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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 baha » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 20:28:21

$/watt numbers from 2012 are off by a factor of at least 3.
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 21:04:43

OK, let's google some lower prices:
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/08/24/me ... 5-12-2015/

"Utility-scale projects completed in 2015 also vary widely in price, with the cheapest 20 percent priced below $1.60/W, compared to the most expensive 20 percent priced above $2.60/W."

We should get some good prices for our LC plant, so let's use $1.60/W. The system now costs $440 billion and break-even is in 11.2 years, unless you add in maintenance, interest and other peanuts.

Hmmm...
http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_re_cost_est.html
Average operation and maintenance costs for PV (1-10 MW) are $16/kWa, deviation +/- $9. Let's use $16 because Rockman has to drive all the way from Houston to polish the panels:
$4,400,000,000/a.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 21:58:52

KJ - "Sorry RM, but Texas is ranked 11th, well behind them damned Yankees in NY, NJ, and Taxachutsetts...." No appolgy necessary, buddy. Now that solar is becoming a common sense investment we're beginning its expansion. As I noted earlier it will be a critical component of the first major US city (Georgetown, Texas) to go 100% green for all its electricity consumption.

Z - Focusing on Loving County, Texas for 3 reasons: lowest population (90) of any county in the state, lots of relentless sun summer and winter and 670 sq miles of nearly useless scrubland. I offer it to counter the GENERAL statement that there's not a suffgicient amount of land for solar utility. That may be true in some heavily populated urban areas. OTOH if either the eastern or western grids were improved then I suspect sufficient areas for major commercial solar arrays could be constructed and power shipped to primary consumption hubs.

Which is exactly how Texas could expand wind power as it did. And now that we have the expanded grid we can begin to expand solar since it's becoming more economical. Previously lands in the eastern portion of the state, where electricity consumption is concentrated, are too productive (read expensive) to compete with inefficient solar.

BTW I recently discovered one aberration in the eastern grid. A portion has been expanded (with more underway) to utilize Canadian alt energy. Granted some is hydro but a portion is wind and solar. From 2013: "TransCanada announced it has completed the acquisition of the first of nine Ontario solar power facilities from Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. The combined capacity of the nine projects is 86 MW and the cost of the portfolio will be approximately $470 million." And now its entire renewable network is up for sale...valued for around $10 billion.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 22:17:21

Some further googling indicates that we're probably going to need Winker County, too.

Topaz Solar Farm has a capacity of 550 MW on 9.5 square miles. Nellis Solar Power Plant has 14 MW on 140 acres. And so on and so on... non-tracking, one-axis tracking, unused space, it varies. But actual, real-life land requirements are higher than what I used.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 145537.htm

This time, the data come not from estimates or calculations, but from compiling land use numbers from actual solar power plants. Every solar energy site analyzed in the study is listed in a detailed appendix.

"All these land use numbers are being thrown around, but there has been nothing concrete," Ong said. "Now people will actually have numbers to cite when they conduct analyses and publish reports."


Like our Loving County report. Now someone just has to read the damn paper. I'm tired, so that'll have to wait. But you'd better buy some land in Winkler County tonight, we'll need it tomorrow.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 22:40:37

Can you see where this is going? Since 2012 prices have fallen by a factor of 3 and production/sqft has increased by 50% The rate of change has slowed but we're not done yet...
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 23:00:12

You are a PV partisan baha.

There is so much wrong with grid tied solar. It depends on coal/uranium baseload and is at the end of a petroleum-rich infrastructure. It was a nice thing for the solar pioneers (of which I was one), allowed them to justify the purchase and guilt-trip the GW fanatics. But grid-tied solar is no substitute for cheap petroleum, which is going going gone.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Sun 29 Jan 2017, 23:27:49

Newfie wrote:Why not put the damn solar panels over parking lots? That's land we have already despoiled for any other useful purpose.


You need economy of scale. Show the work crew where to start, give them a compass direction and tell them to plop down panels till they reach Oklahoma. Mean cost per kW installed in the US (2016) was $3.80 for small (< 10 kW) systems and $2 for large plants (1-10 MW). I don't have numbers for the really large plants at hand, but you should get closer to $1/kW. Assuming a factor of at least 3-4 in cost reduction/kW between small and really large plants seems reasonable. Panels are still dropping in price, but the cannot drop forever; there's a lower limit. If you can break even today with a small rooftop installation, that's fine. But the way forward is in scale.

"In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual electricity consumption at 15,435 kWh per residential customer, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,166 kWh per residential customer."


Wow. IIRC the average household in Germany uses 3,500 kWh/a. But then you guys leave the car running in the garage, too, because gas is so cheap.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 00:05:57

The current very low cost per PV panel is because China is dumping PV panels below cost in the USA until they put all US PV manufacturers out of business. Things like the Tesla solar roofs and a very few innovative new domestic panel manufacturers work against this goal.

