Author Topic: What is "clean" energy?  (Read 613 times)

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2018, 06:12:42 PM »
So, how can we be sure that the environmental impact of a global solar industry won't be just as harmful as coal mining especially when coal is also used in the process of making solar cells?
Mr. Blackwell, what you're looking for is called 'life-cycle assessment' (LCA).

Quote
Again, I'm not saying solar power is bad. I just want us all to go into this with our eyes wide open to all the possible damage in an effort to mitigate it before we depend on it too much to argue against it.
We try.  We even have ISO standards around LCA.

Mr. Blackwell, you're coming across as the guy who's asking "has no one thought about what happens when we run out of food" and has a copy of An Essay on the Principle of Population in front of him that he refuses to even glance at.   "Like...yeah, we've been thinking about that for at least a couple of hundred years now.  It's weird that you're asking the question."  So too does your statement "I just want us all to go into this with our eyes wide open"...like, we are trying to do that, and have been for a generation or so.  It's kinda weird that you're asking the question.

Thank you jdawg. My problem revolves around that lack of hard data surrounding the environmental impact of mass producing solar panels. No one here has yet pointed me in the right direction and several claim to know what the impact is and that it is far less damaging than burning fossil fuels. Well, I don't disagree but I want to KNOW what the environmental impact will be and how it compares to other sources. I want to KNOW that it will be better in the long run instead of just assuming it will be.

Some people just don't like having their dogma questioned I guess.

If anyone can point me towards a reliable study about the carbon foot print of a 4gw nuclear power plant vs a 4gw solar station that would be great. I am asking this question here because there are a lot of smart people here. I couldn't find anything other than happy feel good propaganda or oh shit look at this potential mess in my searches.

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Online One Above All

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2018, 02:22:53 AM »
I will remind you that one of my primary concerns is that currently there is no plan in place, no infrastructure for recycling solar panels. How does that fact factor into your equation?

Glass and circuitry? There's no infrastructure in your country to recycle those?
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2018, 06:13:26 AM »
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/04/its-time-to-plan-for-solar-panel-recycling-in-the-united-states/

Not really, no. This is something we could get ahead of before it becomes a problem but not enough people are thinking that far ahead.
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Online One Above All

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2018, 07:16:50 AM »
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/04/its-time-to-plan-for-solar-panel-recycling-in-the-united-states/

Not really, no. This is something we could get ahead of before it becomes a problem but not enough people are thinking that far ahead.

See, that's absurd to me. Glass and circuitry are probably some of the most-used components nowadays, it only makes sense to have recycling centers for those.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2018, 08:07:07 AM »
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/04/its-time-to-plan-for-solar-panel-recycling-in-the-united-states/

Not really, no. This is something we could get ahead of before it becomes a problem but not enough people are thinking that far ahead.

See, that's absurd to me. Glass and circuitry are probably some of the most-used components nowadays, it only makes sense to have recycling centers for those.

Here is a brief explanation of why it's not that simple.

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It’s important for these panels to be recycled; otherwise, valuable resources that could be used to make more solar panels will end up in landfills. Additionally, solar panels contain heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, which could leach into the environment if not properly recycled. Solar panels also can contain rare elements, such as gallium and indium, that are slowly being depleted. Recycling these materials helps conserve supplies of these finite resources.
https://earth911.com/eco-tech/recycle-solar-panels/

There are several components that need to be separated. They require different processing and handling. Every article I've read about this talks about the European model as something we should adopt but so far nothing is really being done. It bugs me that people are waiting to get the infrastructure in place.

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Cara Libby, senior technical leader of solar energy at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), has been doing solar PV recycling research on behalf of the organization’s utility members. Libby said utilities asked for EPRI’s help understanding the feasibility of recycling in the United States since many own solar arrays approaching 20 years old. Libby and her research partners have been looking at various recycling technologies, whether modules should be classified as hazardous waste and how other countries have already approached recycling regulations.

“It’s still a little premature for dedicated PV recycling facilities [in the United States],” Libby said. “In the future, maybe around 2030, there will be a surge in PV waste volumes. Then we’ll have to start thinking about a better way to collect and recycle efficiently.”

That attitude on display right there from someone in the industry blows my mind. They know it's going to be an issue but still procrastinate. That is reckless in my opinion.

