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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 07 May 2020, 14:16:59

Go back to just California for a moment.
In 2017, California reported a total of 24,331 GWh in solar electricity generation, approximately 11.79% of all electricity produced. This represented 44.4% of the state's non-hydro renewable energy generation.[2] At the end of 2017, California had a total installed solar capacity of 11,229.9 MW, making it the highest solar power generating state in the nation.[3] SEIA currently estimates that California's solar capacity powers 4,885,000 homes in the state, and employs 100,050.

It is estimated that the state will add an additional 13,670 MW of capacity over a period between 2017 and 2021.

Note that the figures are for grid tied solar that is on the utility side of the meters as they don't keep track of those privately owned panels that only reduce daytime demand.
California's peak load varies from 41 to 50 Mega watts;
https://www.caiso.com/Documents/Califor ... istory.pdf
So they are going to go from 11,229 MW to 24,889MW by next year of 50 percent of peak demand and a doubling time of less then four years.
If they can do that there they can do it all across the south.
But all things considered I would be happy if they installed enough new capacity each year to charge all new EVs totally solar thereby getting away from the coal fired electric car meme.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 May 2020, 10:13:07

Despite wind energy rising from 180,850 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 622,704 MW in 2019, while solar energy capacity rose from 41,542 MW at the beginning of the decade to 586,434 MW—increases of 244% and 1,311%, respectively, both combined still represent less than 2% of the world’s total energy supply and just 3.8% of US supply—based on the current data available from REN21 Global Renewable Status Reports and Lawrence Livermore Labs.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 May 2020, 10:28:11

Wind and solar are also lagging players. In its latest market forecast, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts modern bioenergy will represent the biggest growth in renewable energy sources between now and 2023. According to the IEA, bioenergy will remain the largest source of renewable energy over the next five years due to its widespread use in heat and transportation, sectors in which wind and solar currently play a much smaller role. The IEA shows that modern bioenergy, excluding the traditional use of wood, dung, etc, was responsible for half of all renewable energy consumed last year, providing four times the contribution of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind combined. Bioenergy in the form of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels will account for 30 percent of the growth in renewable consumption through 2023. “We expect modern bioenergy will continue to lead the field, and has huge prospects for further growth’—IEA

Feeding our food and other animals' food to our machines is not the right path, either. We already appropriate 40% of NPP to human use.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 11 May 2020, 18:55:46

MonteQuest wrote:Despite wind energy rising from 180,850 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 622,704 MW in 2019, while solar energy capacity rose from 41,542 MW at the beginning of the decade to 586,434 MW—increases of 244% and 1,311%, respectively, both combined still represent less than 2% of the world’s total energy supply and just 3.8% of US supply—based on the current data available from REN21 Global Renewable Status Reports and Lawrence Livermore Labs.

The statistics you site are from a period when fossil fuels were still plentiful and relatively cheap. That renewables have gained any percentage of total output under those market conditions can only be attributed to forward thinking governments subsidizing that growth. Nah Sayers will trumpet that the governments have wasted our money. Realist will see it as a good investment against potential future adversity.
I expect that the realists will win the debate and we will read about it under the light generated by renewable sources.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Mon 11 May 2020, 19:48:26

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:Despite wind energy rising from 180,850 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 622,704 MW in 2019, while solar energy capacity rose from 41,542 MW at the beginning of the decade to 586,434 MW—increases of 244% and 1,311%, respectively, both combined still represent less than 2% of the world’s total energy supply and just 3.8% of US supply—based on the current data available from REN21 Global Renewable Status Reports and Lawrence Livermore Labs.


I expect that the realists will win the debate and we will read about it under the light generated by renewable sources.


We need to keep in mind some regions are embracing renewables and it is generally the wealthier ones. Many areas can't and probably won't. Some areas like norther Europe have made impressive strides although there is some stalling as they get to the more difficult part of grid upgrades and storage needs. I am not sure how far this energy transformation will go but, in my opinion, it will not be a transition. There are too many other issues besides energy taking the world down. One of the biggest issues with a renewable energy transition is behavior. A total renewable energy transition would require smaller populations that lives more local and more in tune to seasons and intermittency. This world will be poorer with more people growing food. The world we live in is likely not one of those worlds that can energy transition to renewables.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:00:36

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:Despite wind energy rising from 180,850 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 622,704 MW in 2019, while solar energy capacity rose from 41,542 MW at the beginning of the decade to 586,434 MW—increases of 244% and 1,311%, respectively, both combined still represent less than 2% of the world’s total energy supply and just 3.8% of US supply—based on the current data available from REN21 Global Renewable Status Reports and Lawrence Livermore Labs.

