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(TreeHugger)   To the left: A realistic & economically sound plan to get everything, in every state, fully powered with renewable energy by 2050. To the right: naysayers explaining why this is impossible   (treehugger.com) divider line 319
    More: Obvious, United States, renewable energy, offshore wind, fuel mix disclosure, tree huggers, single source  
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7099 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Mar 2014 at 2:19 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-07 05:15:17 PM

Flab: MrSteve007: My first check from my utility for my solar power:

This is the main reason you're making money out of it.  The utility is paying you more per kWh you produce than Joe Schmoe is paying to power his house.

I realize that these are incentives to get people to go green, and to encourage buying local, but as soon as those incentives go out the door, converting your house will stop being profitable.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a laudable endeavour, and something we should all try to do, but most of us won't be making money out of it.

I'm not the only one who's done the math. Rooftop solar power is quite profitable, today.
i0.wp.com

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/much-can-solar-panels-save/

Also, if I factor in the value of getting rid of my ~$3,000 a year gasoline bill to power my car with solar electricity, my ROI gets really, really sweet.

Right now, for me, the brass tacks shows that save $3,000 a year on fuel, $250 on electricity, and $1,250 on an incentive. I have nearly $5,000 more a year, in my pocket, because I've gone solar powered.
 
2014-03-07 05:15:48 PM

draypresct: MrSteve007: super_grass: I see infographics and grandiose promises (like every proposed project to solve america's ills), but I don't see any specifics or data to back it up.

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of each State's plan, it gives a link to all the data at Stanford.

http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/WWS-50-USStat e- plans.html

Thanks for the link.

I gotta say, I admire anyone willing to put their data out for everyone to view. That's gutsy. Bravo.

Short version:
The problem is, many of the decisions that were made seem arbitrary, and all the ones I've found so far were in a direction to inflate the renewable numbers. If there's a document or source that explains their justifications behind their assumptions (I've detailed a few odd ones below), I'd love to see it.


Longer version:
Looking at their spreadsheets, focusing on Michigan (a random choice based on the fact that I live here), and tracing their 40% figure for onshore wind through all the spreadsheets, the ultimate source of this figure is . . . e397 on table 2, where it is simply stated that 40% of the 2050 energy demand will be met by offshore wind. No source for this data, no information on how it's derived. Similarly, scrolling down to the next two states in alphabetical order, they show MN (60%) and MS (5%) estimates without any attribution. The MS number is especially puzzling, since their own spreadsheets and sources show no capacity for on-shore wind farms in MS.

Capacity data:
They declare that their information on available onshore wind is from NREL data, but their data do not match the NREL data.
                     NREL                                                                    Stanford
Michigan       7.85%, 169,221                                                            23.81%, 523,374
Minnesota     44.83%, 1,679,480                                                       55.29% 2,170,610
Mississippi     0.00%, 0                                 ...


Glancing at the wind data for Kansas(where I'm from) it looks like they may be looking at installed capacity v. actual usage. As an example using simple numbers: if Kansas has 1 10mw wind turbine installed and uses 100mw of power then by their calculations 10% of Kansas' power comes from wind. The problem with this system is that installed capacity does not equal actual capacity and it's further complicated because the major power utilities in Kansas exist(or trade significant amount of power) across State lines. So while their numbers were no doubt easy to calculate they are effectively meaningless.
 
2014-03-07 05:16:56 PM
"In 2011, a scientist, a banker, an actorEd Begley Jr., and a filmmaker, came together to envision a pathway to 100% renewable energy in the US..."

Who are the other 3?
 
2014-03-07 05:18:00 PM

PunGent: kgf: MrSteve007: As I've said on fark many times before - almost everything directly in my life is powered by solar power: house, work, car. If I can do that in perpetually cloudy Seattle, anyone can.

My full return on investment will be July 2017 - a little over three years from now. After that, every watt I generate is money in my pocket. Considering most of the equipment is warrantied for another 22 years - I expect to save a load of cash.

I find your claim difficult to believe, unless electric costs in Seattle are astronomical.  I've looked into this more than once over the years, and it keeps coming back to a payback period of about 20 years, which is just about how long a solar panel lasts. As soon as it breaks even you have to replace the panels.

If the payback period was only 3 - 5 years, everybody with half a brain would be doing it, and if you can show me how to do it, I will begin the process of installing panels the next day.

You sure?  this seems to indicate the average manufacturer's warranty is 25 years:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091622.htm


It should also be noted that the panels tend to keep on going like Grandma's TV well after their warranty is up. Of course, simple payback ignores the time value of money (but folks usually neglect escalation of electrical costs, so call it a wash).
 
2014-03-07 05:18:47 PM

PunGent: Destructor: MrSteve007: And what really cheeses naysayers off is that most all of it will pay itself off within a couple years from now

No, what's really cheesing them off is that they're subsidizing it.

As opposed to the oil, coal, and nuclear subsidies, which are much larger than those for solar?


It's larger in total, but smaller per watt.
 
2014-03-07 05:19:10 PM

super_grass: Whatever you're on, either stop taking it or cut the dose.


You're a sad sad little bitty man, aren't you?  Wrong?  About what?  Your assumptions?  That's your job.  Come on, reel me in with a crack about my mother.  For science!   This is better than anything on TeeVee, atm.  I mean you got it bad.

super_grass: Anyway, I'll withhold feeding you with attention


Oh don't tease!  Is there a fee involved?
 
2014-03-07 05:22:22 PM

semiotix: Prank Call of Cthulhu: Didn't bother reading the article, but how do we fuel planes? Last I checked you can't really run a jumbo jet on batteries.

Admittedly, it's tough to think of a way to fly big jets without using good old-fashioned hydrocarbons. And it's not like jet fuel is a totally negligible part of our energy budget, now or in the foreseeable future. The more important point is that literally everything else  does have a workaround.

Regardless of whose plan we follow, if we can get to a point where all the energy I use until I step onto the plane itself is from renewable sources, I'd say that's good enough. Campfires are ridiculously bad for the environment on an efficiency and particulate basis, but I don't feel like I'm committing ecological genocide if I just make a few of them a year.


This.  The plan in the article may well be crap, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't invest in alternate energy where it makes sense...windmills in windy areas, solar in sunny areas...and cut subsidies to established sectors like coal and oil to level the playing field.

Pity it won't happen though.
 
2014-03-07 05:22:28 PM

MrSteve007: Flab: MrSteve007: My first check from my utility for my solar power:

This is the main reason you're making money out of it.  The utility is paying you more per kWh you produce than Joe Schmoe is paying to power his house.

I realize that these are incentives to get people to go green, and to encourage buying local, but as soon as those incentives go out the door, converting your house will stop being profitable.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a laudable endeavour, and something we should all try to do, but most of us won't be making money out of it.
I'm not the only one who's done the math. Rooftop solar power is quite profitable, today.
[i0.wp.com image 850x575]

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/much-can-solar-panels-save/

Also, if I factor in the value of getting rid of my ~$3,000 a year gasoline bill to power my car with solar electricity, my ROI gets really, really sweet.

Right now, for me, the brass tacks shows that save $3,000 a year on fuel, $250 on electricity, and $1,250 on an incentive. I have nearly $5,000 more a year, in my pocket, because I've gone solar powered.


Not economic if you don't factor in the tax subsidies and tax reductions.  If your neighbor and me did not fund your experiment it would cost 50% more.  Do it by yourself completely and get back to me.
 
2014-03-07 05:23:32 PM

Flab: I realize that these are incentives to get people to go green, and to encourage buying local, but as soon as those incentives go out the door, converting your house will stop being profitable.


That's the issue... once there are enough of these systems they will be considered as mainstream and standard as the electrical systems being installed in new construction houses today. The prices for said systems will come down even more, and they will become just another expense when upgrading an old electrical system or installing a new one.

When you replace the electrics in an old house, are you looking for a profit in doing so, or are you doing it so that the place doesn't catch fire and can handle the new stuff you want to use?

The key here is users... remember when flat panel tvs were tens of thousands of dollars (in 2000 a 50" plasma was $20,000+)? Now that 50" lcd can be purchased for less than $490.

Think bigger. Think future.
 
2014-03-07 05:24:05 PM

jshine: I'm in Minnesota right now, where tidal, hydroelectric, & geothermal aren't feasible.


Seriously?  five seconds on Google.

http://strandlund.com/
 
2014-03-07 05:25:15 PM

Voiceofreason01: Glancing at the wind data for Kansas(where I'm from) it looks like they may be looking at installed capacity v. actual usage. As an example using simple numbers: if Kansas has 1 10mw wind turbine installed and uses 100mw of power then by their calculations 10% of Kansas' power comes from wind. The problem with this system is that installed capacity does not equal actual capacity and it's further complicated because the major power utilities in Kansas exist(or trade significant amount of power) across State lines. So while their numbers were no doubt easy to calculate they are effectively meaningless.


The study's FAQ:
http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/FAQsUSStates. pd f

Q: How can the plans ensure reliable electric power?
A: To ensure that the renewable energy supply will match demand and to smooth out the
variability of these renewable resources, several strategies will be deployed, including:
(1) combining wind, water and solar (WWS) resources as a bundled set of resources
rather than separate resources and using hydroelectric power plus stored concentrated
solar power, to balance much of the remaining load; (2) interconnecting geographically dispersed
variable WWS resources (e.g., solar, wind, wave) to smooth out the variability
of these resources; (3) using demand-response management to shift times of demand to
better match the availability of WWS power, (4) over-sizing WWS peak generation
capacity to minimize the times when available WWS power is less than demand and
provide power to produce district heat for cities and hydrogen for transportation when
WWS power exceeds demand, (5) storing energy at the site of generation or use, (6)
storing energy in electric-vehicle batteries, and (7) integrating weather forecasts into
system operation.
 
2014-03-07 05:25:48 PM

CujoQuarrel: Destructor: Nuclear power & Reprocessing.

This.


Anything else and you're just blowing smoke out your ...


Nuclear plants are just too expensive. It's not hippies doing sit ins that are stopping nuclear, it's the costs. Nuclear costs more per kW to build AND more per kW to operate than even photovoltaic. And natural gas blows the hell out of both nuclear and photovoltaic.

No one who can do basic math and likes money (which describes most businesses with enough money to make a go of reactor construction) is building a nuclear reactor outside of a Navy vessel anytime soon.

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/
 
2014-03-07 05:28:29 PM

bunner: When that happens, they're just as screwed as we are.  Your move, umptillionaires.


Close, but not quite. When that happens, their (at least somewhat) distant descendants are screwed -- and the umptillionaires don't care about them any more than they care about you or I.

As far as they're concerned, it's all about the now, and about accumulating as much wealth as possible, making sure to return the minimum possible to the system (and especially, to taxes).
 
2014-03-07 05:29:29 PM

bigsteve3OOO: Not economic if you don't factor in the tax subsidies and tax reductions. If your neighbor and me did not fund your experiment it would cost 50% more. Do it by yourself completely and get back to me.


For the feed-in-tariff I can half agree with you on that (if you'd like, I can go into very specific detail why this isn't the case for my location), but in terms of the federal tax credit, all it does is reduce what I pay in income tax, for one year.

Is that really other people subsidizing me or is that the government letting me pay less income tax, once? If so, would you argue the same for the mortgage interest tax deduction, tax incentives for marriage or children? Because that's me subsidizing other homeowners, kids and married people.
 
2014-03-07 05:30:13 PM

MrSteve007: I'm not the only one who's done the math. Rooftop solar power is quite profitable, today.


Keyword: today.

Because of incentives.  The minute those incentives disappear, they will stop being as profitable. (And in my particular case, with electricity being only $0.05 a kWh, with no possibility to sell surplus back to Hydro-Quebec, not profitable at all)

And I still think it's a good idea.  The Sun is there, as the Fark saying goes, for free.  It is stupid not to take advantage of it and rely on dinosaur alcohol.
 
2014-03-07 05:31:32 PM

MrSteve007: meat0918: I love your stuff, but how does the bulk of humanity afford that?
meat0918: The tax incentives (in Oregon at least) really rely on how much tax liability you already have.I'd love them, but financially it just doesn't make sense right now, even with the incentives.
kgf: I find your claim difficult to believe, unless electric costs in Seattle are astronomical. I've looked into this more than once over the years, and it keeps coming back to a payback period of about 20 years, which is just about how long a solar panel lasts. As soon as it breaks even you have to replace the panels.If the payback period was only 3 - 5 years, everybody with half a brain would be doing it, and if you can show me how to do it, I will begin the process of installing panels the next day.
When I refinanced my house to a 15-year mortgage, I took out $20,000 and threw in $5,000 of my own cash into installing the 3.8KW array. Normally it would only require $20k up front, but I wanted all the bells and whistles: I wanted battery bank, external generator tie, and a new breaker panel to replace my 40-year-old one and a sub-panel for 110v loads:
[fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net image 720x1278]

-Fixed costs for that was $25,000 ($25,000)
-30% came back on my taxes as a credit that year: $7,500 (17,500)
-I get $1,250 - $1,500 a year for my feed in tariff: $1,250 ($16,250)
-I save $250 on electricity bills: $250 ($16,000)

When you factor in the feed in-tariff + annual energy rate increases of 5-10% + reduced utility bills - the ROI is between 6.5 and 9 years. I installed the array in 2012.

Had I gone for a bare-bones, batteryless array without a generator tie, using foreign made panels or fancy new electrical panel, I could have easily done it for $19k, before incentives. Prices of installs have come down a bit since then. I'd imagine a similar barebones 3.8KW array today would cost about 17k.


