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What is the best alternative power to fossil fuels?

Opening Argument

I was thinking when fossil fuels run out or the ante global warming people go on a destroy fossil fuel power plant rage what is the best power source to turn to?
melefjoecavalryaarongnorthsouthkoreaFascism
  1. What is the best alternative power to fossil fuels?

    9 votes
    1. Water is the best
      22.22%
    2. We should use wind
      11.11%
    3. The big yellow thing in the sky I mean SOL
      33.33%
    4. NUCK THE PLANET with reallyable nuclear power plants
      11.11%
    5. Thermal is the way to go
        0.00%
    6. Where is the right answer. ITS NOT HERE!
      11.11%
    7. ITS A TIE
      11.11%
    8. I don't know
        0.00%
    9. BURN THE PLANTS! I mean for energy not to kill all the plants.
        0.00%

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Arguments

  • I believe that water may be the best alternative.
  • There is none.
  • I think solar energy is the best. If you covered an area the size of Spain you good meet all the worlds electricity needs. nuclear energy will not last for ever. It is very limited and valuable for things like submarine. Wind is not as easy to get the same amount of energy as the sun. Most of earths energy come from the sun after all. Thermal is a interesting choice but it is not as well studied and water required you to be near water. Everywhere gets hit by sun light.
  • One thing I did not see on the poll, but might be interesting, is what if we used electric power? Take for instance Tesla, which is currently manufacturing electric cars. At the rate we are running out of gas, Tesla could have the power to shape the automobile industry based on consumer needs. Also, electricity can be stored in large quantities and can be taken from solar and water energy through dams and solar panals. 
  • One thing I did not see on the poll, but might be interesting, is what if we used electric power? Take for instance Tesla, which is currently manufacturing electric cars. At the rate we are running out of gas, Tesla could have the power to shape the automobile industry based on consumer needs. Also, electricity can be stored in large quantities and can be taken from solar and water energy through dams and solar panals. 
    The discussion is about what method is best to generate electrical power.  Teslas have to be plugged into the electrical grid to charge.  The question is what method is pest to power the electrical grid.  According to the most recent figures available, the grid is powered by;
    • Natural gas = 33.8%
    • Coal = 30.4%
    • Nuclear = 19.7%
    • Renewables (total) = 14.9%
      • Hydropower = 6.5%
      • Wind = 5.6%
      • Biomass = 1.5%
      • Solar  = 0.9%
      • Geothermal = 0.4%
    • Petroleum = 0.6%
    • Other gases = 0.3%
    • Other nonrenewable sources = 0.3%
    • Pumped storage hydroelectricity = -0.2%4
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

    As you can see, Teslas are really powered primarily by natural gas and coal.  Tesla fills a niche market, nothing more.  Their products are priced well outside of the range of the typical consumer, and most people won't want to wait 9.5 to 52 hours to recharge their car in lieu of a 5 minute stop at a gas station.

    PowerPikachu21NopeFascism
  • Seems a false premise. We need a mixed range of alternatives and what is best in terms of kW/h(/£) will vary depending on circumstances: amount of sun, wind, access to water, etc.
  • edited November 2017
    Ampersand said:
    Seems a false premise. We need a mixed range of alternatives and what is best in terms of kW/h(/£) will vary depending on circumstances: amount of sun, wind, access to water, etc.
    That's a good point.  It would seem useful to the discussion to compare the costs of the various forms of energy generation.


  • @CYDdharta

    If you're going to look at energy costs it helps to be as current as possible. With renewables, these newer emerging technologies tend to see larger efficiency gains year on year than fossil fuels where there is comparatively little room for improvement.



    This table from 2015 from the EIA shows notable differences.

    It will differ by country too. Countries with weaker wind will get less efficiency from wind energy. Countries with no natural coal reserves will face higher costs paying to import it and see less efficiency there.
  • Ampersand said:
    @CYDdharta

    If you're going to look at energy costs it helps to be as current as possible. With renewables, these newer emerging technologies tend to see larger efficiency gains year on year than fossil fuels where there is comparatively little room for improvement.



    This table from 2015 from the EIA shows notable differences.

    It will differ by country too. Countries with weaker wind will get less efficiency from wind energy. Countries with no natural coal reserves will face higher costs paying to import it and see less efficiency there.
    Actually, for sources such as solar wind and hydro, the efficiency of new installations will drop, as the best locations will be taken first; areas with constant (or at least regular) breezes for wind turbines, areas with bright sunshine and few clouds for solar, etc.  As the best areas are taken up, further renewable installations will have to be built in areas that are inherently less efficient; less wind, less sunshine, more remote, etc.
  • CYDdharta said:
    Ampersand said:
    @CYDdharta

    If you're going to look at energy costs it helps to be as current as possible. With renewables, these newer emerging technologies tend to see larger efficiency gains year on year than fossil fuels where there is comparatively little room for improvement.



