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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:30:46

I'm sure the Koch Brothers are not the only rich fossil fuel magnates who are trying to step on the head of newborn renewable energy. RM, you are doing a pretty good job of talking it down unless it's located in Texas. But you are actually (if you'lll pardon my blunt expression) blowing greenhouse gases from your nether regions when you ignore this:
Image

See the dark brown band off the NE coast? It's the absolute best wind resource in the entire continental USA, and the only part of the country that averages above 10mph wind velocity, year after year. It's all offshore, as well - and it includes the Nantucket shoals (the biggest one being Horsehoe Shoal where Cape Wind still has a permit to build) and Georges Bank (where we can all agree is too delicate to risk, seeing as messing it up might destroy the entire Atlantic fishery).

The facts are that (according to the NASA study a few years back) the brown band of NE offsore wind resource marked above will almost always be producing near the peak output capacity, whereas onshore wind will almost always be at some fraction of peak, and sometimes at zero output. IOW, the intermittancy that troubles renewables is absent from this area, night and day, all year round.

This is why Cape Wind must be built, why I supported it, why I approved of the things Barack Obama said about Green Power, not understanding that he too was simply generating GHG's.

The island of Nantucket is itself in that ideal wind resource band, and my new home as well. I'm currently researching residential sized wind turbines, and now you know why. A nicely sized, stout wind turbine, a Powerwall battery, and an efficient ground sourced heat pump to supplement the existing oil burner are the outline of the plan I am developing. Then as I make energy efficiency improvements to the house itself, adding such things as an electric induction stove and heat pump water heater, I'll eventually reach a point where I can exist off grid.
Last edited by KaiserJeep on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:43:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:40:44

ROCKMAN wrote:Z - "And who was recently beating the drum for Georgetown, TX, going 100% solar/wind next year? Or do they have an opt-out policy?" Not sure if they do but why would they need one? They knew exactly what their electric rate will be for the next 25 years when they signed the contracts. Do you and your neighbors know what your rates will be 20 years from today?
...
Overall a rather tightly strung together project. Apparently much more so the offshore NE wind.


I guess I could have been more specific: both Georgetown and Cape Wind projects demand long-term contracts and rate increases to be paid by the consumer. Both are meant to generate profits for the investors. One fell through, the other didn't; apparently the difference is mainly the cost per kWh to become economical, while the basic business model is the same. How much would Cape Wind power have cost the average consumer, and how much do the people in Georgetown pay *in excess of average electricity prices* in their respective areas?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 23:57:35

Zarquon wrote:
ROCKMAN wrote:Z - "And who was recently beating the drum for Georgetown, TX, going 100% solar/wind next year? Or do they have an opt-out policy?" Not sure if they do but why would they need one? They knew exactly what their electric rate will be for the next 25 years when they signed the contracts. Do you and your neighbors know what your rates will be 20 years from today?
...
Overall a rather tightly strung together project. Apparently much more so the offshore NE wind.


I guess I could have been more specific: both Georgetown and Cape Wind projects demand long-term contracts and rate increases to be paid by the consumer. Both are meant to generate profits for the investors. One fell through, the other didn't; apparently the difference is mainly the cost per kWh to become economical, while the basic business model is the same. How much would Cape Wind power have cost the average consumer, and how much do the people in Georgetown pay *in excess of average electricity prices* in their respective areas?


In case this hasn't been clear from everything I have said in this thread already, I am a Cape Wind investor, and gave them $7500 in their IPO in 2007, right after Obama declared the project "shovel ready" in his 2007 presidential campaign. The stock was briefly worth 3X what I paid for it, then fell to pennies per share, and has not been traded since 2008, when they reorganized for the first time.

All of the past financial shenanigans are absent from the Wikipedia article and the Cape Wind web site. But my backside has never stopped hurting.

In case you are wondering WHY Cape Wind has not been built, a rich coterie of millionaire and billionaire investors, including the Kennedy/Shriver family and the Koch Brothers, oppose the project. The fact that their 27th lawsuit has just been dismissed means that they will soon file the 28th. They seem to be able to afford better lawyers than us Cape Wind supporters, and more of them.

