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Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear In the US

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the let's-celebrate-with-a-ride-in-the-suv dept.

Power 452

mdsolar writes "Renewable energy production has surpassed nuclear energy production in the U.S. according to the latest issue of Monthly Energy Review (PDF) published by the Energy Information Administration. ... During the first three months of 2011, energy produced from renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind) generated 2.245 quadrillion Btus of energy equating to 11.73 percent of U.S. energy production. During this same time period, renewable energy production surpassed nuclear energy power by 5.65 percent. In total, energy produced from renewables is 77.15 percent of that from domestic crude oil production."

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Cost? (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 years ago | (#36668084)

Does the cost of those renewables include the debt that the US is saddling onto its grandchildren?

Re:Cost? (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#36668132)

It just includes installed hydroelectric.

There ain't more big rivers.

Re:Cost? (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 3 years ago | (#36668158)

Unless we want to try Tocks Island again. []


Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668404)

mdsolar is laughing to himself right now. He sucked off Soulskill yet again till he came. I mean, wowza. mdsolar has sucked off Soulskill so many times that his ding-dong doesn't have any skin left and is nearly down to the subcutaneous fat. But he does get his flood of submissions posted. And Soulskill gets to shoot a flood of a billion half-babies into another dude's mouth. Gross.


kdawson (3715) (1344097) | about 3 years ago | (#36668490)

Gross? That's k-i-n-k-y.

Re:Cost? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 3 years ago | (#36668134)

that would be costs after interest, this is costs before. Although with interest at ~1% for bonds the difference might be quite small for the short term.

Besides, a lot of the infrastructure involved (for example hydro electric) was built some time ago, as was the nuclear, but nuclear is being phased out gradually (whether part of a broader strategy or not), whereas renewables aren't.

Re:Cost? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 years ago | (#36668590)

that would be costs after interest, this is costs before. Although with interest at ~1% for bonds the difference might be quite small for the short term.

Besides, a lot of the infrastructure involved (for example hydro electric) was built some time ago, as was the nuclear, but nuclear is being phased out gradually (whether part of a broader strategy or not), whereas renewables aren't.

Well, it's certainly part of SOMEBODY's strategy.

Re:Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668144)

Do you mean by driving extremely inefficient cars and suvs?

Cost / Benefit Analysis? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668206)

Are you too retarded to understand that some projects will pay are worth the costs because of their economic benefit?

Maybe if we just shortsightedly cut off government spending, lay off thousands, and push ourselves off an economic cliff... we can become a 3rd world country even faster.

Republitard 2012
It's your future.. trade it for a taxcut.

That's really ironic (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36668086)

Since solar-caused skin cancer kills more people every year than leaks from nuclear energy plants does.

Re:That's really ironic (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668180)

"At least It's better than coal" -- the nuclear energy lobby

Re:That's really ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668224)

Yes, and if we just stopped collecting solar power, those cancer deaths would drop to zero.
That's brilliant... no wait, the other thing. Retarded.

Re:That's really ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668308)

Wait till you see the cancers caused by the "mean-evil-nasty"(tm) chemicals used in the manufacture of solar cells, and the environmental damage caused by the disposal of used solar cells (or chemicals used to recycle them)

Re:That's really ironic (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 years ago | (#36668636)

chemicals used in the manufacture of solar cells

Not only are they chemicals, but I hear that the chemicals are made up of protons and neutrons (also known as Alpha particle radiation) wrapped in electrons (aka Beta particle radiation). So these chemical laden solar cells house two types of radiation, and a third type (electromagnetic radiation) is used to excite the stored radiations to make them unstable (the Beta particles move). Just imagine if there were a tsunami! DiHydrogen Monoxide Everywhere!

Re:That's really ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668312)

What's really ironic is that someone as dumb as you knows how to use a computer.

Biggest gains in... (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 3 years ago | (#36668104)


check out all that flooding!

Re:Biggest gains in... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 years ago | (#36668362)

Hydro.. produces more greenhouse gases than coal.

P.S. the methane produced by biomass at the bottom of the water reserve is much more effective at warming than CO2

Re:Biggest gains in... (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 3 years ago | (#36668390)

Think long term buddy. What causes hydro's greenhouse gases? In year 10-20 of a dam's lifetime, what causes hydro's greenhouse gases?

