trythil wrote:sounds like you're ignoring production-level deployments of renewable energy generation sources. Yes, they are early stage production deployments, but they work. The next thing to do is to scale up production, to drive costs down, and you don't achieve that with small-scale research prototypes. You achieve it by optimizing production processes in tandem with further basic research.
For example, there are solar cells (in research stage) that show 40% efficiency, a four-fold increase over typical production cells. That's pretty awesome. Meanwhile, we have installers like SolarCity that have developed business models (sustainable business, it seems) around this sort of thing, even with the comparatively inefficient cells we currently have access to. In time I'm sure they'll upgrade their product offerings to use better cells as they become available. It's just like any other industry.
I would like to know why Romney's plan seems to just ignore cases like SolarCity; I would like to know why he seems to have skipped over the possibility of federal assistance (note: not even necessarily money, because I don't think they need more money; it could just be streamlining regulation) for corporations like them. They're not the only one in the US.
If you aren't ignoring those cases and you still think that, I would like you to point out why you think they're not ready for prime time. Otherwise, your opinion is without factual basis, which is one of the biggest problems we have in politics.
Maybe we see things differently here, but to me a few small successes doesn't mean something is ready for commercialization and mass production. I'm not ignoring them but I'm not ready to throw caution into the wind and proceed on a large scale. As you've already pointed out they are still in early stages. The production processes include metals, sometimes harmful chemicals (greenhouse gases), I'm not sure if they still contain lead anymore but the older variants do and are currently large and bulky requiring alot of space. The cost of solar equipment right now is also a concern as it is technically only a commodity for middle to upper class who can afford it especially when government subsidies are gone. In some states with severe weather it is another concern since they are outside, Kansas in particular (I've lived there) had hail atleast 1 time almost every year. Not always large but potent enough to damage. I'm not sure about snow and ice storms effects on them but I'm sure it can't be good. Another point of interest is that the benefits will not be the same for every state (there are a few maps circulating that vary but here's one anyway):
I was born and mostly raised in Ohio, and it was almost ALWAYS cloudy there (depressing) so we moved to kansas. When its cloudy the amount of solar energy generated is significantly less. Another concern is that most of the energy generated in the USA is used by believe it or not large office buildings which are cluttered and sometimes have little roof space. Most businesses don't invest in something unless the cost is insignificant and the benefits are very significant. Something like this would be easilly commerializable and could very easily be laminated to every window in a building, it would be an insignificant cost and a very significant benefit in energy savings:http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsp9kw ... solar_tech
However its efficiency is still being improved. Since they are inside the building they are also easily maintained, replaced, safe from weather, etc... They don't even have to be ON the window, they can be inside the building near a window and generating energy for small electronics.
Wind energy may possibly be ready for large scale commercialization but I don't know as much about it as I'd like to comment on it. I would think it's maintenance around salt water would be even higher.
Hydropower generation is by far (well atleast in my opinion) the most efficient and beneficial green energy currently though it has the problem of limitation since only areas around a large source of water could even use it.
The idea is to mass fund research for all of the different kinds of energies and possibly discover hybrids that can even utilize green waste to create energy and are fully recyclable of necessary. In the past couple of years we've done what would have otherwise taken decades of research and funding (yay for obama doing something right atleast). An example of hybridization would be say a wind farm coated with a newly developed spray on solar to increase its efficiency even further or coating the kentucky dam with solar cells. I'm sure there are other possibilities out there like the photosynthesis from plant cells for solar energy that with time may even be of use for hybridization.
From the way you worded your post you seem to think I support Romney when in fact I'm still interested in neither candidates (again) and likely to vote for the one I agree with the most even if minimal.
TL;DR - We've come a long way but we still have a bit of a ways to go before the common man can afford and reap the benefits of green energy commercially. Possibly we see differently here as well tythril, I'm guessing you would rather have the government supply and invest in it for the common man but I would much rather see the common man buy something themselves that is cheap, efficient, and easy to use then have the government do it. That and our rising debt has had me worried for the longest time.
"The people cannot be [...] always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to [...] the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to public liberty. What country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned [...] that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."-Thomas Jefferson