The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just Something to Consider

I am not a fan of electric cars. The hybrids are not a problem but all electric? Those I have a problem with.

"Why?", you ask. "Don't you realize we must do something about global warming, pollution, and our dependence on fossil fuels?"

I am sure we do need to think about all those things. And make necessary changes. But we need to think rationally and not just make changes for change's sake.

As I was thinking about electric cars, I considered the drawbacks to them. Pretty much the same drawbacks which caused them to lose out to internal combustion engine powered autos of the early 20th century. A lack of infrastructure to support them, primarily, and the cost of the vehicles. These problems still exist today. But there is more to the infrastructure support than just charging stations and the time needed to charge the batteries (these things can be addressed relatively easily and are being done). What about the electric grid upon which these vehicles will depend?

Why do I bring this up? Well, as I was perusing stories at the NY Times website, I came across this.

“If we fail at electricity, we’re going to fail miserably,” Curt H├ębert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a recent conference held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Yeah, that's putting it mildly, I think. Consider what happens in your own home when the power goes out for even an hour... meals are postponed, entertainment is curtailed, comfort is lost. Your phones might not work or maybe they do but you don't know it (especially if you are like my sister who forgot she needed electricity to power her cordless phones). If you depend on your electric car to commute, it might not be available (charged up) in time... especially if that "hour" turns into several... for you to leave in the morning... making you late for work. We don't like power losses that last 5 minutes, much less ones that last hours... or, worse, days or weeks... it completely disrupts our lives.

I have seen power outages in small areas that lasted weeks and these were in places that used wells for water and those wells required electric pumps. It wasn't pretty and the people who lived there got pretty ripe in a few days. Not to mention the problems cooking meals, doing the wash, and so on.

What happens when 50% of all vehicles are electric powered? And how do we handle the increased demand for electricity? Fracking to get natural gas after we convert that 50% or so power generating units that are currently coal fired? More nuclear plants? Electricity doesn't just magically appear, you know, it has to be produced by machines which need fuel to run on. Solar power? Wind power (turbines)? Not quite ready for "prime time", as they say. And where do we put those windmills? the acronym NIMBY comes to mind and takes up residence there.

As the title says... "Just something to consider."


Tom Sightings said...

As a homeowner who loses power a couple of times a year . . . I hear ya'! But also, those gas pumps need electricity too (as several of my neighbors with home gas-powered generators found out during Sandy). One more thing. Electric cars don't make any noise; can't hear them coming. I practically got run over by one in a parking lot a month or so ago.

I wish there were some easy answers, but apparently not.

Douglas said...

Tom, we all want simple answers... especially to complex issues... And politicians always offer them, don't they? And never deliver.
We knew that (about the gas pumps) in Florida quite a few years ago, even passed a law saying all new stations had to have backup power systems. Of course, the old ones are not required to retrofit.

On those quiet electric cars? See: