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    • CommentAuthorjmmurrow
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.1)
    Some scientists are saying that we can, as long as the political will is there. I doubt it, but what does everyone else think?
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.2)
    It would be really, really hard. Lots of resentment, economic dislocation, trashing of infrastructure, etc.

    In any case, are they talking about total replacement of today's capacity?

    What counts as renewable . . . breeder reactors are "renewable" if you squint and blur your eyes.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.3)
    At some point we'll have to. The point about renewables is that it doesn't run out, all the other stuff runs out eventually.

    And if scientists say it, it must be right. :)
    • CommentAuthorSteadyUP
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.4)
    And I want a toilet seat made of solid gold, but it's just not in the cards, now is it?
  1.  (9442.5)
    @SteadyUP

    If you sincerely want a solid gold toilet seat, you can make it happen...

    • CommentAuthorColby
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.6)
    I think the technology will be close to 100%, you'll just see it not being used. Oil will be probably still be the mac daddy unless we reach peek oil and if society doesn't collapse if that happen, I imagine we would either move to natural gas or possibly nuclear power.
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.7)
    It seems like every other week I hear of a new way of doing some every day thing without using fossilized fuels--like the video Val showed--so I have no doubt that there's going to be the tech to have an energy-dependent world within the next few years, let alone by 2030.

    The real question, I think, is whether the establishments, the peoples in charge who regularly gets money by the people who make fossilized fuels, will let it happen by then.
  2.  (9442.8)
    No. 100% renewable energy is on the same shelf as Making A Substantial Living Off The Internet - there are too many forces out there that make it their business to undercut such endeavors - the only option is to start "locally" and build from there....
  3.  (9442.9)
    @Kitsune

    Starting locally will have a huge impact, yes. The other option is something similar to how the iPod changed the way most of us collect and listen to music.

    I've always been a big fan of induction for transferring power to cars and unless batteries make serious headway that's the future, I think. Many might say that such a thing would be ridiculous, but the public was convinced that the Interstate system would provide fast exodus from cities when the soviet bombs came. Considering the workforce that would be required, that's a lot of jobs that could be created too...
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
     (9442.10)
    Um, no? Not to be the nay-sayer here but there are so many goddamn companies that rely on making a living from selling people non-renewable energy that I just don't think it's possible.

    Do I think we'll be closer?

    Yes.

    Do I think we'll do it?

    Absofuckinglutely not.
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      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011 edited
     (9442.11)
    I think this question needs a scope. Who's "we"? USA? Europe? Africa? Asia? The whole world?

    The technology is just one part of the equation, and actually the easier part of it. The bigger issues are things like infrastructrure built on the concept of transporting relatively small amounts of people and goods in tiny little metal boxes. Or the ideal of having your own house instead of an apartment in a bigger building. There's a nice little energy inefficient business built around the western idea of personal freedom...

    That said, things will be a hell of a lot better, though.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011
     (9442.12)
    > Or the ideal of having your own house instead of an apartment in a bigger building.

    In Normandy they build (a lot of) new houses, which are well-insulated: detached, smallish, single-family dwellings. They're heated only by their wood-burning stoves, of which the fire-wood is a local/perennial resource. France's electricity (from EDF) is 80% nuclear, 10% hydro and 10% fossil fuel.
  4.  (9442.13)
    Short answer: no.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011
     (9442.14)
    So if the answer is "no" then how long have we got before we're sitting in the dark?
    •  
      CommentAuthorAL Baroza
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011
     (9442.15)
    We'll more likely be watering our crops with Gatorade by 2030.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011
     (9442.16)
    If the will was there the world might be running on renewables today. I remember back in the 1970s there was talk of building orbiting solar power satellites beaming energy to earth using microwaves. It's mentioned in passing here:
    Private industry made several attempts to address the need for additional in-space assembly and repair techniques. A big motivator for this was the energy crisis in the mid-1970s that led engineers to look at alternative energy sources. One such source was the concept of a Solar Power Satellite (SPS). Grumman and Boeing were among the companies that looked into the possibility of constructing a large SPS truss structure in space to serve as a platform for giant solar panels and microwave transmitters to beam power back to Earth. Grumman even designed a space fabrication demonstration system, named the Beam Builder (Ref. 3), for an automated assembly of the truss structure in space. The Beam Builder used resistance spot welding to join thin aluminum struts.

    Consider photovoltaics on every roof, every lamp post with its own little wind turbine, giant turbine fields above cities, the coasts lined with Salter's ducks (they worked a lot better than the somewhat skewed reports indicated) or the more modern Pelamis units. There are a great many ways to generate renewable, free energy. And very little will to do it. Every opportunity is taken to look for flaws in renewables projects, seeking them so thoroughly that in some cases they are seemingly magicked up from thin air, poor Mr Salter and his ducks for example. Wind turbines are unsightly, noisy and massacre migrating birds, when they run at all, which supposedly is not very often. There are a couple of rather large ones on the A13 at Dagenham, i've stood beneath one and failed to notice any of these problems. I probably just wasn't looking hard enough. Then again, i'm not making enormous profits from the extraction and supply of fossil fuels. Nuclear is good for a bob or two as well, what with construction, maintenance, decommissioning and waste disposal costs.

    Free energy? Where's the money in that? Thinking about it, there's probably a fair old bit to be made from climate change what with harvest failures pushing up the price of food and just think of all those lovely infrastructure contracts for flood defences, irrigation and new accommodation to replace the drowned coastal towns.

    Me, i'm not fussed, i don't have children or family to worry about. Those of you who do, i suggest you start making a fuss now and certainly here at least, teach the little buggers to swim.
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      CommentAuthorSalgood Sam
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2011 edited
     (9442.17)
    Could we, yes. Treat it like a global WW2 mobilization effort and no problem.

    Will we, at this rate no way.

    How long till we are sitting in the dark? depends on what happens. If it's just down to cost and scarcity we probably won't be, we'll be using cheaper light sources, like little OLED solar powered lamp units. Transport and industry are going to feel it more than civilians at first. And it's the fridge, stove and AC that will be shut off before the lights go.

    But the real question is if we don't radically change our carbon and methane greenhouse footprint, the lights going out will be a fairly minor worry.
  5.  (9442.18)
    Isn't this like asking if you have faith in humanity to pull together and selflessly doing what's best for each other, for our civilization and our children?

    Because I don't have that kind of faith.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCat Vincent
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2011 edited
     (9442.19)
    Another question is "power for what"? Domestic use is one thing. Industrial, another; military is a whole other problem in itself (mainly, you can't run tanks and bombers on solar power yet).
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2011
     (9442.20)
    Were you in control of giant solar power satellites transmitting their energy earthward via focussed microwave beams, i doubt there would be much need for tanks, bombers and suchlike. Ellis Orbital Energy anyone? I'd buy shares in that.