 
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Offline shnozzola

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2018, 10:08:50 AM »
Seems the argument is like any argument - pros and cons.  Here is a picture of horse manure problems in the early 1900s.



Right now, in 2018, the area of the US where I live has a big problem with manure from dairies, poultry (broilers, layers, ducks), hogs, horses, and beef cattle.  Sure, it is organic waste, but it is polluting streams and rivers.

So here are some disadvantages for solar power:
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1. Expensive
Is solar power really expensive? This is probably the most debatable aspect on the entire solar energy pros and cons list. The driving forces behind the development of solar energy are rooted in politics. Solar power is incentivized to compete against other energy sources on the market. On the other hand, the U.S. government, similarly to the rest of the world, provides incentives to every major energy production market – not just solar.
In 2010, coal received $1,189 billion in federal subsidies and support for electricity production while solar is not far behind at $968 billion.[4]
Nowadays, the best solar panels can in many situations be cheaper than buying electricity from the utility. This wouldn`t have been possible without incentives.
 
2. Intermittent
Solar energy is an intermittent energy source. Access to sunlight is limited at certain times (e.g. morning and night). Predicting overcast days can be difficult. This is why solar power is not our first choice when it comes to meeting the base load energy demand. However, solar power has fewer problems than wind power when it comes to intermittence.
 
3. Energy Storage is Expensive
Energy storage systems such as batteries will help smoothen out demand and load, making solar power more stable, but these technologies are also expensive.
Luckily, there`s a good correspondence between our access to solar energy and human energy demand. Our electricity demand peaks in the middle of the day, which also happens to be the same time there`s a lot of sunlight!
 
4. Associated with Pollution
While solar power certainly is less polluting than fossil fuels, some problems do exist. Some manufacturing processes are associated with greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen trifluroide and sulfur hexafluoride has been traced back to the production of solar panels. These are some of the most potent greenhouse gases and have many thousand times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide. Transportation and installation of solar power systems can also indirectly cause pollution.
The bottom line is this: There’s nothing that’s completely risk-free in the energy world, but solar power compares very favorably with all other technologies.
 
5. Exotic Materials
Certain solar cells require materials that are expensive and rare in nature. This is especially true for thin-film solar cells that are based on either cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).
 
6. Requires Space
Power density, or watt per square meter (W/m²), is essential when looking at how much power can be derived from a certain area of real estate of an energy source. Low power density indicates that too much real estate is required to provide the power we demand at reasonable prices.
The global mean power density for solar radiation is 170 W/m².[5] This is more than any other renewable energy source, but not comparable to oil, gas and nuclear power.

Chart that would need some study:



If you think about the petroleum industry, or what coal has done for humanity, we have as a whole benefitted quite well.  Remember how nuclear energy was promised to be so perfect it would be free.  Then comes TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. People are still dreaming of little "perfect" fusion reactors.  But it seems wind and solar are worth the continued investigation (battery disposal problems come to mind).  Also seems humans will do what we always do (see controlling climate change), procrastinate until there is a problem with each energy.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2018, 10:27:18 AM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen? 
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2018, 11:27:02 AM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen?

What makes you think I don't think it will happen?
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Offline albeto

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2018, 01:43:39 PM »
That attitude on display right there from someone in the industry blows my mind. They know it's going to be an issue but still procrastinate. That is reckless in my opinion.

I'm confused why that would blow your mind. The way I see it, the United States' economy is largely based on free market capitalism and if there is no money in recycling, there should be no expectation for recycling plants. Lord knows this presidential administration isn't likely to help fund it. Anyway, in a very quick and useless search I found France, Germany and Belgium all have recycling plants for solar panels. The one in Brussels recently reported a 96% recycling rate for silicon based PV modules, so apparently someone is making it work. It must be frustrating not to have the answers you want, but concluding some people just don't like having their dogma questioned because you don't have the details you had hoped for is a bit premature, imo.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 01:58:30 PM by albeto »

Offline Jag

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2018, 03:55:28 PM »
I might be mistaken about this, but my understanding is that there's more than one way to build a solar panel. This leads me to further assume that the materials used are not identical either. If that's correct (I do have access to an expert, so if necessary, I will contact him for more information), then it would logically follow that trying to build recycling facilities right now, before there is standardization (which will not happen until basic R&D is largely completed and it becomes a matter of product improvement versus product creation) has a very real risk of setting up for the wrong components.

