Talk:Renewable energy

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developed but not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
To learn how to update the categories for this article, see here. To update categories, edit the metadata template.
 Definition Energy derived from natural processes that are regularly replenished and includes solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and biofuels. [d] [e]
Checklist and Archives
 Workgroup categories Engineering, Politics and Earth Sciences [Categories OK]
 Subgroup category:  Energy policy
 Talk Archive 1  English language variant American English

Renewable energy development was merged into this Renewable energy article on May 27, 2010

The merged Talk page is now stored in Talk:Renewable energy/Archive 1 so that the Talk page for the merged article can start clean. The main article content will now be revised to rationalize the merged article.

The reason for the merger was that the two article overlapped each other a great deal. Milton Beychok 03:53, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Finished cleanup of the merged main article and its references. Could probably still use a detailed review by others. Milton Beychok 05:30, 28 May 2010 (UTC) is going to take me several sessions (days) to go through this; I hope you'll bear with me. And, I realize that I'm coming late to the scene so if you all think I am off-base, I'm sure you'll let me know.... The short version of my input on this is that I think there is too heavy a reliance on one reference (the International Energy Agency) and I believe that there is too much movement towards this being a political topic. While I agree there are a lot of politics around it, I think the key elements more are investments, technology, and ROI -- especially for the Western world. I happen to agree with almost all of Milt's comments, BTW, as elements have been debated within. So, now to some of the material.... Karl D. Schubert 21:57, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Politics of energy

Actually, I'm not sure if this comment is as a politics, military, history or engineering editor, but do look at battleship#propulsion for a bit of history on how the Middle East and oil became critical to the British Empire. I don't think one can really address the rationale for renewable energy without addressing the impact of Middle East oil, and that renewable energy offers an alternative. Remember that Europe and Japan are even more dependent on Mideast oil than the U.S. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:28, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Howard, thanks for writing the section on "Political contributions". Milton Beychok 21:32, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
So...I don't think that politics should be the centerpoint of this article; I think that science and engineering should be...put into a context of historical perspective and geo-political effects (current events) and that the latter should be localized to one section so that it's clear where fact ends and opinion begin. Karl D. Schubert 22:00, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Is the issue truly politics, or is there a significant economic component? For example, when traditional electrical power was deregulated and the rate-of-return model dropped, less capital became available for generation. This isn't especially a matter of opinion.
I hasten to add that I'm not an economist. Nevertheless, subsidies and other incentives can't be ignored if there are going to be investments in renewable energy, with startup costs and other factors that don't provide traditional investors with their desired return. There will be, I'm sure, niches where the renewable technique is competitive immediately. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:30, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Cogeneration, North American grid weaknesses, finances vs. reliability

I've alluded to cogeneration and power sales on a deregulated grid, but perhaps these should be introduced earlier. The idea that a number of renewable sources can, in an environmentally friendly way, generate power in a distributed and localized way also should be mentioned. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:05, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

I think of these as elements that inhibit the growth, perhaps, and increase our vulnerability. They are not (mostly) technical inhibitors. Karl D. Schubert 22:02, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Distributing and localizing generation is a legitimate engineering matter of improving fault tolerance. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:11, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Idea of renewable energy -- superset, subset, disjoint?

Perhaps in the early part of the article, we might discuss self-power (e.g., photovoltaics on a satellite or traffic light), local power (biomass for a factory) and cogeneration/grid electrical feed.

Thinking about some examples, I'm not sure they are "renewable energy" or not.

  • Plutonium breeder reactors -- I think they are, although the proliferation risks make them infeasible
  • Hydrogen fuel generator using water as feedstock, but perhaps a Very High Temperature Reactor to thermally or electrolytically crack the water. The water is renewable, the heat source might or might not be.

