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Posted by Bowser on September 26, 2003 at 19:58:45:
In Reply to: Re: an taisce convert posted by Practical on September 26, 2003 at 17:24:55:
Windpower can only every produce a certain percentage of our electricity needs. Simply because even in Ireland the wind stops blowing every so often. You do need backup such as gas turbines. Having said that it can produce a whopping percentage of the KWhrs (units) of electricity that we consume each year without adding to Greenhouse Gas outputs. The Castlebar turbines under construction are going to supply the same number of units that 20,000 houses would use per annum if I remember the article in the paper correctly. It's a lot of electricity by any standards.
Remember that Electricity is only one form of energy. It's ideal for running lighting, computers, TVs, all electronics, medical equipment, etc - all the high grade applications but which are in fact quite low users of energy. Most of these run on less than a 100W nowadays.
A cooker though uses perhaps 4000W. A fan heater 3000W. Therefore electricity is not suitable for cooking - because 2/3rds of the initial energy in the lump of coal or barrel of oil have been dissipated by the time your saucepan of peas has come to the boil or your roast is ready. A massive energy requirement - 12KW or more when all the losses are accounted for.
Heating with electricity is the same - a really wasteful way to use energy. Much better to have an oil burner in your own house.
Electric cars are not really here yet but hydrogen proudced by electrolysis may be an option in the future. If they put a few day's worth of Iraqi war funding they would solve that problem and have hydrogen stations dotted all over the countryside where you could top up your fueld cell or whatever. (But that's not going to happen until the oil is much scarcer and much more expensive than it is now!).
Read Amory Lovin's stuff on what he called soft energy paths back in the 1970s. We could get by perfectly adequtely using an appropriate mix of renewables and hording the fossil fuels as valuable assets. Good insulation and a bit of juggling here and there and those oil guys are out of business!