The statistics you site are from a period when fossil fuels were still plentiful and relatively cheap. That renewables have gained any percentage of total output under those market conditions can only be attributed to forward thinking governments subsidizing that growth.


The meager growth continues to this day. Wind, solar, and geothermal are capturing a share of the global energy pie at just .3%/yr. In the US, .48%/yr. .5% in 2004 when I joined this site to 2.0% in 2019. New demand nearly outstrips all gains, even with efficiency gains and a move toward service-oriented activities. The EROEI is just too low to compete with the energy density of FF's.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:05:58

REAL Green wrote:We need to keep in mind some regions are embracing renewables and it is generally the wealthier ones. Many areas can't and probably won't. Some areas like norther Europe have made impressive strides although there is some stalling as they get to the more difficult part of grid upgrades and storage needs. I am not sure how far this energy transformation will go but, in my opinion, it will not be a transition. There are too many other issues besides energy taking the world down. One of the biggest issues with a renewable energy transition is behavior. A total renewable energy transition would require smaller populations that lives more local and more in tune to seasons and intermittency. This world will be poorer with more people growing food. The world we live in is likely not one of those worlds that can energy transition to renewables.


I concur with that assessment. The renewable investment needs to be focused in the areas where the people are going to be born, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Africa, and South America. It won't be. Yet, the demand for energy will double by 2050. Same with food. Bottleneck.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:06:32

As much as the Greens live city living as being a low energy life style I think the city’s will be a major problem.

Most of the talk I hear about being green and renewables is centered around rural and suburban development. Those options are not available to the cities. Cliff dwellers have no place for solar panels, or wind turbine and can not super insulate their cells. And our culture does not habe enough energy surplus to rebuild the cities in a sustainable manner, whatever that would look like.

My (rather ugly) vision of the future will have the Northern cities be near abandoned as the cost to heat eats deeper into the budgets. This won’t happen over night but there will be a long term migration to warmer climes and newer housing that is designed for passive cooling, ventilation.

This will be difficult if we keep adding to our population. The new immigrants are by and large heat adapted while the Northerners are not.

This won’t be an easy transition. The most obvious answer is to reduce the population as much as possible as early as possible, but we are not heading in that direction. As noted above, bottle neck.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:19:29

Newfie wrote:My (rather ugly) vision of the future will have the Northern cities be near abandoned as the cost to heat eats deeper into the budgets. This won’t happen over night but there will be a long term migration to warmer climes and newer housing that is designed for passive cooling, ventilation.


Let’s not forget wet bulb forecasts in the decades ahead so northern movements may eventually be the trend. Maybe someday life will be more semi-nomadic of moving during the season's extremes to avoid weather that is unlivable. Nowadays the rich do it. Someday it will be great migrations of humans like wildebeest. LOL.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:47:30

I am more optimistic about the renewable's future. The only reason they are not surging ahead is the present is the abundance of still cheap fossil fuels. I expect that will end before too long and renewables will become the next best substitute. I do not expect any reductions in population so planning should be based on providing for the projected growth.
Considering solar powered air conditioning and well insulated northern housing I don't see any north to south migration or vis versa.
I see no reason that a home in the near future will not have all of it's heating and cooling and all the usual electric load provided by on site solar panels or a wind turbine sited not too far away shared by several houses.
It is just a matter of cost now and when the price is right it will happen.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby C8 » Mon 11 May 2020, 20:55:28

Two key elements of the green future-view were public transit and dense multi-use urbanization- these have definitely been given a blow by Covid.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 May 2020, 21:04:50

vtsnowedin wrote:I am more optimistic about the renewable's future. The only reason they are not surging ahead is the present is the abundance of still cheap fossil fuels.


Partly, the main reason they are not surging ahead is a combination of a low EROEI and that the demand for new energy by a growing population nearly outstrips all gains. In 2018, modern renewables met just 25% of new demand.

vtsnowedin wrote:I see no reason that a home in the near future will not have all of it's heating and cooling and all the usual electric load provided by on site solar panels or a wind turbine sited not too far away shared by several houses. It is just a matter of cost now and when the price is right it will happen.