Don't confuse flood control with hydro (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 years ago | (#36668596)

There are dams that do both power generation and flood control. But much of flood control infrastructure does not generate electricity. When there is flooding, usually extreme weather is to blame and it is the non-generating levies that give way.

So then. (0)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#36668120)

We can basically say renewable energy fsckin works, now ?

Re:So then. (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#36668220)

We can basically say renewable energy fsckin works, now ?

Of course it works. The open question is, "can it scale?"

Good luck tripling the amount of hydro or getting woodstoves into cities.

Re:So then. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668290)

Will it BLEND?

Re:So then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668378)

exactly! hydro is already tapped, you can't really do much more hydro, but you can keep building nuclear power plants which the U.S. doesn't do anymore and is why everything else surpasses nuclear

Re:So then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668462)

You obviously do not live near water nor are a power engineer. There is plenty of medium size hydro available. In particular, through the midwest and east coast are LOADS of dams that are producing NOTHING, but could. Likewise, here in the west, we have loads of reservoirs that are more than 1 mile up in elevation in which it would be easy to add piping with a generator at the bottom. And a 1691 meter head can provide a LOT of power. Heck, these kinds of reservoirs are ideal for providing on-demand power. SImply pump the water up at night via AE and base-load plants in the same piping, and then run it backwards during the day.

Re:So then. (1)

wisty (1335733) | about 3 years ago | (#36668678)

Then the advantage of hydro is that you need hydro if you want wind. Wind power is fairly cheap, but unreliable. Hydro is great for occasionally filling the gaps left by unreliable sources.

Re:So then. (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#36668496)

No, of course it can't scale. Neither can oil, or any other option. Not a single one of them will be workable when our population reaches a quintillion.

Can it scale? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 years ago | (#36668606)

Apparently that is exactly what renewable power is doing and nuclear power is not.

Re:So then. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668614)

PROTIP: Operation DESERTEC [] .

Yes, it does scale. And with 400 km^2 of CSP [] we can power the entire world. (Including nighttime through hydroelectric pumped-storage and winters.)
(Connected with high-voltage DC lines to minimize losses btw.)

To be honest, I think this project is awesome. Cheap, simple, elegant, easy to repair, only made of abundant and recyclable materials, never (well, not in any imaginable time frame) running out energy source... It's hard to imagine a better solution.

And the best part: The mirrors allow water from the air to condense on them, moisturizing the ground below, which creates a whole flora and fauna thriving on it. So it's not only neutral to nature, but has a positive effect.

P.S.: I have nothing against nuclear power, and know pretty well how it works. I don't think it's bad. I just think this is so much better! :)

Re:So then. (2, Informative)

LaissezFaire (582924) | about 3 years ago | (#36668234)

When solar can generate power at night, and wind when it can generate power while it's calm.

No one has ever said that it doesn't generate power, just that it's cost ineffective, and requires traditionally generated power in any event to even out the peaks and valleys.

Re:So then. (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 3 years ago | (#36668302)

Admittedly more effort would need to be put into load and supply management with a large proportion of renewable power. Hydro power is a good candidate for filling gaps in supply. It can operate around the clock and it can be brought on line quickly. It can also be used to store energy with reasonable efficiency.

Re:So then. (1)

LaissezFaire (582924) | about 3 years ago | (#36668418)

You've just begged the question of the economics of the issue. Load and supply management is the problem I outlined, and it's freakin' hard with solar and wind.

Hydro is great if you happen to be somewhere where a hydro plant already exists. Dams are very hard to build now (at least in the U.S.) because of environmental restrictions. Dams have a tendency to drown things upstream.

Re:So then. (1)

chronosan (1109639) | about 3 years ago | (#36668672)

And keep things downstream.

Re:So then. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#36668628)

They're called capacitors, and they've been around for a while now.

Re:So then. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36668306)

It is possible to store energy, you know. A bunch of mirrors can collect sunlight to melt salt by day, and that salt doesn't magically become cold the moment the sun goes down.

Re:So then. (1)

LaissezFaire (582924) | about 3 years ago | (#36668386)

No, but it still requires a massive area of mirrors, has the standard difficulties with long-range transmission, and now you have lots of waste heat to manage, since you're messing with the ecosystem. The costs and secondary effects kill the idea for large-scale rollout.