Very probably, Trump will apply import tariffs on Chinese-manufactured PV panels until he can bring them to parity with US panels.

What everybody is neglecting in their simplistic cost of PV electricity from your roof is that if one owns the PV system plus a Powerwall or other battery, in most places (but not NC), you can go off-grid and end your electric bill.

In some states (thankfully including California) the practice of "net metering" is used with grid-attached solar without batteries. All you have to do then is to produce more energy than you consume, and they would owe you instead of you paying them. I have a combined natural gas and electrical bill from PG&E, so that's not quite true for me, and in Winter heating season I spend $150/month on natural gas anyway. The bad news is that the "grid connect" fee and various taxes added to my electric bill have pushed my minimum electrical payment from $5.60 per month to $16.40 per month in the 6 years since I leased the panels.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 00:36:54

I accept your label Pstarr. And bow to your amazing analytical abilities :)

Good Night
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 08:59:30

baha wrote:
Newfie - Depending on how old your panels are you could probably replace them with new and get 1.5 times the power from the same area. .


OR you could adjust your lifestyle and not need that much power.

Technology is NOT (the fundamental) answer. You say you respect Mother Earth? Then lighten up the load.

A HUGE part of our problem in Western Culture is this idea that we are necessary consumer units whose job is to consume and grow the economy. THAT idea is death to our natural habitat and to our species.

And that is simple fundamental physics, there is no perpetual motion machine.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 09:02:46

Absolutely, if wind and solar are ever really going to work it would work in the context of a downgrade in consumer expectations on the part of everyone. Also, much less people to boot.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Revi » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 09:14:07

We might have a chance at a semblance of a modern life if we could live like people on a boat, with LED lights, small solar and wind systems feeding batteries that power a tiny, tiny fridge, a small propane stove (2 burners), a small heated living space, say around 250 square feet, and other systems that actually make energy instead of just consuming it. This is the big car of the future:
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 09:19:37

I still remember the Archdruid Greer, saying that certain energy necessities like heating water and a few other really can be done with much less energy than we use now for such uses
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 09:55:38

It's funny but when you live in a small space little things make a noticeable difference. Changing from halogen to LED lights was such a change. It made a big difference in our battery draw. We still have a couple of halogen lights that are used only very occasionally.

We took a bad of old incandescent and halogen bulbs to a nautical flea market and marked it FREE. No takers. That tells you something.

I am old school and use a pressure kerosene stove, one on each boat and one in the cabin. I know of one fellow who cooks with a microwave. He has a big solar installation and generates more than enough power. He kept track for a while and figured for him the microwave, using free electrify, was cheaper than propane.

We don't have the solar or, more importantly, the battery capacity. If I can figure out where to put it an additional 4-6V golf cart batteries would be useful. Double my bank.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 10:36:04

Z - "...we're probably going to need Winker County". No problamo. Winkler County, at 870 sq miles, would just be another 0.3% of the total area of Texas. Relocation of the local 7,100 people a tad more expensive but just a tiny fraction of the total project cost. Of course if we want to build just a few dozen 150 MW solar farms there would be no need to relocate anyone. In fact the locals would be thrilled with a few new jobs. LOL.

The key to expanding the Texas solar footprint will probably be similar to the Georgetown plan to go 100% renewable electricity. It signed a 25-year deal with SunEdison, the world’s largest renewable energy company, to buy 150 megawatts of solar power . With a guaranteed revenue stream SunEdison could use it to establish a loan basis. That eliminates all the debates over theoretical economics and puts the cost/efficiency burden solely on SunEdison. If the Georgetown (poppulation 55,000) project, as well as others underway, prove themselves they could be used as a model by dozens of other Texas cities:

"Improving technology has driven down the price of solar power, making it more competitive with other resources­ — even without extra incentives. That trend has sparked what some industry experts describe as a small “land rush” in West Texas, and it’s increasingly convincing utilities that solar power is workable. San Antonio’s (population 1.4 million) CPS Energy, which plans to retire one of its oldest coal plants ahead of schedule, has set a goal of using renewable energy to meet 20 percent of its electricity demand by 2020, with at least 100 megawatts from renewable resources other than wind. Once completed, its Alamo Project is expected to deliver 400 megawatts of solar power to the area. And the Austin (metroarea population 2 million) utility signed a deal with a California company to build a 150-megawatt solar farm in West Texas, to help meet its ambitious renewable energy goal."

