Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    The thing that did nuclear in in the US was Three Mile Island.
     
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  2. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    There's more to it than that. Coal is bulky and coal ash is bitch to deal with. You certainly aren't going to find too many people in NC these days that want to deregulate and make it easy to burn coal and dump coal ash wherever.
     
  3. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The TXU one is definitely a gimmick. But your original point was that my statement was wrong about peak usage, and you see now its correct, right?

    If peak electricity usage were just at peak suntime hours when the sun is right overhead, you would have an excellent point, but that's not the case. Energy storage is needed for solar to become more than just a power supplement on the grid.
    Coal ash is a bitch to deal with? Says who?

    Name a coal plant in the US that doesn't wash and use filters to capture ash. And the captured coal ash is either tossed in a landfill (simple enough) or is sold for various uses, like mixing it into concrete which not only saves concrete but makes it stronger than without. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_ash

    As shown, ash doesn't make it into the air for a long time now, and almost half is recycled in very useful applications. Its only "waste to energy" plants, not coal plants, that have toxic ash.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  4. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Funny. That web site complains about how expensive the those electric rate plans are. yet I'd love to be paying that little for electricity.

    Here in California we see the results of the push for "green" energy.
    Some of the highest taxes in the country, combined with the highest electrical rates in the continental US.
    I'm paying double the rates shown on the web site, yet they are pushing for even higher rates.

    Even so, it still doesn't make sense for me to install solar panels.
    The 15 year payback is longer than I plan to live in my house, as I'll likely be retired to somewhere with a lower cost of living by then.
     
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  5. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Doh, that sucks!

    I'm on a 2-year contract at $0.07840 fixed rate (regardless of usage, no fees) plan w/ Discount Power.

    I keep it pretty cold in the house, and I don't like the AC too high when I'm not home as your home lasts much longer when humidity levels are kept reasonably constant (less expansion/retraction flex on furniture/drywall/etc), but still reasonable with last month's bill being $63 for a bit over 2K square foot house w/ electric washer/dryer (wish it were gas), etc. Oh and my four 290x power beasts until I can sell them to a miner. :D
     
  6. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    Why don't we consider the cost of fossil fuels like coal over its life too alongside the costs of solar?

    -cost to mine coal
    -cost to transport mined coal
    -cost to burn coal
    -cost of transporting electricity
    -cost of medical issues stemming from coal mining, deforestation, water contamination, air pollution

    Oil
    -cost to find accessible oil
    -deep drilling to extract oil
    -transportation to facility for refining oil
    -cost of refining oil
    -transportation of refined oil
    -cost of burning/using oil
    -cost of air pollution, potential water contamination costs if oil spill, medical issues costs
     
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  7. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... because we already do? :confused:

    All of that is already factored into the market price for coal, PLUS the fees the fossil fuel industries pay in taxes like carbon fees, extraction fees, etc. That's how Alaska makes so much money just from sitting on oil, as the industries pay tons of taxes.

    In fact, the industries pay so much that every Alaskan is paid by the government just for existing, basically redistributing some of those fees to the people.

    Please explain to the class how the costs you have listed are not already included in the costs of oil, gas, and coal, I'm really interested how you are going to justify that.
     
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  8. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    "cost of medical issues stemming from coal mining, deforestation, water contamination, air pollution"

    are not considered or included in the costs of fossil fuels. Do you have any idea how much it costs to treat 1 single person with lung cancer or other lung disease from pollution? Or how about a mining injury or something like mercury or lead exposure through fossil fuels? These costs are significant consequences that fossil fuel companies are absolved from. Coal is the king of pollution and damage to people, environment and everything in between. It is very costly as shown in studies, such as this study by Harvard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  9. Mohonri

    Mohonri [H]ardness Supreme

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    Attention paid to global warming, er, climate change, or whatever, is certainly a factor. But it's really all about the money. Without the 30% subsidy for consumer solar installations, you wouldn't be seeing nearly this kind of growth.

    Um, no, fossil fuel companies are not absolved of those. Who do you think is paying the workers' health insurance? Workman's comp?
     
  10. Private_Ops

    Private_Ops [H]ard|Gawd

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    Don't forget us railroaders. I don't appreciate comments like that. Coal is tied into more than just miners.

    Railroad is a decent paying job around here (closest other is probably the steel mills). When the bottom dropped out of coal a lot of people were layed off.

    I'm sure the "get an education and move somewhere with jobs" will come up. Many people don't want to move and many can't afford an education. Nevermind that a college level education is becoming prohibitively expensive and a lot of job markets these days are over saturated.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  11. Snoflo

    Snoflo Limp Gawd

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    When I went to work at one of Scotland's major hospitals I was appalled by the number of patients with COPD, restrictive lung disease, and lung cancer all ascribed to exposure to the burning of fossil fuels (coal). I don't know much about the coal industry, but from my narrow viewpoint of a physician treating these people, coal needs to go.
     
