Darkfinn is right about electricity. I've never thought it would help because our electricity still comes mostly from fossil fuels. But I think there is a solution, but it not be an overnight thing, it will take time..

If we really want to lower the costs of electricity, we have to find other ways to make it besides fossil fuels. We already have that type of stuff in use now. Wind mills, solar energy, nuclear waste, but we need much more of it to really make a difference. We have to eliminate fossil fuels entirely, andi n order to do that, we have to make a hell of a lot of electricity some other way, in addition to finding a good alternate fuel.

The problem with finding an alternate fuel, is the gas companies themselves.. Honestly, I don't think we are running low on oil. I know a guy who works on oil fields, and he claims that some of the ones down south are showing signs of refilling themselves. I can't be sure if that's true, but if it is, it makes me wonder whether our oil supply is really that low. Now I hear that the government is starting to ask the oil companies questions about the gas prices, as if they suspect something. Maybe they will find them doing something illegal, and stop their evil ways. But I won't hold my breath though.. The gas companies make hundreds of billions of dollars a year with the current prices. If the gas prices drop a dollar, then that loses millions of dollars for the gas companies.. If you made 300 BILLION dollars a year, would you want to give up 13 million a year? Of course not! If your a big company like that, you'd want to keep every dam cent you make! It's not just that you'll lose a few million either.. it's the long run thing that gets you. If you back off, and drop the price a dollar, it's only a matter of time before the people demand for more. They bitch, moan and complain until the oil companies are forced to drop the price again.. That means not only a loss of money, but also a loss of power and control in the energy monopoly. That's what I call it anyway.. They will fight to the death before they let that happen. Also, since oil is such a valuable resource, the government loses money trying to find a replacement for it.

In order to solve the problem, we have to weed out the use of fossil fuels for gas. We have so many ways to produce electricity and fuel, such as: wind, solar, water, hydrogen, ethanol, bio diesel, and we should be taking advantage of that. We depend on oil way to much ,and what does oil really do for us? It causes wars, as well as contributes to the rising prices of everyday life. Plus, it will never generate the power we need forever.
 
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ayanna

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Nuclear power is not the answer.

NATURAL is.

In Canada we have many different types of 'power supply' which do not involve the use of fossil fuels or other fuels which are a danger to the environment.

For instance...Canada (Nova Scotia to be exact) has one of just three tidal power plants in the entire world and the only one in the western hemisphere.

Canada is # 2 in the world (after China) for hydro electricity production.

And of course we have a lot of 'wind farms' too. In fact at least 3 new wind farms have been (or are being) built just in Nova Scotia as per news items over the last month.

REUSABLE RESOURCES are always the best answer!
 

Customizer

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Actually, nuclear waste, but yes, we have a bunch of it. An infinite amount, since it is supposedly rewenable forever..

I think Darkfinn is right about electricity. I've never thought it would help because our electricity still comes mostly from fossil fuels. But I think there is a solution, but it not be an overnight thing, it will take time..

If we really want to lower the costs of electricity, we have to find other ways to make it besides fossil fuels. We already have that type of stuff in use now. Wind mills, solar energy, nuclear waste, but we need much more of it to really make a difference. We have to eliminate fossil fuels entirely, andi n order to do that, we have to make a hell of a lot of electricity some other way, in addition to finding a good alternate fuel.

The problem with finding an alternate fuel, is the gas companies themselves.. Honestly, I don't think we are running low on oil. I know a guy who works on oil fields, and he claims that some of the ones down south are showing signs of refilling themselves. I can't be sure if that's true, but if it is, it makes me wonder whether our oil supply is really that low. Now I hear that the government is starting to ask the oil companies questions about the gas prices, as if they suspect something. Maybe they will find them doing something illegal, and stop their evil ways. But I won't hold my breath though.. The gas companies make hundreds of billions of dollars a year with the current prices. If the gas prices drop a dollar, then that loses millions of dollars for the gas companies.. If you made 300 BILLION dollars a year, would you want to give up 13 million a year? Of course not! If your a big company like that, you'd want to keep every dam cent you make! It's not just that you'll lose a few million either.. it's the long run thing that gets you. If you back off, and drop the price a dollar, it's only a matter of time before the people demand for more. They bitch, moan and complain until the oil companies are forced to drop the price again.. That means not only a loss of money, but also a loss of power and control in the energy monopoly. That's what I call it anyway.. They will fight to the death before they let that happen.