So CA can brag about rushing big time into solar before it became fully commercially viable. But Texas is currently showing the rest of the country how to do solar with 100% private capex. IOW no waiting on a crutch from the govt.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 11:19:11

Looker - "if wind and solar are ever really going to work it would work in the context of a downgrade in consumer expectations". OTOH consumers in Texas are supporting both solar and wind (as described above) with expectations of UPGRADING their lifestyles as the Texas economy continues to grow with the projected significant INCREASE in electricity consumption. If fact not just expecting it to happen but demanding it.

I know it's strange: the population of the state that produces more fossil fuel then any other making long term energy decisions over short term cheaper options. Like the consumers in Georgetown voting for higher initial electricity rates so it can benefit from stable and lower long term rates. It's almost as if common sense is running wild in Texas. LOL.

I pointed out before how this odd cooperation between politicians, regulators, private industry and consumers has come about. It's a result of the power (pun intended) our electricity "csar" holds...ERCOT. And does so because of its internal structure: ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers,) and municipal-owned electric utilities.

So instead of just 3 musketeers it's a bunch of them essentially coerced to be "all for one and one for all". IOW minimal turf battles. LOL. Too bad the other 2 US electric grids don't have their own ERCOT's.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 17:42:52

Let's see. According to the EIA, residential use of electricity was 38% of total consumption in 2015. Lifestyle decisions have little impact on industrial and commercial use, at least not directly. Public transport was 0.2%, i.e. nothing. Where can you save some power, without going Amish?

http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/inde ... ricity_use

Let me risk getting ridiculed for being clueless and just pull a few numbers out of my behind, just to see where I end up:

- Space cooling 13%
"For example, AC accounts for 60-70% of the average home's summertime power bill in Austin." (not from EIA, but seems reasonable)
No idea how efficient your typical air conditioning is, how over-dimension-ed or how many are running when not needed. Let's just guess and cut the number by 3%. A little less comfort, some investment in higher efficiency.

- Refrigerators and freezers 11%
Last time I measured our fridge's and freezer's consumption, they amounted to very little. Unless yours is from the 1950s, not much potential there. But let's cut it by 2%, just because you just could spend a little more the next time you buy a new one. Or empty the freezer and switch it off when you're on holiday.

- Lighting 11%
I guess CFLs and LEDs are pretty much standard by now. But let's cut this by another 2%. Switch off the light in the kitchen, and put real candles on the Christmas tree.

- Water heating 9%
Just guessing that there isn't much potential. Let's cut it by 1%.

- Space heating 7%
Surprisingly much. I'm just guessing (did I mention that?): if you use electricity for heating, then you probably live in a rather hot climate and have the cheapest heating system in terms of installation costs. Or it's a weekend house. What can we save there? A lot with better insulation, but I guess that idea won't fly in southern Florida. Let's cut it by 2% anyway.

- TV et al 7%
Stop watching TV would be a good idea, unless it's Better Call Saul. Watching it on a 12" screen would also save massive amounts. Not popular, though. We just say you'll switch the plasma screen off during advertising breaks and cut 2%.

The rest is from another page (slightly different year, so the numbers don't add up exactly to 100%):
http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=96&t=3

- Clothes dryers 4%
- Furnace fans and boiler circulation pumps 3%
- Computers and related equipment 2%
- Cooking 2%
- Dishwashers 2%
- Clothes washers 1%
Save a Wh here and there if you like. But in the grand scheme of things: no cuts. Or you could say I'm too lazy to research potential electricity savings in average US dishwashers.

So far I've invested thousands in this average US household to buy more efficient appliances, I've reduced my thermal comfort through less heating and cooling, I've installed LEDs everywhere. I haven't gone out of my way to save the Earth but I'm now much more conscious about my consumption. So far I've cut my electricity use by 12%. Fine.

- All other uses 28%
"Includes small electric devices, heating elements, exterior lights, outdoor grills, pool and spa heaters, backup electricity generators, and motors not listed above. Does not include electric vehicle charging."
The big catch-all. Impossible to guess, but I sell the electric outdoor grill and stop heating the pool. I charge the cell phone at the office and mow the lawn only every second month. Insert any number you like, but I'll cut it by another 8%.

(There's a lot of strange numbers everywhere. ~6% of US households are mobile homes?)
http://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/bui ... ouseholds/

And now the miracle happens: I convince *everybody else* to change their habits and consumption. It costs a lot of money but it adds up to 20% of household electricity use. Maybe my numbers are so wildly off that the whole exercise it futile anyway. But maybe I've at least hit the ballpark. I don't see how we could save 50% without a lot of magical thinking, but I'm sure we can squeeze more than 10% out of every household. Not much from the unemployed, lots from the well-to-do (who have the least incentive to save).

