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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sat 13 Dec 2014, 12:12:12

dashster wrote: In fact, the mainstream is still not overtly acknowledging oil problems, while they have, in the majority, been giving lip service to global warming for a while.


Global climate change is an easier scapegoat than oil depletion to garner support for renewables. Much like WMD's were an easier scapegoat than oil interests in Iraq.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sat 13 Dec 2014, 12:20:42

dashster wrote: Well material consumption in lieu of the expense of having children can't be HOW they are having less children. That is a WHY. And appears to be a why that coincides with the claim that population growth declines as a country becomes wealthier.


Wealthier, or more debt-laden? Having more children infringes upon material wealth.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 14 Dec 2014, 04:42:06

This a step in the right direction
The dominance of the Big Six energy companies would be swept aside with the creation of a "Big Six Thousand" – community projects supplying electricity directly to homes for the first time, under plans being considered for the Labour election manifesto.
.....a national community energy revolution in Britain, modelled on Germany's highly successful example of giving freedom and control to locally-owned renewable suppliers.
It envisages thousands of small, community-owned renewable energy firms supplying local homes, renewable heat incentives, and community feed-in tariffs. Community-owned energy groups would be able to supply energy direct to residents for the first time, prohibited under current rules.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 23413.html
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Zanstel » Sun 14 Dec 2014, 11:13:53

ralfy wrote:Oil is needed for RE components. Theoretically, it is possible to move away from oil, but the transition period takes many decades:

Solar is growing at two digit. If this speed is only lowered a bit, we are speaking a transition so fast that solar will grow faster than any possible oil reduction on fiveteen and twenty years from now.
So, in this time, solar could be enough portion of our energy enough to grown by itself and be the reference energy source of our civilization.
In this period... if oil drop fast and quickly, we could overcome severe effects.

ralfy wrote:http://www.businessinsider.com/131-years-to-replace-oil-2010-11

This kind of projections has been totally flawed in past. In fact, solar has grown more than any projection in the past.

Note that, for example...
Otherwise, we may literally witness $300 a barrel oil before the electric vehicle even makes one percent market penetration, and unfortunately there's no easy fix.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_el ... ted_States
The American market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% in 2011 through 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% of new car sales during 2013.

The electric cars are growing now. No $300 oil barrel has been needed. The 1% penetration are being reaching by now.

Biofuels have low energy returns. A global capitalist economy needs high energy returns and high quantity.

Biofuels are a wilcard, because could substitute oil in qualitative terms, but not in quantitative terms. So biofuels will be used only when the renewable alternative is specially inefficient.

Prices are going down because of economic crisis. Production is not rising significantly.

It's a mix of circunstances. There is savings because more people has less money. This circunstances push people to iniciatives like buy better cars, sharing it, change their home to minimize travel.
New projects are optimized in energy use because there are more perspectives of rasing energy prices. There is more use on renewable energy.
The bad results in fracking pushing the investors push away from oil.
There is a lot of factors because oil demand is lowering, an that doesn't mean a catastrophe.

RE is heavily dependent on oil, especially for mining, petrochemicals, and transport. The same goes for infrastructure and consumer goods.

This counters your previous statement, unless it can be shown that RE components are manufactured outside that society.

I'm trying to explain you the difference between intrinsic and temporary dependence. Temporary dependence is not problematic, as the prices move the society to change. It's matter of chance and time.
The mix of energy is changing everytime. Although the solar portion in actual mix is very low, solar is growing so fast that in a decade, most of this closed circle arguments will become false.

The problem isn't a change in the configuration but that the new configuration will not allow the for the maintenance or even growth of the global economic system that depends on it. More details are found in my previous posts.

Infinite growing is not a requisite. But we could provide from 100 to 500 TW of renewable energy (mainly solar), enough to move an advanced society of ten billion people at most.
More overpopulation goes probably at high risky of irreparable damage on enviroment and high probability of famine. More than lack of energy.


The problem isn't the amount of oil used to make RE components but the amount of oil, minerals, etc., needed for a growing global population coupled with a growing middle class.

It is the same. People use energy. Next years the adaptation will be more based on savings, like i said before, car sharing, home change, more efficient oil cars... But on some years more, technology changing like electric cars could give more oil reductions than savings.
Share in demading oil because the development of other nations is perceived by the developed nations like faster oil depletion. Nothing more.

Not to the extent that it serves as a solution to energy problems due to lack of oil. The example concerning Spain is notable.

In the global numbers, solar has not stopped. In fact, solar has broken all predictions... with possitive numbers.

Feel free to present new studies showing these calculations.

There is no need of a new complete study each time. The prices has drop up to 80% from this study, so input energy must have a 80% reduction, so EROI must have a x5 from their calculations.

In my case, I will assume that most countries will not have these upgrades due to lack of funds. In fact, it's even possible that they'll be lucky to have systems like those in Spain.

You are wrong. Spain had a great benefits at bubble. Since then, Spain not only remove any benefits but it has threatened the market with penalties, freezing their markets.
In fact, other countries like France, has installed solar slowly but without unsteadiness and cumulates similar numbers to Spain, even with the political france politics, benign to nuclear and has overcome spanish (or it's near... i'm not sure now).

Spain, in 2008, was one of the main markets of the world. Nowadays is negligible, not only with installed potential but accumulated.
This is because solar is growing very quickly.

The increase in credit worldwide involves much more than just inflation.

But the increase of credit greater than middle class income are not because 0-growth but wealth concentration.

Concentration of wealth involves more than just salaries.

Of course, it is a simplification. But for a lot of people, salaries are the main way for income.

Yes, but the goal is to increase purchasing power. In fact, most people want that as well. Recall that what we have is a global capitalist system.

Goal for whom?
Of course, all want to go better. Sometimes better doesn't mean more money. Sometimes is more spare time. Or better quality life like enviroment.
People freedom is key for choice.

Definitely not. Capitalism requires growth because that's the basis of capital.

No. I know a lot of small business that, from material perspective, are mainly the same than decades ago.
Companies only need to has more income than spending to be viable.

Of course, from money perspective, their numbers have grown a lot. But this is money inflation. There is not physical growth.

Also, it is highly unlikely that most people worldwide want a shrinking economy.

If we can't grow, people adapt to it. All have unfulfilled wishes. People accept that. By other side, when things goes harder, they are less tolerant to injustice.
So politics will have to make real efforts on wealth distribution.

The global economy, which is capitalist, requires expanding markets to ensure more profits and returns on investment from sales of goods and services. Those expanding markets mean increasing population and per capita consumption.

