[External] Re: 10g residential CPE

Matthew Petach mpetach at netflight.com
Tue Dec 29 20:11:10 UTC 2020

On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 4:26 PM Niels Bakker <niels=nanog at bakker.net> wrote:

> * mpetach at netflight.com (Matthew Petach) [Tue 29 Dec 2020, 01:08 CET]:
> >But as far as the physics goes, the conversion of biomatter into
> >petrochemicals in the ground is more "renewable" than the conversion
> >of hydrogen into helium in the sun.
> It's not. Where did Mr Metcalf think the energy comes from that is
> necessary for that process? You know, the energy that we can now
> extract by burning it?

The same place that provides the energy that gets
water back to the top of the mountains to make
hydroelectric energy "renewable".  The same place
that provides the energy that heats air masses to
different temperatures around the planet, creating
wind currents that move wind turbines to generate
"renewable" electricity.

It's just that water and wind energy cycles work on
shorter time cycles; those cycles are measured in
months and weeks, not in millenia the way the
absorption of solar energy by plants and then
eventual breakdown into petrochemicals underground

We have short-term renewables, like wind and
hydro; we have longer-term renewables like
oil and coal that take longer than the course
of human history to renew; and then we have
a completely consumable resource called the
sun which powers all the rest, but is itself on a
one-way trip to eventual extinction, albeit on a
much longer time scale.

I'm a huge fan of solar power, of wind power,
and pumped hydro energy storage.  But from
a long enough time horizon, it all depends on
a single, non-renewable energy source--the sun.

We just have the luxury of punting that concern
a few billion years down the road.   ;)

Coming back slightly more on topic--multiple
diverse power sources are always good to have,
but I'm mindful of the fried rodent incident at
Forsythe Hall from the mid-90s.  BARRnet
and SUNet were both impacted when the
datacenter there was taken completely offline
from a power perspective, in spite of having
two different off-campus power providers, plus
a local cogeneration plant and a generator out
in the parking lot.  One rodent in the heart of
the transfer switch made all the different power
feeds completely moot.  From a "single point of
failure" perspective, the transfer switch tends to
be the weakest link in the chain.  Has anyone
developed a distributed transfer switch, split
into different locations in a building, fed at different
entry points, that can withstand one portion of the
transfer system being knocked out?


(yes, Earth *is* a single point of failure...for now)
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