    This table from 2015 from the EIA shows notable differences.

    It will differ by country too. Countries with weaker wind will get less efficiency from wind energy. Countries with no natural coal reserves will face higher costs paying to import it and see less efficiency there.
    Actually, for sources such as solar wind and hydro, the efficiency of new installations will drop, as the best locations will be taken first; areas with constant (or at least regular) breezes for wind turbines, areas with bright sunshine and few clouds for solar, etc.  As the best areas are taken up, further renewable installations will have to be built in areas that are inherently less efficient; less wind, less sunshine, more remote, etc.
    This is incorrect according to EIA estimates which go up to 2040 - 2050. For sources like solar power - sunny land is so abundant there is no significant issue with increasing solar power. For others where there is likely to be an issue, it's not a significant issue and efficiency gains will outpace land by a a significant amount to see efficiency increases in everything except onshore wind which will decrease in efficiency by 2% - although in the same time frame natural gas efficiency will have dropped by 9% so even with the small rise we expect to see wind will still beat out all fossil fuels. The issue of course is that there is only a finite amount of natural gas and coal and exploiting reserves will get progressively harder and more expensive as we deplete the resources available - in fact the only reason fossil fuels won't be even more expensive by 2040 is because some of the load will be shared by renewable energy sources which will therefore reduce the depletion rate of available fossil fuels and allow us to eke them out a bit longer.
  • Ampersand said:

    This is incorrect according to EIA estimates which go up to 2040 - 2050. For sources like solar power - sunny land is so abundant there is no significant issue with increasing solar power. For others where there is likely to be an issue, it's not a significant issue and efficiency gains will outpace land by a a significant amount to see efficiency increases in everything except onshore wind which will decrease in efficiency by 2% - although in the same time frame natural gas efficiency will have dropped by 9% so even with the small rise we expect to see wind will still beat out all fossil fuels. The issue of course is that there is only a finite amount of natural gas and coal and exploiting reserves will get progressively harder and more expensive as we deplete the resources available - in fact the only reason fossil fuels won't be even more expensive by 2040 is because some of the load will be shared by renewable energy sources which will therefore reduce the depletion rate of available fossil fuels and allow us to eke them out a bit longer.

    This is incorrect according to EIA estimates which go up to 2040 - 2050.


    •Renewable energy is the world’s fastest-growing energy source, increasing an average 2.3%/year between 2015 and 2040
    •Fossil fuels remain dominant, supplying 77% of the world’s energy consumption in 2040
    •Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel with global consumption increasing an average 1.4%/year between 2015 and 2040
    With the help of heavy state and federal subsidies renewables will be the fastest growing source, however they will only ever be a minor source for the foreseeable future.  As far as finite amounts of resources and depletion rates, solar is likely to be the worst hit. 


    There is a very wide range of metals used in solar panels and many are used in minute quantities. These are, in alphabetical order: Arsenic (used in semi-conductor chips), Aluminum, Boron minerals (used in semi-conductor chips), Cadmium (used in certain types of cells), copper (used in wiring and certain types of cells), Gallium, Indium (used in cells), Iron ore (steel), Molybdenum (used in photovoltaic cells), Phosphorous, Selenium, Silica, Silver, Tellurium, and Titanium.
    http://www.resourceinvestor.com/2016/04/06/effect-solar-power-growth-metals-demand

    Scarcity of rare metals needed for the production of solar panels is already impacting the markets.



  • I believe that water would be a good source of energy. This is due to the amount of it. Currently, fossil fuels are decreasing.
  • northsouthkorea But water only exist in certain places. How will you get the energy to land locked places.
  • CYDdharta said:

    This is incorrect according to EIA estimates which go up to 2040 - 2050.


    •Renewable energy is the world’s fastest-growing energy source, increasing an average 2.3%/year between 2015 and 2040
    •Fossil fuels remain dominant, supplying 77% of the world’s energy consumption in 2040
    •Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel with global consumption increasing an average 1.4%/year between 2015 and 2040
    With the help of heavy state and federal subsidies renewables will be the fastest growing source, however they will only ever be a minor source for the foreseeable future.  As far as finite amounts of resources and depletion rates, solar is likely to be the worst hit. 


