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Henrik: You may be right, but the fact remains that biofuels made 3% of vehicle fuels. We could save 25% by driving more fuel efficient vehicles. We could likely save another 5-10% by installing substantial HOV lanes. We could likely save another 5-10% by expanding the quality and quantity of mass transit. Eliminate subsidies for suburbification and improve urban area quality of life metrics, and watch as more folks move to cities, cutting fuel use another 5-10%. Biofuels may be a part of the solution, but a much bigger part is to simply use less fuel.
$3.40 a watt ain't too bad for load following generation. I don't know if they're using molten nitrite salt or something similar, which would help to both smooth the generation curve and keep generation a little later in the evening, helping to synch the demand curve in the winter months. What's amazing to me is that the price isn't too far off from large scale PV installs -- and those don't seem to have as much O&M costs and certainly don't need the millions of gallons of water...
The State Department is involved because it involves multiple countries working together with agreements, treaties, and so forth. That's called diplomacy, and it's what the State Department does.
150 hectares? That's about 0.6 square miles. Loose math, 3.9 million treees in 3000 hectares is just over 1000 trees per hectare. So Toyota is planting about 50,000 trees per year. That's cool and all, but it's a really small number. They're planting trees in a half-mile by half-mile patch each year for three years. It's going to take an awful lot more land with trees than the number they're talking about. 3000 hectares is a little more than eleven square miles.
mahonj: I don't think that's right at all. 1. Europeans have shied away from hybrids by and large, instead preferring smaller autos and/or diesels. 2. Japan has had a culture of cutting oil consumption for some time now -- you'll note that Japan doesn't have much domestically. Japan also has a culture of "smallness" -- the SUVs aren't as appealing. 3. Americans are buying plenty of Prii, for all kinds of reasons. If you're interested in saving fuel you're not likely to buy an SUV or luxury auto in the first place. The selection bias is pretty obvious. If you're interested in a reliable auto, why not go with the hybrid which has outsold the others by large margins and has been a model for over a decade? I think the "do gooder" badge is silly. The price of gasoline, be it $1.50/gal or $4.00/gal, isn't a substantial expense for most Americans shopping for a new car. In that sense, everybody who buys it is a "do gooder" -- or just interested in keeping their operating costs low and know that the Prius has cheap gas and rarely needs repairs.
There's more than that HarveyD. Coal use was down 20%, but electricity use was down only 2.5% over 2008 numbers. The difference is that a smidge more hydro, a smidge more wind, and a smidge more natural gas were used to make (2.5% less) electricity -- and coal was squeezed. 2010 isn't shaping up to have a great economy either -- we might see about the same amount of energy consumption, with another drop of 5% - 10% coal use based on 2008 numbers. If the state RPS requirements keep hold -- or even better if (gasp!) the Dems can get a few GOPers to go along with a national RPS, we might see coal use continue to shrink.
The mileage improvement is good. The fact that it's still got a long stopping distance and a high bonnet means it remains a particular threat to pedestrians and cyclists alike, and that ain't good. This vehicle simply doesn't belong in an urban environment.
1. High speed rail along components of the DC-Richond-RTP-Charlotte-Atlanta corridor. 2. Improvements on the BOS-DC corridor. Please please please please please. The former, if done well, will change train ridership from exclusively poor and generally black to that *and* upper class generally white. Suddenly you'll see some Southern GOP support for Amtrak. Now you've got more votes, and more funding in general to expand the system even more. They resent (2), so give 'em (1). But do some of (2) too. Improving speed, reliability, and capacity to the one segment of Amtrak which brings in more revenue than costs only makes sense.
Why put them in households? Why not battery-bank them? Occupy warehouses in low value industrial areas near decent power infrastructure, and simply charge each night and discharge each day? The infrastructure likely scales efficiently, and as batteries crap out they get cycled (pardon the pun) out for more effective ones. Depending on the night/day price variation, the cost of the infrastructure, and the cost of disposal I don't know if the battery farm would buy batteries or charge money to collect them (and eventually dispose of them properly), but it seems far more efficient for a few large installations than thousands of one-offs, in terms of equipment, expertise, timing w.r.t. the grid, and so forth.