I didn't check what part of the country you're in. Where I live, power costs have been falling semi-steadily for the last 20 years: in 1995 power cost me 16 cents per kwh. in 2014, it costs 8 cents. The electricity itself has gotten far cheaper (right now it's about 4 cents - the rest of the cost is grid maintenance and administrative costs, which has only declined slightly in the same 20 years)

It's pretty clear to me that costs right now are about as cheap as they can ever be, making it less attractive (especially in a high-density suburb) to look at alternate sources, but this *is* a really good time to trim consumption; the AC units I have today are almost twice as efficient as the ones I had then, and most of my appliances are a lot more efficient. Lighting alone, changing to a few CFL's and LED's for the lights that never get turned off, is huge savings.

It's really a strange time - 15 years ago, we were looking at becoming a huge LNG importer as the price was winding up and consumption was going up. Then the whole fracking thing comes along, and now natural gas is so abundant it is nearly worthless. I'm hesitant to assume some other bizarre twist won't come along in another 10 years, but it's hard for me to see right now how electrical prices will face any upward pressure any time very soon.

That said, I'm a little jealous of your setup. Even though my paycheck comes from making power, I still don't like actually having to personally spend money on it :)
 
2014-03-07 05:32:12 PM

gweilo8888: bunner: When that happens, they're just as screwed as we are.  Your move, umptillionaires.

Close, but not quite. When that happens, their (at least somewhat) distant descendants are screwed -- and the umptillionaires don't care about them any more than they care about you or I.

As far as they're concerned, it's all about the now, and about accumulating as much wealth as possible, making sure to return the minimum possible to the system (and especially, to taxes).


Point.  *sigh*  :  \
 
2014-03-07 05:32:15 PM
jshine:
That pretty much leaves wind.  What happens on days without wind?

Days without wind in the United States?
There is no such animal.
Not even a minute.

It's not like every village currently has a nuke plant.  How do they make do?
 
2014-03-07 05:34:27 PM
To the right: naysayers explaining why this is impossible (treehugger.com)

Because greens like the fools that visit that site go full whargarble every time anyone tries to build hydroelectric and Limousin libs block attempts to build wind-farms within eye-shot of their beach homes (that are supposedly underwater due to gw).
 
2014-03-07 05:35:09 PM

PunGent: As opposed to the oil, coal, and nuclear subsidies, which are much larger than those for solar?


Oil and coal are subsidized? By who? The Ethanol lobby?

Solar and Wind are heavily subsidized. In terms of energy production over the lifetime of the plant, I'll wager the single greatest cost to nuclear is regulatory brinksmanship.

Check out MrSteve007's awesome tax credit that we're paying for... Sweet!

MrSteve007: -30% came back on my taxes as a credit that year: $7,500 (17,500)

 
2014-03-07 05:37:00 PM

Flab: Because of incentives. The minute those incentives disappear, they will stop being as profitable. (And in my particular case, with electricity being only $0.05 a kWh, with no possibility to sell surplus back to Hydro-Quebec, not profitable at all)

That's quite a cheap rate! Here in hydro powered Seattle, we're edging between $0.09 and $0.012 a kWh. For my clients in Hawaii, they pay $0.36 a kWh. For them, it makes sense to go solar without a single cent of inventive. Many of their neighborhood utility feeds are now surpassing 120% solar penetration levels.

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/blog/morning_call/2014/03/hawaiia n- electric-sends-new-rules-to.html

http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/February-2014/Hawa ii s-Solar-Energy-Revolution/
 
2014-03-07 05:37:13 PM

rewind2846: When you replace the electrics in an old house, are you looking for a profit in doing so, or are you doing it so that the place doesn't catch fire and can handle the new stuff you want to use?


Agreed.   When I had my house built, 8 years ago, I paid for extra insulation in the attic and walls.   Not because I thought the investment would pay for itself in reduced heating and cooling costs, but because I didn't want to "heat the entire neighborhood" as I unfortunately had to do in my previous place.

However, one of Steve's arguments is that they pay for themselves.  I'm just saying, that may be the case today, but it won't always be the case.  Or at least not as fast as today.
 
2014-03-07 05:37:14 PM

MisterTweak: It's really a strange time - 15 years ago, we were looking at becoming a huge LNG importer as the price was winding up and consumption was going up. Then the whole fracking thing comes along, and now natural gas is so abundant it is nearly worthless. I'm hesitant to assume some other bizarre twist won't come along in another 10 years, but it's hard for me to see right now how electrical prices will face any upward pressure any time very soon.


There are efforts afoot to 'turn around' some LNG import ports so we can start exporting the stuff.

Fracking has held down electrical prices now, but it's a temporary lull. We probably have a good 30 year bridge to get to a sustainable basis (and 'negawatts'/efficiency is a big part of that). But not definitely - water problems or grid issues exacerbated by extreme weather could drive electricity prices through the roof in a matter of years. It's not all about the plant with an intensely centralized system like we have now.