Also, since oil is such a valuable resource, the government loses money trying to find a replacement for it. We have taken baby steps with hybrids, hydrogen, and E 85, but they don't make enough to turn a profit equal to oil. That won't ever happen until the gas prices drop, people start driving hydrogen and ethanol fueled cars, and we start producing alternate energy in mass numbers. :2cents:
The oil supply is not "low" at all. Companies will only pump and mine for oil if it costs less to obtain. Deeper oil deposits are not worth the time and money to dig down to because they will cost more to get than it will be sold for.

Oil prices? The supply is purposefully restricted. How? Oil companies don't bother rebuilding infrastructure of processing plants (ex: afer Hurricane Katrina) because there is no profit incentive. Oil oligopolies can control the price by controlling the quantity supplied.

In this case, the lower the quanity supplied means companies can charge higher prices because the quantity demanded will not diminish.

I'll support Darkfinn if someone claims ethanol fuel in the grain belt states is sustainable and cost-effective for consumers.

Nuclear power clean? Nah, go do a Google search for "Yucca Mountain."
 

Izzy

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It seems everybody here is way way underestimating the problem by looking at the now.
I urge everybody to read my first post up:

We make 13.5 TWh of energy. We're going to need about double that by 2050. Any suggestions? Every kind of energy will have to be a part of the solution, including a heavy dependence on nuclear or a radical approach to solar (imagine areas 1000 sq. miles big with just solar panels)
 

recovery

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I feel that Nuclear is a decent sourcce of energy. Why? You can put it almost anywhere. Prefferable next to the sea. And it uses very little fuel. We have gone a long way with technology and the chances of another meltdown is unlikely. As for Nuclear waste? Yes, its dangerous for the 100 or so years for it to decay into a stable form. But research is going into it. I hear my Phys-aholic friend talking about how some Japanese people have manage to decrease the decay time by bombarding it with more neutrons. And getting more energy out of it again, almost enough to cover the energy it takes to break it down. I think they should continue this research. We're getting close to a real SAFE alternative here.

As for other renewable resources. Majority of which are dependant on the weather in one way or another. There is a problem, it isn't always windy, sunny etc.. Which Darkfinn mentioned about a similar issue of the Grid being overloaded at night. Well, the grid does vary from demand through the hours in the day. Again, there is research into this. Why not charge batteries when there is much load on the Grid. then Discharge them at peak periods. Well You'll need a massive warehouse, let alone environmental issues you'll come across handling the batteries. But a real solution that is being used is to pump water up dams and then open up the dam to get the energy back.

I think rather than just build more power machines to keep up with demand. There is increasing aim to make things more efficient. Cars are getting better mileage. Boilers burning more effectively. All these techno gadget fashion items... Things like the PS3 and Xbox360 and any PC are just getting more power hungry because they just want extra horsepower. Companies and consumers don't really care for this fact, its a different market where Efficiency isn't a concern or needed feature. And as the youth become sucked into this market. There will be more and more 'Power Guzlers' in the home.
 

PuddleFopsKit

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All true, Izzy. Of course oil will always be a necessity, I just meant that we shouldn't use it for gas.. I'll edit to make that clear.

Also, nuclear waste may not be clean at first, but after some refining, who knows?
 

Darkfinn

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I remember reading an article in PopSci a few months back about a special plasma incenerator that had been developed to burn garbage and produce energy.

You put the trash in one side (any kind of trash) and the machine breaks everything down and produces Hydrogen atoms out of it. The Hydrogen is then burned to make power... and the process actually generates more power than it consumes.