Re:So then. (5, Informative)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 3 years ago | (#36668442)

It also requires a massive amount of salt. Sodium thiosulfate, one of the favored salts for thermal energy storage due to low cost, practical melting point, high heat of fusion, and low toxicity, takes over one ton to store the energy required by the average household for one day. You can reuse it each day, of course, but that's still a buttload of salt for just one city.

Re:So then. (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 3 years ago | (#36668582)

over one ton to store the energy required by the average household for one day. You can reuse it each day, of course, but that's still a buttload of salt

Dude, you need to see a proctologist if you can get that much crammed up there!

Re:So then. (1)

vivian (156520) | about 3 years ago | (#36668532)

There is no more waste heat than would otherwise be there from the sun hitting the earth and heating that up, instead of the energy being focused onto a mass of salt.

Re:So then. (2)

JBMcB (73720) | about 3 years ago | (#36668460)

I think that salt thermal-storage collectors are a great idea. The problem I have with non-PV collectors in general is:

1 - They tend to use large arrays of mirrors
2 - They are usually located in the desert
3 - Mirrors don't last long in the desert

I've yet to see a cost breakdown on replacement of these huge mirror arrays.

Re:So then. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 3 years ago | (#36668366)

a solar panel on a starlit night probably can't even light a fart.

Re:So then. (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | about 3 years ago | (#36668238)

yes, now you just have to times it energy production by 7 and then you could run the entire country on renewable energy. but considering half of the renewable energy is made with "bio-mass", the additional farming burden & environmental impact its better to just use coal.

Re:So then. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#36668270)

We can basically say renewable energy fsckin works, now ?

Problem is we ran out of rivers to dam, and that's where most of this is coming from.

Not even close (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 years ago | (#36668494)

Plenty of medium size projects around the USA. We no longer have LARGE 10-12 GW hydro type projects, but we have plenty that are 100-500 MW sizes. And 1000s are available in the 50-100 MW size. Interestingly, there are many dams that require a re-build and can be turned into a hydro-generator at the same time.

Re:So then. (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | about 3 years ago | (#36668580)

Well, if you heavily subsidize (ethanol, wind) and/or mandate the use of renewables (again ethanol), and create a regulatory environment that makes nuclear more or less impossible, of course you'll see a greater use of renewables.

Re:So then. (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#36668624)

"We can basically say renewable energy fsckin works, now ?"

You can say whatever you want.

I can put lipstick on a pig and say it's Lindsay Lohan but I don't think I'd get many takers. ;)

Renewable energy certainly works. On some scales, in some markets, and in some applications.

The chemistry and chem engineering departments I work in do boatloads of work trying to make it and other energy technologies cheaper, better and more efficient. Better batteries, fuel cells, materials for solar cells, biofuels, etc. We have groups working on all of those.

We're getting there. But, there's still a lot to do.

(Disclaimer, I fix lab equipment and research instruments. I'm not currently doing research work, but I keep up with a lot of the work that's done here.)

Numbers don't mean anything (-1, Troll)

toygeek (473120) | about 3 years ago | (#36668124)

Percentages don't mean anything. Numbers can be skewed so many ways its not even funny.

Just because some greeny stuck a hose up his ass and lit his farts to make sear his tofu doesn't make it renewable energy.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 3 years ago | (#36668176)

Actually, the hard numbers, available in the second link, are in BTUs, not percentage points. comma

also, Renewable Energy(a)

a Most data are estimates. See Tables 10.1-10.2c for notes on series
components and estimation; and see Note, "Renewable Energy Production and
Consumption," at end of Section 10

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (2)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | about 3 years ago | (#36668204)

actually, as long as that energy is replaced (ie, more farts are produced) then yes, by definition it makes it renewable energy.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (-1, Troll)

Jello B. (950817) | about 3 years ago | (#36668214)

100% of your post was written by a complete dumbass.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668244)

Bunch of whiners on /. today. I guess the nuclear crowd is upset that their favorite myth, that the only alternative to coal is nuclear energy, has been revealed as a lie.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#36668506)

Not really, this has been an extremely productive year for hydroelectric dams, hardly a typical year, we'll be lucky not to have a year this productive for quite some time. Now, if this were a normal year or the figures weren't so skewed from hydroelectric dams having to top out their capacity, this might suggest just that.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 3 years ago | (#36668510)

considering the only reason why the figures are what they are because of the increase in biomass aka ETHANOL I would say yes, nuclear is still the only viable alternative. Hydro is maxed out, wind blows (ha!) and solar is the promise which never lives up to the hype.