Wrong. Companies run by profit tries to grow. Growth is not a requirement to be viable but a possible target.
If we have growth is because we have chosen to grow.

If solar can only deal with a no-growth economy, then it is obviously not a solution.

Economy could face a no-growth ensuring no wealth concentration.
And this is the reason because renewable energy could work.

Yes, but we're talking about the global economy, which is capitalist. To ensure what you state we will need the equivalent of a centrally-controlled economy with heavy regulation.

You are basing your conclusions on a false dependence between markets and growth.

Not just places on Earth but for most of the world's population. Of course, there will come a point when most people will say that they don't need or want more, but I very much doubt that solar energy will allow them to reach that level.

A hundred terawatts should be enough. And Earth received a thousand times this.

Ironically, the main reason why developed nations are "developed" is because of the opposite. Guess what developing nations want?

Renewable that developed countries has installed are advanced. There has beed advancement in these years although the biggest part is pending.
The end of growth on developed countries help in this.

But development also leads to higher levels of energy and material resource consumption. In addition, problems such as population aging take place. And how many resources and energy will be needed for the whole global population to reach such a stage?

There is abundance of some materials, while others are limited and will raise if we use more.
Some materials are based on elements like aluminium, silicon, nitrogen, hydrogen, iron... are so abundant in our planet that they are inexhaustible.
Others will be used in percentages based on availability.
As I said before, a hundred terawatts sounds fair to move all.

Very likely the opposite, as competition ultimately involves increasing production to gain market share.

Not true. As I said before, there is bussines that makes the same thing for years without real growing (inflation apart).
Of course, they always be care with competitors because they could displace their clients. But that is different to grow.

Also, business competition is not the same as sports. In fact, it's not even close, as businesses actually operate to make things better, to make more of them, and even to generate demand to expand sales.

You are limited in your vision on business. Business need earnings to pay its spending but not to grow.
The direction of a business is the owner decision. Of course all want to get "better", but "better" is matter of perspective. For some, better is to grow.
For others, "better" is to preserve their traditions, innovate or other things.
In any case, the viability of a business is not connected to grow or "get better" but budget balance.

These countries make up most of the world's population. And the planet is already facing problems from consumption dominated by a minority of the same population. Imagine what is needed for the rest to even reach that "upper limit."

Numbers are inside limits. That implies end of growing population, better
efficiency so do it the same for less, closed circle reciclying...
100 TW for 10 billion means 10 kw average per capita. That's a lot, enough to power all of this.

Finally, a global capitalist system does not operate with the intention of reaching upper limits.

Capitalism adapts to the medium. If we have the resources to grow and we choose to grow, we will grow.
But if we don't have the resources, or we choice to optimize other things over grow, the result is different.


Serving that growing economy is inevitable, but solving an energy crunch caused by lack of oil is highly unlikely. In fact, oil production itself will not be enough to ensure such growth.

Oil is only a part of the energy sources. Oil only will be a problem on this time, near years, when renewable energy will be too small yet. But on a decade or two renewable will drive the growing on poor countries.

That's what I shared earlier: it will take more than a century for a full transition, but oil production may peak in only around a decade. Meanwhile, energy demand may rise significantly during the same period.

Because this assertion is wrong. The biggest part of transition will be fast, and it will begin soon. We could see the firsts changes now, although it has small impact. Exponential changes drives this way.
Think on mobile phones. Solar energy will boom this way.

How will solar deal with increasing energy demand plus decreasing oil production?

In the same way that we ever face anything. With the energy that we have, we take away a fraction to make new infrastructure.
When oil drops, oil will represent less and less of the total energy budget, and we will head to 100% renewable system at end.

The problem is that overpopulation cannot be stopped quickly or easily. In addition, this becomes a global problem as economies are linked to each other.

A century sounds a reasonable time for this. Asia points to reach a maximun over mid century. Africa is the only continent that shows a unsolved problem, that it could be stopped if Africa develops enough before fifties.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Ulenspiegel » Sun 14 Dec 2014, 13:32:05

ralfy wrote: "Oil is needed for RE components."

In small amounts!

And again, you could get hard data and do some calculation yourself, but repeating nonsense is for you a substituite for own work. I see, it's easier, isn't it?.

With P2G and G2L a wind turbine would get 3-4% more expensive, that is not the show stopper you claim.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Sun 14 Dec 2014, 21:17:28

Zanstel wrote:Solar is growing at two digit. If this speed is only lowered a bit, we are speaking a transition so fast that solar will grow faster than any possible oil reduction on fiveteen and twenty years from now.
So, in this time, solar could be enough portion of our energy enough to grown by itself and be the reference energy source of our civilization.
In this period... if oil drop fast and quickly, we could overcome severe effects.


The problem isn't just oil reduction but oil reduction plus increasing demand. Otherwise, heavy regulation and conservation will be needed, both of which run contrary to what the financial elite want. Finally, one study mentioned earlier argues that a full transition will take around a century.


This kind of projections has been totally flawed in past. In fact, solar has grown more than any projection in the past.



Please explain the flaws in detail. Also, the projections do not refer to solar energy growth only because transition requires more than that.

Note that, for example...
Otherwise, we may literally witness $300 a barrel oil before the electric vehicle even makes one percent market penetration, and unfortunately there's no easy fix.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_el ... ted_States
The American market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% in 2011 through 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% of new car sales during 2013.

The electric cars are growing now. No $300 oil barrel has been needed. The 1% penetration are being reaching by now.


U.S. market <> world market.

To make matters worse, the U.S. has less than 5 pct of the world's population but has something like a quarter of the world's passenger vehicles. For most of the world's population to attain similar standards of living, at least one more earth will be needed.

Biofuels are a wilcard, because could substitute oil in qualitative terms, but not in quantitative terms. So biofuels will be used only when the renewable alternative is specially inefficient.


I think this best describes the situation, i.e., other sources of energy will be used due to a lack of oil. That's it.

It's a mix of circunstances. There is savings because more people has less money. This circunstances push people to iniciatives like buy better cars, sharing it, change their home to minimize travel.


If there is less money available, then there are less savings.

Buying better cars requires more money.


New projects are optimized in energy use because there are more perspectives of rasing energy prices. There is more use on renewable energy.


One of the incentives for using RE is high oil prices.


The bad results in fracking pushing the investors push away from oil.
There is a lot of factors because oil demand is lowering, an that doesn't mean a catastrophe.



Other commodity and financial markets are also not doing well.