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  12. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Hold on, hold on, before you move the goal post, justify what you already claimed were "hidden costs" in coal/oil that aren't reflected in the price.

    Or just admit you were wrong about that, then we can move on and start addressing new points after your retraction.
     
  13. jardows

    jardows [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, what about the cost of treating all the people poisoned by the mining of the REM's required for solar panels in China? Oh, yeah, the Chinese don't treat them, they just let them die.
     
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  14. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    Well, for 'mining injury' and lung diseases from direct work - yes, you are right there are health insurances, but it's still very costly to treat those issues. The costs are passed onto the insurance companies and later onto the employees.

    Let's say I run a coal mining company. My employee gets lung cancer costing $1 million altogether for treatment and lung transplant. The insurance would pay much of that initially. Insurance companies might raise the insurance costs a bit, which will pass not just to the company but the employees too. AFAIK in most companies, insurance premiums/deductibles are split 50/50 and copay also passes on to the employees. So no, the coal mining company would not step in and pay it all. I guess they could but probably not legally bound to pay it all.

    Breakdown of who pays for lung transplants for work-related lung diseases:
    "The authors report that 34 percent (n=16) were paid by private insurance and 30 percent (n=14) were paid by Medicare.

    The authors write “other government insurance schemes” paid for 36 percent (n=17) of the lung transplants. I contacted the authors for clarification about this category of payer. They indicated that the dataset identified these other payers as “public insurance” or “US/State Govt Agency.”**

    A lot of costs gets passed onto government entities like Medicare as a lot of people get on disability after acquiring some lung disease. aka tax money..

    Also, air/water pollution has much broader damage scope that fossil fuel companies are pretty much absolved from bc pollution damage is not considered something they have to pay for. That was what I was referring to. Again, coal is the biggest culprit in manmade pollution and damage to people and environment (regardless of whether you believe in climate change or not).
     
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  15. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    I'm not sure what your point is. The costs of healthcare issues globally or costs of pollution are not reflected in the price of coal/oil. Also, you don't have to work in the facility or be a coal miner to get lung damage due to dangerous emissions - surrounding areas are all exposed to the pollutants. Who pays if someone in surrounding area to a coal mining facility gets lung disease through damage from the air they breathe? These are costs we don't account for when considering the true overall cost of coal/oil.

    The fact is coal/oil companies don't pay for the damage to environment through pollution. Do you dispute that fact? Or do you dispute the fact that coal is the single biggest emitter of pollution? There are no carbon taxes to cycle back money for pollution in the USA or most of the world afaik. If there were carbon taxes then yes, that would probably monetarily force companies to emit less CO2 or pay the carbon fine if you want to call it that.

    I don't know about that. What are REM's? I know solar panel manufacturing also uses chemicals that are dangerous if released into atmosphere, such as sulfur hexafluoride. They are not meant to be released ofc but shoddy practices in places like China do lead to things like sulfur hexafluoride to be released.

    Still, it is different from fossil fuels which cannot stop polluting unless if you use it less. Natural gas is probably cleanest of the fossil fuels, coal is the dirtiest. Coal must go yesterday.
     
  16. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Large scale flow batteries and mass energy storage is getting effective and cheap enough that this won't be a issue going forward.

    Biggest issue with solar in the future is long distance power transmission and even that is getting solved with calcium based steel high voltage transmission lines. Roll out is slow but its happening.
     
  17. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Nah the dishonest types are those who like to pretend we don't have modifiable laws based on a majority rules social contract of sorts who whine about everything being unfair when they have to pay their share and/or when laws are passed that they don't like.

    If you want a functional govt. and good infrastructure, schools, etc. you're gonna have to pay for it.
     
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  18. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    People have been posting mostly facts about the issues with coal in this thread.

    There is a huge amount to dislike about coal and the sooner we can get off it the better.

    The real issue here is that many of the areas that mine coal are very poor and about all they can get for decent paying jobs is working in the mines. So if the coal mines go away those people will be economically devastated. So some sort of jobs/retraining and/or relocation program is needed to help those people out while the economy transistions away from coal but good luck getting that through this Congress or President.
     
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  19. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    This is absoultely correct. Manufacture and disposal of solar cells is very toxic.

    It is also however very possible, and practical, to recycle them much as most batteries are recycled today so this doesn't necessarily have to be big issue.

    Personally I'd prefer nuclear + solar powered grid but the politics behind nuclear, as well as the industry's continued half-assedness when it comes to safety in favor of profits, will probably always keep nuclear a limited option.
     