Re:Numbers don't mean anything (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | about 3 years ago | (#36668408)

Percentages don't mean anything. Numbers can be skewed so many ways its not even funny.

Just because some greeny stuck a hose up his ass and lit his farts to make sear his tofu doesn't make it renewable energy.

For example, this article [] says that coal power is cooling the earth...

Biomass = Wood Stoves? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668130)

I wonder how much of that biomass consists of wood-burning stoves. Considering the time period of this study (first three months of this year) that could definitely be a large factor.

EDIT: A quick look at the PDF shows that biomass is the largest renewable energy source, at 1.049 quadrillion BTUs. It even beat out hydropower at 0.618 quadrillion BTUs. However, a look at 2009 and 2010 does not show a seasonal variation that you would expect from wood stoves.

Btus??? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 3 years ago | (#36668136)

Btus? Can't we just stick to standards?

Kilo/Mega/Giga/Tera Watt hours in this case.

Re:Btus??? (-1, Offtopic)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36668188)

A BTU is a perfectly good standard. It's an actual measurement of energy like the calorie, just bigger and "English."

It's not our fault that you can't convert.

Queue raging Ameri-hate.


Re:Btus??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668240)

At least you recognize that you are hated. That's a start.

Re:Btus??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668274)

Heck, use horsepower why don't you, dag-nab it. If it was good enough for our great-great-grandfathers than it's good enough for us.

Re:Btus??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668430)

BTU is a perfectly good unit in the same way that "hogshed of hydrogen equivalent per fortnight"-seconds is a perfectly good unit. When you understand the problem with that unit, you'll understand the problem with lots of little units localized to each country/purpose/company/person/season/time of day.

Re:Btus??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668202)

A BTU is a standard, just not the standard you would choose.

Re:Btus??? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 3 years ago | (#36668232)

Btus? Can't we just stick to standards?

Kilo/Mega/Giga/Tera Watt hours in this case.


Re:Btus??? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#36668250)

Watt-hours is at least as much a bastardization as BTUs. It's actually worse, because it wasn't a standard prior to Joules. BTU at least has the seniority aspect going for it. Watt-hours just looks good on an electric bill.

Re:Btus??? (0)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36668552)

Shush, don't confuse them with facts.

They just want to find some excuse, any, to foam at the mouth at how "stupid" Americans (and Canadians, because they use BTUs too) are. Proof exhibited by the bespittled responses to my previous message posted by people who couldn't be arsed to put their names next to them. (and I got modded offtopic, lolwut?) What's the matter, guys, afraid of demonstrating that you're just as ugly as you claim Americans are? Guess what, you just did.

Funny there typically isn't any [insert European cultural reference here] hate going the other way on Slashdot. It's just so "kewl" to hate Americans these days, isn't it?

They can mod this one down too. I have more karma than they have mod points. *cackle*


Re:Btus??? (1)

MaxBooger (1877454) | about 3 years ago | (#36668536)

Btus? Can't we just stick to standards?

In the United States the standard IS BTUs.

Hydro? (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#36668168)

Hydroelectric has been a big part of the US electric grid for the better part of a century now (Roll on, Columbia roll on). I realize it's "renewable", but lumping it in with the newer renewables (biodiesel, wind, et. al.) - the electric production of which is miniscule compared to that of hydro - and then pretending it's us making strides towards a great green future is a tad misleading.

Of course. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668192)

It doesn't take a Genius Bar attendant to figure out mdsolar is spewing shit as usual, but that's never stopped him before.

Re:Hydro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668432)

...and until about 1970, the US produced more energy from burning wood than from burning fissile material.

Re:Hydro? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668576)

To say nothing of the fact that the reason hydro is booming right now is due to unusually large amounts of precipitation this year in the areas that produce the most hydro power.

Re:Hydro? (5, Informative)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 years ago | (#36668640)

Note that they are also lumping in ethanol, which has already been shown to require more fossil fuel to produce that it can replace (or close to it, depending on the way it's calculated. And ethanol is 10% of all the fuel in all the cars, and is heavily supported by subsidies, so it's not only inefficient, but can't even pay for itself.

Way to grind that axe, buddy (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#36668216)

"Notwithstanding the recent nuclear accident in Japan, among many others, and the rapid growth in energy and electricity from renewable sources, congressional Republicans continue to press for more nuclear energy funding while seeking deep cuts in renewable energy investments," said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "One has to wonder 'what are these people thinking?'"