It is still under development ofcourse... but just imagine in 10 years or so... all our garbage from landfills and dumps can be turned into energy. Mr. Fusion anyone?
 

Yawnie

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Does it have to be nuclear, hello, solar, wind, hydro-electric dams-ALL renewable, and environmentally friendly with no freaking toxic shit left over like nuclear. I hate nuclear, cause the freaking nuclear waste that is associated with it, and f*ck, are the nuclear plants ever sooooo freaking ugly looking.

And for the car, a scientist has found a way to make a saltwater car-saltwater THAT BURNS! Yes, you heard me, water that burns. In the near futrure we could run our cars off of saltwater. And then that could help take the demand off for electric cars, which will free up some room on the grid, among other eartyh friendly cars as well. If you don't believe me, here is a video to prove it, or two, or three....

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=4kKtKSEQBeI&eurl=http://www.magistrala.cz/freeenergy/?p=13

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=BtmK3hwYO6U&eurl=http://www.magistrala.cz/freeenergy/?p=13

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=CwughofIC2s&eurl=http://www.magistrala.cz/freeenergy/?p=13

If this does go ahead and we produce cars, I say this guy deserves the Noble Prize for his work on this amazing discovery!

Not only that, the same guy has found a way to kill cancer that DOESN'T INVOLVE radiation, but still destroys cancer cells-OMG!

Or hell, maybe it's about time we built some god damn pedestrian friendly cities for once, it's about damn time!

/end rant
 

Peachy

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To meet increased demand for electricity... power companies are going to have to build new plants... and guess who pays for that? That's right... the consumer does.
Here's one thing you have to realize: Our current or previous use of fossil energy sources has come at a cost that nobody has ever paid for so far - we've been polluting the enviroment to a point where we now feel the changes we've caused. So if you think that we'll be able to continue to get energy at the same prices as we do today...think again! Energy prices have already doubled here (all kinds of energy!), and that's not the end of it. So you're just paying for damage you're causing to the planet, and all economists agree that it's a very useful incentive to reduce the use of energy!
So, no matter what kind of solution we'll decide on eventually - it's gonna cost money... a lot of money! So your argument against electric cars is rather pointless.

Nuclear power is key. It's safe, stable, reliable, and most importantly, here.
I strongly disagree. I'm sure you've heard of the Chernobyl disaster. It may not have affected you, but I do remember quite vividly how it affected me. I was in elementary school, and one day my school's principal came in and told us that we are no longer allowed to play on the playground outside but had to spend recess inside. And our daily ration of milk for recess would be replaced by juice from then on. For years, people were discouraged from eating the crop from their own gardens, and today (>20 years later), wild mushrooms still have increased radiation levels. And mind you, I'm 1,500 km away! Imagine a nuclear power plant going off in a populated area.

You put the trash in one side (any kind of trash) and the machine breaks everything down and produces Hydrogen atoms out of it.
There's your next problem: What you know as "trash" and what you want to burn in your plasma reactor is mostly valuable resources. Prices for resources like metal, cardboard or oil (which is an important ingredient for many products, including plastic) have gone through the roof lately. So far that people here steal copper cables or tracks from railway lines and sell them as scrap metal! So very soon there won't be a whole lot of trash left that that won't be recycled or reused and could be used for a plasma reactor. Trash is just too valuable to burn! In other words: It won't work!

The solution is, as always, not as simple as electric cars, plasma fusion or nuclear power. Any viable solution will consist of many things:
- Rigorous reduction of the energy we use; i.e. more efficient machinery, cars, better insulation on houses, more public transit etc.
- Renewable sources of energy, i.e. solar power, wind power, tidal power plants, bio fuel (although we have to ensure that production of food takes priority over growing plants for fuel production!)
- slowly phasing out fossil energy sources.

At any rate, it'll cost money (lots of it), and it'll mean more effort and less comfort for most of us. But then, we only have one planet, so we better start soon!

Peachy
 

Charlie

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More nuclear, and more renewable energy resources.

