Seems to me that with Obama's latest push to kill our coal fired plants to save the world(?) and resultant increased cost of future electricity, the door MAY BE forced open to increase the efficiency of power grids which some say lose 7% of the all power transmitted.
My memory (?) tells me that copper is about 65% more efficient in electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and ductility ...... so ....... despite higher present cost, and weight, might copper make inroads in power transmission in the coming years?
Would this be a better investment than wind farms and solar? Looks like we're on the verge of a ramp-up to spend TRILLIONS so that China and India can continue to build a new coal fired power plant every week and expand their competitive advantage!
We all know that nuclear is the ultimate answer ..... but you still have to transmit that power, get rid of the waste and fight the environmental community who hold great political sway over the Democrats ...... to the detriment of our country and it's competitiveness. Natural gas may be an alternative for us but what about for other industrial countries (i.e. Europe and Japan)?
Last thought ..... might we be better off to start placing grid cables underground? How much higher is the cost of going underground versus the long-term cost of maintaining above ground cables? If it's really that much higher why are almost all urban and suburban lines to newer home developments now underground?
Just a little free thinking ..... what say you?
You lost me when you blamed Obama for killing our coal fired plants.......coal and other fossel fuel are not the fuels of the future...sure we will alway have them, but its time to go to more efficient solar and wind prodution.......considering the cost of pollution and waste problems with fossel fuels, Solar and wind is already alot cheaper to produce
Have you been living under a bushel basket?
Obama has openly stated his intent to reduce coal as a source of fuel for U.S. Power plants. He even stated “this would necessarily significantly increase the cost of electricity” (look it up). His stated intent is to lower emissions but it's really to curry favor to his base environmentalists and get their dollars and votes. The unintended consequences are that China and India continue to build coal fired power plants at a rate of about one per week and gain a further competitive advantage on U.S. manufactures by virtue of lower coal and electricity costs. Since global warming is a global problem (and a myth IMO) what has Obama's position on U.S. coal fired power plants really done for this “global problem”?
As to your statement that wind and solar are more efficient methods power generation ….. why don't you tell that to China and India so that can understand that they're spending billions on old less efficient technology or maybe, just maybe, they're not a stupid as some believe and they've done their own cost/ benefit analysis.
Did you happened to notice that in late June Obama, by executive order, opened the door to the 40 year congressional ban of the export of U.S. crude oil? Some say the unintended consequences of this action could bring the cost west Texas crude more in line with Brent and result in higher gasoline prices in the U.S., higher profits for U.S. producers and lower margins for U.S.refiners. Ask yourself why would he do this when we still import more than 20% of our oil from people who hate us and help fund people who want to kill us?
Obama is an empty suit and the people who tell him what to do are ideologues who couldn't run a car-wash. They do not have the best interests of this county at heart or …... they're just plain incompetent or worst evil.
Always remember ….. it's an undisputed fact …... that before you can re-distribute wealth someone by virtue of their hard work, sweat, risk and ingenuity has had to earn that wealth. This then enables the government(s) to confiscate a portion of that wealth to give it to others who have not earned it. But alas, both the earners and the takers get one vote ….. if they're citizens. Which brings up the question why do non-citizens get ANY unearned benefits from our government?
geez, no spin there :) Coal industry is a bit of an antique in terms of combustion technology, and certainly required much more pollution contorl. I hardly think the prime driver is saving the world.
imo....what is the answer, it the wise use of all energy options, each in it's place. a whole sale move to nuclear is not "the" answer. Much risk comes with that tech....low probabiliy..very high impact. Look at the reaction to Japan...heck people on the west coast were peaing themselves about background levels of sea water radiation.
China and India are going solar and wind too...why, to avoid being held captive to geolgic carbon pricing and poltitics
nothing antique about coal...it's a cheap abundant energy source in many places of the world. And modern pollution controls render it innocuous, despite what the hysterical doomsdayer enviro-whackos spout on the media. Trouble is, a lot of coal plants have been grandfathered in without pollution controls, while Obummer is wasting tons of money on Quixotic windmill crusades to save the world. He could be outfitting old coal plants and developing nuclear. Nuclear is the ultimate answer for the reason of simple physics...energy density of nukes is 1000 times fossil fuels. Nuclear is also safer than combustion tech....Fukushima killed no one, 3-mile island killed no one (and is still operational), Chernobyl only killed a few of the first responders...how many nukes run everyday supplying zillions of gigawatts without incident?...yet people die everyday in coal mines and drilling for oil and natural gas, die of black lung... Nuclear is by far the safest energy source out there, especially when energy density and entropy is considered, as they must be in a rational debate over what energy source is best.
Rogluther, I can't give you exact numbers, mostly because I was taught them in college too many years ago.
Basic ideas regarding your propositions are following:
1. It is very difficult to use copper for air transmission lines, because copper is much heavier than currently used aluminium. Shortly speaking, copper-based transmisson line would require too many poles for support.
2. Placing cables underground in cities is necessary because air transmission line requires buffer zone around, free of anything. Typical urban landscape doesn't have room for these lines.
3. Underground cables are more expensive way of transmitting than air lines, because cable wires must be isolated from turf and isolation of high-voltage cables can be very expensive. Typically, ultrahigh-voltage lines are air based, while lesser voltage, esp. distributed in urban areas, goes through cables.
4. Anyway, copper is used widely in energy infrastructure, but not in the transmission lines. Various energy installations comprise the main share of copper demand: transformers, power switches, etc.
Everything you say in today's world is correct ..... but, if my number of 7% loss is right, how much could be saved by a more efficient conductor? In the case of copper that would be a maximum pick-up of about 4.5% free electricity EVERY YEAR!
I'm old but not stupid. I know that spending money is the last thing utilities want to do to upgrade an old and inefficient grid but sooner or later its got to happen. Super conductors are also being investigated which may result in almost no power loss during transmission (an incremental 2.45% pick-up over copper) but in today's world they make even less economic sense than copper.
As far as underground is concerned, our country is riddled with pipelines ....... wouldn't it be cheaper to put the pipelines above ground? Sure ....... but think about the danger and the maintenance not to mention the view (there's probably some laws involved too).
We built an interstate highway system in about 4 years (?) why not make it a national priority to revamp our electrical grid to the best in the world. Think about the jobs that would create ...... not only in construction of the grid but in industry that would benefit from lower electrical costs. Even Joe six-pack could benefit ..... year after year.
IMHO the only thing that stands in the way is our elected politicians ...... they would have to agree and then eliminate some wasteful spending to help offset some of a grid upgrade costs.
Wanna bet it will not happen in our lifetime.
Nat gas combustion releases some methane which is a more effective green house gas than CO2 so using natural gas is like catalytic converters on cars. Trades one regulate pollutant for an unregulated pollutant.
Power lines in new neighborhoods are so that future storm don't drop trees on the neighborhood lines and cause outages. Reduces cost of maintaining lines and increases earnings for the utilities by preventing the outages.
The principal byproducts of burning natural gas are CO2 and water vapor, the same things humans exhale. Cows produce lots of methane per fart. Feed a bunch of them in a closed room with a vacuum vent to a power plant and harness free BTUs. The greenies would love that while PETA would cry cruelty to cows.