I have to wonder what he's thinking, because the best solution to US energy needs looking forward involves expansion of nuclear power as well as renewables. We still haven't really made a dent in the roughly half of US electricity production that comes from coal. And that huge base load need isn't going to be solved by intermittent power sources like solar or wind. Underfunding nuclear power development will only result in delays in bringing up safer newer plant designs.

Re:Way to grind that axe, buddy (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#36668412)

This is mdsolar - check his comment history, and pay attention to the link in the sig. He runs a company which installs solar panels, so he's not exactly an impartial figure. I'm surprised you haven't seen him before, since he pops up in pretty much every story about nuclear with similarly misleading comments.

Re:Way to grind that axe, buddy (0)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 years ago | (#36668530)

I submitted it, I didn't write it. TFA has a good point that nuclear is going nowhere though.

Re:Way to grind that axe, buddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668488)


I'm also irritated by his snarky comment about nuclear's "many other" accidents. This wasn't an accident. If solar panels flew off in a hurricane and destroyed property and killed people, is that a "solar accident"? Or an undesirable random event to learn from?

This was a series of unfortunate events with nowhere near worst case results. An insanely powerful earthquake AND tsunami hit it. Nuclear is vastly safer than its objectors make it out to be.

Further, though I argue against many republican positions, nuclear is one area I support them.

Old versus Mandatory (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668226)

Not much of a milestone since new reactors have been banned in the US for several decades while "green" power is being shoved down our throats regardless of the costs involved.

Ethanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668258)

is also biomass. I suspect it is skewing the results. Also nuclear is more like 20% of US domestic energy electrical production. Also, they are talking total energy production, but nuclear is strictly electrical energy. So the comparisons are pretty much bogus designed to make it look like renewables are substantial when they are not.

Difficult Read... (2)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 3 years ago | (#36668268)

Ok, wow... did I miss it, or did they completely avoid using any
real numbers, that could be tallied and put in a spreadsheet?

Everything seemed to be something of something else.

RTFA is a horrible idea. RTFPDF, well, that's up to you, it's
214 pages long.

Anyone rationalize those numbers out yet?


Re:Difficult Read... (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 3 years ago | (#36668320)

Exactly. TFS mentions "'energy produced from renewables is 77.15 percent of that from domestic crude oil production.", but doesn't bother to mention that part of that is due to the fact that domestic crude oil production has been falling for decades. It's kind of deceptive.

Re:Difficult Read... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36668334)

The PDF linked in the summary is one page - a single table, with energy sources as columns (with tallies for fossil fuels and renewable sources), and years as rows. It doesn't get much simpler. Feel free to number-crunch at your own convenience.

Context is lacking. Intentionally so, methinks: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 3 years ago | (#36668568)

"It doesn't get much simpler."

Oh, the chart itself is simple. The problem is, it's incomplete info without much context.

You have to go to the web site and look at other tables than the one linked to find out that the big part of biomass used is wood.

That's been fairly steady for decades. A lot of that is paper and forestry products burning the waste wood to power their plants, and ignorant rural rednecks like me stoking up the fireplace among other things. (Gotta power those moonshine stills with something. The revenuers track electrical and fuel deliveries anymore.)

I'm not sure that's exactly what most people are thinking of as "green" energy. And chopping down a tree to burn it and release carbon immediately sure doesn't sequester carbon very well.

A lot of the rest of the biomass is ethanol in gasoline which is mandated more as a subsidy to farming and as an oxygenator rather than as a real competitor to gasoline.

Conventional hydropower is another huge part of these "renewables". Just try to build a new dam and found out how green the environmentalists think it is.

So, if you just take it as "simple" and only look at that one chart it's rather misleading.

Re:Difficult Read... (1)

PMuse (320639) | about 3 years ago | (#36668544)

Mod parent up! Only a partisan would measure a nation's annual energy consumption in "quadrillion Btus". It's like measuring an oil spill in pints.

This is slashdot. Around here, you can't conflate percent of "domestic crude oil production" with "percent of U.S. energy production" (let alone consumption!) and not get called on it. Can you?

Ah, heck with it! Let's slip down to the pub for 2.98 millibarrels of domestic light sweet lager.

Cost per kilowatt hour (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668288)

Being simple minded, cost per kW-hour is about the only comparative metric I can get my head around.