But it sounds like you're also in an odd place. Most folks have seen prices drop a bit off the spike of a few years back to a plateau, not the extreme drop you seem to have lucked into (electricity is a bit more of a local cost than a commodity like oil or something - you're luckier than most).

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/report/electricity.cfm
 
2014-03-07 05:40:03 PM

Destructor: PunGent: As opposed to the oil, coal, and nuclear subsidies, which are much larger than those for solar?

Oil and coal are subsidized? By who? The Ethanol lobby?

Solar and Wind are heavily subsidized. In terms of energy production over the lifetime of the plant, I'll wager the single greatest cost to nuclear is regulatory brinksmanship.

Check out MrSteve007's awesome tax credit that we're paying for... Sweet!

MrSteve007: -30% came back on my taxes as a credit that year: $7,500 (17,500)


Isn't it a bit late in the thread for trolling? It's mostly old guys left here, why don't you try something a bit fresher on the politics thread?
 
2014-03-07 05:44:46 PM

MrSteve007: For my clients in Hawaii, they pay $0.36 a kWh. For them, it makes sense to go solar without a single cent of inventive. Many of their neighborhood utility feeds are now surpassing 120% solar penetration levels.


I remember a thread a while back about that.  It also helps that their peak hours are during the day.  Here, our peak hours are 5am-9am and 5pm-8pm in January, when the sun is down, so solar panels don't help as much anyway.
 
2014-03-07 05:46:08 PM

dj_bigbird: I assume by "onshore wind" they're referring to windmills that kill lots of birds and for solar PV and CSP plants, they're talking about places that cook birds.


Yes, those several thousand poor birds that die every year. It almost as many as the billion birds eaten by cats every year.
 
2014-03-07 05:46:31 PM

MrSteve007: bigsteve3OOO: Not economic if you don't factor in the tax subsidies and tax reductions. If your neighbor and me did not fund your experiment it would cost 50% more. Do it by yourself completely and get back to me.

For the feed-in-tariff I can half agree with you on that (if you'd like, I can go into very specific detail why this isn't the case for my location), but in terms of the federal tax credit, all it does is reduce what I pay in income tax, for one year.

Is that really other people subsidizing me or is that the government letting me pay less income tax, once? If so, would you argue the same for the mortgage interest tax deduction, tax incentives for marriage or children? Because that's me subsidizing other homeowners, kids and married people.


We agree 100%!  No tax incentives to force behavior.  Be it corporate or individual.  If it makes sense then you should do it.  Taxes should not modify your decision.
 
2014-03-07 05:48:36 PM

Surpheon: Isn't it a bit late in the thread for trolling? It's mostly old guys left here, why don't you try something a bit fresher on the politics thread?


Hey, that's the way it goes. At first people say renewables don't work and cost too much to install. Then someone comes in with proof that it does work and is financially feasible for the common person. The next move is to attack the incentives, now that they found regular joes can install renewable energy themselves.

Then comes the proof that some areas of the country can be powered with renewables, without any incentives, and it makes financial sense.Then the argument moves to "How will the poor utilities survive against people making their own power" and they'll cast doom & gloom over the whole idea.

Curiously, in the past year the gears of the disinformation machine has now moved to trying to protect corporate utilities by repealing net-metering laws on a state-by-state basis and try to implement a monthly fee for people to tie into the grid with rooftop solar power.

The plan to cut off solar installs -
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/stealth-business-lobbyis t- plans-2014-offensive-against-solar-net-metering
 
2014-03-07 05:54:19 PM
Flab:
However, one of Steve's arguments is that they pay for themselves.  I'm just saying, that may be the case today, but it won't always be the case.  Or at least not as fast as today.

That is the interesting quirk about these systems... when Joe Houseowner is replacing or upgrading the systems in his house, is he looking to make a profit from it?  Usually there is no profit from a standard installation... why must there be a profit from an installation using renewable energy sources? Why must it "pay for itself" when a regular install never ever will?

Even if there were no subsidies whatsoever, the fact that the houseowner (usually) no longer has to pay the power company (as much of) their blood money puts them ahead. That's a bonafide win.
 
2014-03-07 05:54:59 PM

MrSteve007: Flab: MrSteve007: My first check from my utility for my solar power:

This is the main reason you're making money out of it.  The utility is paying you more per kWh you produce than Joe Schmoe is paying to power his house.

I realize that these are incentives to get people to go green, and to encourage buying local, but as soon as those incentives go out the door, converting your house will stop being profitable.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a laudable endeavour, and something we should all try to do, but most of us won't be making money out of it.
I'm not the only one who's done the math. Rooftop solar power is quite profitable, today.
[i0.wp.com image 850x575]

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/much-can-solar-panels-save/

Also, if I factor in the value of getting rid of my ~$3,000 a year gasoline bill to power my car with solar electricity, my ROI gets really, really sweet.

Right now, for me, the brass tacks shows that save $3,000 a year on fuel, $250 on electricity, and $1,250 on an incentive. I have nearly $5,000 more a year, in my pocket, because I've gone solar powered.


Savings over 20 years.. 20K.  Cost of enough panels to power my house 40k-50k.  Back to burning tires for me.
 
2014-03-07 06:01:23 PM

MrSteve007: Surpheon: Isn't it a bit late in the thread for trolling? It's mostly old guys left here, why don't you try something a bit fresher on the politics thread?

Hey, that's the way it goes. At first people say renewables don't work and cost too much to install. Then someone comes in with proof that it does work and is financially feasible for the common person. The next move is to attack the incentives, now that they found regular joes can install renewable energy themselves


Troll calling. What, no picture? I'm insulted. The predictable and inevitable last resort in any battle.

Never, at any point in time did I disparage anyone here. Did I not say that I thought that MrSteve007's setup was sweet? Did I not intimate that I like it (I do). The only thing I had to do was defend this ribbing:

And what really cheeses naysayers off is that most all of it will pay itself off within a couple years from now

I explained what cheesed them off (IMHO, but that go without saying).

Elsewhere in this thread, I've defended a position regarding cost in nuclear. You've produced the EIA report which shows nuclear is more expensive. I'll respond to that now: It does. So maybe it is. I posted a link that says maybe it isn't. So maybe it isn't.
 
2014-03-07 06:12:21 PM
It must work if the gubment has to dump tons of money into green companies that go bankrupt and funnel campaign funds back to politicians.   YAAY.

//blah blah blah ... oil companies...   subsidies... blah blah blah.. shut their asses off also.//
 
2014-03-07 06:14:51 PM

Surpheon: MisterTweak: It's really a strange time - 15 years ago, we were looking at becoming a huge LNG importer as the price was winding up and consumption was going up. Then the whole fracking thing comes along, and now natural gas is so abundant it is nearly worthless. I'm hesitant to assume some other bizarre twist won't come along in another 10 years, but it's hard for me to see right now how electrical prices will face any upward pressure any time very soon.

There are efforts afoot to 'turn around' some LNG import ports so we can start exporting the stuff.

Fracking has held down electrical prices now, but it's a temporary lull. We probably have a good 30 year bridge to get to a sustainable basis (and 'negawatts'/efficiency is a big part of that). But not definitely - water problems or grid issues exacerbated by extreme weather could drive electricity prices through the roof in a matter of years. It's not all about the plant with an intensely centralized system like we have now.

But it sounds like you're also in an odd place. Most folks have seen prices drop a bit off the spike of a few years back to a plateau, not the extreme drop you seem to have lucked into (electricity is a bit more of a local cost than a commodity like oil or something - you're luckier than most).

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/report/electricity.cfm


Texas is weird (I know, big shock there) - some cities have even cheaper prices, a few are a little more expensive. But there is an absolute "floor" (mostly driven by what it costs to maintain the grid) and I think we're pretty close to it now. There's lots of room to go up, not much to go down.

I'm not too thrilled about the move to export LNG. Right now, companies can invest in power-hungry projects with high confidence that costs will be predictable for the next 20 years (low, held down by a huge supply of cheap fuel) - but if we let US prices get driven by big importers of LNG (nuclear-averse Japan and the EU), we lose a big economic advantage.

American consumers often forget that the interest of the oil companies in "drill here, drill now" isn't tied to their interest to sell it back locally at a discounted price - it sells to whoever will pay the very top dollar.
 
2014-03-07 06:15:24 PM
The strongest argument against?  How often do predictions like this actually come to pass in the time frame suggested?
 
2014-03-07 06:30:23 PM

Ambivalence: vernonFL: Of course it CAN be done, the question is whether or not we have the political will to do so.

We invested well over $1 trillion over 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think about that every time a see a report about why something can't be done or we don't have the budget or it will take too long, etc...

We didn't "invest" a penny in Iraq or Afghanistan. An investment implies we could reasonably inspect a return. Iraq and Afghanistan are money pits and that money ain't ever coming back.

Education and infrastructure are actual investments.


Actually both types are. We pour more money into education than private schools do, and they get a better product. Public education has become a money pit as well, thanks to current policies. Our kids should be able to graduate with all the needed classes by the time they are 15, and by 18 they should have enough college credits for a Bachelor's degree in a year or two.
 