Howard C. Berkowitz 01:55, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I think those ideas are definitely a disjoint ... and not what most people think of as renewable energy.Milton Beychok 02:23, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Then I think we need to be clear, since many people would regard water feedstock as renewable and ignore the energy required to produce the feedback. Let's face it -- "energy" is often a buzzword. Remember the people that ran around saying "ecology now!" When had ecology stopped?
Is the proper title, giving scope here, non-fossil fuels? Fuels from closed loops? I honestly don't know. Lots of people seem to think of hydrogen-fueled vehicles as using renewable fuel. Howard C. Berkowitz 06:08, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Howard, it is almost midnight and I am quite tired. So keep that in mind, if I sound a bit intemperate. The article clearly states in the first two sentences what renewable energy includes ... and I see no reason to go beyond that. Yes, water is indeed renewable via a "natural process" but producing hydrogen from water is not a "natural process". Nor is producing hydrogen by steam-methane catalytic reforming a "natural process". Any method of producing hydrogen that I am familiar with involves the use heat energy or electricity. Yes, "renewable energy" is somewhat of a buzzword but that is no reason to extend it to include hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Solar power, geothermal power, windpower, biomass power, hydropower are all renewable by natural processes and are realities, albeit they are currently a long way from significantly reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. But I see no reason to explain why the article does not include hydrogen fueled vehicles. Milton Beychok 07:05, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Let's assume you are correct. Then, what is the appropriate hierarchy?
  • Energy [policy?]
    • Renewable energy
    • Alternative energy (hydrogen in my example definitely, perhaps plutonium)
    • Fossil energy
Incidentally, you may remember the precise term for a water power technique, where the main mechanisms can either act as a pump or turbine. During conditions of low electrical demand, they pump water back into the reservoir to gain gravitational potential energy. This has a specific name that I don't remember; it seems renewable, though. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:32, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Howard, I don't understand what you mean by hierarchy. Assuming you mean what hierarchy to use on Related Artcles subpages, I would use Engineering as the parent topic. Then I would use Renewable energy, Alternative energy and Fossil energy all as subtopics. Then would come all relevant related topics.
Yes, there is a hydropower technique called "Pumped-storage hydropower" that works as you described.
This Renewable energy article was originally written by John Foster who joined us as an author and editor and then left us five days later after he had created 12-13 articles (WP imports mostly) and completed his agenda for joining us. All I have done is try to make a good CZ article out of it ... and it is a valid subject that deserves inclusion in CZ. I really don't consider myself an expert in this field. Milton Beychok 17:50, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
By hierarchy, I definitely do not see Engineering as the parent topic. As you pointed out, there are political, economic, environmental and military aspects to what indeed are called national (and international) energy policies. The three topics I mentioned are all subtopics of energy policy.
Yes, I know John did this, and had corresponded with him.
You've properly said, many times, that Engineering is too broad a topic. Does it really add anything to Related Articles to have it as the parent? Even in terms of engineering, think CZ: Chemical Engineering Subgroup or CZ: Nuclear Engineering Subgroup. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:02, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

(Unindent)Okay, then how about Politics and Engineering as parents. And how about adding Environmental engineering to the subtopics.

I promised to produce a map for Roger Lohmann today ... so I've really got to get at that now. Whatever Related Articles hierarchy you choose will probably be okay by me. In any event, we could always change it. Milton Beychok 19:06, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

I happen to agree with Milt on these...except I still am not on-board with this being a politically-based article. I believe the greatest focus on this, at this point in time, should be science, engineering, ROI, and then geo-political factors. Karl D. Schubert 22:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't strike me as primarily political. Milt asked me to add some material on geopolitical issues. When one starts to talk about models that encourage long-distance grid transmission, grid fragility is a legitimate engineering issue, as is much of critical infrastructure. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Ready for Approval

This article looks ready for approval, is on an important topic, and I will nominate it. There are a large number of related topics here, but they should probably be treated as that, and linked on the related articles page, rather than adding greatly to the length of this piece. Roger A. Lohmann 02:13, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

I will review the article for approval; will start today and try to finish in the next couple of days.
Karl D. Schubert 22:59, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Karl, We don't mean to rush you. This is an important article, so if you need more time, we can extend the Approval date at any time. Roger A. Lohmann 10:32, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Toward Approval

Currently, this version of this article is properly nominated for approval by Politics editor User:Roger A. Lohmann and has two Engineering editors adding their endorsement. That puts it on track for a June 18, 2010 locking date for a three editor approval. If changes are made, please be sure to update the version in the ToApprove section of the template and assure that all three editors have endorsed that version. D. Matt Innis 12:56, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

...And Back Up One Step

Karl has joined the project (from the Energy workgroup, and has some interesting ideas for improving this article. To give him time to work these through, I'm pulling the Approval notice offline. As soon as it's ready, I'm hoping everyone will be ready to put it back up for Approval. Roger A. Lohmann 00:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Just one correction, Roger. Karl is an Engineering editor ... not an Energy editor. CZ has no Energy workgroup. Milton Beychok 16:31, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good Roger. The approval process is cancelled until further notice. D. Matt Innis 01:45, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Karl contacted me by email this morning and said he would be proposing his ideas on this Talk page. I'm willing to wait. Milton Beychok 02:18, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. Laughing...for the record, I'm both a Politics and Engineering Editor, with a fair bit of experience in critical infrastructure and emergency management. Let me distinguish between geopolitics, and the issues of regulatory/economic/etc. issues in such things as energy distribution via grid, and also incentives and disincentives for various energy sources. Maybe scientists can ignore economics and implementation, but engineers can't. A certain amount of metadiscussion, then, on the role of policy issues here are relevant.
Alternatively, we might decide to make this nearly completely technical, but ensure that energy policy addresses these other issues and is appropriately cross-linked here. It's worth looking at System Control And Data Acquisition, especially the section Reliability research for electrical grid control. I'll do some updating and extending on fault tolerance.--Howard C. Berkowitz 02:26, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Karl, now that we have your initial comments, this is what would be most helpful