  20. livfree

    livfree [H]ard|Gawd

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    Dude, fuck off. Please. You resort to personal insults to me, my family, mock me by accusing me of using drugs, assume my political beliefs, etc. Have fun on the ignore list.
     
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  21. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Of course you do.

    My point is, you were wrong. Admit you were wrong and make a retraction before moving the goal post.
    https://hardforum.com/threads/solar...than-you-think.1937372/page-2#post-1043063798

    Once you admit that 99% of what you put in that post you now abandon because you know it was false and indefensible nonsense, I'd be happy to debate you on the rest. :)

    And my point about solar power not factoring in the storage needs is not some obscure incidental factor, but something that has to be immediately considered when calculating how much a cities solar farm or even a home's solar power system will cost, if one were to rely on solar power in place of fossil fuels as was indicated in the article.
     
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  22. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    Ahh, I see your exact point now. By 'we', I was not referring to the coal industry or the government or energy company. Do you truly think I wouldn't know that it costs money to mine coal or to transport coal from point a to point b and for those costs to end up factored into overall cost? Yes, clearly that is the obvious part of the costs passed to the overall market cost of coal. In fact, us consumers don't pay for coal itself. We consumers pay for the ultimate electricity we receive from coal into our house at the very end. Some areas may use partly nuclear energy and/or other forms of energy, which all get factored into the electric bill we consumers pay. The costs along the entire route and all of the sources of energy get accounted for in the electric bill (except for the pollution aka costs outside the direct line). I would never disagree with that.

    I would think that would be obvious to anyone, including any moron off the street with no understanding of economics or anything. The price of a bag of potatoes you buy in a store takes into account the cost that went into landing that potato on your plate from start to finish. Any idiot would know that as being a given.

    By 'we', I was referring to you and I actually considering the full cost of coal altogether. The point I was making was very different. You were touting about us overlooking the life cycle of batteries and the environment cost of batteries (the portion I highlighted) so I told you to also consider the life cycle of coal mining. Coal mining is actually more damaging than solar if we do life cycle analysis. Even if we include batteries into the mix.
     
  23. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    My last bill was $110 for 538 KWH with 2500 sq feet.
    Only use the Air when it's really needed (like today since it was 90). Luckily the stove/dryer/heater are gas.
     
  24. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 2[H]4U

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    The fuck people talk about subsidies for green energy.... Fossil energy has been subsidized in all manners for over 100 years... Jesus people get some fucking sense. Things have to get done to foster new industries at this scale... Good GOD its always the same shit over and over.
     
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  25. STR

    STR Gawd

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    Hi, just as an FYI, it's not 1980 anymore. We've got pretty good models that are in >90% agreement on climate these days. We know within an inch or two what the average sea level will be in 50 years depending on various emissions outcomes. We know what cities that will put underwater. We have a good idea what it will cost to move or retrofit flood prevention systems to places like New York and Miami.

    We also have a pretty good idea of how bad ozone and particates are to health. (Very bad and plain bad in order). We know exactly how much it costs to treat diseases caused by these pollutants.

    And the neat thing is that we don't need to know this in total precision, because even unrealisticly conservative(*) estimates are enough to price carbon out of the market when you internalize the costs (where they should be).


    *= Small "c" conservative the big "c" unrealistic Conservative estimate is "shut up and drill".
     
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  26. STR

    STR Gawd

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    Nope. As Big Coal has demonstrated, Americans don't really give a damn about consequences so long as the power is cheap.

    The reason why nobody builds nuclear reactors in the west anymore is simple. After 60 years the nuke industry still can't build a plant for less than four billion goddamn dollars. No private bank on Earth will cut a check for that, so pretty much every reactor ever built required state intervention.

    As we chat here, Toshiba is fighting for its existence after losing billions building reactors that just don't get completed anywhere near on time or budget. They might have to sell their chipmaking business, the heart of Toshiba.
     
  27. Shintai

    Shintai [H]ardness Supreme

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    Coal is already dead, the patient is in intensive care on life support.

    Stick to it and you only lose jobs and companies.
     
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  28. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    This is such epic bullshit that gets repeated ad nauseum.

    You have some people that see that various fossil fuel industries get tax breaks for doing certain things the government wants them to. They use this and say, "aha, see, fossil fuels are subsidized", knowing full well that when we talk about "subsidizing an industry" we mean NET SUBSIDY.

    Net subsidy means that the good or product would cost MORE if the government did not interfere.

    Fossil fuels are heavily net taxed, meaning that if the government did nothing, coal, gasoline, natural gas, and the like would cost less on the open market.

    Solar, wind, and ethanol are heavily net subsidized, meaning that if the government did nothing, they would cost MORE on the open market.

    That difference matters.

    Stop lying.
     
  29. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What subsidies are those? Please list some of them for us.
     