Whenever nuclear is mentioned people bring up Chernobyl, but I think that if stations are built with an appropriate safety level, we should be okay. I think we have a better idea of what we're doing now...
But still, renewable energy should be the main focus!

But even renewable energy sources have downsides... Wind turbines are bad for the local ecosystems, and birds fly into them and die. Dams are expensive to build...

I like that geothermal thingy (as you can see I don't know much about it :p), why don't we use that more? It seems like a good idea; the world is hot, we should be using that!

I guess we should put more money into research, finding new and better ways of powering stuff.

(A million hamsters running on a million wheels?)
 

recovery

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Whenever nuclear is mentioned people bring up Chernobyl, but I think that if stations are built with an appropriate safety level, we should be okay. I think we have a better idea of what we're doing now...
:iagree: Chernobyl was an early version of a nuclear reactor and the majority of the workers only knew how a coal powerplant worked. Its was an accident waiting to happen.

Wind turbines are bad for the local ecosystems, and birds fly into them and die. Dams are expensive to build...
I did a presentation on wind turbines, Birds flying them is a total myth. Its not true. Why don't birds fly into trees? Anyway, there has been research into it and most of the birds simply avoid it. The ones that die are likely the dumb birds we want out of the gene pool :p.

But any re-newable energy despite being environmentally friendly with no CO2 emmisions. It might screw up the local habitats and behaviours of animals. Be it birds or fish. This is something I'm not that educated on.

I like that geothermal thingy (as you can see I don't know much about it :p), why don't we use that more? It seems like a good idea; the world is hot, we should be using that!
It is being used, but the number of possible locations is limited. As its really expensive to drill a hole really deep. So you want it not to be too deep as well as it to be hot enough to be pratical to use. Even if they have to use some sort or alcohol to create a vapour and put that through the turbines.

(A million hamsters running on a million wheels?)
I always thought about that. Maybe putting research into Genetically Modifying them to run and run. It would be perfectly Enviromentally friendly then! All natural resources coming in, as well as out! It supports the carbon cycle!
 

Gingy

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ahh everyones using big wurdz =[

I am in an honers program at Columbia University, and am currently studying solar energy, to power the US, would take covering 2% of it with solar panels. These could be placed on roofs of buildings and houses and would work fine. (says my professor)
 

MysteriousVisitor

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Nuclear power is not the answer.

NATURAL is.

In Canada we have many different types of 'power supply' which do not involve the use of fossil fuels or other fuels which are a danger to the environment.

For instance...Canada (Nova Scotia to be exact) has one of just three tidal power plants in the entire world and the only one in the western hemisphere.

Canada is # 2 in the world (after China) for hydro electricity production.

And of course we have a lot of 'wind farms' too. In fact at least 3 new wind farms have been (or are being) built just in Nova Scotia as per news items over the last month.

REUSABLE RESOURCES are always the best answer!
Hydro power is only available in certain geographical areas. And quite simply, alot of renewable energy isn't very efficient. It cant generate all that much power. Nuclear energy is safe, efficient, and completely developed. It would be stupid not to invest in nuclear plants.

I strongly disagree. I'm sure you've heard of the Chernobyl disaster. It may not have affected you, but I do remember quite vividly how it affected me. I was in elementary school, and one day my school's principal came in and told us that we are no longer allowed to play on the playground outside but had to spend recess inside. And our daily ration of milk for recess would be replaced by juice from then on. For years, people were discouraged from eating the crop from their own gardens, and today (>20 years later), wild mushrooms still have increased radiation levels. And mind you, I'm 1,500 km away! Imagine a nuclear power plant going off in a populated area.
Chernobyl was a cluster**** (I hope I don't get in trouble for that).

A combination of incompetence, horrid construction, bad maintenance, and a torrent of other factors combined to make a perfect storm.

But beyond that, the Chernobyl reactor was obsolete before the accident. Present generation reactors make such accidents highly unlikely, and planned reactors make such a disaster literally impossible.

Nuclear power is safe, clean, and here.
 
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