Karl, I realize that you are somewhat reluctant to actually edit the article because you may be unfamiliar with how to do that. For that reason, what would be most helpful at this point is for you to write up exactly what revisions you would like to see made to exactly what parts of the article ... and submit your write-ups here on the Talk page. And it would be a good idea to number your proposed edits. Then, when we have discussed them, one of us could do the actual agreed upon revisions. Thanks very much for for taking the time to review the article as you have done. Milton Beychok 03:02, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Revised Outline for Renewable Energy

Again, sorry this has taken so long; I've had it written down for awhile but just couldn't get to it. Here's my proposed outline for this article. I'm obviously looking for everyone's comments / suggestions / etc. And, of course, I'll be using as much of the original materials as seems reasonable.


1.  What is "Renewable Energy"?

1.1  General public's view of "renewable energy"
1.2  Science and engineering view of "renewable energy"
1.3  Environmental Engineering and "renewable energy"
1.4  [Considering term to use here specific to solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy] and "renewable energy"]

2.  Currently-available Types of "Renewable Energy" and "[Considering term to use here specific to solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy]"

2.1  Elementally-based (solar, wind, tidal, etc.)
2.2  Bio-based (biomass, etc.)
2.3  Hydro-base
2.4  [Others]

3. Advances and Future in "Renewable Energy"

3.1  Motivations for evolution and advancements in "Renewable Energy" (e.g., good engineering, socioeconomic)
3.2  Science and Technology Evolution
3.3  Economic Evolution
3.4  Long Term Outlook

4.  References

As you are noticing, I am not all that comfortable with putting solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energies as "renewable" as they really are not; they are consumed as they "come by" and you don't recreate them as you would a closed-loop energy source. But, I need to come up with a good term for them.

And, as Milt has pointed out, I haven't learned the editing part well, yet, apologies for form.

So...comments/suggestions/etc., please.

Karl D. Schubert 05:52, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Karl, as I read your outline, it appears to me that you would like to see the entire article re-formatted and re-written ... am I correct in that assessment?
  • If my assessment of what you want is correct, then I strongly suggest that you re-write it yourself in Microsoft Word and email me a copy. Then, I would undertake to do transform it into a Citizendium article in one of my Citizendium sandboxes and invite you and others to comment on it. Without your re-write in Microsoft Word, it is a bit too much to expect anyone to re-write the article based only on your above outline.
  • Karl, I think I understand why you feel uncomfortable about characterizing solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energies as "renewable". However, almost every relevant organization in the technical and engineering world seems to have accepted that term for energies that are "alternative" to the energy obtained by burning the fossils fuels (natural gas, oil or coal).
  • Karl, I certainly hope that you intend to become an active Citizendium editor. We certainly need more active Engineering Editors. But it does take some considerable effort to learn the Wiki mark-up language and to become acquainted with the Citizendium style of writing articles. It also takes some time to learn what the role of a Citizendium Editor entails. Unless you are willing to commit to making that effort, then it is virtually impossible to become a good, active Editor. This is meant to be helpful advice and I hope you will accept it as such.
Milton Beychok 17:25, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Milt, I do take your comments as you intend them. I think I will continue to have periods where I can be very active in reviewing and even authoring and some periods where I will not be able to be because of some of the particular type of work I am involved in. In terms of learning the formatting, I'll work in it when I can do a small article that would allow me to spend more time on that than on content. On your offer for me to use MS Word and then send it to you: thank you; I'll take you up on that. Would you like me to wait until I have the whole thing done or shall I send it to you in parts? BTW, I think I want to add a subsection on the topic of "Net versus Gross Renewable Energy." BTW, I do get your point on the classification of "renewable"; it's too bad these terms get hi-jacked with incorrect usage.
Karl D. Schubert 18:09, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Karl, I would rather have your MS Word version when it is complete rather than one part at a time. Milton Beychok 18:44, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Milt, no problem. And, BTW, I'm going to use major portion of the technical detail..just move it around and add to it. Downloading it so I can work on it offline. Karl D. Schubert 03:08, 19 July 2010 (UTC)