2014-03-07 06:32:36 PM

MrSteve007: meat0918: I love your stuff, but how does the bulk of humanity afford that?
meat0918: The tax incentives (in Oregon at least) really rely on how much tax liability you already have.I'd love them, but financially it just doesn't make sense right now, even with the incentives.
kgf: I find your claim difficult to believe, unless electric costs in Seattle are astronomical. I've looked into this more than once over the years, and it keeps coming back to a payback period of about 20 years, which is just about how long a solar panel lasts. As soon as it breaks even you have to replace the panels.If the payback period was only 3 - 5 years, everybody with half a brain would be doing it, and if you can show me how to do it, I will begin the process of installing panels the next day.
When I refinanced my house to a 15-year mortgage, I took out $20,000 and threw in $5,000 of my own cash into installing the 3.8KW array. Normally it would only require $20k up front, but I wanted all the bells and whistles: I wanted battery bank, external generator tie, and a new breaker panel to replace my 40-year-old one and a sub-panel for 110v loads:
[fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net image 720x1278]

-Fixed costs for that was $25,000 ($25,000)
-30% came back on my taxes as a credit that year: $7,500 (17,500)
-I get $1,250 - $1,500 a year for my feed in tariff: $1,250 ($16,250)
-I save $250 on electricity bills: $250 ($16,000)

When you factor in the feed in-tariff + annual energy rate increases of 5-10% + reduced utility bills - the ROI is between 6.5 and 9 years. I installed the array in 2012.

Had I gone for a bare-bones, batteryless array without a generator tie, using foreign made panels or fancy new electrical panel, I could have easily done it for $19k, before incentives. Prices of installs have come down a bit since then. I'd imagine a similar barebones 3.8KW array today would cost about 17k.


Aren't you listening? This is totally unfeasible and is not supposed to work! OMG!

/sarcasm
 
2014-03-07 06:37:26 PM
MrSteve007: pics
MrSteve007: pics
MrSteve007: graphs and a check

thats pretty cool, though it would be cooler if you lived about 1200 miles south!  ;-)

we prob only have about 7 more years in our house so i do not think solar would pay for itself in that time.
 
2014-03-07 06:41:48 PM
As a tax payer, I am much happier to pay Steve a little bit to generate solar power than to pay you to use power that emits CO2.

And yes, that stuff comes with with a big cost.
 
2014-03-07 06:56:52 PM

Destructor: Hollie Maea: Destructor: Nuclear power & Reprocessing.

Too expensive.

Looking at the levelized cost (most affected by taxes). But looking at the actual cost, transmission distances, land savings in term of power density, and reliability, it becomes hard to beat.

If you really want to leave a tiny ecological foot print, nuclear is the only way to go.


Except for that little problem with accidents, natural disasters, spent fuel storage and whatnot.
Nuclear is some pretty scary shiat.
 
2014-03-07 07:01:42 PM
These threads are fun for watching fossil fuel shills suddenly care about birds.
www.capetownskies.com
 
2014-03-07 07:05:38 PM

kgf: I've looked into this more than once over the years, and it keeps coming back to a payback period of about 20 years, which is just about how long a solar panel lasts.


What if I could save the world and I could break even doing it?

/that's assuming your figuring is even close to right
 
2014-03-07 07:12:49 PM

Jimmysolson: Except for that little problem with accidents, natural disasters, spent fuel storage and whatnot.
Nuclear is some pretty scary shiat.


I would love for solar and wind to be the big solution. But, IMHO, it's just not practical, even with massive public financing.

There is no denying nuclear power is risky. Just don't compare a new plant using 4th generation tech to some old piece of junk poorly operated, managed, or placed.

There is risk with every other form of power generation out there, including wind.

This is (probably) not one of those risks...

imgs.xkcd.com
 
2014-03-07 07:15:31 PM
Not sure if they are taking this into account, but the major problem is how much you have to oversize the power sources. Minnesota has 60% onshore wind and 19% offshore wind (on a lake???). But the wind doesn't always blow. And when it doesn't blow you lost 79 percent of your power. And if this is at night, you lost another 20% of your power. Leaving you with essentially ZERO power production.
Obviously you cannot get solar power at night, so you have to have the ability to get at least 100% of your power needs from non-solar sources. The same for wind when it doesn't blow, etc. You cannot get rid of fossil fuel production because it is the ONLY 100% reliable source (not including maintenance.)
 
2014-03-07 07:30:12 PM
Sure, it can be done. Finding businesses willing to pay for it versus their shareholder profits is entirely another story.

Trying to push all the costs directly onto consumers who are already broke as hell doesn't generally equal a stable and well-thought plan.

We need FDR-level of infrastructure and investment into clean and renewable energy, so it can become a feasible reality. Otherwise, we can expect to keep guzzling down the oil from the Saudi's nether regions.
 