    There is a very wide range of metals used in solar panels and many are used in minute quantities. These are, in alphabetical order: Arsenic (used in semi-conductor chips), Aluminum, Boron minerals (used in semi-conductor chips), Cadmium (used in certain types of cells), copper (used in wiring and certain types of cells), Gallium, Indium (used in cells), Iron ore (steel), Molybdenum (used in photovoltaic cells), Phosphorous, Selenium, Silica, Silver, Tellurium, and Titanium.
    http://www.resourceinvestor.com/2016/04/06/effect-solar-power-growth-metals-demand

    Scarcity of rare metals needed for the production of solar panels is already impacting the markets.



    Which bit are you claiming is incorrect as that seems a non-sequiter. Your graph shows energy production, not energy cost or price change due to available reserves which were the points under discussion. Can you please either clarify the point you are trying to make or provide a relevant argument.

    For your second point about finite resources, you seem  to be taking a step backwards in terms of the quality of your evidence. Previously we were looking at the overall cost of delivering energy taking everything into account including increasing capital costs to construct the equipment due to land usage or changing resource costs but also all the other factors. The increasing cost of materials was already taken into account with the EIA assessment:

    "Inflation of material and construction costs: The projected relationship between the rate of inflation for the overall economy and key drivers of plant costs, such as materials and construction, are important elements impacting overall plant costs. A projected economy-wide inflation rate that exceeds the projected inflation rate for materials and construction costs results in a projected decline in real (inflation-adjusted) capital costs and vice versa."

    Why are you now only trying to look at one variable in isolation when you need to look at all variables together, assess the overall impact and then look at that to see if the cost will increase or decrease. That's basic common sense and it is what we were both doing previously.

    We've already got the figures we need and as we can see the cost of solar energy per kilowatt, even including the factors you bring up, is due to decline by 15-20% in the next few decades while the cost of natural gas is going to rise by ~9%.
  • Ampersand said:

    Which bit are you claiming is incorrect as that seems a non-sequiter. Your graph shows energy production, not energy cost or price change due to available reserves which were the points under discussion. Can you please either clarify the point you are trying to make or provide a relevant argument.
    Your errors are hard to keep up with.  When I mentioned energy costs, you came back with energy generation.  When I replied with energy generation, you started talking about energy price.  Lets make this simple; according to EIA projections,  the cost of renewables will drop the most because they are the most expensive but they won't drop enough to be competitive with non-renewables, use of renewables will also grow the fastest thanks to heavy state and federal subsidies but they won't provide more than ~12% anytime in the forseeable future.

    For your second point about finite resources, you seem  to be taking a step backwards in terms of the quality of your evidence. Previously we were looking at the overall cost of delivering energy taking everything into account including increasing capital costs to construct the equipment due to land usage or changing resource costs but also all the other factors. The increasing cost of materials was already taken into account with the EIA assessment:

    "Inflation of material and construction costs: The projected relationship between the rate of inflation for the overall economy and key drivers of plant costs, such as materials and construction, are important elements impacting overall plant costs. A projected economy-wide inflation rate that exceeds the projected inflation rate for materials and construction costs results in a projected decline in real (inflation-adjusted) capital costs and vice versa."

    Why are you now only trying to look at one variable in isolation when you need to look at all variables together, assess the overall impact and then look at that to see if the cost will increase or decrease. That's basic common sense and it is what we were both doing previously.

    We've already got the figures we need and as we can see the cost of solar energy per kilowatt, even including the factors you bring up, is due to decline by 15-20% in the next few decades while the cost of natural gas is going to rise by ~9%.
    Your chart shows that solar and off-shore wind will remain considerably more expensive than conventional forms of energy generation for the next few years.  I posted a link to one of the reasons why solar in particular will remain so expensive.
  • I think solar energy is the best due to its easy access. However, it is quite expensive as of now. 
    Nope
  • @CYDdharta

    Your errors are hard to keep up with.  When I mentioned energy costs, you came back with energy generation.

    Wrong.

    Here is your post where you mentioned energy costs.

    Here is my post directly following it where I responded including a graph and discussion of energy costs.

    When I replied with energy generation, you started talking about energy price.

    Wrong.

    Here is your post where you retreat from the point about current energy costs and try and make it about future energy costs with a simplistic statement with no evidence to back it up.

    Here is where I respond to your point about future energy costs and correct you with a link to a comprehensive overview of future energy costs which takes a cost of factors - including increased capital costs, into account.

    Lets make this simple; according to EIA projections,  the cost of renewables will drop the most because they are the most expensive but they won't drop enough to be competitive with non-renewables, use of renewables will also grow the fastest thanks to heavy state and federal subsidies but they won't provide more than ~12% anytime in the forseeable future.