Why put them in households? Why not battery-bank them? Occupy warehouses in low value industrial areas near decent power infrastructure, and simply charge each night and discharge each day? The infrastructure likely scales efficiently, and as batteries crap out they get cycled (pardon the pun) out for more effective ones. Depending on the night/day price variation, the cost of the infrastructure, and the cost of disposal I don't know if the battery farm would buy batteries or charge money to collect them (and eventually dispose of them properly), but it seems far more efficient for a few large installations than thousands of one-offs, in terms of equipment, expertise, timing w.r.t. the grid, and so forth.
Amtrak gets roughly $1B a year from Congress. I can't help but wonder: what sorts of improvements could Amtrak make with $11B spent on capital? An Acela south? Improve Aclea's speed through SW CT and b/n PHI and NYC? What sort of improvements could regional and local mass transit make? Boston N/S rail link? Accelerate DC's metro improvement and expansion? More transit in Austin/Dallas/Ft worth? How about RTP and Charlotte? Chicago? $11B is a lot of scratch to continue to, yet again, subsidize automobiles -- when we'd be much better off helping people simply drive fewer miles.
Even within segments of the energy sustainability frontier, there's no all-encompassing solution. This included. How many families i. park (or could park if they cleaned out the junk) one car in a garage ii. have two automobiles and would like to stay that way iii. have one breadwinner who drives 20+ miles to work each day, but not so far that a round-trip would require some daytime charge? Answer: lots! Even if only 10% of autos, as we use them today, could be replaced by solar powered one-seaters (protected from the weather) with limited round trip, that's a huge change in the marketplace and the way we use fossil fuels. Over time, their increased popularity will result in workplaces installing chargers (thereby increasing the share of autos eligible), and technological improvements will expand the range (again, increasing share). Good stuff.
So the question is, how to speed adoption (thereby eliminating the glut *and* reducing oil consumption & CO_2)? If the price of gas increases relative to the price of electricity, that will push demand for batteries since the cost of buying and operating an *EV will decline relative to an ICE. Additionally, if taxation schemes like feebates push up the price of low mpg vehicles and/or push down the price of high mpg vehicles, we may see a shift in demand. Either is a distinct possibility, and difficult to guess five years out. I'd love to see the error bars on RBSC's model...
"Please show figures to back up this claim. The USA cannot even come close." I'm not sure... how much feedstock goes to cattle that could go to (a) people directly and (b) to ethanol or other fuel production? I've seen numbers all over the map about how many pounds of corn go into each pound of beef, pork, or poultry. Clearly if Americans replaced some of their meat consumption with equal calories of grain or vegetables, there'd be a net surplus of corn. How much? Dunno. When to the declining returns catch up? Dunno.
This problem isn't very easy to solve, contrary to mahonj's juvenile comment. China and India combine for what, 2+ billion people? While some carbon is coming from major infrastructure like shipping vehicles, much of it is coming from diffuse sources like personal vehicles and stoves. These emissions have increased 225%ish since 1990, and are growing at a rate of 4%-5% a year. Merely leveling them off is a massive challenge... bending the curve downward? That's tough to do when it involves the cooperation of 2 billion people, most of whom are living in poverty conditions.
How about buying up renewable electricity credits for 100% of US gov't demand? Sign exclusive contracts, thereby stimulating more construction of renewable. Do some on-site (solar PV), but the majority will be purchase agreements. Yes, domestic US Military too -- and they should pay for it from their defense budget. Want to be really clever? Have all of it produced within 500 miles of it's end use, which allows for a major push to create and then purchase it from WV and KY as well as VA, PA, and OH. You could even push for an expansion of biomass in NC, SC, and GA to drive up renewable generation there. The idea is to generate jobs on green electricity in places where you want to change some mind share and counter the complaints about carbon taxes.
Methinks Ms. Wright is on to something. Demand won't be there; gasoline is too cheap. So why not do this -- why not change gasoline from $/gal to $/CO_2 output, and charge it for liquids and for electrons. It's not hard to measure how many electrons we put in autos. You can meter at the location of the plug (OK), or you can meter in the vehicle itself and include it on state taxes (better). Inspections, vehicle for service, and other snapshots will deter fraud. What's nice about this plan is that it encourages a push to renewables everywhere. 100% coal is only a smidge better than 100% petrol; as more and more renewables come online, motorists pay less in tax. That stimulates demand for both electric autos and for more renewables for the home electricity market as well.