I'm actually quite bitter about this, and appalled - because the estimate is that the coal emissions that Cape Wind would replace kill 1200 people each year in the area where I just inherited a house from the wife's parents. I'm an EE and I can power the home with the wind myself. But I cannot figure out how to avoid breathing the coal fumes, or living in the deathprint of the pollution of decades of coal burning, which is a legacy of heavy metals and mercury and radioactives produced when one burns "high quality" hard coals. In actual fact, the entire Eastern US has this problem:
Image
Understand, the paying customers of the power grid in the areas above also bear the responsibility for their lifestyles and the pollution emitted. The Koch Brothers did not cause the deaths above. They (and the Kennedy/Shrivers and the unnamed others) only bear the blame for 1200 or so people a year, those who sicken and die because Cape Wind has not been built.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby jawagord » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 10:40:56

KaiserJeep wrote:It's an apples and oranges argument you are making. YES the presence of electricity would (briefly) save lives in countries where cooking was done with open fires of wood or dried dung. But in a country like the USA where virtually every home is electrified and not even considered habitable without power, coal is the #1 contribution to the disease and deaths caused by air pollution.

Yes, coal power is the fastest way to electrify countries without an electric grid. But after a brief drop in mortality, they would be still paying off the power plant when it went dark as we run out of coal. There are 6-8 decades of coal available at current consumption rates, and if we attempt to bring the 3rd world nations up to a lifestyle approaching Western Middle Class, perhaps half that supply, only 3-4 decades. Meanwhile if you happen to believce in Global Warming, the doubling of coal burning will have cooked the globe by then.

Since coal is the deadliest form of power generation, we should implement renewables by choice everywhere we can. NO, most of the world will not ever achieve a Western Middle Class lifestle. Nor will we in the Western World have such unless we transition to renewable energy.

I'm not actually pro-nuke, even though I do believe the mortality statistics in the Forbes article. The problem with nuclear energy is that it is subject to the same peak effect as fossil fuels, and we have already mined all the best uranium, just as we have already pumped all the best petroleum. Uranium is not renewable.


You've got a real 1st world attitude there KJ. No sense helping the people in developing countries, we can't having them living better, will hurt the planet and their doomed anyways. The math is simple, developing country deaths are largerly in children under 5, prevent their death and we extend their life 60-70 years, not briefly! Centralized power pollution can be filtered and is otherwise greatly diluted which is why it has much less affect on human life span, its not a child killer, in our modern societies instead of living to 75 yrs, maybe you die at 74.9 yrs, a good trade in anyone's books for not dying at 5. GW will never cook the earth, some areas will become less habitable (some more habitable), so people will do what they have always done, adapt or move, which will be a lot easier if we get them out of poverty first.

We should be helping LDCs build coal fired power plants with modern filtration. Lift them out of poverty and then in 40-50 years they can transition away from coal to other "cleaner" sources of energy.

FYI, there is a glut of Uranium production which has depressed pricing for most of this decade. If you still think we are running out, here is a tidbit from Hubbert's presentation 70+ years ago.

"From these evidences it appears that there exists within the minable depths in the United States rocks with uranium contents equivalent to 1000 barrels or more of oil per metric ton, whose total energy content is probably several hundred times that of all the fossil fuels combined. The same appears to be true of many other parts of the world."
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 11:58:18

No, I don't have a 1st World attitude. Do the math - there are 7.5 Billion people already, and in the 4 or 5 decades you are talking about, there will be a lot more:
Image
See the green line, the U.N. so-called "low estimate"? That scenario is one where Global Warming is real and we die from it, which was the actual meaning of my remark "cooked". But if we are not dying from GW by then, there may be as many as 12 billion humans in the time frame you are talking about.

There are already too many people , and not enough stuff that people need to live. Not enough food, not enough clean water, not enough croplands, not enough fish, not enough energy. The mere presence of 7.5 B humans is killing the Earth, if you want to know the details, peruse the thread on the 6th Great Extinction, the one caused by the human overshoot population.

It sounds very much like you are no great believer in AGW. I am too - welcome to the minority opinion on this board. But if you are thinking that Uranium prices are depressed, think again - the low prices for the period 1993 to 2013 were the result of the "Megatons to Megawatts Program", where the USA purchased enriched uranium from the USSR and used it to fuel reactors. You see, most of the cheaply accessable fissionables were mined and fashioned into bombs, not reactor fuel. Hubbert assumed we would use the resource for power in his optimistic 1956 paper.

Human overpopulation is a 3rd World problem, and every time we share medicine, agriculture, or energy tech with them, it gets worse. In the Western 1st World, there would be a slowly falling population if it were not for immigration from 2nd and 3rd World countries.

I did not say that I liked this situation, or that it was not a human tragedy. But I do believe that your proposal to attempt to bring the 3rd World up to 1st World lifestyles, will increase suffering and in the end, kill more people.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:01:44

KJ - One confusing aspect of your death by coal map: Texas by far consumes more then any other state:

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/ene_co ... onsumption

Yet the death count is relatively low compared to the NE. But I once read that Texas coal burning plants were the most efficient in the country since, in general, they were fairly new compared to the NE. If correct maybe they also produce less of what's killing folks.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:14:09

RM, the two prime factors for the deathrate would be the coal used and the number of people who breathe the fumes. Texas has a lot of cheap real estate and keeps the nasty power plants away from the people. New England cannot do that, people live directly adjacent, as they do in most of the the more densely populated Eastern half of the country.

Nantucket at least has a breeze, almost always. But sometimes you catch the stink from the mainland. But that is still better than the big diesel generators and the big steel tanks that formerly were located about 100 yards from Main Street Nantucket town. They were stinky, unhealthful, noisy, and eyesores to boot, located in big red brick buildings with glass block windows that let in light and kept the noise down. The town burned down once in the days of whale oil, and they were lucky it didn't burn down in the last half of the 20th Century.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 28 Sep 2017, 16:55:01

Z - Sorry for the delay. How much is Georgetown, Texas, going to pay for its electricity by going 100% renewable?. Still haven't found the exact price but here's the word from its utility company: less then it was paying for fossil fuel fired sources under its previous contract.

https://georgetown.org/2015/03/18/georg ... y-by-2017/

"The City of Georgetown signed a power purchase agreement with SunEdison to purchase 150-megawatts of solar power starting in 2016. SunEdison will provide electricity to Georgetown through 2041. The new renewable power contracts signed by Georgetown provide electricity at a lower overall cost than its previous wholesale power contracts.

From Paul Gaynor, executive vice president of North America Utility and Global Wind. “Georgetown...by going 100 percent renewable they cut down on pollution, save water, and enjoy stable energy prices. They’re able to accomplish all of this without spending a penny up-front with the SunEdison power purchase agreement. Georgetown is a model for other cities that hope to become powered by clean renewable energy.”

"In addition, Georgetown has contracted with EDF for 144-megawatts out of a 194-megawatt capacity wind project...that will begin delivery of power next year. The Spinning Spur 3 project is currently under construction. A 20-year contract with EDF for wind power signed in 2014 will provide competitively-priced renewable energy to Georgetown customers through 2035."

"When Georgetown Utility Systems opted to seek new sources of power in 2012, we were charged with a mission to secure the most cost-effective energy that balanced risk and reward,” says Jim Briggs, general manager for utilities. “Our team took advantage of a unique time in the market place and did just that. By securing these renewable contracts the utility can consider itself 100 percent ‘green,’ but it does so at extremely competitive costs for energy, and it hedges against future fuel and regulatory risks, fulfilling our initial goal.”

And again without going into detail again, essentially all of the Texas electricity production, transmission, distribution and sales are controlled by the elephant in the room that everyone readily sees: ERCOT. Which is how Georgetown buys 100% green power from a system that is still mostly supplied by fossil fuels in addition to wind that supplies 12% from wind and now with solar beginning its big expansion. Again the great advantage of Texas being solely on its own electric grid. So even when there's a few hours when wind and solar can't supply Georgetown with its demand it can still pull electrons out of the system since they aren't labeled wind, solar or fossil fuel. But at the end of the month the city only sends a check to the wind and solar power generators: 100% of the city's consumption is "banked" with ERCOT. Thus the city will never have to deal with the intermittent problem. Why such low rates? The utility refers to a unique aspect of the electric market: there are moments when the rates are actually NEGATIVE when wind is adding so much to the grid above the scheduled fossil fuel base load we have excess total production.

But the really exciting development is E.on currently building a grid scaled battery storage system that will be fed by two of its west Texas wind power. Now we're talking a direct solution to the intermittent problem.
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