    That's one forecast. There are alternative forecasts where fossil fuels or renewables are especially promoted, e.g.



    This whole debate would be rather redundant if we had no control over what fuels are used, but the fact is we do.

    You have made a claim about current price which turned out to be incorrect because you were looking at old data and renewables are competitive currently.

    You made a claim about future price which turned out to be incorrect because you were just making claims and not looking at all the factors. You then for some reason reiterated that claim even though we already know it was wrong.

    Do you have anything else? Otherwise, I don't see the point. If fossil fuels have no clear edge in terms of efficiency and are going to cause devastating climate change then this really seems like a no-brainier.

    Your chart shows that solar and off-shore wind will remain considerably more expensive than conventional forms of energy generation for the next few years.

    It actually shows it's already cheaper than coal with CSS, which is a requirement in at least California and highly advisable anywhere. Coal will also be considerably more expensive than other forms of renewable and non-renewable energy. It also shows Solar PV can already competitive with conventional forms.of energy. Also if you compare based on LACE rather than LCOE, they're already competitive.

     I posted a link to one of the reasons why solar in particular will remain so expensive.

    Which is incorrect because your point is meaningless in isolation. Whether an energy source will be mroe or less expensive depends on the overall influence of all the factors which effect it's price. Simply mentioning a negative effect and refusing to recognise the positive effects tells you nothing about whether an energy price will rise or fall.

    Luckily I've already provided a link to a comprehensive assessment showing the expected fall in all renewables except wind which will see a 2% increase (which is still many times less than the increase we'll see in natural gas, the only competitive fossil fuel to it.

  • Ampersand said:


    That's one forecast. There are alternative forecasts where fossil fuels or renewables are especially promoted, e.g.



    This whole debate would be rather redundant if we had no control over what fuels are used, but the fact is we do.

    You have made a claim about current price which turned out to be incorrect because you were looking at old data and renewables are competitive currently.

    You made a claim about future price which turned out to be incorrect because you were just making claims and not looking at all the factors. You then for some reason reiterated that claim even though we already know it was wrong.

    Do you have anything else? Otherwise, I don't see the point. If fossil fuels have no clear edge in terms of efficiency and are going to cause devastating climate change then this really seems like a no-brainier.



    If there's a different forecast FOR THE COST OF ENERGY PRODUCTION, feel free to post it.  According to everything posted so far, renewables will remain significantly more expensive than non-renewables for the foreseeable future.  As your chart above shows, more energy will be generated by expensive renewables, which will cause electricity prices to rise, but it won't come close to natural gas or crude oil generation.  Incidentally, the lower classes will be the worst hit by the increased energy costs, but that's a separate discussion.

    It actually shows it's already cheaper than coal with CSS, which is a requirement in at least California and highly advisable anywhere. Coal will also be considerably more expensive than other forms of renewable and non-renewable energy. It also shows Solar PV can already competitive with conventional forms.of energy. Also if you compare based on LACE rather than LCOE, they're already competitive.
    Clean coal is still under development, so there's more room for price improvements there than in pretty much any other power generation technology.  Also, as your chart shows, conventional coal will remain one of the least expensive forms of energy generation.  I don't know of anyone who would consider a 25% price increase or more to be competitive, as in; solar ppv vs advanced nuclear, solar ppv vs conventional coal, or solar ppv vs advanced natural gas.

    As far as LCOE vs LACE, why would anyone go with the less accurate measurement, aside from out of desperation to make a point?

    Which is incorrect because your point is meaningless in isolation. Whether an energy source will be mroe or less expensive depends on the overall influence of all the factors which effect it's price. Simply mentioning a negative effect and refusing to recognise the positive effects tells you nothing about whether an energy price will rise or fall.

    Luckily I've already provided a link to a comprehensive assessment showing the expected fall in all renewables except wind which will see a 2% increase (which is still many times less than the increase we'll see in natural gas, the only competitive fossil fuel to it.

    You haven't posted a single thing that shows that the price of renewable energy will come down, you've merely shown that more renewables will be used.  As has happened in Europe, the increased reliance on renewables will lead to increased energy costs, with customers bearing the burden. 
  • What is not renewable about oil and natural gas? Neither come from fossils. Neither does coal.

  • @CYDdharta

    If there's a different forecast FOR THE COST OF ENERGY PRODUCTION, feel free to post it.

    You are the one that decided to randomly post a chart of energy production levels when we were talking about the cost of energy production. Don't blame me if I respond to the point YOU make and rebutt them.