I'm trying to explain you the difference between intrinsic and temporary dependence. Temporary dependence is not problematic, as the prices move the society to change. It's matter of chance and time.


According to the study shared earlier, it will take decades for a full transition to take place. One feature on peak oil shared earlier reveals that the transition should have started more than a decade ago, that is, even before oil prices started to rise significantly.

Worse, such a transition requires incredible levels of coordination and cooperation between businesses and between governments, something that has hardly taken place the last few decades. And given the relative silence concerning peak oil, it is likely that such won't take place.


The mix of energy is changing everytime. Although the solar portion in actual mix is very low, solar is growing so fast that in a decade, most of this closed circle arguments will become false.



The problem isn't the energy mix but whether or not solar energy will ensure economic growth. That is highly unlikely because the world population combined with a capitalist global economy requires ever-increasing use of energy and material resources. As it is, the current ave. ecological footprint has already exceeded biocapacity, and the former has to keep rising while the latter drops due to environmental damage.

Infinite growing is not a requisite. But we could provide from 100 to 500 TW of renewable energy (mainly solar), enough to move an advanced society of ten billion people at most.
More overpopulation goes probably at high risky of irreparable damage on enviroment and high probability of famine. More than lack of energy.


Infinite growth is a requisite for a global capitalist system, especially one where credit levels have exceeded the size of the economy itself many-fold. Also, since the same economy requires more than just energy, then biocapacity has to increase dramatically to meet the requirements of an advanced society. In this case, additional earths will be needed.

Also, environmental damage only strengthens my view further.

It is the same. People use energy. Next years the adaptation will be more based on savings, like i said before, car sharing, home change, more efficient oil cars... But on some years more, technology changing like electric cars could give more oil reductions than savings.
Share in demading oil because the development of other nations is perceived by the developed nations like faster oil depletion. Nothing more.


In capitalist systems, there is no conservation as what is saved is sold and used for profit.

In the global numbers, solar has not stopped. In fact, solar has broken all predictions... with possitive numbers.


The problem isn't growth but whether or not solar energy can provide the energy quantity and quality that is needed by the global economy. The issue with Spain shows that it can't. The fact that most countries do not have the same benefits as Spain makes matters worse.

There is no need of a new complete study each time. The prices has drop up to 80% from this study, so input energy must have a 80% reduction, so EROI must have a x5 from their calculations.


Actual energy return shows otherwise, as explained earlier.

You are wrong. Spain had a great benefits at bubble. Since then, Spain not only remove any benefits but it has threatened the market with penalties, freezing their markets.
In fact, other countries like France, has installed solar slowly but without unsteadiness and cumulates similar numbers to Spain, even with the political france politics, benign to nuclear and has overcome spanish (or it's near... i'm not sure now).

Spain, in 2008, was one of the main markets of the world. Nowadays is negligible, not only with installed potential but accumulated.
This is because solar is growing very quickly.


Spain <> most countries.

France <> most countries.

But the increase of credit greater than middle class income are not because 0-growth but wealth concentration.


You just proved my point. Given that, one should expect the financial situation to worsen.

Of course, it is a simplification. But for a lot of people, salaries are the main way for income.


You need to look at where much of the wealth is concentrated, and it's not in salaries.

Goal for whom?


Financial corporations and investors who control the global economy:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... world.html

Of course, all want to go better. Sometimes better doesn't mean more money. Sometimes is more spare time. Or better quality life like enviroment.
People freedom is key for choice.


There's the ideal that you promote, and then there's reality:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22956470

No. I know a lot of small business that, from material perspective, are mainly the same than decades ago.
Companies only need to has more income than spending to be viable.


You need to go beyond what you know locally and consider what is taking place globally. In this case, credit levels, material resource consumption, energy use, global GDP, etc., have all been on an upward trend for many decades. The dominant groups are not small businesses but mega-corporations, with financial corporations on top. That's capitalism.


Of course, from money perspective, their numbers have grown a lot. But this is money inflation. There is not physical growth.



Material resource consumption has been on an upward trend worldwide. Why do you think global population shot up during the previous century?

If we can't grow, people adapt to it. All have unfulfilled wishes. People accept that. By other side, when things goes harder, they are less tolerant to injustice.
So politics will have to make real efforts on wealth distribution.


That's my point. The problem for which a solution is being sought in this thread is the threat of a shrinking economy, if not one that cannot grow fast enough.

The global economy, which is capitalist, requires expanding markets to ensure more profits and returns on investment from sales of goods and services. Those expanding markets mean increasing population and per capita consumption.

Wrong. Companies run by profit tries to grow. Growth is not a requirement to be viable but a possible target.
If we have growth is because we have chosen to grow.
[/quote]

Growth is a requirement for such companies because the source of that growth is profit. The only way they can choose not to grow is to either not profit or not invest or use those profits at all. Given that, the only way I can be proven wrong is for you to show that businesses, especially the largest ones that dominant the global economy, have been doing so for decades.


Economy could face a no-growth ensuring no wealth concentration.
And this is the reason because renewable energy could work.


The problem for which a solution is being sought in this thread is a no-growth economy.

Put simply, the economy will shrink because of peak oil. The argument is that solar energy is a "solution" because it can replace oil and allow that economy to continue growing.

If the economy will shrink in any event, then that shows that RE will not work.

You are basing your conclusions on a false dependence between markets and growth.


I am basing my conclusions on what has been going on worldwide for decades.


A hundred terawatts should be enough. And Earth received a thousand times this.


The global economy does not operate simply on electricity.


Renewable that developed countries has installed are advanced. There has beed advancement in these years although the biggest part is pending.
The end of growth on developed countries help in this.



Most countries worldwide are not developed.

One good example of solar energy used in developed countries is Spain, where lots of funding was needed in return for low energy returns due to various factors that were not considered.

Most countries do not have such funding. Many of these factors not only exist but are even amplified in poor countries.

There is abundance of some materials, while others are limited and will raise if we use more.
Some materials are based on elements like aluminium, silicon, nitrogen, hydrogen, iron... are so abundant in our planet that they are inexhaustible.
Others will be used in percentages based on availability.
As I said before, a hundred terawatts sounds fair to move all.


There is no abundance of material resources, and resources of the planet are definitely not inexhaustible.

Ironically, the proof is the topic of this thread, where we are now taking about solar energy because we lack oil!

Not true. As I said before, there is bussines that makes the same thing for years without real growing (inflation apart).


I am very sure that there are businesses that can operate with little or no competition, but you should not confuse local examples with the global situation, which has had increasing money supply, resource use, energy use, population, GDP, etc., for decades.