  30. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Eventually, coal will die, but maybe not in your lifetime. The simple fact remains that we need electricity, and it will stick around, at the very least, until there is adequate base load production from other means. It is likely it will still be around for a while after that even. It is less clean than NG, but it is far cleaner than US coal of 20 years ago, and cleaner than Chinese coal plants of today.
    Coal is the lefts whipping boy. Like most of the lefts whipping boys, the reality is not even close to the claims.
     
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  31. Shintai

    Shintai [H]ardness Supreme

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    The last coal will be burned in 2023 by the biggest Danish power company. And the last two coal plants in Denmark will stop in 2028(Nordjyllandsværket) and 2030(Fynsværket).
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  32. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    The wiki was already mentioned in thread. It links to solid resources so don't be quick to dismiss it.

    All the comments about the negative aspects of coal that have been brought up in thread are pretty much spot on though. Its not a "whipping boy". Its a legitimately dirty and crappy source of energy we've had to use due to a lack of viable alternatives for years. But now alternatives are becoming viable and so its going away. Not overnight. But over a period of years. In a couple of decades it'll probably be gone almost entirely in the US as solar continues to improve in cost reduction and effectiveness.
     
  33. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    My hope for the UK is that we grow some balls and just get the 8 or so next gen nuke reactors built and on line and supplement it with wind and solar. I'll have no issues if coal or gas go down and I'm even a shareholder in the last coal company in the UK (hoping they get bought out for their big land and property ownership). I would however, maybe mothball a few gas stations just in case.

    Apparently a few weeks ago we had a day where so much power was generated by wind and solar in the UK the power companies were in effect having to pay customers to take the energy.

    Amazing how its progressed in such a short time. But I still put most of my faith in Nuclear. We need that power for when its a cold still night at Xmas and every turns on the kettle for a cup of tea before Eastenders at 8pm.

    But yeah, coal isn't anyones future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  34. alxnet7227

    alxnet7227 [H]Lite

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    Let's say you have a 100 different models and half the models produce results that show minor change in sea levels. What do you think happens to the models that don't produce "consensus" results? They get ignored or thrown out. Global warming isn't about science anymore, it's about politics, about power over people and industries. Carbon trading? Allowing China and India vast amounts of pollution credits? If we're attempting to save the planet in x number of years, why even allow carbon trading to exist?

    Past predictions from the UN had entire nations disappearing from rising sea levels if warming wasn't reversed by the year 2000. Catastrophic sea level predictions are largely based on melting glaciers, but new NASA studies show increasing snow/ice accumulation in the Antarctic (based on satellite data), despite predictions of it being ice-free in a few decades.
     
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  35. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    And it will still be burning here in the US, and China for however long it is economical after that. Not saying it has a long future, just a lot longer one than Bloomberg's "research" says. Research is in quotes for a reason. It's Bloomberg after all.
     
  36. Shintai

    Shintai [H]ardness Supreme

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    You dont burn coal because its economically cheaper. Then you burn gas instead or something else if you want to stick to the fossil fuel part. You only burn coal because there is a conflict of interest between old and new. The US is more or less 50-60 years behind the curve on infrastructure. So I dont have any faith there.
     
  37. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well at least you'll have the biggest 'mountains of coal' in the world. Not that anyone will want it but hey...er...biggest!

    The coal jobs created will probably be to bury it back in the ground.
     
  38. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    If the topic had not been".......kill coal faster than you think", there would not have been so many strong replies. "Coal will eventually be supplanted by solar", is easier to get behind, and its more likely that way. Its impossible to rationalize the huge stockpiles of coal left to mine and think that they will just stay there without being used after centuries of coal being usefull. Over a century worth of coal in the ground just wont be overlooked. It will be used, only at a slower less impactfull way. Dont know about subsidies over the whole engergy producing arena, but some is going to cleaner ways of using coal. It will have an impact - in America - and will make coal cost more to use. The last hundred years of energy producing will just not be killed off anytime soon. Its just rhetoric or a way for a one year old to see what was talked about when he gets of retiring age.

    A good analogy is that "electric cars are taking over". The truth is that there are over 250 million cars in america. Electric car sales are around 100,000 per year. Many ways to look at these numbers but one is that it will take 250 years for electrics to take over, and there will still be fuel burning vehicles around. Gasoline will be replaced with some type of lab created fuel and will cost a paycheck per gallon, but they will be around. They might be in the position of hummer drivers, frowns and car keying, but they will still be around. Another way to drive and many ways of producing power. Wonder if we will ever get fusion working....another thing to replace coal.
     
  39. JackNSally

    JackNSally Limp Gawd

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    Remove all subsidies for power generation no matter the source...
     
  40. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    "The US is more or less 50-60 years behind the curve on infrastructure."

    hahahahahaha.....

    *not a personal attack!