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Natural gas not allowed

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  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
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    No matter how it happens, except for low temp systems, it's the death of hydronics as we know it.
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  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    Fukushima destruction was due to safety rules. Earthquake made reactors shut down so that power for cooling pumps had to come from elsewhere. (Nuclear submarine Thresher also went down because its reactor shut itself down.) The diesel generators at Fukushima flooded like they did during Katrina. Nobody died at TMI. Dangers from nukes can be avoided.

    Future generations will probably want more energy. Atomic power resources can last for centuries. Why oppose the inevitable future?
    CLamb
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    Various folks -- the Chernobyl reactor was a very primitive design. Boiling water reactors -- such as Three Mile Island (which never released a significant overdose of radiation) and Fukushima (which did) were both what might be called second generation designs; they are obsolescent, though a number of them are still operating. They are, as we have seen, vulnerable to human error. The nuclear industry has not stood still, however, and the most recent designs are much less in need of accurate and well trained human control; some are about as close to fail safe as anything man made ever is.

    I do think that harnessing more power from the sun should be pursued, and vigorously. But I also think that it must be done in such a way as to do as little harm to the environment as possible. Neither the manufacture of solar cells, no the manufacture of batteries, is without environmental harm -- though since most of the harm is in China it gets overlooked. Likewise the siting of grid scale solar farms can be problematic -- it is quite true that areas such as the US Southwest may have plenty of land (although the locals may beg to differ) but that is a very long way from the Northeast Megalopolis. Can this be overcome? Of course. One of the things I used to teach my engineering students is that if you have enough money ad the politics are straightened out, you can do pretty much anything you want.

    Similar thoughts could be put down about wind turbines, but I won't extend this.

    Hydro I will say a word about: having studied rather carefully the development of hydro power (google "Muskrat Falls" or "Three Gorges Dam") and observed many hydro plants, it is, in my judgement, impossible to put forward a "green" case for hydro. Most of the major hydro projects recently have also had very severe social impacts -- often on marginalized populations.

    Power for the future is not a fit subject for tweets or campaign slogans. It needs very careful analysis and reasoned political debate -- neither of which it is getting.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    CLambSolid_Fuel_Man
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,089
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    For an indicator of public perception and ignorance, in 2012 we did a road trip thru CA. We spent one night at Morro Bay, on the coast between LA and SF.

    There were 3 tall stacks and a power plant there.
    I asked our Hindu hotel manager about them and he was very aware of the plant. He said the locals want to tear the stacks and plant down because visiting tourists think that is a Nuke Plant.
    It is bad for the tourist business.
    There were 4 gas turbines for the 3 stacks. It was built in the late 50's, newer than the hydro plants on the Missouri river.
    Imagine the infra structure in place for that plant; huge gas line,
    substation, transmission lines to the grid, the entire Pacific ocean for cooling....none of which were visible from the town....only the stacks which caught the public's eye. The manager was attending meetings to retain the plant....his home country would have loved to have that, as would any midwest state.

    As we drove away I had the thought that if they would cover the stacks with PV panels then the public perception would accept a new "eyesore" and everyone would feel Greener and safe.
    (you would not have to even connect them to anything ;) , just the sight of them would do it.)
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    California wants to fight climate while it simultaneously destroys its nukes? I don't think CC fans are serious. Were they as worried as they claim to be over CC they'd do more to save our nukes.