Of course, they always be care with competitors because they could displace their clients. But that is different to grow.


Actually, competition is one of the drivers of growth.

You are limited in your vision on business. Business need earnings to pay its spending but not to grow.


Actually, it's the other way round: my view of business involves what is happening globally, not based on some businesses that I know which do not grow.

Businesses need to grow, and do grow, because of competition, among others. See for yourself by looking at the largest corporations worldwide, and which control the global economy.


The direction of a business is the owner decision. Of course all want to get "better", but "better" is matter of perspective. For some, better is to grow.


For the global economy, "better" means increasing money, resource use, etc., all needed to feed a growing population and a growing middle class.

For others, "better" is to preserve their traditions, innovate or other things.


For the largest corporations that dominate the global economy, traditions that are preserved are generally superficial.


In any case, the viability of a business is not connected to grow or "get better" but budget balance.



This usually applies to governments, where there is no competition. For businesses, it works only if there is no competition or an expanding market.

Numbers are inside limits. That implies end of growing population, better
efficiency so do it the same for less, closed circle reciclying...


That's why solar energy is not a solution to the problem of no growth. The latter is inevitable.

100 TW for 10 billion means 10 kw average per capita. That's a lot, enough to power all of this.


That's obviously enough for an economy that will shrink. The problem is the world doesn't want a shrinking economy.

Capitalism adapts to the medium. If we have the resources to grow and we choose to grow, we will grow.


You mean people adjust to the environment. Capitalism requires growth because that's the source of capital.

But if we don't have the resources, or we choice to optimize other things over grow, the result is different.


Exactly, which is what I believe will happen given solar energy.

Put simply, there is no solution to the problem of no growth. The global economy will shrink, and given multiple threats, may even fall apart. To adjust to that weakening state, the global population will have to use different sources of energy. But the economy will continue to weaken, which shows that not only solar energy but combinations of energy sources will not solve the problem.

Oil is only a part of the energy sources. Oil only will be a problem on this time, near years, when renewable energy will be too small yet. But on a decade or two renewable will drive the growing on poor countries.


Oil is an integral component, especially when it comes to petrochemicals. Given that, very likely RE will be used to support basic needs in poor countries, but it will not ensure economic growth. Not even close.

Because this assertion is wrong. The biggest part of transition will be fast, and it will begin soon. We could see the firsts changes now, although it has small impact. Exponential changes drives this way.


Given lack of cooperation between governments, financial crisis, problems like low oil prices, the need even for oil to manufacture and transport RE components, the need for oil to support the infrastructure and even maintain consumer goods that will benefit from RE, a growing global middle class, and similar problems for other material resources (including fresh water availability) it is highly unlikely that the transition will be fast.

Proof of that can be seen in the fact that the solution is being discussed only after the effects of peak oil are being experienced, not a decade before.

Think on mobile phones. Solar energy will boom this way.


That's not a helpful analogy, as mobile phones require significant amounts of energy and material resources to manufacture, and they may be one of the first things to go as consumer societies deal with a weakening global economy.

In the same way that we ever face anything. With the energy that we have, we take away a fraction to make new infrastructure.


Growth only works with an energy source that provides increasing energy quality, quantity, and petrochemicals. In short, more light oil. Solar energy cannot provide such.


When oil drops, oil will represent less and less of the total energy budget, and we will head to 100% renewable system at end.



Definitely, and it will likely involve lower levels of technology, such as wind mills and water wheels made from whatever materials are available locally.

A century sounds a reasonable time for this. Asia points to reach a maximun over mid century. Africa is the only continent that shows a unsolved problem, that it could be stopped if Africa develops enough before fifties.


Definitely not, as oil production may peak much earlier. Worse, because economies are linked to each other as part of a global economy controlled by mega-corporations, then the global middle class is expected to grow to ensure profits and returns on investment.

One more irony is that the push for solar energy as a solution is the promise of high profits and ROI.
Last edited by ralfy on Sun 14 Dec 2014, 21:20:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Sun 14 Dec 2014, 21:19:10

Ulenspiegel wrote:ralfy wrote: "Oil is needed for RE components."

In small amounts!

And again, you could get hard data and do some calculation yourself, but repeating nonsense is for you a substituite for own work. I see, it's easier, isn't it?.

With P2G and G2L a wind turbine would get 3-4% more expensive, that is not the show stopper you claim.


Completely the opposite, especially given oil needed to power machines used in mining and transport across oceans. See other threads in this forum for details.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Zanstel » Mon 15 Dec 2014, 17:51:24

I can said only that you are completely wrong in a group of things, so your conclusions are wrong too.

You think that solar depends on subsidies. Is no longer true. Solar is booming, only limited by storage, which is in fast development. You are using outdated data.
You will see soon that solar will expand on any place of the world including Africa, simply because is cheaper. A lot of solar in development and poor countries will be off-grid. There is no need of grid with solar because storage and demand management is cheaper than build lines that don't exists today.

You are wrong with growth. You will see how western countries freeze in growth by years and don't collapse.

The transition will be easy or hard depending how much we invest on accelerate the changes.
We could go to zero growth or shrink something too. But in any case, renewable will be the energy source of the future and you will see that you assertions are false.

There is no need of more discussion. The transition is underway, and renewable will be (easy or hard way) the main source before two decades.
Only see... The facts will show by themselves.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 16 Dec 2014, 04:02:54

Zanstel wrote:I can said only that you are completely wrong in a group of things, so your conclusions are wrong too.


I think I was able to counter all of your points. Can you be more specific?

You think that solar depends on subsidies. Is no longer true.


My point is that most countries worldwide are poor (e.g., most people earn only a few dollars a day, which is barely enough to access basic needs) and thus will need a lot of help concerning RE. In fact, they will have to spend even more for more basic infrastructure, such as roads to transport RE components. The situation will grow worse given a combination of financial crises, the effects of peak oil, and the effects of global warming.

Solar is booming, only limited by storage, which is in fast development. You are using outdated data.


The study concerning Spain is recent, and it's helpful because it is logical to look at systems that have been in operation for several years.


You will see soon that solar will expand on any place of the world including Africa, simply because is cheaper. A lot of solar in development and poor countries will be off-grid. There is no need of grid with solar because storage and demand management is cheaper than build lines that don't exists today.



That is very likely but it will not solve the problem of incredible levels of energy and material resources needed for economic growth.

You are wrong with growth. You will see how western countries freeze in growth by years and don't collapse.


Unfortunately, western countries <> the world.

