The Baseload Mistake

One of the hangups some of my friends have about converting the electrical grid to renewable energy, has been the difficulty in storing electricity generated for use when energy input is reduced. Tesla Energy should help with that logistical problem.

In the meantime, we’re dealing with homes, power grids, and even an economy that cannot easily survive even short interruptions of constant energy input. That has to change to make our way of life even close to sustainable.

Is “baseload” power from coal even that important in grids of the near future?

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

Arnie Gunderson is right that it shouldn’t sit right with people.

Forbes wonders if nuclear power is now going to die. Not anytime soon, there’s too many billions of dollars already sunk into the technology and that industry is not going to go peacefully into the night as it runs out of money to manage security for all of the nuclear and industrial wastes it’s created.

4 responses to “The Baseload Mistake

  1. No new housing development should be permitted unless it’s got a ‘zero footprint’ strategy, including local, personal windmills, R-2000+, geothermal, solar, grey water and other renewable strategies designed to limit impact. There’s just no excuse any more.

    • I like your idea. A lot. Could be argued from the Regina Official Community Plan that that sort of building is a minimum standard to meet sustainability objectives required from our Council.

  2. http://leaderpost. com/ opinion/columnists/saskatchewan-needs-real-transformational-change
    “Verda Petry:

    I was excited when I heard that the provincial government was going to initiate “transformational change.” This term conveys so much promise, but alas, it was only doublespeak.

    It soon became clear that Premier Brad Wall was using the term to impose financial cutbacks on health, social services and all levels of education including universities, using the most regressive methods: clawing back already meagre funds in health and education, raising utility fees and other user fees, selling Crown assets and potentially raising property taxes.

    It also meant consolidating power within government and reducing democratic control as with the appointment of school boards. Centralization like this never saves money. The more remote the funder is from the recipient, the greater the mismanagement and waste. Saskatchewan was once known for innovative thinking and advanced public policy. In the 1950s-70s we got a plethora of services that enriched the lives of our citizens: the Crown utilities (SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel), medicare, PCS, SGI, the SLGA, the PFRA and many others and the province blossomed. Co-operative enterprise was facilitated.

    Governments of the time understood that by controlling and sharing the wealth of the province we all prosper. But now the premier wants to privatize public assets and services — to enrich his friends, as with the Global Transportation Hub? This is not transformational change; it is regression. Transformational change would mean building on the assets we still collectively own and support, and encouraging new ways of responding to change.

    What could “transformational change” mean? The greatest threat to our well-being is climate change. We need to anticipate the fallout and develop policies to adapt and mitigate its effects. For example, extremes of weather make a carbon tax essential to discourage the use of fossil fuels and to bring much-needed revenue into the provincial treasury; carbon taxes are the price we must pay for degradation of the environment. Rapidly rising temperatures and drought will require the protection of large swaths of grassland, reforestation, park development, ways to conserve water such as public reservoirs, facilitation of electric cars and public transport and the development of clean forms of energy.

    I understand that the safest and cheapest form of clean energy is geothermal. In fact, in 1978 the University of Regina was to be heated with geothermal energy, the infrastructure developed by Dr. Laurence Vigrass and a team of geoscientists. Natural gas came on the market and the geothermal plant was allowed to die. Their research could possibly be resurrected. In any case, with expanded funding in all areas of research, much innovation could be developed.

    What is the vision of the Saskatchewan Party for establishing a good life for all residents of the province? What is its goals? What is its direction — futuristic or backward? Because of rapid developments in technology and automation, the nature of work is changing. Employment in the production of material goods is transitioning to work in the knowledge, helping and entertainment sectors. How will workers in these sectors be remunerated?

    Does the current government have plans for a guaranteed annual income, an increase in the minimum wage, a shorter work week, job sharing, more options in health care, free university tuition for students who want to expand their life opportunities, encouragement of the creative arts and entertainment (restoration of the film tax credit?), expansion of education funding to include pre-school care and learning?

    What are the essentials for a good life and which ones are under threat? Clean and abundant water, nutritious food, safe and decent housing, opportunities for personal growth, recreation and entertainment, cheap and pollution-free transportation. Everything else is a bonus. There is much room for real “transformational change.”

    Verda Petry is a former University of Regina chancellor.

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