    Returning to original subject; takes less NG to heat and cook than to use the gas to make the electricity for cooking and heating.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    I really think that a much bigger perspective needs to be taken. The primary question is: How can we supply the energy needed for an advanced civilization? Starting from this point, we may very quickly discover that the enormous electrical grid we have now may be not needed if we start from this question. We need to move away from the thinking we had when we created our current systems if we are going to solve the problems they are now creating ( Thank you Albert Einstein for that most excellent concept).
    The historical info I have seen about electrical usage in California is telling. I certainly would not consider the people in that state living under primitive conditions, but since the mid 70's thier per capita electrical usage has remained nearly flat, all the while the US per capita has gone up, IIRC, 2 to 3 fold. I am sure alot of that has to due to the moderate climate in Southern CA that does not need A/C, and the large movement of people to other southern states that need A/C. CA does seem to be doing something right with regards to electrical consumption. During that same period lighting technology has moved from incadescent and old florescent to LED ( between 9 times and 3 times greater efficiency), we have added computers to the load and, what is purported to be, more efficient electrical appliances. I think it is safe to say the biggest source and likely most cost effective source of future power is higher efficiency, and it seem we have barely scratched the surface. We need to look at real overall efficiency, from the generating plant, to the network to distribute the energy, to the complete amount of energy used at the end use ( primary and parasitic), how the end use interacts with structures and people, and the micro-climate of the location
    Looking at the costs in my own energy bills ( electric and gas) here in Chicago, about 40% of the cost is going to support the grid, about 10% to taxes and only 1/2 to actual energy. This is using gas to heat with a conventional gas boiler, water heater and stove; electrical for refrigeration and air conditioning in an upgraded 1903 home. Supporting the massive and aged grids we have is a huge cost and if addressed appropriately, could be dramatically reduced.... but that's where politics and established power and profits come in.
    I don't have the faith many here do in competition cleaning up the problems because competition is being squashed by the existing power politics in the our country. In addition, everyone doing whatever is best for themselves is not creating solutions either since no one is looking beyond the short term. Even looking short term, most people and companies are not taking steps to increase their own usable income or company profits because of decades of "consumption is good" politics.

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    STEVEusaPACanuckerSal Santamaura
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    California has lost a lot of industry. That reduces per capita consumption. Higher SEER A/C helps too.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    What a fantastic site, here we have a group of people who in many ways are on the front line of energy using livingry systems, discussing intelligently and calmly the future of the country's energy sources and delivery systems.
    These discussions are going to impact the whole planet so please keep on discussing/thinking about how to improve things overall.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    No good deed goes unpunished... in some ways I have to agree with some of @The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro) 's comments. In some ways... not so much. My lead sentence there, for instance, actually refers to compact fluorescent and LED lighting. They are indeed more efficient. However, their overall environmental cost is high (mercury in the case of CFs, and rare earth mining (mostly China) in the case of LEDs. Just a very minor example of the complexity and reach of the problems.

    Perhaps the worst part of the problem -- at least from the engineering standpoint -- is that one size fits all simply doesn't apply. California, for example, is blest with a climate in which solar and wind power is readily available, with a government which doesn't hesitate to mandate solutions (for good or ill), and a geography and population distribution which allows the state to preempt large areas of land to serve the desires of the big coastal population centres. Chicago has a somewhat less benign climate, and, although it might wish to create utility scale wind or solar farms, there might be some objection from those supplying its food. The northeastern Megalopolis simply doesn't have either the land area or the climate within easy reach; like it or not, it must depend on the grid to import power (it would be nice to think that power could be generated locally, but that is politically impossible).

    The grid is much maligned, and in some ways rightfully so. Much of it is older technology, and really needs to be upgraded. But this is not an engineering problem; this is a political problem. California is again a useful poster child, although the northeast isn't far behind. The principal electric utility in California is PG&E, now bankrupted by lawsuits alleging faulty equipment or poor maintenance. It is quite possible that the lawsuits have merit -- but is this solely the fault of PG&E? Or perhaps is there some element of a lack of political will to allow the company to raise and spend the money needed to upgrade its grid? Certainly this is true in New England. Customers and the general public are quick enough to demand upgrades -- but notably reluctant to pay for it, whether through utility rates or higher taxes (for socialized companies).

    I don't have any answers to all this -- but to get back to the original topic (!) I personally am very wary of mandated approaches from the top down.


    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,353
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    I think Texas, has some of the the best wind resources across the state, the most amount of installations and their own power grid. The plains states are next. Californias best wind is limited to a few corridors, but plenty of sun.

    https://openei.org/wiki/Map_of_Wind_Farms
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    Jamie has done a great job of doing just what I believe needs to be done.... look at the complete picture. Asking what's going into those LED's for instance and how each region has to deal with its energy resources differently. That is one of the problems that we inherited..... the attitude "just build the same grid everywhere and that will take care of the need".

    Locally the gas companies have been mandated by the state to have conservation programs. There is the usual ignorance of what really is "green" operating in the programs, but there are also real strides being made to improve things... such as insulating heating pipes. I suspect that the gas companies finally agreed to these programs once they got thier heads on straight and probably realized that cutting use is a lot cheaper than building more capacity and they can charge just as much and increase profits.
    However, as a nation we are at a point where we need to make some serious decisions about our energy systems and right now the decisions are mainly being made by the utilities and not the people. Our grids are decrepit and many developing nations have eliminated these costs by using local resources. Even here is Chicago, passive solar heating, for instance can cut fuel usage about 1/3 with little or no cost increase for construction. Also, with the huge increase in efficiency of solar voltaics, there is an increasing push for solar electric. While I don't think there is enough direct savings for the average person, however, if the installation offsets grid rebuilding costs, then it can become much more viable. This is again one of the places where straight competition doesn't work.... not all costs can be figured until a larger picture of the whole community is viewed. And there is the simple fact that the life and profitability of the massive energy companies today is in maintaining the grid. Locally resourced energy is huge threat to the grid. As I understand it, The great American John Nash, first proved this theory mathematically that pure Capitalism, as we know it, is not a complete system and it fails unless the good of the whole is included in its functioning.
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  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
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    Surely the efficiency and combustion output can be better regulated at a power plant rather than in millions of homes, right?

    @ethicalpaul
    you've got to be kidding. natural gas technology is amongst the most efficient available for the home environment at the moment. You want to send natural gas to cogen plants maybe cresting 60% efficiency or more likely peaking plants which don't make 50% as opposed to heat homes where especially new homes with heating emitters and natural gas boilers designed to take most advantage of relatively easy to install and maintain systemes that can approach the 90s in efficiency are to be denied access to gas. great thinking.

    @hot_rod everything is a gap fuel. see, e.g. whale oil. you don't sound too apocalyptic about it so i don't mean to visit my generalized derision of the peak oil neo-malthusians. nothing wrong with the general concept of peak oil except that the timing never works out to suit the apocalypse crowd. According to them, we're out of oil already. howse that working out? And since it hasn't , their true stripes show and they want to regulate access to natural gas which we have in abundance. That is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Just as Trump can't keep coal generation going in the face of that competition it is only through government planning that we could squander this incredible opportunity to fuel our society and if people are prone to use their surplus to develop a hedge against peak gas, it's a free country, or it used to be.


  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @ The Steam Whisperer, wrote
    "Also, with the huge increase in efficiency of solar voltaics,"

    Actually the efficiency of PV panels has not changed much over the last 20 years, commercial panels convert about 20% of the sunlight energy to electricity with very expensive panels reaching maybe 28%, these are usually reserved for space applications.
    What has happened is that the retail price of panels has fallen from around $5/watt down to as low as $0.80/watt, grid tied inverters that used to cost thousands are now available for hundreds, similarly non LA batteries are much cheaper.

    My argument is that people who object to tax rebates and subsidies for renewables should be aware that oil and gas are massively subsidized and have been for decades. My preference would be for a removal of all subsidies over a set period, long enough not to destabilize their relative industries.
    Also
    @ Jaime Hall, it would be interesting to actually compare LEDs with other light emitters comparing use of various materials and coupled with the fuel sources used for a truer picture of 'pollution' and cost per lumen.
    ethicalpaulSolid_Fuel_Man
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,757
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    @ethicalpaul
    you've got to be kidding. natural gas technology is amongst the most efficient available for the home environment at the moment. You want to send natural gas to cogen plants maybe cresting 60% efficiency or more likely peaking plants which don't make 50% as opposed to heat homes where especially new homes with heating emitters and natural gas boilers designed to take most advantage of relatively easy to install and maintain systemes that can approach the 90s in efficiency are to be denied access to gas. great thinking.

