East Coast outage?

Sure, a regular house has enough surface area to generate this
electricity, but not appartment buildings or businesses. But why have
the hydrogen in the middle? Batteries aren't as explosive. Also, it
seems that the large amount of hydrogen that will leak out (remember,
tinyiest molecules ever, but this is well established for other gasses
as well) don't do the environment much good.

Yep. Batt rooms do go boom if not vented. However you loose quite a bit
in the charge/recharge cycles. i have not worked with the gel or sealed
batts that don't leak anything. When I was off the grid, I factored in the
costs to transport them vs the cheap marine deep cycle batts 30 miles
away at Wal Mart and the cheap ones won.

I don't think wholesale replacement of our current power systems is an
attainable goal in our lifetime. (And it will happen automatically
anyway as oil starts running out and gets so expensive that people who
just want to burn it can't afford it anymore.) However, it is still a
very good idea to add more solar energy to the mix, both on the large
and the small ends of the scale.

Small: a few solar panels (with batteries) will give you at least
_some_ power when the utility power is out. Being able to recharge your
cell phone, run a light, a laptop and an ADSL or cable modem is much,
much better than nothing.

Large: demand for power peaks when it's hot, but generating capacity is
often much lower under these circumstances because river water gets
much warmer so power plants that need this water for cooling can't run
at full capacity. (We could be facing rolling blackouts because of this
soon in Europe.) Guess what: solar panels don't need cooling and their
output is highest when the weather is hot = lots of sunshine.

Totally agree. Some here seem to be taking this as an all or nothing.
So much high fat thinking going on. It's gotta be big and it has to feed
status quo greed where the few make the money.

I learned, while off the grid, that if I made better choices (with my
appliances) I did not have to suffer. You do pay more for devices that do
same work with less power. Cheap things wear out sooner. last time I
my NG fridge is still keeping the ice cream rock hard and the person I
sold it to is very happy. All it takes is a candle sized flame.

Presently now in the grid, however my landlord placed all windows
on the south side. In northern New Mexico I require no heat during the day
time, in winter, and can make it most of the time with a little heat from
the air tight. I simlpe walk in the woods yields all the wood I need; the
cat powered bed warmers do the rest.

Solar panels do not last forever. In fact, they degrade rather quickly due
to the radiation damage to the semiconductor (older thin film panels were
guaranteed to perform within specs for 2-5 years, new crystalline ones
stay within nominal parameters for 20 years). Lifetimes of hydrogen
storage products, and electrolytic converters are also limited. Note that
exploitation of those involve creation and eventual disposal of toxic compounds.

Making those panels requires energy, and involves processes producing
pollition. So does their disposal. Besides, solar panels convert
visible-light high-energy photons (used by the biosphere) into low-energy
(infrared) photons which are a form of pollution, and are useless for the
biosphere. Fossil fuels and nuclear energy do not steal this source of
negative enthropy from the biospere (just a counterpoint - I'm no big fan
of those ways of producing energy, for different reasons). Given the
relatively low power density of the solar energy, the full-lifecycle
adjustments are much higher on per-joule basis than for traditional energy

So when you talk about advantages of the solar (or any other renewable
power) you need to take into account the full energy budget (including
manufacturing and disposal) and ecological impact of the entire lifecycle
of the product, not just the generation phase. Such analysis will likely
show that renewables are not as green or renewable as they seem to be.

It seems to me that the debate on superiority of different methods of
producing useable energy is high on emotions and very low on useful
data; it will be a horrible mistake to waste lots of time or resources on
an approach which may turn out to be worse than others in the final


PS My personal favourite option is to move power generation out to space,
   where pollution will not be a problem for a very long time.

   This option is technically feasible now, economics and political will
   are entirely different matters, however. Quoting from one of my
   favourite authors: "...most of people ... were quite unhappy for pretty
   much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but
   most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green
   pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it was not the small
   green pieces of paper that were unhappy."

Hi Guys

I must say I'm enjoying all of these fascinating off topic followups
but isn't about time to move this discussion to nanog-offtopic@lists.blank.org ?