When you have a freeze in growth plus increasing resource demand from a growing global population plus increasing demand from a growing global middle class (which the present middle class needs to maintain its living standards) in a world where economies are linked to each other, then collapse is certain.


The transition will be easy or hard depending how much we invest on accelerate the changes.
We could go to zero growth or shrink something too. But in any case, renewable will be the energy source of the future and you will see that you assertions are false.


That is my point: the problem is zero growth or even a shrinking economy. Solar energy cannot reverse that, which is why it's not a solution. The only thing that can be done is to use RE (which is inevitable given peak oil) and decrease resource consumption (which is what happens when there is no growth plus a growing population).

There is no need of more discussion. The transition is underway, and renewable will be (easy or hard way) the main source before two decades.
Only see... The facts will show by themselves.


The question isn't whether or not solar energy will be used. It's whether or not it is a solution. (See the thread title.)
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Zanstel » Tue 16 Dec 2014, 10:02:38

ralfy wrote:My point is that most countries worldwide are poor (e.g., most people earn only a few dollars a day, which is barely enough to access basic needs) and thus will need a lot of help concerning RE. In fact, they will have to spend even more for more basic infrastructure, such as roads to transport RE components. The situation will grow worse given a combination of financial crises, the effects of peak oil, and the effects of global warming.

But the data shows that even on poor countries, a lot of variables are getting better. Better healthcare, better food, better alphabetization...
The future is always uncertain, but you are assuming that a possible reduction in energy will be distributed between all people.
The most probable is that the middle class of developed nations support the most greater reduction through life changes, savings and improvements.
This group of people supports the greatest part of the world consumption and could adapt to less energy with moderate impact in quality life.

Of course, that could be different, but it is a possible way, because poorest countries are more rich in renewable energy and renewable energy is not so easy to transfer as oil. But the mobility of knowledge is accelerating and labour costs getting down, so the middle class will lose purchase power as a worker and they will use more their power as a democratic citizen. The result is that poorest countries gains power and richest loose it with the exception of the very specialized jobs that will became a class of better paid workers and not linked to a specific country. And, of course, the plutocrats.
But this class, even with a "unlimited" money, they are so few that even with an theorically near "unlimited" purchase power, they consume less as a whole because their limited number and their limited time to consume goods.

So, the way is ... shrinking "purchase power" and consumption on middle class of developed countries... with a small group of specialized jobs that grow. Poorest grows in consumption and going slowly up to the same level as the new "middle class" of developed countries. And the plutocrats with more money that ever but mainly with the same consumption.

The tenseness between most people and plutocracts will grow, but there is no clear result about this.

The study concerning Spain is recent, and it's helpful because it is logical to look at systems that have been in operation for several years.

From 2008, the year of the study, to now, there is a drop like 80%.
"Recent" is relative to the speed. PV grows so fast that the data become outdated very fast.
2008 PV needed special tarifs. 2015 PV need only good finance.

Image

Although the trend is "constant", the actual moment is very relevant because prices of renewable and fossils are crossing now.

That is very likely but it will not solve the problem of incredible levels of energy and material resources needed for economic growth.

Billions of small panels on simple homes generates an "incredible levels of energy".
Any number multiplied by billions sounds scary.

Unfortunately, western countries <> the world.

western countries = most of nowadays consumption.
Freeze or slow shrinking is enough to allow other poor countries to grow. Add some time and renewable energy will drive the growth, not shrinking.

When you have a freeze in growth plus increasing resource demand from a growing global population plus increasing demand from a growing global middle class (which the present middle class needs to maintain its living standards) in a world where economies are linked to each other, then collapse is certain.

Probably you and me have different images about what is a collapse.
Mayans was a collapse.
Easter Island was a collapse.
Some wars (normally civil or great wars) are a collapse.
1979 oil crisis was NOT a collapse.
The great depression was NOT a collapse.

A collapse requires the state to fail. Required a total rebuilding to recover if it is possible at all.
A crisis could be hard and give suffering but there is a transition.

You have a lot of variables and assume that their are fixed and impossible at same time. But you are wrong. All variables are in constantly change. The most likely is that there will be not grow on middle class of developed countries but it will be on poor ones. The most likely is that will face soon a end of global growth, but there is enough experience with before crisis to see that it will not mean a "collapse".


That is my point: the problem is zero growth or even a shrinking economy. Solar energy cannot reverse that, which is why it's not a solution. The only thing that can be done is to use RE (which is inevitable given peak oil) and decrease resource consumption (which is what happens when there is no growth plus a growing population).

Solar will allow even better levels of global consumption greaters than today, although not unlimited ( I mark the interval of 100-500 TW). The levels to grow from renewable mainly i point to 2030 as lastest.
In the mean time we could face a "crisis" (aka "change" and "adaptation"). That is different of a "collapse".
It will be like another '79 but bigger crisis.

The question isn't whether or not solar energy will be used. It's whether or not it is a solution. (See the thread title.)

I define "solution" like "it will allow to move our society", so my answer is "yes".
It can.
Of course, I advocate that growth is NOT a necessity for the system. It will force us to some adaptations, like avoid wealth concentration.
But that is possible without a dictatorship or "no market" economy.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 16 Dec 2014, 23:01:19

Zanstel wrote:But the data shows that even on poor countries, a lot of variables are getting better. Better healthcare, better food, better alphabetization...


That's right, which is why the global middle class has been growing. The amount of energy and material resources needed to support that will be way beyond what solar energy can provide.

The future is always uncertain, but you are assuming that a possible reduction in energy will be distributed between all people.


My only assumption is that there will be a reduction of energy and material resources for the global economy. Since economies are coupled to each other, and since the present middle class is dependent on a growing consumer market, then the reduction will take place across the board.

The most probable is that the middle class of developed nations support the most greater reduction through life changes, savings and improvements.

This group of people supports the greatest part of the world consumption and could adapt to less energy with moderate impact in quality life.


From what I gathered, current members of the middle class, many of whom belong in industrialized nations, have been forced to lower consumption due to economic crisis. But consumption has been rising for the rest of the world and negating that demand destruction:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/04/11/pe ... e-problem/

If overall demand starts dropping, it will be due to a combination of factors. Sadly, other industries dependent on profits and ROI, such as the solar industry, may fall apart as well.


Of course, that could be different, but it is a possible way, because poorest countries are more rich in renewable energy and renewable energy is not so easy to transfer as oil.



Poor countries lack funds to set up infrastructure and purchase components needed for RE.