    It's pretty efficient once it's in my house, true, provided all my burners are running like they should. But I can smell NG leaks all around my town, and that's here in rich suburban NJ.

    Sorry but I think it's a good thing to try in Berkley.

    And the dislike about top-down regulating and "freedom" I can understand, but let's not kid ourselves. I have to get a bunch of permission to put a sink in my house.

    PS: I still love your username @archibald tuttle even if you think I'm an idiot with bad thinking.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    STEVEusaPA
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    let's not kid ourselves. I have to get a bunch of permission to put a sink in my house.
    .

    Don't forget to retain somebody with correct credentials.

  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
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    @ethicalpaul

    how did you know that was my username and not my name ;)

    No hard feelings on differing sentiments about gubbmint looking over our should, but If you are in the business of asking government for permission to put in a sink then I might think you are excessively compliant (more syllables and slightly friendlier than 'an idiot').

    fair enough to say maybe the ability to focus on piping infrastructure supplying large users as possibly effecting gsains of efficency comparitive to more efficient residential equipment served by aging residential distribution networks. But how does preventing new gas customers stop gas leaks? That means less customers to cover the cost of new infrastructure in the ground which is what stops leaks (assuming you don't use the engineers who did lawrence).

    Who in their right mind would invest in gas infrastructure if the whack jobs want to ban it. stopping new coal plants was the precursor to shutting existing ones so if they are stopping new gas customers you will see limited investment in infrastructure which, with the gas we have coming in, is insane. Now is the time and you do see aging infrastructure being renewed because gas is can be available advantageously for the a reasonable life of such infrastructure investments to be amortized.

    Of course the trend in coal was actually really driven by economics. thus trump doesn't get new coal plants despite talking the government boot off the neck. I absolutely say let the market sort it out.

    which requires that I say to @nibs that the canard that fossil fuel is subsidized is just that. If you go to the latest examples of our european 'friends' calculating those subsidies to try to shame us and look under the hood, the vast vast majority of these so-called subsides are externalities. Now I don't have a problem with such accounting where you can directly trace external costs to fossil fuels but much of it is blaming products of combustion as marginal drivers in health outcomes, an area of science as robustly disputed as climate. And that's not enough for them to make us look really bad, so they heap the opportunity costs of traffic congestion and auto accidents on gasoline which is a bout a thrid of the subisdy they claimed we are affording gasoline. If you are going to get that derivative, without gasoline, nobody gets up and goes to work so you first have to credit all economic activity to gasoline and then you can subtract those costs and you are still going to come out with a huge positive cost benefit for gasoline, thus no subsidy.
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @archibald tuttle
    Wrote "an area of science as robustly disputed as climate".
    Global warming is not robustly disputed, it is an easily discernible fact. Oceans are warming, glaciers are disappearing, and ice caps are shrinking, the North West Passage is open most summers now etc., CO2 is increasing at the fastest rate in discover-able history. 97% +/- of reputable climate scientists agree in peer reviewed documents.
    Oil production is subsidized from the tax relief of drilling to its arrival at the gas pump.
    But not much point in arguing with a mind that is already made up.
    Sal Santamaura
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    agreed, @nibs -- so I won't argue with you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @Jamie Hall
    As I believe is true with you, if you show me convincing facts that disagree with my belief, I will change.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    Don't forgot that it probably pretty safe to say a big portion of our "defense" budget can be connected to motor fuel usage....another form of subsidizing an energy source. TAxpayers subsidize WalMart and other big boxes by having to build bigger roads, traffic lights etc, to handle teh increased traffic of automobiles.