There simply not enough need at this precise point in time in THIS country, but in no way does that even remotely suggest that the need in the future is not going to be met. If there is a way to make money, someone will meet that need. It's no big leap to expect that there WILL be money to be made by recycling solar panels, once there is enough volume to support such facilities. There is every reason to expect the businesses that produce the panels to be among the first to build recycling facilities as well. It's just good business sense - it could potentially reduce the cost of their product inputs if they can reclaim a portion of them directly.

There's no reason whatsoever to think that this wont be treated exactly the same way as any other free market commodity. In fact Mr. Blackwell, this looks like an opportunity. You could position yourself as a leader in an emerging industry. Get educated on this topic that you have so many questions about and you could secure your family's financial future.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2018, 04:00:41 PM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen?

What makes you think I don't think it will happen?

wow.  Mr. B.   What you have said.  You keep harping about how horrible it is that there is no recycling of SPs.  And then *again* you show you don't even do the most basic research. 
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2018, 12:22:18 PM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen?

What makes you think I don't think it will happen?

wow.  Mr. B.   What you have said.  You keep harping about how horrible it is that there is no recycling of SPs.  And then *again* you show you don't even do the most basic research.

Okay. Obviously I need to change my ways.

Here's what I'm going to do. A promise from me to you. I will no longer post anything or comment about anything until I have already googled it and learned all I need to know in order to take a firm position for or against whatever the topic may be. I will not come here asking questions. I apologize for my ignorance, I really didn't mean to offend or irritate anyone.

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Offline velkyn

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2018, 09:12:15 AM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen?

What makes you think I don't think it will happen?

wow.  Mr. B.   What you have said.  You keep harping about how horrible it is that there is no recycling of SPs.  And then *again* you show you don't even do the most basic research.

Okay. Obviously I need to change my ways.

Here's what I'm going to do. A promise from me to you. I will no longer post anything or comment about anything until I have already googled it and learned all I need to know in order to take a firm position for or against whatever the topic may be. I will not come here asking questions. I apologize for my ignorance, I really didn't mean to offend or irritate anyone.

that's not what I asked or said, but if you are content with a strawman, and it will help you understand, then I'm good with that. 
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2018, 09:40:45 AM »
Okay. Obviously I need to change my ways.

Here's what I'm going to do. A promise from me to you. I will no longer post anything or comment about anything until I have already googled it and learned all I need to know in order to take a firm position for or against whatever the topic may be. I will not come here asking questions. I apologize for my ignorance, I really didn't mean to offend or irritate anyone.

that's not what I asked or said, but if you are content with a strawman, and it will help you understand, then I'm good with that.

velkyn -

While that may not be what you asked for, that is how Mr. Blackwell is interpreting what his takeaway from this conversation ought to be.  If you want to assume that's entirely on him, that's fine, but honestly you may want to think about how your manner of engagement may have contributed to him feeling that way.

Like...I get that ignorance is frustrating but I'm honestly not a fan of shaming ignorance.  Stupidity, idiocy; yeah I guess I'm still on the shame-train for those but ignorance?  Ignorance is basically the human condition.  Hard-headed as Mr. Blackwell can sometimes be I can't help but always read honest inquiry from the man, and I really dislike dissuading anyone from pursuing honest inquiry.

That being said, Mr. Blackwell - "assume that's entirely on him" does also apply to you. I don't see velkyn saying anything about having a firm, established, fully-researched position on a matter prior to engagement.  She is berating you on lack of what appears to be even cursory research.  I kind of agree that perhaps you should have googled a bit more prior to bringing up the topic (I just feel like 'life-cycle analysis' or 'life-cycle assessment' would have cropped up in your vocabulary already had you done so), but I really, really hate the idea of stifling you from bringing a topic up for discussion.  What I think you need to do is be prepared to take some lumps if you've said something out of a degree of ignorance that others find 'too low'.