But the mobility of knowledge is accelerating and labour costs getting down, so the middle class will lose purchase power as a worker and they will use more their power as a democratic citizen.


Probably less as a blue collar worker and more as a white collar employee or professional, which means not only their purchasing power but also consumption will rise considerably. That is, more households buying houses, cars, appliances, etc. That means a need for a significant level of FF and material resources.


The result is that poorest countries gains power and richest loose it with the exception of the very specialized jobs that will became a class of better paid workers and not linked to a specific country. And, of course, the plutocrats.


And these countries combined and a far larger population than that of industrialized ones. The amount of resources needed will be incredible.

But this class, even with a "unlimited" money, they are so few that even with an theorically near "unlimited" purchase power, they consume less as a whole because their limited number and their limited time to consume goods.


Their numbers are actually not limited but much larger, which means they consume more as a whole.


So, the way is ... shrinking "purchase power" and consumption on middle class of developed countries... with a small group of specialized jobs that grow. Poorest grows in consumption and going slowly up to the same level as the new "middle class" of developed countries. And the plutocrats with more money that ever but mainly with the same consumption.


This can happen in some ideal world with a central, global government and no money (which means no profits, ROI, or plutocrats) but not with the current one.

Also, for plutocrats to have more money, consumption has to increase. That's because the value of paper assets are ultimately determined by the amount of goods and services sold, and that means more energy and material resources required.


The tenseness between most people and plutocracts will grow, but there is no clear result about this.



That's why plutocrats have to increase production and consumption of resources, all needed to meet the needs and wants of a growing global population, in turn needed for their own wealth to grow. That's why the capitalist system in which they thrive requires growth.

Solar energy will not ensure a continuation of that.

From 2008, the year of the study, to now, there is a drop like 80%.
"Recent" is relative to the speed. PV grows so fast that the data become outdated very fast.
2008 PV needed special tarifs. 2015 PV need only good finance.

Image

Although the trend is "constant", the actual moment is very relevant because prices of renewable and fossils are crossing now.


The problem with the low energy return isn't just financing. A list of factors are shared in the review and in the presentation attached to it.

Billions of small panels on simple homes generates an "incredible levels of energy".
Any number multiplied by billions sounds scary.


Billions of small panels, not to mention the other components needed to store energy, as well as the consumer goods that will be used to consume energy, will require incredible levels of energy, especially from oil needed for mining, manufacturing, and transport of goods.

Also, that will have to take place in a situation described above, i.e., some global government with heavy regulation, etc.

western countries = most of nowadays consumption.
Freeze or slow shrinking is enough to allow other poor countries to grow.


But most of the world has a far larger population.


Add some time and renewable energy will drive the growth, not shrinking.


Around a century is needed, with heavy regulation. Peak oil may take place earlier, and in a global economy that has less regulation.

You are imagining a solution involving a world that doesn't exist.

Probably you and me have different images about what is a collapse.
Mayans was a collapse.
Easter Island was a collapse.
Some wars (normally civil or great wars) are a collapse.
1979 oil crisis was NOT a collapse.
The great depression was NOT a collapse.


The 1979 crisis, together with the earlier oil shock, was caused by above-ground factors that led to oil supply issues. The Great Depression involved financial crisis brought about by speculation coupled with fallout from overproduction.

What we have today involves factors seen in the 1979 crisis plus the Great Depression plus a far larger population plus more armaments and military spending plus a far larger middle class plus greater environmental damage plus the threat of global warming plus the threat of peak oil brought about by underground factors and effects made worse by above-ground ones.

A collapse requires the state to fail. Required a total rebuilding to recover if it is possible at all.
A crisis could be hard and give suffering but there is a transition.



This does not counter my argument, which is that solar energy will not allow us to avoid such crises.


You have a lot of variables and assume that their are fixed and impossible at same time. But you are wrong. All variables are in constantly change. The most likely is that there will be not grow on middle class of developed countries but it will be on poor ones. The most likely is that will face soon a end of global growth, but there is enough experience with before crisis to see that it will not mean a "collapse".



Actually, what you just shared is my argument: the growth of the global middle class will come from developing countries. Here's the link to the article once more:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22956470

The problem is that the cars (even EVs), houses, appliances, etc., not to mention infrastructure, require more oil and material resources (on top of basic needs), something that solar energy cannot obviously provide. And for the transition, the same global middle class will need billions of solar panels as well.

Given lack of supplies (and that includes or is amplified by peak oil), the global economy which rests on a growing global middle class will certainly collapse.


Solar will allow even better levels of global consumption greaters than today, although not unlimited ( I mark the interval of 100-500 TW). The levels to grow from renewable mainly i point to 2030 as lastest.


Definitely not, as solar has low energy returns, and the global economy requires more than just electricity.

In the mean time we could face a "crisis" (aka "change" and "adaptation"). That is different of a "collapse".


Given the manner by which governments have been operating the last few decades, adaptation on a global scale is highly unlikely. But that will be needed in order for the global economy not to fall apart.

It will be like another '79 but bigger crisis.


That is very likely, and even a combination of crises: environmental damage, global warming, peak oil, fallout from financial speculation, conflict, etc.

I define "solution" like "it will allow to move our society", so my answer is "yes".
It can.


If "moving" refers to meeting the needs and wants of a global middle class, it likely can't.

That's because a global middle class requires little regulation, while a transition to RE requires the opposite. At least that's what I gathered from the IEA 2010 report.

Of course, I advocate that growth is NOT a necessity for the system. It will force us to some adaptations, like avoid wealth concentration.


It is a necessity because the global population is growing, and most people worldwide lack one or more basic needs.

But that is possible without a dictatorship or "no market" economy.


It's not possible because what we have is a market economy with deregulation, and the result is a growing global middle class, increasing resource use across the board, fallout from financial speculation, and environmental damage.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 26 Dec 2014, 14:39:58

Year in Review: Top 10 Advanced Energy News Stories of 2014

To wrap up the year, we are taking a look back at 2014. Make sure you didn’t miss the other Year In Review pieces published this week: Top 10 Utility Commission Actions of 2014 and Top Trends in State Energy Legislation.

2014 was a big year for advanced energy. Prices for advanced energy generation technologies kept dropping, employment kept growing, and the industry opened new avenues of expansion. Plus, several key policy changes contributed to the rapid growth an already-expansive sector. Here we present the top 10 news developments of this past year, and Advanced Energy Perspectives’ coverage of them.

