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Excellent summary of the shortcomings of conventional coal-fired steam plants. I'm not a thermal solar enthusiast--because of its use of water--but it's better than burning coal.

One point not really mentioned here is that demand management offers many opportunities. If society were to put as much effort into identifying and optimizing those as we do defending traditional supply management, a lot of progress could be made.

  • Heating and cooling, decent insulation has a huge impact, especially when combined with passive solar.
  • Household appliances, many tasks can be time-shifted.

One other consideration is whether it makes sense for people to live in certain places. For example, in 1920, Los Angeles was a small city with a population of about 500,000, while NYC then had over 5,000,000. That growth in the American Southwest was enabled by coal-fired electricity for air conditioning. One of the many results of the fossil fuel economy, and one that should receive consideration for reversal.

by asdf on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 07:07:50 PM EST

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