I do not know where the balance is, unfortunately, and as someone who dishes out his own brand of vitriol I'm probably not qualified to find it.  But what I do know is that I like having a voice like Mr. Blackwell's here on this site.  I can't imagine anyone would disagree with how echo-chambery this forum can get, and Mr. Blackwell's is a voice that can be distinctly outside of that echo chamber.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #43 on: November 07, 2018, 11:52:09 AM »
If someone chooses to try to spread this nonsense, there is no reason not to "get personal" e.g. call them on it.  Mr. B and anyone like him is responsible for what they do. They are ignorant and they depend on their ignorance to retain such ideas like solar is somehow worse than fossil fuels.  He did not do any research for himself to know what we've told him, which all points out his claims are wrong.  Now why would someone do that? Sorry, J, but this isn't my first rodeo.  Having seen what I have, I rarely give anyone the benefit of the doubt because that is not the way to bet in my experience.     

I know I can't change the mind of someone who does this, that's not my purpose.  What I can do is point them out and show how their claims fail.  They choose to do what they choose to do.  So do I.  I don't find mr. B "out of line" in the forum and its rules (I was a mod/admin myself here once).  I do find that he needs to be held responsible, and behind the scenes doesn't seem to work very well.
You can show that a person's claims are wrong without getting personal - and getting personal with them seriously undercuts your attempts to show that their claims are wrong.  It makes it look like you're opposing them out of personal pique or a grudge, rather than because they're factually wrong.  People who do what you accused Blackwell of don't care about what you say except for how they can use it to advance their agenda.

I don't doubt they get down on their knees in thanks when someone gets personal with them, especially when that person also makes strong factual arguments against them.  Because they can use the former to obscure the latter, and you can be sure that they'll spend so their time taking about how mean and uncivil that nasty awful person who called them names was.

There's a saying, any attack that doesn't connect is wasted effort.  In fact, it can be outright counterproductive if they can then use it against you.  Many of the people who push things like this are perfectly happy to turn your getting personal against them right back around on you.  You wouldn't want to throw knives at someone who is an expert at knife-throwing, so why do you want to get personal with people who are experts at getting personal right back?

You're really good at making bluntly factual arguments.  Better than I am in more ways than not.  But you aren't very good at the whole "getting personal" part of it.  Indeed, I've seen person after person adeptly deflect the much stronger factual points you make with the relatively ineffective personal remarks you often include.

Please stop throwing Brer Rabbit in the briar patch.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2018, 02:29:14 PM »
I will remind you that one of my primary concerns is that currently there is no plan in place, no infrastructure for recycling solar panels. How does that fact factor into your equation?
I think you mean that there's no specific infrastructure for recycling solar panels.  That is not the same as saying that they cannot be recycled.

My understanding is that all the components that go into a solar panel are all recyclable, but that it's on the people who own them to do the recycling; there's no place which takes the panels whole and does the separating and such.  But that isn't the fault of the manufacturer or the industry.

If you want to make sure that they get recycled, you either need to provide a financial incentive or you need to have an organization which will do it despite it not being profitable.  Can't think of the word offhand, starts with a 'g'...

The point is that we already have the means to recycle solar panels, people just have to go to a bit of extra effort to do so.  If the people trying to prove that renewable energy is just as dirty as fossil fuels because there's no "solar panel recycler" out there, they either haven't done the research or they have a vested interest in 'proving' it.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #45 on: November 07, 2018, 09:24:28 PM »
If someone chooses to try to spread this nonsense, there is no reason not to "get personal" e.g. call them on it.  Mr. B and anyone like him is responsible for what they do. They are ignorant and they depend on their ignorance to retain such ideas like solar is somehow worse than fossil fuels.  He did not do any research for himself to know what we've told him, which all points out his claims are wrong.  Now why would someone do that? Sorry, J, but this isn't my first rodeo.  Having seen what I have, I rarely give anyone the benefit of the doubt because that is not the way to bet in my experience.     