I found this table [] ... warning there could be a renewable bias.

Re:Cost per kilowatt hour (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 3 years ago | (#36668560)

Don't forget the subsidies added in as well [] . When you take those into account suddenly the "affordability" of wind and solar collapses...

Coal is King (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668382)

"America - and much of the world -- is becoming increasingly electrified. Today, more than half of the electricity generated in the United States comes from coal. For the foreseeable future, coal will continue to be the dominant fuel used for electric power production. The low cost and abundance of coal is one of the primary reasons why consumers in the United States benefit from some of the lowest electricity rates of any free-market economy.

The Department's Office of Fossil Energy is working on ways to keep coal in America's electricity future. The key challenge is to remove the environmental objections to the use of coal in tomorrow's power plants. New technologies being developed in the Fossil Energy program could virtually eliminate the sulfur, nitrogen, and mercury pollutants released when coal is burned. It may also be possible to capture greenhouse gases emitted from coal-fired power plants and prevent them from contributing to global warming concerns."

The U.S. has the largest coal reserves of any country. Clean coal will always be the major factor in any U.S. energy policy. Period.

Re:Coal is King (1)

jyx (454866) | about 3 years ago | (#36668654)

[off topic]

Clean coal will always be the major factor in any U.S. energy policy. Period.

Please stop ending your arguments with 'period'.

You are implying that your statement is the one and only definitive and correct end to the discussion. As the topic is about future event(s) this is a rather bold assumption; unless you have the super magic powers of the Oracle.

It also implies that you are not open to other points of view or consideration which is sad. By closing yourself off from alternative views and opinions you are removing most opportunities for growth and discovery.

How about:
It is most likely that lean coal will be the major factor in any U.S. energy policy for the foreseeable future.

Re:Coal is King (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 3 years ago | (#36668698)

You really need to read. Coal today is less than 45% of American electricity []
More importantly, the question is what is the trend, Look here [] You will see that coal use rose through the time until 2005. Then it started falling. Now, part of that COULD be the neo-con's recession. But it is not. Look at the other energy sources. THey all rose except for one year with AE.
Coal is withering. Heck, here in Colorado, we are going to tear down something like 5 coal plants and replace them with natural gas and AE.

Coal's only real chance is to convert to natural gas by using GreatPoint or other means and then piping it around the nation. Likewise, you then pump the CO2 underground, or sell it for chemical use (for example, sugar beets need it for sugar production).

Great, but ... (5, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | about 3 years ago | (#36668402)

This sounds like great news for renewable energy buffs, except for one thing: if you're thinking this represents a success by high tech new power sources like wind, solar, etc., you're wrong.

The two biggest components of "renewable energy" in EIA's report are hydroelectric dams and biomass -- the biomass sector is mostly industrial wood and paper plants which run on waste wood, plus people using wood-fired stoves at home. Good for them, but it's not exactly high tech.

In 1990, before the wind-and-solar revolution, things broke down this way:
Nuclear: 6.1 exajoules
Hydro+biomass: 5.7 EJ
Wind+solar: .09 EJ

In 2000:
Nuclear: 7.8 EJ
Hydro+biomass: 5.8 EJ
Wind+solar: 0.12 EJ

In 2010:
Nuclear: 8.4 EJ
Hydro+biomass: 6.8 EJ
Wind+solar: 1.03 EJ

Or to put it another way: The "wind and solar revolution" that's taken place in the past 20 years now produces 1 EJ of energy per year. The nuclear power industry has managed to increase output by *twice* as much, without building a single new power plant, just running existing plants a little harder.

This isn't intended to support nuclear power or to knock renewables. My only point is that wind and solar are much less significant than people on both sides of the debate think they are, and if we intend to use them as serious industrial power sources, we're going to have to start building them in a serious industrial way. What we're doing now is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Re:Great, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668452)

How much of that Wind+Solar is Solar? I bet it's most, and will likely trend that way. It's just so much easier to put panels on your roof than it is to put wind turbines all over the 'hood.

Re:Great, but ... (1)

goodmanj (234846) | about 3 years ago | (#36668696)

Read the table in TFA. Wind outproduces solar by a factor of 10.

The fact that you find this surprising is my point: you're thinking of solar and wind on a residential neighborhood level, but you're not thinking big enough. So far, our only practical, cost-effective wind and solar energy is produced in gigantic industrial wind farms with hundreds of turbines. And even *that's* a drop in the bucket, compared to fossil energy. Those hundreds of turbines need to become tens of thousands, stretching from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam...