Result: since residential use is 38% of the total, we've just reduced US electricity consumption by a little over 7%. You can call that what you like. Insert your own numbers. But what I wanted to find out was whether changing our lifestyle could be a real game-changer. Get a little greener here and there and save the world. I don't think so. Where in the above list do you get enough points to really change the game?

https://www.statista.com/statistics/201 ... ince-1975/

Another surprise for me: US consumption has almost doubled from 1980 to 2005 - and stayed essentially flat since then. A hundred reasons for the overall dynamic - better efficiency, population growth, more and more appliances (i.e. wealth), conservation... but I bet the big items are the overall economy. The lifestyle choices of a million people are insignificant compared to a thousand factories closing.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 18:40:03

Z,
When I say we need to reduce its not just at the household level it's across the board. We live entirely ridiculous lifestyles and every facet needs to be examined.

Think about our infrastructure for a minute. Let's say you are in business and you need a factory to make Christmas widgets. Would you build a huge factory so that you would produce the daily requirement of widgets knowing that you will sell 90% of them in the 2 weeks before Christmas? No, you build a small factory, work it 24/7/365, and build up your inventory.

But that's not how we build our roads and highways. We. Hold them to meet peak demand, even though they never do. Why not even out the flow, think of them as a factory, by having people work 24/7/365. That would greatly reduce the infrastructure load. Instantly we would need no more new highways.

Now think about office buildings. You live one place, but also have another place where you spend a lot of time. Is that really necessary? And, those offices are only filled 40 out of 168 hours per week. What a waste of infrastructure. Bingo, no need for more new office buildings. Also fixes the parking lot problem. And now the trains have plenty of room.

Of course no one will actually do this, but between where we are and maximum efficiency is a whole lot of very low hanging fruit. I'm making a couple of kinda silly examples to point out the directions we need to go in, the kind of thinking that we need to apply.

But I have no illusion it will actually occur until too late, if then.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Zarquon » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 20:54:01

Newfie wrote:We live entirely ridiculous lifestyles and every facet needs to be examined.

I don't. By the standards of, say Bangladesh, I do of course. And a lot of facets are being examined, and my gut feeling is that there are typically good reasons why very little changes.

Let's say you are in business and you need a factory to make Christmas widgets. Would you build a huge factory so that you would produce the daily requirement of widgets knowing that you will sell 90% of them in the 2 weeks before Christmas? No, you build a small factory, work it 24/7/365, and build up your inventory.

Instinctively, I'd say I'd try to make the entire bunch as close to Dec 10 as I can and produce plastic Easter bunnies and Halloween masks for the rest of the year. I try not to produce stuff in January that sells only in December.

But that's not how we build our roads and highways. We. Hold them to meet peak demand, even though they never do. Why not even out the flow, think of them as a factory, by having people work 24/7/365. That would greatly reduce the infrastructure load. Instantly we would need no more new highways.

Now think about office buildings. You live one place, but also have another place where you spend a lot of time. Is that really necessary? And, those offices are only filled 40 out of 168 hours per week. What a waste of infrastructure. Bingo, no need for more new office buildings. Also fixes the parking lot problem. And now the trains have plenty of room.


Reminds me of an old SF story: the world is so overpopulated that you get to live only one day per week. At the end of that day you step into a box, are vaporized, and six days later the machine puts you back together. Unfortunately, if you're a Tuesday person you can never meet the people from Friday. Turned into a corny love story, I think.

Anyway, there are so many reasons why the above examples don't really work, or hardly ever. You see the problems yourself. A lot of highways are work programs. Bridges to nowhere aren't being built because someone thinks we really need them. That's politically motivated waste. Fix politics and the problem disappears. I mean, fix *every* political system on Earth, because everyone does it.

Car sharing would be another example. It is being practiced, but only by a tiny minority. For the others, it's either not practical, or they don't mind the extra expense, or the car is a status symbol, etc. How many non-car-sharers are irrational? Having your own car is necessary for many with no other realistic transportation option, and very convenient for others. There's some fat you could trim, but not very much.

Sharing your apartment with a family of strangers: possible, but having my own is very convenient for me. Even though I don't use it 24 hours a day.

Most of what I see is not ridiculous waste. Some of it is organized like it is for good reason, because the alternatives are worse. Some is a symptom of being well-off. I don't have a pool, but I wish I had (and live in a climate where I could enjoy it most of the year). What in the world does KJ need his bloody Jeep for? One person's enjoyment is another's ridiculous waste. Al Gore has a huge carbon footprint because he's rich. If I were him, I wouldn't live in a hole in the ground and eat tree bark.

And then we get to the old question of who's going to be the engine of change, the free market or the state? Especially since they're both supposed to make our life better, i.e. help us consume more?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 30 Jan 2017, 20:59:35

And that's why we never will change. And we are doomed.
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