I know I can't change the mind of someone who does this, that's not my purpose.  What I can do is point them out and show how their claims fail.  They choose to do what they choose to do.  So do I.  I don't find mr. B "out of line" in the forum and its rules (I was a mod/admin myself here once).  I do find that he needs to be held responsible, and behind the scenes doesn't seem to work very well.
You can show that a person's claims are wrong without getting personal - and getting personal with them seriously undercuts your attempts to show that their claims are wrong.  It makes it look like you're opposing them out of personal pique or a grudge, rather than because they're factually wrong.  People who do what you accused Blackwell of don't care about what you say except for how they can use it to advance their agenda.

all of this is your opinion, J.  I don't care what you think it "makes me look like".    And really, you think that someone whining about what you want to call personal attacks, is doing anything to harm the facts presented?  Where are these supposedly "adept" deflections?  I'm not asking to be a pain in the ass, but to know what you think these are because I don't recall any that were adept.  Deflections, yes, but nothing that shows them to be anything but a failure when it comes to reality. 

And brer rabbit into the briar patch?   One of my favorite American myth cycles.  Sorry, but I don't see where I've helped Mr. B or anyone by pointing out what they do. 

and jdawg, how is it honest inquiry when it took no time to show that what he claims isn't there, is? 

but okay, you don't like what I say.  I'm content enough not to be here anymore.   
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2018, 09:24:16 AM »
and jdawg, how is it honest inquiry when it took no time to show that what he claims isn't there, is? 
I dunno...maybe by virtue of lack of cognitive perfection?

Quote
but okay, you don't like what I say.  I'm content enough not to be here anymore.   

...
......

Does everyone need to like everything you say in order for you to hang around?  That's a terrible bar to use.  I mean, it's your bar, so go nuts, but I'd recommend against that.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2018, 10:58:05 AM »
Okay. Obviously I need to change my ways.

Here's what I'm going to do. A promise from me to you. I will no longer post anything or comment about anything until I have already googled it and learned all I need to know in order to take a firm position for or against whatever the topic may be. I will not come here asking questions. I apologize for my ignorance, I really didn't mean to offend or irritate anyone.
Yes, you need to change your ways.  But posts like this will not lead velkyn, me, or anyone else to believe that you have any intension of actually doing so.

When you ask questions, you come across like you already expect what the answer is going to be, and your question is just pro forma.  You may not realize that you're doing it, but it's there, and a lot of people react to the subtext rather than the actual questions themselves.

What you should do, if you want to avoid situations like this, is to consciously exclude the subtext.  For example, in your OP, you asked "what is clean energy" and spent most of the post talking about how you didn't see how solar panels could be "100% clean", as if that had any relevance to why it gets called "clean energy".  And despite admitting not knowing, you asserted that you thought solar panels would be worse for the environment.

When other people tried to offer you into about it, you generally thanked them and modified your position - slightly, so you were still holding the basic position that solar panels would be dirtier than fossil fuels, even though fossil fuels generate a lot of environmental pollution both from being dug out of the ground and then from being burned in order to generate power via a turbine.  Solar panels do not have either problem because solar energy shines down on Earth every second of every day.

You effectively ignored this and other such points in favor of looking for ways to prove your original conjecture was true, even though you never should have made it unless you already knew it was true, or at least had enough information to be pretty sure it was.

People can generally tell when you're asking questions in order to make a clever argument, as opposed to when you're genuinely curious, even if you can't.  Therefore, the best advice I can give if you want to avoid having this continue happening is to cultivate an attitude of genuine curiosity rather than one where you come across like you already know what the answer is.  It will help a lot if you consciously refrain from drawing conclusions abouta subject as long as possible.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2018, 12:22:02 PM »
all of this is your opinion, J.  I don't care what you think it "makes me look like".    And really, you think that someone whining about what you want to call personal attacks, is doing anything to harm the facts presented?  Where are these supposedly "adept" deflections?  I'm not asking to be a pain in the ass, but to know what you think these are because I don't recall any that were adept.  Deflections, yes, but nothing that shows them to be anything but a failure when it comes to reality.
Yes, in fact, I am well aware that you don't care how your arguments make you look (or how others think they make you look, same difference)..  The problem is, you also don't seem to care how your arguments impact everyone else.  You aren't the only one in the conversation, and so the way you present your arguments impacts others who are arguing the same position as you.  When the way you do things consistently splashes on everyone else who's making the same general point, and you fail to see it happening even when other people point it out to you, and in fact insist that what you're doing is just fine and other people should stop bothering you about it, it's far from helpful to everyone else.