    BTW, motor fuel being used for getting to work is a choice made by those who have decided to not live near mass transit systems.... farmers and the support communities and trades being the big exceptions I see. We work a lot of dense neighborhoods in Chicago and probably at least a third of the residents don't even own cars, let alone drive them to work regularly. We've seen some huge employers moving out of the suburbs and back downtown in recent years and I suspect that has alot to do with the much larger workforce that is available for downtown.
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    ethicalpaul
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,588
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    California has a record of making huge decisions without having all the facts. I think legislation like this is similar to the power deregulation they are still paying for.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    Anyone seriously concerned about CC should write to her CongressCritter and demand more nukes.
    Forgive me for repeating:
    California wants to fight climate while it simultaneously destroys its nukes? I don't think CC fans are serious. Were they as worried as they claim to be over CC they'd do more to save our nukes.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,858
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    I'm curious.
    Is anyone in this discussion in California?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,858
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    > @jumper said:
    > Fukushima destruction was due to safety rules. Earthquake made reactors shut down so that power for cooling pumps had to come from elsewhere. (Nuclear submarine Thresher also went down because its reactor shut itself down.) The diesel generators at Fukushima flooded like they did during Katrina. Nobody died at TMI. Dangers from nukes can be avoided.
    >
    > Future generations will probably want more energy. Atomic power resources can last for centuries. Why oppose the inevitable future?

    So are you saying we shouldn't have any safety rules?
    Should we eliminate all codes as well? Where are we going with this?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    A few miscellaneous comments... Yes, at least one of us is California -- @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes lives in Berkeley, I believe, and my sister lives right next door, in Oakland. I've visited, and trust me -- the left coast is on a different planet. And California does have an... shall we say interesting?... record of adopting sounds good ideas with inadequate backup. Not just in energy, but in a number of other areas (the high speed train project, for example). There are understandable reasons why this should be the case, baked into the overall political structure, which I won't go into here. It is also a badly split state, between a highly urbanized supermajority on the one hand and a very rural population on the other, which occupies most of the state by land area. This is a situation which we see in a numbr of other states as well: Illinois (Chicago vs. the rest); New York (New York City vs. the rest); Massachusetts (Boston vs. the rest) and so on. The resulting political imbalance goes back to the "one man, one vote" rulings of the LBJ era.

    @ChrisJ brings up a question of should we have safety rules at all. I trust he is somewhat in jest -- he often is! -- but he does have a good point. Safety rules are only as good as the engineering used to implement them, and the people -- and training -- used to implement them. In my view, the greater the risk, the more careful the rules and training should be. However, in the design and construction half of that equation, the rules -- again in my view -- should not be prescriptive, but performance. Why? Because with prescriptive rules it is inevitable that the resulting design will be exactly what the rules require, with no thought as to why. We've all seen it. On the training side, it must be rigorous and complete. It is no accident (pun intended) that the US Navy has operated nuclear reactors for more than 60 years without an operator related accident (USS Thresher was a design or construction flaw) but the Russian Navy has not been so fortunate. But you don't have to look at nuclear power to see that; just drive down the street any day and contemplate the problem of operator training!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @jumper while I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with nuclear energy, it has been horribly mismanaged by the private sector and by regulators who may have sold out to the industry.
    Sal Santamaura
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,757
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    @archibald tuttle thanks for the thoughtful reply!

    We are not really that far apart in our thinking. I didn't actually ask permission to put in a new sink this year, but I was supposed to!!

    I'll answer one thing you said that was in my mind as well:

    > But how does preventing new gas customers stop gas leaks?

    It doesn't! But what it does do is start a first step away from delivering gas to each house. Without this step, it's not going to happen. And obviously no one can ban it outright (even Berkley!)

    And it's just a tiny city in CA, not the whole state. It's a perfect testbed for this idea, why not let's see how it turns out?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Zman
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,076
    edited July 2019
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    @archibald tuttle thanks for the thoughtful reply!

    We are not really that far apart in our thinking. I didn't actually ask permission to put in a new sink this year, but I was supposed to!!

    I'll answer one thing you said that was in my mind as well:

    > But how does preventing new gas customers stop gas leaks?

    It doesn't! But what it does do is start a first step away from delivering gas to each house. Without this step, it's not going to happen. And obviously no one can ban it outright (even Berkley!)

    And it's just a tiny city in CA, not the whole state. It's a perfect testbed for this idea, why not let's see how it turns out?

