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Al Gore to Lower the Cost of Making Snow

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I for one like this idea. That's right Al Gore says
Carbon-free electricity in 10 years doable just like a walk on the moon.

Here in the east, the cost of energy for snow making is critical to the sport we all love.

Former Vice President Al Gore called Thursday for a "man on the moon" effort to switch all of the nation's electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years, a goal that he said would solve global warming as well as economic and natural security crises caused by dependence on fossil fuels.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews

I think we need a NASA like agency to meet the needs of Americas future energy requirements. Yeah yeah I know that would socialism which is the opposite of capitalism.
post #2 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
I think we need a NASA like agency to meet the needs of Americas future energy requirements. Yeah yeah I know that would socialism which is the opposite of capitalism.
Nice idea, just make sure it's NASA of the 1960s and not NASA of today. We may have more tech now, but they seem to do a whole lot less with it.

I think what we really need is some kickstart funding for a hydrogen infrastructure. As I understand it, hydrogen has some problems currently, but is feasible at a (somewhat) reasonable cost if it were mass produced, but having something like 5 hydrogen stations on our entire continent prevents that. From what I've read there are additional technical challenges to make it more efficient (and solve problems like it being problematic in the cold ), but if manufacturers knew that the marketability issue was solved for them, those could be addressed fairly soon.

One of the big problems in terms of energy mix that doesn't get as much play as it possibly should is the online capacity issue. Nuclear power is great and cheap if you can run it at high loads, but it's very hard to throttle it up or down to meet demand. Similarly wind is nice and clean, but the availability is at the mercy of the weather. Hydro is probably the ultimate in terms of environment and ability to throttle as needed, but of course it's not available in any great scale to much of the continent (great if you live in Quebec for example however). Solar is just too expensive to be practical in most cases.

I would love to think we could have fossil free power in 10 years, but I feel it's unrealistic. What is realistic is shifting our mix so that cleaner sources make up the bulk of the generating capacity, and natural gas and oil (and coal if absolutely necessary) are brought online only in peak demand situations.
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
CanuckInstructor - you are very fortunate to be in a oil rich country. A little cold maybe, but oil rich and great skiing.

Lets clear one thing up right away. Hydrogen is not a fuel. You don't go out and find large underground pockets of Hydrogen gas that can be pumped into someone's car under high pressure. That is not how it works. It takes energy to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen from water (H2O) . Hydrogen is not a bad way of transporting energy into a car but its not an energy source.

The only real way to solve the human demand for energy is lower the population or create power plants that use the same clean energy used on the SUN. You got it. Fusion Power. Someday we will get there. When we do, we will have an almost unlimited energy source. Which of course means we still got to go back and solve the original problem which is over population.
post #4 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
Lets clear one thing up right away. Hydrogen is not a fuel. You don't go out and find large underground pockets of Hydrogen gas that can be pumped into someone's car under high pressure. That is not how it works. It takes energy to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen from water (H2O) . Hydrogen is not a bad way of transporting energy into a car but its not an energy source.
By that definition, gasoline is not a fuel either since you don't go out and find large undergound pockets of refined gasoline. I understand your point, and I know at one level I'm arguing semantics, but what exactly is your definition of "a fuel?" My definition would be that fuel is a substance, refined or raw, that when consumed in a chemical reaction produces usable energy. That definition includes hydrogen. It also includes the tritium found in sea water, which can be used as fuel in a fusion reaction to generate enormous amounts of usable energy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
The only real way to solve the human demand for energy is lower the population or create power plants that use the same clean energy used on the SUN. You got it. Fusion Power. Someday we will get there. When we do, we will have an almost unlimited energy source. Which of course means we still got to go back and solve the original problem which is over population.
Yes yes yes. Totally agree.
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarlito View Post
By that definition, gasoline is not a fuel either since you don't go out and find large undergound pockets of refined gasoline. I understand your point, and I know at one level I'm arguing semantics, but what exactly is your definition of "a fuel?" My definition would be that fuel is a substance, refined or raw, that when consumed in a chemical reaction produces usable energy. That definition includes hydrogen. It also includes the tritium found in sea water, which can be used as fuel in a fusion reaction to generate enormous amounts of usable energy.
I think catskills' point may be that hydrogen requires more energy to synthesize than it produces through combustion.

Therefore hydrogen isn't a net source of energy; but may be a way of storing energy produced from wind, solar, or other sources.
post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrophobia View Post
I think catskills' point may be that hydrogen requires more energy to synthesize than it produces through combustion.

Therefore hydrogen isn't a net source of energy; but may be a way of storing energy produced from wind, solar, or other sources.
Thanks, what Acrophobia said . The key point is it takes more energy to make Hydrogen than the energy produced by the final Hydrogen product.

The big picture is this. All the energy from combustible fuel is obtained from the SUN's energy that hit the earth and stored here on earth over billions of years. This includes oil, coal, natural gas,......... Only in the last 100 years have humans started releasing that stored SUN's energy at a very very high rate. This is NOT something that can be sustained over 100 more years. Energy is only one of the first resource this level of human population will run out of. Once you find more temporary energy, there will be many other earth resource that humans will run low on to sustain this level of human population on earth. Something will eventually have to give. Hello, its the population stupid.
post #7 of 39

We need to move away from burning something to generate energy.

There is a guy (in Michigan, I think) who uses PVs to generate electricity to synthesize hydrogen and uses it for his house and car. I'll try to find the link. Expensive, but doable.

FWIW, hybrid cars still need an electrical source to be efficient and have low emissions on the highway. Not to mention the end game of battery disposal and replacement.

Solar is the primary energy source. All others are a secondary or tertiary source which, IIRC, typically produces 10% of the previous energy source level. High carbon and environmentally impacting options like electricity from coal, as a tertiary energy use, is down the line in efficiency, 1% for instance compared to secondary solar and wind electricity generating systems.

Conservation, energy efficiency and passive solar considerations is a basic and very viable, low cost option for everyone to embrace from their own homes to large scale planning (for heating and cooling).



Among others (like wind mills and photovoltaics), look for solar towers and solar concentrators as viable mass scale electricity producing alternatives, coupled with geothermal heating systems for the home and business.

Solar Tower are based on natural convection principals like heat rises creating a chimney affect that will move wind turbines.



Solar concentrators can create incredible amounts of heat to generate steam to move electrical turbines.



Geo thermal/geo exchange/ground source systems with heat pumps utilize the heat energy in the earth to generate space heat (or cooling) 24/7 with an energy source cost of 1/3 conventional systems. The electricity required can be generated with alternative, point of use or mass scale systems. Think of the earth as a heat battery, where the sun hitting one acre of land in one day can heat a home for an entire year. One system in Canada actual integrates summer solar hot water heat, by pumping it into the ground to be used in the winter for space heat.

post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarlito View Post
By that definition, gasoline is not a fuel either since you don't go out and find large undergound pockets of refined gasoline. I understand your point, and I know at one level I'm arguing semantics, but what exactly is your definition of "a fuel?" My definition would be that fuel is a substance, refined or raw, that when consumed in a chemical reaction produces usable energy. That definition includes hydrogen. It also includes the tritium found in sea water, which can be used as fuel in a fusion reaction to generate enormous amounts of usable energy.
You're argueing semantics. The hydrogen you're talking about is not the hydrogen Catskill is talking about (or the use of it).

The "hydrogen" you're talking about inside of tritium is not an energy source either. The energy is the extra binding energy of that extra hydrogen within tritium. So by that definition, tritum is an energy source, hydrogen is still not an energy source, just a by product of the energy generation.

The use of hydrogen Catskil talking about is basically a battery.
post #9 of 39
At issue: CO2 free energy and LOW COST to make snow according thread. Earth friendly scientists/economist predict 30 yrs and 3 TRILLION dollars to get CO2 free energy. If we could speed the process to 10 yrs at what COST? 6 trillion, 10, 100?