You are very good at making factual points, but when you get personal with someone, you're stating your opinion rather than facts.  Arguments that work with facts do not work very well with opinions, and vice versa.  So you're turning your strength into a weakness, by trying to use it for something it isn't well suited to do.

It's true that the ones complaining aren't harming the facts you present.  They don't need to when it's so much easier to obscure them instead.  Cover a car with enough mud and grime, and nobody can tell if it's in good condition or not, and the presumption will be that it probably isn't.  And while most of the people here who use that sort of tactic are not particularly adept at it, they don't need to be; it's always easier to cover something with grime than it is to clean the grime off.  It takes a concerted effort to keep ahead of that, and things like getting personal divert effort instead.

What you do is up to you at this point, velkyn.  I urge you to read what I wrote and give it serious consideration, , but I can't make you do so.  Nor can I make you stick around if you've decided that you don't appreciate people giving you their honest opinion about you, just as you give others your honest opinion of them.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Emma286

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2018, 01:02:35 PM »
there is no recycling plan *yet*. we don't need it *yet*.  why would you think it wouldn't happen?

What makes you think I don't think it will happen?

wow.  Mr. B.   What you have said.  You keep harping about how horrible it is that there is no recycling of SPs.  And then *again* you show you don't even do the most basic research.

Okay. Obviously I need to change my ways.

Here's what I'm going to do. A promise from me to you. I will no longer post anything or comment about anything until I have already googled it and learned all I need to know in order to take a firm position for or against whatever the topic may be. I will not come here asking questions. I apologize for my ignorance, I really didn't mean to offend or irritate anyone.

It’s easily done at times I know. I can be far too quick to talk without thinking through what I’m saying the best at times. ;-)

Offline Emma286

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2018, 01:04:06 PM »
@ Velkyn, thinking it would be a big shame if you left :-( but up to you of course!

Offline Emma286

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2018, 01:17:17 PM »
Because, for the third time, solar power doesn't have any environmental impact once it's producing power, which is what sets it apart from coal and other fossil fuels, and that's why it's considered a "clean energy". Why are you purposefully pretending you're not getting your question answered?

Because in my mind the term "clean energy" is a misnomer. While I agree that renewable energy is better for the environment and the Earth overall, the production of solar panels is not clean. I would be happy with clean production but that's not even on the table for discussion.

So is "fossil fuels" - you're not literally burning fossils, you know.
Production always has an environmental cost, this is well-known and accepted. What matters is the environmental cost of the thing once it's operational. That is how "clean energy" is defined; namely by not having an environmental cost once it's up and running.

This applies to the recycling of solar panels too I take it?

Of course, recycling also has an environmental cost. One of the ideas behind recycling, like clean energy, is that it's better for the environment compared to the alternative (building something again from scratch).

Thanks for your answer One. I can see the logic of going with the best option we have at the moment. I guess it’s all we can really do unless something better is discovered at one point.

Offline Emma286

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2018, 01:19:34 PM »
Well, maybe not in the near future. But it will destroy itself eventually won’t it?

Mind you, I guess if the human race has gone extinct by then this won’t matter. And if it hasn’t, hopefully another energy solution of some kind will have been found!
As Jetson said, we're talking about billions of years here.  We aren't going to have to worry about the sun running out of energy to give out until long after your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren[1] had died.
 1. if you copy-pasted all those 'greats' a thousand times, you'd be at about a million years; you'd have to copy-paste all of those 'greats' a thousand more times to get up to a billion years; so trust is when we say that it's just not worth worrying about

Haha! Fair enough!  8)

Offline CrystalDragon

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Re: What is "clean" energy?
« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2018, 11:29:47 AM »
Plus, the sun is not going to run out of energy - practically speaking. Fossil fuels are finite, last time I checked.

Well, maybe not in the near future. But it will destroy itself eventually won’t it?

Mind you, I guess if the human race has gone extinct by then this won’t matter. And if it hasn’t, hopefully another energy solution of some kind will have been found!

Tangential but it's my favorite Asimov story so imma drop it here:
http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

Funny thing that you mention that story, a friend of mine on SmashBoards just mentioned it to me the other day and this has been one of my favorite Asimoc stories for a few years! (It's probably my favorite though The Last Answer is a close second).
"It is always darker right before the light.  Or for some people, it just stays dark, but they don't seem to notice."