Growth in nuclear is really prior waste. (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 years ago | (#36668562)

No new plants to speak of so really what we are seeing is decades of overcapacity in nuclear power, basically waste of capacity since nuclear power is supposed to be baseload. And this is really what killed the nuclear construction industry in the eighties. Bad planning. []

Re:Growth in nuclear is really prior waste. (1)

goodmanj (234846) | about 3 years ago | (#36668728)

I think "overcapacity" is a useless term when you're dealing with energy. Supply creates demand and vice versa, and too much is never enough. The only important question is *profitability*, but the nuclear industry is such a tangled mess of hidden government subsidies and buried external costs that figuring that out is a nightmare.

What if nuclear had been supported (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 3 years ago | (#36668444)

How much would nuclear be contributing if so-called environmentalists hadn't spent the last 35 years fighting against nuclear power.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668526)

The problem is coal, not nuclear. It's ridiculous that most of a allegedly first world nation's energy still comes from coal in the XXI century.

FAIL (0)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 3 years ago | (#36668546)

Sorry, more and more environmental groups [] are demanding hydro NOT be considered a renewable resource. Bounce it back out and you'll probably lose 95% of your total...

Re:FAIL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668694)

Now that's just silly. Whether or not hydro is green, it is most assuredly "renewable". It's not like you're about to run out of running water like you will with coal or even uranium,

Eat the facts of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668570)

Ha Ha Ha, to all the Slashdot lickers of Nuclear, who can go mutate now. You can bet that there are more jobs in the Green than in the Nuclear. Be employed or eat nuclear.

To the ones who say: "Good luck tripling the amount of hydro or getting wood stoves into cities."
Go visit Munich. The same city that designs your BMW. They have small scale hydro power with build-in fish channels in the city center. The automated wood stoves are more economical in may cases, because of compressed wood pallets.

Stop dreaming Star Trek. Wood, Wind and Water are never going to be out of fashion, becasue they are better for health.

To the will-never-work financial experts: Wind is free, nuclear is not !

Hydroelectric vs. Nuclear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668642)

What's funny is while everyone's pushing for renewable energy sources, they gloss over the fact that dams are an ecological disaster, and that nuclear power causes far less environmental damage. If we used breeder reactors, in fact, waste wouldn't be much of a concern, either. The reason we don't use breeder reactors? The products of them (which can be reused many times) are weapons grade. We were worried the ruskies would steal them during the cold war. So, instead of reactors which reused the same material over and over, we went with the crappy designs that exist now, which produce a large amount of waste that's difficult to deal with. And, because everyone's petrified with irrational fear over the use of nuclear reactors, we've never built any more reactors, which would likely be breeder reactors in this day and age. Those reactors would run happily for many years on the waste produced by reactors we have now.

Humans are very bad at gauging the damage and risks posed by nuclear reactors. It's one of the safest ways to produce electricity in the world, far, far safer than oil or coal industries. Also, it's a better "green" energy source than hydroelectric, and probably solar power once you factor in the damage caused just gathering the materials to make solar cells, not to mention the batteries they charge.

If you want to cause less damage to the environment, build more nuclear power plants.

Takes nuclear too long (1, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | about 3 years ago | (#36668650)

Thanks to endless red tape, roadblocks by the enviro-nuts, what power company in good conscience build a nuke plant in the USA these days? Thanks to the stupidity of the average American, who thinks a problem at a nuke plant will turn it into an H-bomb, coupled with Three Mile Island, The movie China Syndrome,Chernobyl people think nuke plants are unsafe. Well, to quote a radio talk show host...I'd rather live near a nuclear power plant, than in a city with UNION government school teachers.

That's like Itanium sales overtaking PA/RISC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36668670)

Duh!!! Given that there have been no new nuclear power plants for the last 30 years and that nuclear energy has been defamed by environmental wackos, no wonder that this should have happened. Oh, and before one mentions that Japanese reactor, please - comparison of a reactor built on the fault lines of an earthquake is not the same as one built in an area w/ no seismic activity.

Oh, and if nuclear fusion gets harnessed as an energy source, that too will be renewable. If the environmental wackos oppose that, as they surely will, their support for 'solar' is only b'cos it's not adequate (for now) in addressing world energy needs.

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