     According to everything posted so far, renewables will remain significantly more expensive than non-renewables for the foreseeable future.  As your chart above shows, more energy will be generated by expensive renewables, which will cause electricity prices to rise, but it won't come close to natural gas or crude oil generation.  Incidentally, the lower classes will be the worst hit by the increased energy costs, but that's a separate discussion.

    That's false. We have seen that some renewables are cheaper and will get comparatively even cheaper in the future. this is backed up by the states I have presented. I have no idea where you are pulling your claims from.

    Clean coal is still under development, so there's more room for price improvements there than in pretty much any other power generation technology.

    False, as the EIA analysis posted shows it will be far more expensive that most sources even 20+ years from now and geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric will all offer cheaper options. Also the idea of "clean coal" is itself something of an oxymoron. It still pollutes horribly, just to smaller degree.

     Also, as your chart shows, conventional coal will remain one of the least expensive forms of energy generation.

    But still more expensive than multiple forms of renewable energy.

    I don't know of anyone who would consider a 25% price increase or more to be competitive, as in; solar ppv vs advanced nuclear, solar ppv vs conventional coal, or solar ppv vs advanced natural gas.

    So therefore by your logic we can also discount conventional coal due to being over 25% more expensive than wind and geothermal energy and carbon captured 'clean coal' for being 25% more than even Solar PV.

    As far as LCOE vs LACE, why would anyone go with the less accurate measurement, aside from out of desperation to make a point?

    If you had read the details of my link, you'd have perhaps seen it's specifically pointed out at the most relevant measurement. Why would you want to stick to an irrelevant measurement?

    You haven't posted a single thing that shows that the price of renewable energy will come down, you've merely shown that more renewables will be used.  As has happened in Europe, the increased reliance on renewables will lead to increased energy costs, with customers bearing the burden.

    I've specifically shown an indepth report which shows the cost of providing renewables will decrease over time, the exception being wind which will see a 2% increase (which is less than the 9% increase which will be seen in natural gas, it's only fossil fuel comeptitor in terms of efficiency). If you would like to present evidence contradicting what I've shown, feel free.

    Nightwing said:
    What is not renewable about oil and natural gas? Neither come from fossils. Neither does coal.

    Natural gas can come from toher sources like shale gas - which isn't renewable either - but coal oil and many examples of natural gas all come from fossilised material - though this is the boring stuff like plankton and plants rather than skeletons.

    Feel free to wiki this if you don't agree.
  • Nightwing You just name a bunch of forms of fossil fuels. They all come from fossil fuels.
  • edited November 2017
    Ampersand said:
    @CYDdharta



    That's false. We have seen that some renewables are cheaper and will get comparatively even cheaper in the future. this is backed up by the states I have presented. I have no idea where you are pulling your claims from.
    Wait, are you talking about geothermal, hydro, and wind???  LOL, they are all completely dependent on the terrain.  You can't put a geothermal, hydro, or wind plant just anywhere.  You can't put a hydro plant  where there's no water.  You can't put a geothermal plant where there are no hot springs.  You can't put wind turbines where there is no wind.  There are very few places amenable for expansion of these energy sources.  They are cheap, but they will never be significant sources of energy generation.

    False, as the EIA analysis posted shows it will be far more expensive that most sources even 20+ years from now and geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric will all offer cheaper options. Also the idea of "clean coal" is itself something of an oxymoron. It still pollutes horribly, just to smaller degree.
    Clean coal is still under development.  Obviously the situation was even less certain 2 years ago when the report you posted was written. 

    But still more expensive than multiple forms of renewable energy.
    Irrelevant, as those types of renewables offer very limited opportunities for expansion.

    So therefore by your logic we can also discount conventional coal due to being over 25% more expensive than wind and geothermal energy and carbon captured 'clean coal' for being 25% more than even Solar PV.
    Coal-fired plants can be built pretty much anywhere, wind turbines and geothermal can't.

    If you had read the details of my link, you'd have perhaps seen it's specifically pointed out at the most relevant measurement. Why would you want to stick to an irrelevant measurement?
    ...because it's a more accurate measurement.  The more accurate measurement is the more relevant measurement.

    I've specifically shown an indepth report which shows the cost of providing renewables will decrease over time, the exception being wind which will see a 2% increase (which is less than the 9% increase which will be seen in natural gas, it's only fossil fuel comeptitor in terms of efficiency). If you would like to present evidence contradicting what I've shown, feel free.
    Your report, which was produced before the Clean Power Plan was repealed, shows that the only renewables that are cost competitive are wind and hydro.
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