    Thank you............and it's Berkeley. Don't ask me why.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    ethicalpaul
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
    edited July 2019
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    @nibs until this week the consensus was an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away. the idea that 97% of experts however defined agree on a particular thing is a headline not a reality. But I offered you examples taken from 'consensus' literature, i.e. the anti-fossil fuels institutions pushing from the 'consensus' side into an area where they have no particular expertise, the cost/benefit associated with various mitigation, even accepting gross overstatements or misattribution of externalities. e.g. from the 'respected' academic side mendelsohn at yale forestry school critiquing another internationalist anti-fossil-fuel touchstone for cost benefit, "the stern report" on the discount rate question. This doesn't mean Mendelsohn is right, but that there is broad legitimate and demonstrable disagreement across the spectrum of issues that result in actual policy.

    I post below the monetary and tax expenditures by the federal government (there are some state level policies that have modest relevance but, at least in the coastal enclaves whence many of us come, all they do is put a heavier finger on the scale for renewables) which show actual subsidies for fossil fuels as negligible - about 4¢ per billion btus vs. renewables subsidies of $5.26 per billion btus. (because just the numbers showing 4 times the subsidies for renewables in dollar terms have to be divided by BTUs obtained to see the actual relative subsidies.)





    Thus, for this to look bad for fossil fuels, externalities have to be off the scale and there is ample evidence in the economic literature that forgetting the claimed consensus on climate science, there is nothing like that kind of a consensus on what are the cost benefit supported solutions even if one accepted that. That is why the IMF report dredges for externalities without which US subsidies for fossil fuel would look like next to nothing.

    The epidemology on particulates continues to be controversial since they are a marginal driver where smoking, alcohol consumption and localized issues are extrapolated over national populations with no conception of a threshold to these pollutants and where there are actually natural sources of both particulates and ground level ozone that contribute regularly to exceeding federal standards where i live. Just looking at the high purported mortality rate attributed to particulates for Russia in the IMF report lets you know something is fishy right away as they have a lower average exposure rate but more than twice the mortality. Even the IMF feels this anamoly important enough to address and they blame on alcohol and cigarette consumption. But if that is the case then these numbers don't truly disaggregate and correctly attribute causes.

    In any event, since this thread is about natural gas, natural gas is not a significant source of particulates so it's displacement of oil and coal in both industrial and home use is a theoretical benefit if one believes the IMF or not.

    So i'm offering you specifics of why I think these reports are just more paul ehrlich style malthusian garbage, and even if I believed them why natural gas is the stupidest energy source to try to tamp down given its domestic prevelance and relative cleanliness. I'm aware of other anti natural gas arguments which relate largely to production and distribution leaks as sources of methane but even those don't offset the CO2 benefits realized and even if it were seen as a tradeoff you get particulate benefits.

    You seem to repeat that fossil fuels are subsidized without either quantitatively or qualitatively pointing to the particular subsidies you object to. Nor do you offer any reason why economic anaylsis suggests they are serious concern and appropos of the particular topic, why stopping residential conversions to gas would be at all helpful. I am skeptical of the societal meme of trashing the energy sources that have and continue to raise living standards around the world (and notice the IMF cites China as showing much less particulate pollution per btu of coal because its later adoption of widespread grided power means that technology transfers -- both legitimate and theft -- offer developing countries a path to even cleaner use of fossil fuels.)

    I've posted the kind of information I examine and here's a link to the IMF report . I'm glad for you to walk me through a different interpretation. You're absolutely right that my current analysis of the cost/benefit regime of various fuels leads me to believe that the war on fossil fuels is ill begotten and that we would be far better off to focus on particulate thresholds and true direct health threats in our regulation of them while allowing the market to increase the prevalence of conservation and alternatives as they are affordable.

    Indeed, the one distinction you will notice between the EIA subsidies report between 2013 and 2016 is a modest shift in the extent of subsidies towards "conservation". Any in this industry may be fairly skeptical of the utility incentives for high efficiency gas boilers as they only obtain those efficiencies with relatively low return temperatures which the vast majority of installed base of emitters do not produce. So the net results are questionable even where we are getting paid to do the work. Although better control strategies and modest changes to emitters can take better advantage of the potential efficiency, but generally there aren't rebates for that.