1) EPA Writes the Rules on Carbon Regulation
2) New York Begins Building the 21st Century Electricity Grid
3) Advanced Energy Means Huge Employment in California and Iowa
4) Offshore Wind, on the horizon for more than a decade, now closer than ever
5) Solar and wind achieve cost parity
6) Energy Storage Moves Front and Center
7) Gigafactories for Tesla, SolarCity
8 ) Tax Policy: Dropping the Ball in 2014 – Picking It Up in 2015?
9) The Year of the Advanced Automobile
10) The Future is Now!

Fact: advanced energy is proven technology that is deployed at commercial scale and well established in the marketplace. Also a fact: advanced energy means technology that’s really, really cool.

Solar roads! Roadways with installed solar panels durable enough to drive on might be in the near future. Could electric vehicles be charged by the roads on which they drive?

Robots that tilt solar panels to better track the movement of the sun across the sky.

Too much sunlight warming up your building? Send the excess thermal energy straight to space! Stanford University researchers have developed a coating that reflects heat and sunlight so that it bypasses the atmosphere and dissipates it in space.

How about a giant tower in the desert that combines both solar and wind technology to create an incredible amount of energy? Fantastic – and under development!

What will the future hold for advanced energy? We have some pretty good guesses: job growth, lower prices for generation, and a true 21st Centruy grid. Be sure to subscribe to Advanced Energy Perspectives and AEE Weekly to keep up-to-date on all the top stories throughout the year.


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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby h2 » Fri 26 Dec 2014, 19:22:29

Berlin's &quot;energy revolution&quot; is going great—if you own a coal mine. The German shift to renewable power sources that started in 2000 has brought the green share of German electricity up to around 25%. But the rest of the energy mix has become more heavily concentrated on coal, which now accounts for some 45% of power generation and growing. Embarrassingly for such an eco-conscious country, Germany is on track to miss its carbon emissions reduction goal by 2020.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/germanys-co ... 1411599265
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby cephalotus » Sun 28 Dec 2014, 20:52:26

MonteQuest wrote:What few consider is this: The more solar power there is, the more coal and natural gas stations there will be sitting there burning fuel providing "spinning reserve" all day, generating nothing at all.


Electricity production in Germany in TWh/a:

1990 2014
lignite 170,9 156,0
nuclear 152,5 96,9
hard coal 140,8 109,9
natural gas 35,9 58,5
oil 10,8 5,0

wind onshore 0,1 51,2
wind offshore 0,0 1,2
hydro 19,7 20,8
biomass 0,3 42,8
solar 0,0 35,2

waste 1,2 6,1
other 19,3 26,7

sum production 549,9 610,4

export -0,8 31,4

Just an example

I assume that we will have 40% renewable by 2020 and maybe 60% by 2030. It will get a bit more complicated thereafter.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby h2 » Mon 29 Dec 2014, 14:00:27

http://euanmearns.com/energiewende-germ ... and-spain/

Image (sorry, this site forum software insists on truncating rather than resizing images, those charts go to about 2012, click the link to see them fully. Or, just right click on the image and select the 'view image' option, that will show the entire image.

That fine overview article of energy consumption by type is from about 1 year ago, nov 2013.

it's interesting because it shows fairly clearly that the last few years overall growth in energy consumption comes from fossil fuels, not renewables, that applies to spain, UK, and Germany. I presume that is why that wsj article I linked to noted this pattern, ie, it noted it because the pattern exists. What's also notable is essentially no real growth in renewables in the total energy mix.

I like graphs, they make it easy to escape the illusions of statistics and numbers taken out of context. And they are so easy to find that I believe they also show suspect thinking on the parts of people trying to say something that is not is.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby cephalotus » Mon 29 Dec 2014, 15:26:33

h2 wrote:
it's interesting because it shows fairly clearly that the last few years overall growth in energy consumption comes from fossil fuels, not renewables, that applies to spain, UK, and Germany...


This is plain wrong. There is no growth in energy consumption in Germany, primary energy consumption is now back to the level of the 1970s...

It is nonsense if you compare 1 or 2 years and want to see a "trend". Weather, prices and other factors obviously have much more impact than the change in infrastructure.
2014 was very warm (-> low natural gas consumption), CO2 prices are super low (-> more lignite consumption), wind was quite ok in comapriosn to 2013 (this is much more important then new installation rate if you compare just two years), oil prices are low (higher consumption because people are filling their storages) and so on...

On the long trend renewables are growing (except biofuels), nuclear is shrinking, coal remains steady (because of super low CO2 prices), oil consumption is shrinking since 30 years (despite a steady growth in the transport sector, mainly planes), natural gas is volatile (depends a lot on weather for domestic heating, CO2 prices for electricity production and other factors like the Russian "conflict")

Yes, there is little going on with CO2 reduction, but most people fail to see the point, if nobody else is willing to do anything.

I suggest a worldwide price for CO2 in the 20-30US$ range per tonne and CO2 emission will be significantly lower immediately. Yes, we could replace our own lignite with Russian gas. But WHY we should do that?

We will ALL be fucked in the end.

Peak oil has stopped to be a threat for Germany. Maybe some interruption in the supply chain, maybe higher costs. So what? we will survive 150US$/barrel easily if it comes to that again. Electric cars and plug in hybrids just start to become an alernative.

If the world only consumes all the easy oil and natural gas we expect a +4K warming. This is just the easy oil and gas, no fracking, no deep water oil, no tar sands, no kerogen and not a singly gram of coal.
Supply of oil or fossil energy is definitely not our problem, the limited capacity of the atmosphere is.

It is plain stupid to burn lignite from the worlds perspective and this is why I suggest that putting CO2 into the air (besides the biological carbon circle) needs to get a significant price and this must be the same price throughout the world and for every emission.

After that Germany will stop to burn lignite, too. I would appreciate that.

Until then we get rid of our nukes first. This has been, is and will be a huge money grave. Better to get that done sooner than later.

Germany is cold, rainy and technological advanced. We expect to survive +4K easily. Building new infrastructure and planting new trees is already done anticipating and calculating with significant global warming. Germany will spend its money on climate adaptation as long as the world is not willing to cut emissions. This is also Merkels position within the EU now. Germany opposes reducing CO2 certificates and higher standards for cars...

Do you believe that we will make climate change our top priority in the Energiewende while US, China & Co just said "fuck you" for several years and with Putin threatening to halt gas exports?

We don't care anymore. Either we solve that problem all together or everyone is on its own.

