Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I unashamedly prefer Hydro-electric power

The simplicity, permanence, renewable status and engineering advantages at economically suitable locations speak for themselves. The environmental "costs" are all one off's.

4 comments:

Dr. Clam said...

I know many dams have been built such that they will 'fill up' with sediment in a human lifetime or so- do you know if this impacts on their suitability for power generation, or if there is a good technological fix for the problem? I guess I could look this up for myself, but I am just on a commenting spree! Myself, I detest dams, but for what I know are purely sentimental reasons. I love majestic gorges and mighty rivers forging their way to the sea...

Dr. Clam said...

The best source of renewable energy struck me with a blinding flash yesterday- nowhere in the world is more than a dozen kilometres or so from an inexhaustible source of heat for boiling water. Are the technical problems involved in drilling deep holes into hot rock less surmountable than the technical problems in building dams or nuclear power plants? I think probably not. Geothermal installations do not take up valuable land (like most hydroelectric plants) or not-very-valuable land (like solar panels, uranium mines, wind farms, or nuclear waste disposal sites). I shall venture forth into the net to explore the economics of geothermal as a global panacea...

Dave said...

If you can also pump salt water into them and get flash-vapourised clean water out (albeit a bit warmish), that might help solve two significant resource problems at once...

I'll be very interested to see what you find out, Clam.

Dr. Clam said...

It seems as though it is tricksy to drill deeper than 5 km and nobody much does it. Within this range, there are some place where there are reservoirs of 'hot dry rock' which have been the focus of work on power generation plants that work this way. It seems they typically drill one hole to pump the water down and another to get the steam out, losing about 20% of the water on the way. Most places, alas, don't have hot dry rock that is accessible with current hole-digging technology, and most of Australia's hot dry rocks seem to be in arid interior bits, making the instant desalination option less plausible. I remain optimistic after my explorations thus far, as improvements can be expected in the cost of the method and the places it is applicable with every incremental gain in drilling technology- and there is a strong incentive for lots of people to pursue incremental gains in drilling technology for exploiting natural gas at awkward depths and making more efficient use of existing wet geothermal resources.