    And I, like @Jamie Hall question why some utility customers should pay for someone else's new boiler (extrapolating from his desire to get rid of subsidies altogether). There is some rationale in the sense of not having to expand infrastructure, but that is the very infrastructure some suggest is problematic because it looses so much to leaks so minimizing gas usage is just another way we disincentivize natural gas infrastructure r&r which goes hand in hand with capacity expansion.

    So color me a skeptic of the war on fossil fuels but if you have some specific concern you think lays waste to these arguments besides generic claims about subsidies to fossil fuels, by all means i'm interested. That is why i read reports from the IMF of which i'm skeptical. I don't dismiss it because it's from the IMF but because of its contents. I respect that many people afford a great deal more concern to these background processes and predictions than I do and so contemplate the circumstance more like the buggy whip question. Indeed the emissions of say a horse based transportation economy with today's population would probably make fossil fuels look good. I simply don't believe we have reached anything like the inflection point and am more concerned that self imposed inefficiencies will rob of us of the capital that could effect the very transition you desire.

    I'm over the notion that this is between fossil fuels and renewables. the grid is the enemy to me, it is what is used to collect the subsidies. I'd love to see the grid go away in vast stretches of the country. Early to anticipate that on a large scale, but it was utterly stupid not to undertake such thinking in rural puerto rico. I think households going off the grid will be facilitated by renewable technologies, storage technologies and fossil fuel backup as epitomized by today's plug in hybrids, which are sadly almost entirely focused on sucking electricity out of the grid rather than on two way scenario.

  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
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    ChrisJ said:

    I'm curious.

    Is anyone in this discussion in California?

    Just Alan, as best I can tell. This time I've stayed out of it and watched as all the toes inched up to and crossed Erin's "no politics" line. She's been extremely tolerant, in my opinion. :)
    ChrisJRobert O'Brien
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    Speaking of subsidies and grids; electricity is expensive to deliver. Nevertheless we see industries which used to produce their own power now simply buy from utilities. When off grid does become economic; we'll see Costco and Walmart doing it before homeowners. In the meantime how will Berkeley and New York deliver the extra electricity they need? New York just lowered voltage and blacked out areas.
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 516
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    @archibald tuttle
    We are agreed that NG is probably the least polluting of the fossil fuels, and mentioned in an earlier post that we just ran a gas line two hundred feet to the house and installed a condensing combi. We are in the market for a gas cookstove so will be increasing our NG usage. My garden tractor is electric and is completely powered by a solar panel, am building in my spare time (hahaha) an electric trike.
    We, as citizens of the world must realize that fossil fuels are a finite resource and act accordingly for the sake of the future of the world.
    Gonna make an excuse here, that with the house building work load and a daughter arriving today with her family I will respond to your post, but since it may take me a few hours, you will have to be patient for a few days.
    Cheers.
    ethicalpaul
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
    edited July 2019
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    Sal, I agree, but any discussion about Energy is going to include politics.....They are just so intertwined.

    Jumper.... it really is sad to see Combined heat and power in many cities continue to be dumped. The efficiencies are supposed to be so much higher than almost anything else. It makes me wonder why....is it like the days when all the city trolley lines were bought out and shut down?

    Archibald are the subsidies you have listed include things like the defense budget to protect oil supplies overseas, clean up of spills, Additional roads and other networks to carry the fuel, loss of tax base due to roads taking up taxable land etc,. These subsidies function just like those that support the big boxes... they are usually not direct, but hidden in other costs.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ethicalpaulCLamb
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
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    nibs said:

    @archibald tuttle
    Gonna make an excuse here, that with the house building work load and a daughter arriving today with her family I will respond to your post, but since it may take me a few hours, you will have to be patient for a few days.
    Cheers.

    be of good cheer. i enjoy talking on your schedule. I admit a prediposition but hope not a closed mind.

    ethicalpaul
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
    edited July 2019
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    @The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro) . America is essentially more than energy self-sufficent and exporting fossil not importing on balance. There is a minor dynamic quality to that so we still receive some imports from traditional routes. But the whole blood for oil thing was over years ago if it ever was a thing to begin with. If those routes are being defended, its not to protect american fossil fuel use but the use of fossil fuel by those who criticize us for our own use. there is irony for you.