This thread is a about typical peak oil doomer pornography. A was a memebr of that group until around 2008/2009. Look around you what oil is used for today. We burn billions of liter to heat rooms to 20°C. We burn it in airplanes to make shopping trips. We commute 100km a day with a 2t machine consuming 10l of precious oil every day just to get to work.
And even with doing so our oil consumption is now significantly lower than 30-40 years ago. If oil would be limited from geological restraints we will adopt with ease. I have no fear. Zero. Our trains already run mostly on electricity, cold(er) homes will kill nobody, expensive flights won't do either, the electric car is an available alternative for the commuter and if it needs to be we will just make oil from lignite. The huge machines to mine lignite run on electricity from lignite power plants btw...

What I do pity is a world that is much hotter than today. Especially for those that don't have the ability to adopt.

Back to topic. From 2008 to 2020 we installed more than 7GW of PV capacity each year. This is enough to provide more than 1% of our actual electricity needs. Our wind power plant building capacity should be around 5GW per year (quite high export rate), so if it needs to be done, change in the electricity system can happen quickly if it really needs to be done. The technology is available the knowledge/skills are available, the money will be available....
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby h2 » Mon 29 Dec 2014, 16:13:38

pstarr, you have to look at the full graph, it becomes more interesting then.

cephalotus, the only reason I'm looking at germany is because it's trying harder than most big industrial countries. Re capacity, that's nice, but you can build as much capacity as you want, what matter is how much energy is generated at the end.

I completely agree about those who don't have the ability to adapt, germany is definitely showing it doesn't have that ability, given the real full energy mix of that country. The problem with meeting efficiency goals, which are always the low hanging fruit is that it's something you gain from a lot at first, then less as time goes on.

I'm not at a 'doomer', but I'm also not interesting in fantasies, or ignoring real data. Since most of germany's energy mix is fossil fuel based. I agree that the northern countries are better situated to handle drops in energy consumption than places like the US, there's no question about that, but your faith in export economies may not be warranted, time will show us that however, so it's not really important to see how that will unfold because there are too many variables.

I also agree that no industrial country will be willing to do what is actually required to stop the increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, in that area, the US right wing is actually intuitively right in realizing that actually means terminating the industrialist project. There's been enough conventions globally on CO2 reduction that lead to no actual real world reduction to understand that is not going to happen. The situation is kind of like passengers on the titanic not wanting to go into life boats because that would mean they'd lose the comfort of the luxury liner.

I won't speculate on what countries can or can't survive re degrees of global heating, since nobody actually knows what will happen with each new 1 degree C of rise, all we can do is watch.

Peak oil has stopped to be a threat for Germany. Maybe some interruption in the supply chain, maybe higher costs. So what? we will survive 150US$/barrel easily if it comes to that again. Electric cars and plug in hybrids just start to become an alernative.


Given the overall absolute rates of german fossil fuel consumption, that's an absurd statement, totally absurd. That's why I post charts instead of playing with words.; You're talking about roughly 75% fossil fuel total energy today if that chart is roughly accurate. Remind me again how much natural gas germany produces?

I find or rather, found, the german efforts to see how much renewable energy they can add to the mix interesting, but really, you have to add in outsourced production, BMW is in mississippee if I remember right, BASF I believe is heading towards Brazil to avoid high energy costs last I checked, don't follow it closely enough to really know.

Pretending that talking about the overall energy mix of germany in a thread about solar energy is only off topic if you don't want to talk about the real world, ie, a nice way to spend a day or two pretending something that isn't is. We have a full energy mix, and I do by the way really7 understand why you don't want to talk about that total, it makes it hard to make the points in any real way, but if I'm talking about a country's energy mix, I certainly want to look at the actual mix, and see what sources are contributing to the overall, otherwise it's meaningless, just fingers typing words that soothe the mind.

With that said, it will certainly be interesting to see what would happen if say, Russian natural gas stops flowing to europe.

I like confidence about what prices a country can handle, we'll certainly see how that works out over the next 10 years or so, as if an export economy isn't connected to the rest of the world.

I also like looking at Spain, which is a good example of how a non export economy is doing with renewables after a big rollout attempt.

Good luck, I like the northern countries, though their naivete at times is kind of quaint, but reality has a habit of not caring what one believes, it just does its thing.
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 30 Dec 2014, 15:20:17

10 Predictions for Rooftop Solar in 2015

The rooftop solar business will continue to grow rapidly in 2015, especially as we get closer to the 2016 ITC cliff. This year I’m adding a bit more specificity to my predictions. So without further ado, here are my ten predictions for rooftop solar in 2015:

SolarCity will buy a module-level electronics company. In the past, the firm has not been shy in using its stock to buy products and technology to help scale -- and to slow down its competition. By the time the giga solar module factory in Buffalo is up and running in 2016 or 2017, smart modules will be the norm. Having control over both the hardware and software in smart modules will be important for effective vertical integration, especially as storage and grid interface capabilities become necessary.

SunPower will announce plans to build a large manufacturing plant in the U.S. Currently, the company makes most of its modules in the Philippines and Malaysia, with a relatively small plant in Milpitas. As demand for made-in-the-U.S.A. modules increases, SunPower will need domestic production to keep up with SolarWorld, Suniva, SolarCity, Auxin, Helios and others. Yes, it’s more expensive to manufacture modules in the U.S., but many residential and commercial customers will pay a slight premium for domestic production.

There will be no extension of the ITC in 2015. I hope I’m wrong about this prediction, but with the GOP-dominated political landscape and presidential elections heating up, I’m not optimistic. Remember, the residential ITC (Section 25 of the tax code) goes to zero on 12/31/16, and the commercial ITC (Section 48 of the tax code) goes to 10 percent on 12/31/16. The ITC is the swing factor for homeowners -- the plunge from 30 percent to zero will dramatically slow down sales for customer-owned systems. The drop will not be as precipitous for commercial and utility systems (including third-party-owned residential systems with leases and PPAs) since these systems will still collect the 10 percent tax credit and accelerated depreciation.

The Republican-dominated congress will make efforts to sideline renewables and promote more fossil fuels, but they will not be successful in overturning key environmental policies. Many conservatives promote energy independence, lobby for jobs and strive to reduce energy costs. Bizarrely, low oil and natural gas prices will put a damper on job growth in the “drill, baby, drill” sector. With more jobs in the solar industry than the coal industry -- and more solar jobs in California than in the utility industry -- Republicans don’t want to be against renewables in upcoming elections.

A big U.S. utility will create a standalone division to focus on solar, renewables and battery storage, while making specific plans to spin out its fossil fuel and nuclear assets.


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Fatih Birol's motto: leave oil before it leaves us.
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