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Renewable Energy - is there actually such a thing?


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Bare with me on this.


Whilst on the online book of faces I saw the following:




Now whilst it is funny, and in that exact context it is a ridiculous statement, however I think there is an element of truth in there. (stick with me, I'm not completely barking) Since the conservation of energy dictates that we cannot get something for nothing, it stands to reason that every action has a knock on effect somewhere else.


Take for instance flood and coastal defenses. Stopping a river from breaking it's banks just pushes that problem to the next area, be that up or down stream. With coastal defenses they have put in wave breaks and found that the problem moves further along the coast. Whilst the idea that putting up wind farms will slow winds down and cause the planet to warm up may sound extreme, and is in many ways most likely inaccurate, it is true that the wind will be broken up and slowed down.


I guess the big issue with energy is we need to find the least destructive way to convert energy into something we can use. I guess the answer would be to use a combination of all or most methods. For instance, if we covered the planet in solar panels we would remove a lot of ground temperature since the Sun would not be able to heat the ground. The heat would be converted into usable energy but the ground temperature would drop. This would eventually (if a substantial enough area were covered) lead to a change in the climate.


Putting enough wind farms up in the wrong areas could be enough to alter the local weather system which could then have a knock on effect.


I am not saying that it is all bad and that we are going to destroy the world any worse than we already are doing, just that there is no real answer and no such thing as re-newable energy. The closest we have to free energy? we have two things. The first is to go back to basics.... The good old fashioned water wheel. Rain replenishes the potential energy, gravity then takes care of the rest. The other big one is Nuclear Fusion. This really is the biggest potential for us as a species. Yes, it is true that it requires using something up, but the amount used up for the return in power is minute. We are a long way off a reliable and efficient method to do it, but that is where we are likely to be getting our power.


I guess the point behind this post (if there is one) is that there isn't any method of harnessing energy that doesn't come with a cost attached, the biggest difference we can make is to use it more responsibly. So turn that sodding security light off #12! :lol:


(see you knew there would be a point somewhere)

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You can't destroy energy it just transforms from one type to another - certainly changing micro climates can have massive effect - e.g. E.G. Russian Aral sea http://www.columbia.edu/~tmt2120/introduction.htm


I think that using Wind or Solar does not mean it will "run out" until the source,e.g. the sun, dies by which time we(humans) won't be here!


Using wind may slow wind down locally but then we have been doing this ever since we started building shelters - more so now with very high buildings.


I know MIT are working on UV equiv of Solar panels - these would worked 24 x 7 x 365 but I think commercial versions are some way off.


More worried about using up Helium than Wind/Solar  :(


As you say switching off lights/all electrical equipment when not in use would be great - Why do buildings need all that light when there is no one there ?


Educating people to think differently is the main problem - all energy is thought of as just another "throw away" PLUS long term planning.


What about central computer controlled light switch goes off after 12 after that time carry red led touches - nice a dark for us,save everyone money :D

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Wind turbine blades are designed to work like an aircraft wing therefore the blades rotate not because the wind pushes them but because the shape of the blade causes the airflow to accelerate of one surface (the upper on a wing) causing low pressure to form thereby sucking the aerofoil causing it to move helped by the higher pressure on the other side, wind speed is unaffected.

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I think they recently managed to get some energy out of fusion rather than 'losing' it, which shows some potential and hopefully research into it continues, it is certainly the most promising sounding energy source at the moment...

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I'm not saying that wind speeds are affected in the above I might add, but the wind would have it's path altered which if there were enough of them there in theory could be a knock on effect.

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There has been alot af research in to breeding algae that will produce fuel. Feeding those on waste food and getting ethanol out as a product might go a long way to evening out the balance.


I still think fusion is way way off, certainly the type that is being experimented with at the moment. The recent one used that laser facility and whilst it produced more energy than was put in, there  was no way to sustain a reaction or collect the energy from it.

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