    As for road use, that is more of this derivative stuff, which if you want to credit all the benefit of people going to work and going to recreate and visit to fossil fuels be my guest, they come out looking good on any cost benefit measure as long as you allow the benefits. But if you think its not a free country and people should live where we tell them and travel by the methods we ordain then you presuppose these choices are not benefits. It isn't the oil companies forcing us to buy gas, it is us choosing to do so.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,306
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    Jumper.... it really is sad to see Combined heat and power in many cities continue to be dumped. The efficiencies are supposed to be so much higher than almost anything else. It makes me wonder why....is it like the days when all the city trolley lines were bought out and shut down?

    There's a difference between energy efficiency and what is currently least expensive. Trolley bus is less versatile than diesel. Streetcars require expensive rail maintenance.

    Sixty years ago refineries used worthless byproduct to produce their own power. The waste heat was then used for process heat and refrigeration. This total energy method requires capital equipment and skilled employees to run it. Nowadays refineries simply buy electricity to power pumps, compressors, and refrigeration. I'm not certain if the utilities provide the electricity below its true cost. Of course that depends on how one calculates true cost. Industrial customers are valuable because they provide base load.

    Just a guess,but my suspicion is that we pay less for electricity than long term cost. Way back in the seventies a Boston Edison executive complained that there's no return on distributing electricity. Consider the expense each time severe weather downs power lines.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,543
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    ChrisJ said:

    I'm curious.

    Is anyone in this discussion in California?

    Just Alan, as best I can tell. This time I've stayed out of it and watched as all the toes inched up to and crossed Erin's "no politics" line. She's been extremely tolerant, in my opinion. :)
    Strikes me, @Sal Santamaura that yes we are inched up to the line -- but what also strikes me (and good words to all who are participating in this thread!) is that while all of us have more or less strong opinions, we are also all being very civil about it. Doesn't surprise me much, given who we are, but it's very relaxing!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesZman
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    This is truly the best place to be! The collective synapses firing in this thread alone are superb. I love this type of orderly and intelligent discussion, rare if nonexistent elsewhere on a public forum.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
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    I know several professional chefs, and a very serious amateur chef. They all cook with gas, both at home and in their restaurants.

    My amateur chef friend lived near Princeton, NJ, and there was no natural gas on his street. He could not bear to cook with electricity, so he called the gas company to install gas to his home. They said it would cost too much as they would have to run a gas line the entire length of his street from the nearest access point. He was relatively rich, so he asked how much to run the gas line. They named a figure and he paid it. So he could cook with gas.

    As far as gas loss by leakage is concerned, my neighborhood was developed in about 1950. The gas mains down the street were buried black pipe, about 3 1/2 inch in diameter, running at a nominal pressure of 15 psi. That was for the stoves and hot water heaters of those who wanted it. My house had electric stove and hot water provided by a coil in the heating boiler back when heating oil must have been $0/20/gallon. The owner of my house converted it to electric hot water so he did not have to run the heating boiler all year.

    I bought the place in 1976, and the gas company was frequently digging up the streets to fix gas leaks. Finally, they gave up and installed larger diameter flexible plastic pipe running at 50 psi to distribute the stuff. Most everyone converted to gas heat, as did I. I now use indirect hot water heater. And now a natural gas fueled backup generator that recently ran about 18 hours straight when power failed in my neighborhood.

    Since the gas company put in the plastic pipe, I have not seen them digging up the streets every few weeks to fix leaks.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,588
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    Burning natural gas on a stovetop is certainly inefficient as most of the heat goes around the pan and into the air. A regular electric range does the same thing only from a less efficient fuel source. If the were serious about saving the world from us humans :D , they would have required all new homes to have electric induction burners only. Chefs love them and they are very efficient. I just made a cup of tea with my induction tea pot and you can touch the plastic burner when it is done, amazing...

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    ethicalpaul