My electric bill shows the rates we pay for the source of the energy supplied to the source....we get most from Coal...the cheepest rate. We do get some now from Wind....the highest rate. It may be cheeper some day, but today it is more expensive, at least to the end consumer---me.
post #10 of 39
I hope Al Gore gets crushed by a falling solar panel. Hypocrite.
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by axebiker View Post
I hope Al Gore gets crushed by a falling solar panel. Hypocrite.
I understand that he has no solar panels. Hypocrite sounds harsh. He has generated a lot of interest in this area, even if he's been wrong on some of the specifics. Even if his power bill is on the high side:

BTW, Jiminy Peak is already using wind power to lower its snowmaking carbon foot print. There has been a steady stream of interested ski areas viewing the set up at Jiminy.
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
BTW, Jiminy Peak is already using wind power to lower its snowmaking carbon foot print. There has been a steady stream of interested ski areas viewing the set up at Jiminy.
Good point about Jiminy Peak. I believe Jiminy Peak also has a water source (collection pool) at the top of the mountain where the water flows down hill to the snow guns. I believe even if you have to pump the water up hill to the top collection pool it is cheaper to make snow than pumping water up hill to the snow guns. Kudos for Jinimy Peak.

Some other Water Efficiency Practices for Snowmaking from NH

I agree that Al Gore's power trip meter is tad over the top. On the other hand he makes a great spokes person for Global Warming issues ane Energy problems. I for one would like to leave my great great grandchildren a workable energy solution.
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by axebiker View Post
I hope Al Gore gets crushed by a falling solar panel. Hypocrite.
......as he leaves his SUV, along with 2 Town cars, running for over 20 minutes giving his Thursday speech. Don't want Tipper and daughter to have to leave in a hot car now....He suggested to everyone else to ride their bikes or walk to this conference! What an asshat! Talking the talk but not walking it.....I'll take Boon Pekins instead, he's sticken' his money where his mouth is....good on him!
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
CanuckInstructor - you are very fortunate to be in a oil rich country. A little cold maybe, but oil rich and great skiing.

Lets clear one thing up right away. Hydrogen is not a fuel. You don't go out and find large underground pockets of Hydrogen gas that can be pumped into someone's car under high pressure. That is not how it works. It takes energy to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen from water (H2O) . Hydrogen is not a bad way of transporting energy into a car but its not an energy source.

The only real way to solve the human demand for energy is lower the population or create power plants that use the same clean energy used on the SUN. You got it. Fusion Power. Someday we will get there. When we do, we will have an almost unlimited energy source. Which of course means we still got to go back and solve the original problem which is over population.
You're right of course, what I meant to add and forgot somewhere in my ramblings is that the way to get clean, cheap hydrogen is a large investment in nuclear (in combination with other sources as mentioned). Hydrogen of course is no good if you have to make it from expensive and/or dirty power.

The bottom line is that the smart place for government action isn't in developing the technology (which usually ends up being a mixed bag at best - see ethanol), but assisting in getting the infrastructure for things like hydrogen, to break though the chicken/egg roadblock that make companies unwilling to invest themselves.
post #15 of 39
Energy should not be wasted for such a decadant purpose as making "snow". Snowmaking only contributes to THA GLOBAL WARMINGS!!!. If you ski somewhere that doesn't get enough natural snow, then maybe that's Gia's way of telling you that YOU SHOULDN'T BE SKIING THERE!*

..and PJ - hypocrite sounds "harsh" to you? Who truely deserves the title then? 'Cause Al Gore is by far the biggest, most high-profile hypocrite ever to walk the earth.

...and Cajun - Gore doesn't drive his SUV to his speaking engagements. It doesn't burn enough fossil fuel. He takes his Gulfstream jet.


*for the incredibly slow - the preceeding was humor.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
T

FWIW, hybrid cars still need an electrical source to be efficient and have low emissions on the highway. Not to mention the end game of battery disposal and replacement.
you do relize you NEVER plug in a modern hybrid?!

emission have nothing to do with hybrid technology only fuel mileage does. If they didnt have to run so clean we could actually get cars with better gas mileage. removing your cat converter will yield 2-5 mpg in just about any car.

The batteries on my mom's insight have lasted 8 years so far. so replacing them isnt a thing people are having to do regulary.
post #17 of 39
My bad...meant electrical options. The power source is part of the mix as is the finite live spans and maintenance of batteries for all electrical solutions.