Yes, there will be a move to localization and away from huge grid projects. I am in the process of building a windmill for supplemental resistance 12V heat. With foot-thick R45 walls and earth-sheltered, it doesn't take much to heat my home. :)
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 11 May 2020, 22:08:42

MonteQuest wrote:Yes, there will be a move to localization and away from huge grid projects. I am in the process of building a windmill for supplemental resistance 12V heat. With foot-thick R45 walls and earth-sheltered, it doesn't take much to heat my home. :)

Good enough for you why not good enough for everybody?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby forbin » Tue 12 May 2020, 02:15:43

capacity cheaper but at what cost ?

recently in the UK

"Wind power has flooded the system with cheap electricity”

– Sizewell reported paid £50mn compensation to reduce output by 50%. They were selling at wholesale £25/MWh

– Wind are paid £122/MWh if they are on the Renewable Obligation scheme, or £173/MWh for CfDs.

distortions in the market ?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Tue 12 May 2020, 06:21:00

MonteQuest wrote:Yes, there will be a move to localization and away from huge grid projects. I am in the process of building a windmill for supplemental resistance 12V heat. With foot-thick R45 walls and earth-sheltered, it doesn't take much to heat my home. :)


For a future of renewables to be meaningful behavior must change. The future is likely poorer with a decline process so this means more reality tested applications of renewables for a world in decline otherwise there will be expensive stranded assets the world in decline cannot afford. $50K fancy EVs are not it. There is the definite need for more localization of renewables with micro grids but also home owners with less expensive solar and batteries to cover needs when the grid is down plus cover some of their daily usage such as refrigeration or even lite HVAC. This provides resiliance but also allows the paying down of the investment. Thermal insulation and passive thermal are ideal additions to turbo charge renewables abilities. Renewables that have thermal efficiencies combined with conservation strategies are what will make the biggest impact in the future for sustainability and resilience. This equates to a lower planetary footprint which combined with degrowth policies will see the greatest results. Vastly complicated Green New Deals are just for political consumption not reality based.

The problem today is large renewable farms are the most power efficient for the money and get the investments. They feed into a dirty grid of fossil fuels but also bad behavior. So these renewables are just status quo extenders. The reality is renewables are dirty too with lifecycle costs so to be greener requires human behavior intervention. Even if the statistics show a positive renewable penetration situation it is marginal compared to what is needed. There seems to be a ceiling of renewable penetration since grid upgrades and storage are so difficult and expensive. Much more needs to be developed with storage strategies but not much is really promising with cost benefit.

So, this is a muddle at the status quo level. It could be different if behavior changed at all levels but it won't except on the margin. The status quo is yield dominated and government investment pork orientated. Behavior changing policy is hardly on the radar if it was significant degrowth policies would be on the table. Nowhere do we see this at meaningful levels. What we see is FAKE Green policy and poor human attitudes of cake and eat it behavior. A $50K Tesla of green righteousness is fake. A power wall and solar roof in a McMansion is fake. If you can go simple but effective with thermal efficiency strategies, use renewables, and practice conservation as an individual. Embrace localism and back off from the car culture. Be a simple and sober green source of change. If enough are like you a noticeable change will bubble up from the grass roots. Only so much can be done becuase of the carbon trap in path dependencies everyone is in but many can do a dramatic first change. Society may chip in someday because many do not have the time nor the money to get greener. It is not cheap and it requires embracing a way of life.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 May 2020, 08:01:39

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:Yes, there will be a move to localization and away from huge grid projects. I am in the process of building a windmill for supplemental resistance 12V heat. With foot-thick R45 walls and earth-sheltered, it doesn't take much to heat my home. :)

Good enough for you why not good enough for everybody?


If everyone going forward elected to build a home that produced more energy than it consumed and was willing to live in a small house like they did in the pioneer days and oriented it towards the sun rather than the "street," then that might work. Of course, you would have to change zoning laws that won't allow small homes or that orientation. Here in rural NW Missouri there are no restrictions. The back of my house faces the road. :)
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 12 May 2020, 08:16:58

vtsnowedin wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:Yes, there will be a move to localization and away from huge grid projects. I am in the process of building a windmill for supplemental resistance 12V heat. With foot-thick R45 walls and earth-sheltered, it doesn't take much to heat my home. :)

Good enough for you why not good enough for everybody?


He lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere. He was doing new build or cut and redo. Over 50% of the country lives in a city.

