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Original Post (Thread Starter)
by anthropic
Dan van Schaik wrote a fascinating article, The New Environmental Movement and Wildlife, in the latest Pond Boss magazine. I urge you to read it, brings up issues that are seldom discussed about the move to electric vehicles and what it would mean for wildlife & pond owners. Several car companies pledge to go all electric in the next decade or two, and the state of California seeks to ban sales of internal combustion vehicles in the 2030s. It's coming.

I enjoy political rants, but this isn't one of them. Van Schaik doesn't endorse or condemn any politician or political party, nor any policy. He simply wants land & pond owners to understand the environmental impacts of so many more right of ways that must be built for all the additional electric lines that will be required. It is a real eye opener.

One point I'd add is that because "green" energy, solar & wind, is inherently diffuse (not to mention intermittent) compared with nuclear or fossil fuels, it takes literally hundreds of times more land to supply the same energy. Such a large footprint means that solar & wind are normally located far away from where the power is most needed, as open land is too scarce & expensive near urban areas. Thus, even more right of ways and electric lines are needed than from more conventional sources.

This fragments natural wildlife areas, as Schaik details. But it also increases the risk of wildfires, as lines must run through vulnerable areas such as forests. Californians know all about this. When it gets windy, risk a wildfire or have the electricity cut off: Take your pick.

Again, I'm not trying to make a political statement here. Won't respond to Trump or Biden or partisan remarks. But I do agree with van Schaik that we need to be aware of the consequences of a move to EV & green energy. As an economist, I know every decision involves tradeoffs, costs as well as benefits, that must be weighed carefully.
Liked Replies
by highflyer
My big V-8 is Platinum metallic, but it is not in the barn, it's in the garage and I plan to take it out in a few for a ride.

About the electrical grid and EV's, This is a topic I know enough about to get into trouble, but here goes anyway. Our Grid's issues are not about capacity, their issues are about maintenance. Our grid can handle adding the approximately 1/3 more energy through it, and our current grid can be upgraded to higher capacities without adding "more lines". Our grid's issues are a balance between maintenance costs and profits. Adding Solar to homes actually lowers the grid requirements. Adding smart charging EV's to our grid allows those EV's to be charged when demand is low which will not add to the requirements for additional lines. Now for the benefits of adding EV's to the grid. They can be standby energy for homes during grid outages. They can level the system spikes and actually reduce the requirements for additional lines needed for increased demands spikes. It all depends on how you setup your grid and the EV charging routines.

I do agree adding solar to buildings must be done correctly or you will cause additional problems for us all. Large field Solar systems are another topic and should be addressed separately.

Now it's time to turn some reformed dinosaur juice into noise, but only after a proper warmup and some stretching.
2 members like this
by DannyMac
Texas already spent $6 billion to run several 345 kV transmission lines to far west Texas wind farms (where the wind usually blows) and to interconnect all the major load centers to the new lines and to re-enforce load center interconnections. For all the new wind farms on the gulf coast (colonizing Kennedy county), new transmission lines need only run to the near load centers (such as Alice, Brownsville and Kingsville) to inter-connect with major existing transmission. All together producing about twenty thousand megawatts (equal to eight 2,500 mW two unit nuclear plants), until all froze over in mid-February.

Transmission lines don't start forest fires unless...maintenance clearing of tree growth is prohibited or lines are so overloaded they heat up and extend down into the trees (such as moving thousands of megawatts through a line designed for 600 megawatts). Both causes can work together (tall trees and sagging overloaded lines) and are common occurrences in the Western and Eastern grids where power is often moved over thousands of miles.
2 members like this
by liquidsquid
A trend you will likely see that will offset some grid demand is more working from home... which in turn will get people thinking hard about home solar and charging the EV from your own solar juice and less driving. At least, that is what we are thinking. Our next commuter vehicle will be an EV to replace my wife's aging Subaru. My plan is to solarize the house with some form of local storage for dealing with blackouts when they invariably occur. I just need to do this after the kitchen re-do or I will be solarizing my dog house.

(Look at Stor-En for flow batteries, cool stuff) https://www.storen.tech/ working with them on the power conversion part.

The stinky part is I really need a truck, but generally I preferred to retire than have a truck, so a Subaru it is. When EV comes around as a primary style of transportation, trucks are going to be penalized even further, putting them out of reach for mere mortals. An EV truck will be good for a fleet vehicle as they are not typically putting a zillion miles on them, but for a general purpose vehicle they will not be a good choice.

One thing that burns my butt is the lack of progress on Thorium reactors. Enough energy contained in already mined Thorium to run our country for a century or more yet we are going after unreliable energy sources that require quite a bit of raw materials per kilowatt to produce.
2 members like this
by Dave Davidson1
Dave Davidson1
I have a transmission line on my property. It was there when I bought the place over 40 years ago. The transmission line had kept the place on the market for a long time with no interest/takers. It's about 3/4 miles from the house and I saw it as a good place to spot deer crossing it. Now, I keep a corn feeder filled there to have year around hog hunting.

Back then I paid $415 per acre for 133 acres of totally junk land. Now worth, according to a realtor buddy, between $4,500 to $5,000 per acre. That line hasn't done much damage to it.
1 member likes this
by Sunil
It's certainly an interesting article, and while D.V.S. (author) plays it somewhat neutral, it seems he's not really in favor of the 'green' plans.

While science and scientists have to 'reach for the stars,' or 'aim high,' or push the envelopes, or however you want to coin it, I can never seem to get past viewing life through a 'ying and yang' perspective, or 'good and bad.'

These may be old canards, but I'm not sure they've ever been proven wrong: ....you can't create something from nothing; no free lunches; you have to take the good with the bad; rob Peter to pay Paul, etc. etc.
1 member likes this
by DannyMac
I starting to think about disassembling and selling parts of our 36 year old house, to replace it with something smaller and more modern for people seventy years old.
1 member likes this
by Theo Gallus
Theo Gallus
You have a deviously suspicious mind, Sir.
1 member likes this
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