Treehugger: It's true that growth would erode the "gain" -- but it's also true that California has been able to bend their electricity curve -- actually decrease total consumption despite growing population and GDP. I suspect that the rest of the country could follow suit with improved building codes, zoning codes, and energy efficiency requirements and incentives. So it's true, just getting to 20% wind power by 2024 doesn't solve the problem... but no one solution will. This could be a key part of the solution, and it reinforces that wind can be used as base load with sufficient geographic diversity of turbines and distribution system.
SJC: Ethanol makes sense in Brazil, where (a) they grow lots of sugar cane relatively cheaply, and (b) they don't have massive tariffs on imported sugar. FFVs are an artifact of a local market. The USA isn't in a similar circumstance where ethanol will be cheaper than gasoline anytime soon -- so requiring FFVs won't make a lick of difference. If we want to reduce our dependence on oil, we ought do it by (a) using CAFE [which we're doing], (b) raising the tax on gasoline [which we don't seem to have the stomach to do], and (c) expanding the quality and quantity of mass transit to create some redundancy in our transportation network. CAFE is having an impact. The gas tax? What can I say. If we simply made it a requirement that all road work must be paid for with gas taxes, we'd immediately have a demand for higher gas taxes (other taxes subsidize roads). As for mass transit, it's true that some places will never be appropriate for mass transit. That's true in other countries too. If we do create great mass transit networks, then more people will find cities livable and there will be an overall migration to more areas where mass transit works. Furthremore, even if only 70% of people have access to good mass transit, that still helps reduce consumption from a massive chunk of people. As for HGs comments -- the idea that corn is food and we shouldn't burn it is foolish. The fact is that Americans eat very little corn. We have a few corns on the cob each year, we eat tortilla chips or breads, and we eat corn flakes for breakfast. Most corn goes to two places: (1) corn syrup, which doesn't add a damn bit to American health and in fact makes us worse off, and (2) feed for cattle, where it requires many pounds of corn to create one pound of beef or chicken or turkey. If food availability ever becomes a problem, then simply eating one less pound of beef will free up 12 pounds of vegetables for people to eat... and switching from Coke to water will free up plenty more. Making ethanol about food is nonsense because Americans don't eat corn efficiently in the first place.
I think it's great that states aren't waiting for the US Congress to get moving -- hell, they could end up waiting a long time. The Northeast has been pushing hard for a while, and they represent about 20-25% of the population. The West Coast has been doing the same, and they represent a bit less, about 17%. While they represent 40% of the population combined, we're only talking about 30% of the US Senate -- and therein lies the problem. The climate change movement has got to get the Midwest and the Southwest on board. The Midwest has a big chunk of population, and is blueish. The Southwest has less, but NV and NM and CO have two senators too, and are also blue. By not waiting around, the Northeast and West Coast are experimenting, finding out what works so that the Feds have a blueprint. Furthermore, they're generating support for those policies by demonstrating not only their effectiveness, but also that they don't "kill jobs" as the GOP is fond of claiming.
Help me understand: is the biodiesel *subsidized* or simply *not taxed as much*? You know what might help the biodiesel folks? Raise the tax on all non-bio motor fuels a bit more, making their biofuels relatively less expensive.
The question I have then, sulleny, is how should we pay for our transportation infrastructure? If not gas taxes, are we stuck with tracking mileage and charging for that? General revenue? Risk the occasional Minnesota collapse?
Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but this might be a good thing from a GHG perspective. 1. It's a lot easier to tax/restrict coal when it's not being used in your own nation's power plants -- so this could help Aussie coal be used at a slower rate 2. If the coal is to be used in China, it's more expensive to be used in China than Australia, which makes the per ton cost higher (shipping). If the marginal cost of the coal is higher, it's more likely that a greener source (hydro, wind, even nat gas) will replace it sooner. Wishful thinking?
GM 24.5 From the same chart that generated the rest. It's page 78 of the report, page 92 of the pdf itself.
I wonder: will those who lived near the refinery breath a bit easier now? I have no idea what the emissions of a plant like that are, but I can't imagine that it smells like petunias.