Yes it’s possible for him but how does he do that as a cliff dweller in NYC air Chicago? He doesn’t own the building, He doesn’t have capital tools or ingenuity. The building itself is no amenable to the modification.

Sure I can go build a zero emission home somewhere, But that’s not the question. The question is how do you move 150+ million city dwellers out of their inefficient buildings?

Having lived in center city Philly for too many decades I can’t tell you the number of people who have exactly zero knowledge. While it sounds ridiculous I know people, masters degree level and up, l who call an electrician to change a light bulb. Seriously. They need everything done for them. So you are looking at, as a minimum, having the apartment owners gutting the building to refit it, if it is even worthwhile, if it Is even possible to achieve sufficient efficiency.

Unless you can figure out how to refit all those millions and millions of apartments and the is homes with tenants who don’t have a clue you are not addressing the Problem.


https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/201702 ... retrofits/

Monte,

Again, everyone going forward could do exactly as you say and it would make little difference. The vast majority would still live in energy hog houses.

Believe me, I’ve been through this. We own an 1887 historic town house with 4 apartments. Brick walls, zero insulation. I had to replace some sashes, that took years to find someone who would make the sashes, but I never found anyone to fit them. I did it myself. These properties are getting rundown because of lack of maintenance, excessive repair costs. Having the area declared “historic” made the regulations even more difficult.

It would be cheaper to level the house and build new. Except the value of the new build would be less than the old house. And even if you did it would not be a zero emission house, you have no yard, and no light. It’s essentially a 70’ by 15’ foot print, 3 stories high, then line them up 30 in a row.

Apartment buildings are much worse because they have even less light and footprint to capture energy but require tons of everything to run the services: elevators, water pumps, heat, cooling, ventilation, sewage pumps, etc.

Image

Here is a similar neighborhood. Almost every house has been converted Into apartments, typically 6 units per. This is an older new by or old, the majority were built later, were smaller, and more dense.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby REAL Green » Tue 12 May 2020, 08:46:24

Newfie wrote:Unless you can figure out how to refit all those millions and millions of apartments and the is homes with tenants who don’t have a clue you are not addressing the Problem


Exactly, and the reason I say behavior is the key and even behavior is not the silver bullet to fixing things only admitting the scale of the problem and accepting failure. It is often the case new is cheaper than renovation but then you get into the available resources issue. If you care about true life cycle costs in relation to planetary footprints then you realizing scraping a whole macro living arrangement for greener is dirtier. Adorability is a huge issue discounted by specialized uneducated/educated types who can't change a light bulb.

This is my beef with the absurd Green New deals circulating today by specialized uneducated/educated people who do not understand the nuts and bolts of this change. The full scope of these complex system changes with complicated nodes is beyond agenda and emotions. It sounds great and it sells to the pissed off masses but it is unworkable in a real world of decline. Some of it can be done and should be.

My opinion is those who can should do what strategies they can that are means tested for true value to humans and the planet. Those who can't should practice more conservation to make up for their inability to change in a greener way. Government should quit getting in the way of constructive green change and supporting the wrong forces of brown change. Government changing is unlikely. The average joe practicing more conservation is negligible. The awakened individual who can change should change. This is a very small amount of people compared to the whole but these people are the seed bank of change. They will have collected and constructed seeds of change for those who come afterwards with best practices and the collection of the best technology in relationship to a macro decline process.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Tue 12 May 2020, 08:56:23

Well obviously there is not enough roof area in that urban situation to generate enough solar power so it will have to be served by solar and wind sited elsewhere and brought through the grid. Retro fits to add insulation to exterior walls and top floor ceilings are as you say expensive and difficult to do with current regulations. But as energy prices rise ,and eventually they will, those retrofits will become cost effective and will happen.
A change in political leadership in the inner cities would of course help but for now it looks like one Detroit after another. I wonder how bad things will have to get before the working class citizens of the cities get sick of things as they are and throw the bums out.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path Pt. 2

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 May 2020, 08:59:23

Newfie wrote: He lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere. He was doing new build or cut and redo. Over 50% of the country lives in a city.

Monte,

Again, everyone going forward could do exactly as you say and it would make little difference. The vast majority would still live in energy hog houses.


Yes, this was a new build. I did 100% of the work myself, besides a little help with the slab pour and the ceiling drywall. Most people have few of the construction skills I have, much less ALL of them. Nor a 200 acre farm to build on in the "middle of nowhere." :) We face a bottleneck.
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