FWIW, the gondola at Telluride is 'powered by wind in Wyoming'. Of course, it's impossible (AFAIK) to differentiate where power comes from in the grid, but with the option to choose renewable energy sources through your utility, we can collectively influence the demand and development of options and eventually moderate monetary and other real 'costs' of the status quo while creating local jobs.
post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Energy should not be wasted for such a decadant purpose as making "snow". Snowmaking only contributes to THA GLOBAL WARMINGS!!!. If you ski somewhere that doesn't get enough natural snow, then maybe that's Gia's way of telling you that YOU SHOULDN'T BE SKIING THERE!*

..and PJ - hypocrite sounds "harsh" to you? Who truely deserves the title then? 'Cause Al Gore is by far the biggest, most high-profile hypocrite ever to walk the earth.

...and Cajun - Gore doesn't drive his SUV to his speaking engagements. It doesn't burn enough fossil fuel. He takes his Gulfstream jet.


*for the incredibly slow - the preceeding was humor.
Yeah I thought about that. Snowmaking does seam like a wast of good energy. Than again most of us on the east coast depend on snowmaking to make skiing on the east coast somewhat enjoyable. What are the alternatives? Don't ski
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
The bottom line is that the smart place for government action isn't in developing the technology (which usually ends up being a mixed bag at best - see ethanol), but assisting in getting the infrastructure for things like hydrogen, to break though the chicken/egg roadblock that make companies unwilling to invest themselves.
Excellent point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
emission have nothing to do with hybrid technology only fuel mileage does. If they didnt have to run so clean we could actually get cars with better gas mileage. removing your cat converter will yield 2-5 mpg in just about any car.
Thanks for pointing out the balance of cost and benefit, to the environment and our lifestyle.

Not driving at all will cut down both on emission and fuel consumption. (That's the position of some: drive less or not at all). But driving does has its benefit (even if only at saving time so we could be more productive in our search for better energy?). So, emission standard should (and I hope will) get even stricter as time goes by. That in turn will hurt fuel efficiency even more. If we don't continue to improve the efficiency, we ended up using up even more fuel for the same work we do.

A lot of the technology used in hybrids can be employed in traditional cars too. The only reason car manufacturers are not already doing it show the dillusion of both the car company and the buyers have about the oil price: they/we still think it'll come down soon! Hence, both the comsumer and the manufacturer are still thinking this whole energy efficiency thing is just a fad. So no real efforts are being made to improve it significantly, even using existing technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
Yeah I thought about that. Snowmaking does seam like a wast of good energy. Than again most of us on the east coast depend on snowmaking to make skiing on the east coast somewhat enjoyable. What are the alternatives? Don't ski
Ski less? Only when it actaully snows?
post #20 of 39
Tele-muting or home offices saves tons of time, money, fuel, emissions and alters daily scheduling options for other activities.....including XC Skiing and touring .

One huge issue is that the whole infrastructure, planning (think suburbia), typical life style/habits, are based on the vehicle and driving to perform basic tasks rather than walking or riding shorter distances, using mass transit or simply living closer to work and activities.

A little planning ahead and consolidating trips/tasks/errands also saves time, fuel emissions and expense.
post #21 of 39
I say all ski areas should get 100% of their power from generators powered by unicorns on treadmills.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
I say all ski areas should get 100% of their power from generators powered by unicorns on treadmills.

+1
post #23 of 39
Apparently, you were asleep during physics. When there are electrically charged unicorns in series and close proximity, there is a high potential for arcing between horns and shorting, creating outages. Gets worse during low humidity and thunderstorms.....

The best solution is office chairs with foot pedal generators.....you can't play solitaire if you can't generate the power for your computer.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
The best solution is office chairs with foot pedal generators.....you can't play solitaire if you can't generate the power for your computer.
Is "Solitaire" a porn site or something??
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
I say all ski areas should get 100% of their power from generators powered by unicorns on treadmills.
LMAO!

Re: Jiminy Peak

I ATV a lot up at Pittsfield State forest. You can see the windmill from parts of the forest. We've actually been up to the peak of the ski area via a trail the area built to allow sledders to park in the winter and grab a bite to eat.

