Thursday, October 10, 2013

Well-intentioned Math from Mark Jacobson

I read Mark Jacobson's report for NY a few months ago. He mentioned it on the Letterman program last night (10/9/2013). I admire his work, his intentions and the visibility he brings to the issues. But though the math may be correct, the vision presented in the report is near-sighted.

Like many past visions for the future (our present), the report presents a vision somewhat like the universally popular Eisenhower era vision for the automobile, the interstate highway system, exploitation of and reliance on our unlimited(?) fossil fuel resources and the pollution-free potential of nuclear power. Self-sufficient. Secure. Connected. Commerce. Wonderful! Woops.

Windmills have been called "train engines with propellers atop Washington Monuments". Impressive. More and more of them and mile-square mirror farms appear in the oceans, through the plains or deserts and on mountain ridges. Meanwhile, we forget continuous technical & engineering progress and alternatives; forget construction, support and maintenance access; forget new roads, wires & gridworks, and environmental impacts that come along with them. Props on mountaintops and across the horizon aren't pretty to me. (But they do produce "pollution-free" and "renewable" electricity and the politically renewable magic: JOBS!)

For regional generation of electricity, that is, to replace all of our nuclear and fossil fuel electrical generation plants -- possibly often in place -- he completely ignores the potential of EGS and deep geothermal power. In the interview, Letterman & Jacobson mention that solar panels, windmills and residential geothermal pay returns for homeowners -- but only in the long run -- though they do eliminate GHGs immediately.

Likewise, after the initial investment, deep geothermal -- using the forever, constant heat beneath our feet virtually anywhere on earth -- is the least costly, least environmentally impactful, and net least GHG- emitting form of electrical generation -- today! Just like a mortgage to pay for a home rather than perpetual and ever-increasing rent payments, investments in deep geo pay off after 15 or 20 years ... and the heat is free forever thereafter. There is less net GHG emission than any other "renewable", the maintenance is minimal, technical progress can be administered in place and externalities are fewer and less costly.

The Department of Energy (DOE), Argonne National Labs (ANL), National Renewable Energy Laboratoy (NREL) and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) have produced many reports that support this contention, among them are

watercolorsinc wrote:

> > Subject: Professor Mark Jacobson on Letterman Tonight!
> Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2013 13:10:35 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Gasland The Movie

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