2014-03-07 08:03:16 PM

sufferpuppet: Savings over 20 years.. 20K. Cost of enough panels to power my house 40k-50k. Back to burning tires for me.


$5 x 20 years = $100,000.
 
2014-03-07 08:16:05 PM

vernonFL: We invested

wasted well over $1 trillion over 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think about that every time a see a report about why something can't be done or we don't have the budget or it will take too long, etc...

FTFM.
 
2014-03-07 08:20:00 PM

Jimmysolson: Destructor: Hollie Maea: Destructor: Nuclear power & Reprocessing.

Too expensive.

Looking at the levelized cost (most affected by taxes). But looking at the actual cost, transmission distances, land savings in term of power density, and reliability, it becomes hard to beat.

If you really want to leave a tiny ecological foot print, nuclear is the only way to go.

Except for that little problem with accidents, natural disasters, spent fuel storage and whatnot.
Nuclear is some pretty scary shiat.


Scarier than Natural Gas?   http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/safety/AllPSI.html?nocache=7 7 26#_ngdistrib  ?  Just how many deaths attributed to `radiation events' from the inception of Nuclear Navy/U.S. Commercial nuclear power, until present?

The Integral Fast Reactor was developed and perfected at Argonne West (Idaho National Labs) at a cost to the taxpayer of 20 Billion (1984-1994) - cut short of completion by 2 yrs owing to Kerry in the Senate (appeasing greens) and Clinton (looking to be a `budget cutter' as the Contract with America rabble was on the way to the House). The reprocessing of spent fuel demonstration wasn't completed; all high level spent fuel/as well as depleted Uranium stocks can be reused - until nothing remains but an easily vitrified (`glass beads') product with a `dangerous half-life of only 300yrs.  The IFR was a passive safety design - via the physics of the process itself - no human intervention required to shut it down (too hot, too many thermal neutrons escape the core, fission can't be sustained). This was demonstrated a couple of months before Chernobyl.  The IFR had both the external cooling & electricity cut-off and the staff just sat and watched.  Then they went to lunch.
http://www.ne.anl.gov/About/hn/logos-winter02-psr.shtml   The IFR was no science project, GE still has reactor design (PRISM) based on IFR specs ready to go.

Breeders are renewables (just not passive in the process of renewal) and are zero emission.  Keep in mind, every time the Columbia River starts to dry up, the System has to buy additional electricity from coal fired plants.  Sun doesn't shine/wind don't blow?  Yeah, Nat. Gas is the ticket, right?  Keep developing all zero emission means - I just mean ALL zero emission generation.

Oh, just thought it would be interesting to point out, as you'll never see it in the MSM.  What happened at Tohoku's  Onagawa Nuclear facility (closest 3 reactors to the epicenter of quake)?  IAEA inspected in 2012.  Conclusion?  Not much (locals washed out of their homes took up residence the plant's staff gym for weeks afterwards):   http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/actionplan/reports/onagawa0413.p d f
 
2014-03-07 08:22:05 PM

10 sec rule applies to pudding too: Not sure if they are taking this into account, but the major problem is how much you have to oversize the power sources. Minnesota has 60% onshore wind and 19% offshore wind (on a lake???). But the wind doesn't always blow. And when it doesn't blow you lost 79 percent of your power. And if this is at night, you lost another 20% of your power. Leaving you with essentially ZERO power production.
Obviously you cannot get solar power at night, so you have to have the ability to get at least 100% of your power needs from non-solar sources. The same for wind when it doesn't blow, etc. You cannot get rid of fossil fuel production because it is the ONLY 100% reliable source (not including maintenance.)


Get this: what if we built the solar and wind and only used the fossil fuel as a backup on the rare occasions when nothing else would work?

Alternatively, we could just burn all the fossil fuels now and then when they are gone just throw up our hands and give up.
 
2014-03-07 08:29:27 PM
OK, I looked at Virginia and can someone explain this statement on the page to me:

Using WWS electricity for everything, instead of burning fuel, and improving efficiency means you need much less energy

Then they inexplicably show a 40% drop in energy demand.  What demand are they referring to?  If you improve the efficiency of cars (via electric cars) while still using fossil fuels to generate electricity, then you're also using less energy.  If you're just increasing the efficiency of the power plant, then the actual demand hasn't gone down, you're just providing it in a more efficient manner.

So I guess I'm asking "you need much less energy" to do what?  Where are they getting that 40% drop from, and wouldn't it apply regardless of what's providing the power?  That seems to be a huge part of their calculation, I'm just wondering where it's coming from.
 
2014-03-07 08:53:13 PM
Surpheon:  We probably have a good 30 year bridge to get to a sustainable basis

Said people forty years ago.
 
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