Anywho...I've talked to quite a few locals about the windmill and how it was built. Apparently, a lot of environmentalists put up a big stink during the construction. The blades on the windmill are MASSIVE...you really have to see it to beleive it. The blades need to be transported up an access road on flatbed trucks that are rather long. The access road needed to be widened in certain spots and modified to accomodate the blades. Well, the environmentalists didn't like that one bit! So here's a company fronting some serious capital, trying to do the right thing...but they still get flak from the greenies. That's one group I just don't understand.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn J View Post
LMAO!

Re: Jiminy Peak

The access road needed to be widened in certain spots and modified to accomodate the blades. Well, the environmentalists didn't like that one bit! So here's a company fronting some serious capital, trying to do the right thing...but they still get flak from the greenies. That's one group I just don't understand.


Its all perspective. Not buying or selling wind. But I too have driven close to a line of windmills. Cool the first time, less cool the second time and now they look abhorant to me. The mountain range to the left of I99 in Pa is going to become unsightly soon. 1/2 the number are installed,....the access roads are wide, steep and ugly--in what used to be green forest. Anyone like you or me building a home would have to have silt fence, retaining ponds and the like to catch runoff. I saw no signs of this, just raw cuts with bulldozers. The "Fall scenery" will surely suffer. My bet.....60 yrs people will be crying to have them removed. Just as they are paid off and giving us the cheep electricity that was promised. Like any new stadium project....Yes we will spend 350 million today, but we will use the stadium for 100 years and it will make us money. 10 yrs later, we need a new stadium.

I am all for unsightly windmills IF my electric is cheeper. Check the bills,,,its not. Its actually more expensive and wait till the gov't subsidy goes away.
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by I:)Skiing View Post
Its all perspective. Not buying or selling wind. But I too have driven close to a line of windmills. Cool the first time, less cool the second time and now they look abhorant to me. The mountain range to the left of I99 in Pa is going to become unsightly soon.
Interesting I have to agree with you. I drove by all those wind mills near Palm Spring, CA. 100s and 1000s of wind mills are just ugly.

I have gone boating and swimming a few times on Lake Anna in Virginia. Actually we were just there a few weeks ago. Lake Anna has nuclear power plant that I for one do NOT do not find ugly. The power plants dome buildings don't really have a big negative impact on the landscape. I have driven my seadoo right up close to the power plant, which is not all that bad. There are many beautiful homes on Lake Anna that are not all that expensive.

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
Interesting I have to agree with you. I drove by all those wind mills near Palm Spring, CA. 100s and 1000s of wind mills are just ugly.

I have gone boating and swimming a few times on Lake Anna in Virginia. Actually we were just there a few weeks ago. Lake Anna has nuclear power plant that I for one do NOT do not find ugly. The power plants dome buildings don't really have a big negative impact on the landscape. I have driven my seadoo right up close to the power plant, which is not all that bad. There are many beautiful homes on Lake Anna that are not all that expensive.


i go to lake anna quite often as it is only an hour or two away from my house and you're forgetting that that power plant raises that part of the lake to insane, unhealthy temperatures.
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn J View Post
...locals... Apparently, a lot of environmentalists put up a big stink during the construction. The access road needed to be widened in certain spots and modified to accomodate the blades. Well, the environmentalists didn't like that one bit! So here's a company fronting some serious capital, trying to do the right thing...but they still get flak from the greenies. That's one group I just don't understand.
Locals??? There is no access road. They drove up one of the trails that was already there and already way to wide. Very few trees were removed to get the blades and the tower up the hill. Three or four buldozers had cables attached to the tractor trailer while pulling it up the hill.

The "Greenies" are not environmentalists in this particular situation. They are the locals (normally referred to as red necks - not that there's anything wrong with that) who didn't want their view affected.

Conservationists often put up a fuss about wind power construction in wilderness areas. Not that anyone really cares what I think, but I am with them. Call me a "tree hugger" but I believe the wilderness needs to be protected. Often environmentalists don't value preservation.

Once the tower goes up, it is no longer wilderness - forever.
post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdam87 View Post
i go to lake anna quite often as it is only an hour or two away from my house and you're forgetting that that power plant raises that part of the lake to insane, unhealthy temperatures.
I did not know that. Swimming at Lake Anna would not be what I would call warm water. What do you pay per Killo Watt Hour? Here in upstate NY state we pay over 13 cents per KWH.
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