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Denial 2.0

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by nwdiver, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #1 nwdiver, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    Opponents of wind and solar are falling back to the second line of defense...

    Sadly led be Jim Hansen... who really needs to stick to climate science... claims that wind and solar can't possibly meet our growing energy demand are coming out of the woodwork. At the lay level acceptance of this myth appears to be at least partially driven by confusion over power and energy. A co-worker (With a degree in physics) once asked, 'What good is a 10kW solar array if I use 1500kWh/mo?' ....... !?!?!?...... what?.... well... for starters a 10kW array produces ~1800kWh/mo...

    The main issue with wind and solar is intermittency not energy. As the costs of storage approaches $100/kWh the intermittent nature of wind and solar will be less and less of a problem.
     
  2. William13

    William13 Member

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    Nwdriver, if we were to use photovoltaic for energy production in New Mexico or Arizona, what area would be needed to replace all US electricity consumption over a period of one year? What about the area for our total energy use?
     
  3. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    US electrical consumption is ~4k TWh/yr; Assuming ~10k TWh/yr to replace EVERYTHING... likely lower especially if you electrify transportation...

    1km² produces ~200GWh/yr in NM that's 50k km² to produce 100% of energy used in the US.... an area the size of San Bernadino county... about 1/3 the size of paved surface area in the US.
     
  4. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    #4 Bangor Bob, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    Not only can renewables do it all, it'll be cheaper than what we're doing now.

    How World Can Go 100% Renewables By 2050 And Save Money

    Getting to zero net carbon is a political problem. It's not a technology problem. It's not an economic problem. It's roughly 90 companies (Guardian.com)with the ears of policy makers. Take the subsidizing fingers off the energy market scales and the old dinosaurs will be buried by fast, small, nimble competitors.

    NB: A portion of savings in some sectors would have to go to pay for higher expenses in other sectors - getting enough biofuel to transition shipping and aviation, for instance. Those aren't going to be electrified anytime soon. Again, a political problem....
     
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #5 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    Well, it's political in the sense that nation states exist. Without nation states there would be no issue of economic competitiveness, which would make it easy to implement policies that make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.

    But given the existence of nation states, you're always left waiting for cheaper technology.

    The biggest thing we're waiting for are cheap batteries and cheaper power electronics, which is why I think electrification of transportation is so important.

    Cheap batteries would change _everything_.
     
  6. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    Green Mountain Power is experimenting along those lines with the Powerwall, $450/year for 7kWh of storage, with GMP "running" it.

    As for the politics - it's the influence and lobbying the fossil industries have. Hopefully as the "clean" industries expand, their lobbying power will too. The tide is slowly turning already -- more in some countries than others, of course...
     
  7. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    191,817 square miles: Elon Musk: How to power the US with solar - Tech Insider
     
  8. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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  9. 3mp_kwh

    3mp_kwh Member

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    Denial is thinking policy is no obstacle to what is physically possible. "opponents of wind and solar"? Hansen is genuinely concerned about CO2. I would agree arguments between carbon-free resources are reckless, in light of the carbon math, or when you blend environmental idealism with a little internet confidence.

    Ohio is deciding to subsidize coal - how's that score? We can muse about what's possible, all we want. Geopolitics have a different plan.
     
  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    #10 FlasherZ, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    Not true if you live where I do. Near St. Louis, a 9 kW array will only produce just over ~1,000 kWh/mo.

    I agree with your premise, but 10 kW @ 1800 kWh/mo is idealistic at best unless you live in Arizona, SoCal, or Florida.

    Without crazy incentives, solar PV has a serious problem here in the midwest when compared to the cheap electricity.

    Without incentives, payback for the average consumer here is 32.3 years.
    With just the federal 30% incentive, payback for the average consumer here is 22.6 years.

    This doesn't include (both positive and negative):

    * opportunity cost of money (even at 3% this is substantial)
    * electricity rate increases as a result of regulation and/or true cost realization
    * expected inverter replacement every 15 years
    * panel degradation (~20% after 25 years)

    You can make the argument all you want that cheap coal country should pay more for their power to reflect true cost, but the power bill is a big chunk of their income and they'll find policymakers who will respect their positions (not to mention the jobs that these industries bring).

    As for wind, no one has made any reasonable case out here for wind except in a thin strip throughout north-central Illinois.

    Bottom line - incentives are still needed here on a fairly large scale, and states are ending their incentives. Illinois just ended their 25% rebate, up to $10k, because the state is so broke. A few years ago, Ameren in Missouri had an incentive that would pay nearly the entire cost of the system, so people could make money after 3 months - that's gone now.
     
  11. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    #11 Skotty, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
    That article is stupid. Not only are those people not climate denialists, they do not oppose wind and solar. They are all for it. Problem is, wind and solar looks shockingly similar to other grand ideas that never seem to really happen, including fusion power, while fission nuclear is steadily out there delivering significant amounts of real power. Despite being deeply concerned about the climate (I won't vote for anyone who disregards the findings of climate science, regardless of how much I might like them on other issues), I would be among those in so said "climate denialism" if it weren't for one man on a mission: Elon Musk. Our greatest hope for wind and solar to really take off right now lies with Tesla, their gigafactory, and the PowerPack/PowerWall.

    Tell you what. I'll stop staying wind and solar can't do it alone as soon as you stop saying fusion is 40 years away and always will be. Deal? (note: this is rhetorical, not directed at anyone in particular)
     
  12. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    The reason solar PV is so costly (unless you DIY) is the installers; NOT the technology. There's a lot of research trying to figure out exactly why this is...

    This is insane...

    gchart-US-vs-German-solar-cost-2012.png

    Over a 20 year period for most of the US Solar PV is the cheapest source of electricity on a per kWh basis.

    Your 9kW array should cost ~$17k. The equipment is $1.20/w that still leaves $6k for profit and fees. $17k / 240MWh = $0.07/kWh.

    Hopefully I'll be helping another friend install a ~7kW system for <$7k... this will be by first install <$1/w; It's in west Texas so the cost of power it produces will be <$0.04/kWh.
     
  13. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I agree with you. Very few installers, they're getting $4/W. We know that the materials are running about $1.5/W. The 9 kW array I had installed on my shed took about 3 days with 2 guys @ 8 hours ea. At 48 man-hours, that's a healthy project margin - likely $400/hr profit.

    I've had a couple of electricians come by and ask what it would take for them to get into it. The big learning curve for them appears to be all the planning tools - electricians don't do a lot of planning, that's usually the architect or general contractor's job. They intuitively "get" all of the connections between all the pieces, but it's that modeling and planning that tends to limit them.

    It was $36k without incentives. With incentives (25% rebate, then 30% off the remainder), out-of-pocket was ~$19k. Replacing inverter down the road will probably be another $4k or so. Projected production year 1 is 12.4 MWh, with 20% degradation at year 25, that's an average of 11.16 MWh/year, or 279 MWh. So $23k / 279 MWh = 8.24 cents per kWh. I pay $0.09. So I will be able to reach parity.

    (My other 9kW system, 3 arrays, isn't as good - some shading issues on my garage roof prevent me from reaching the full potential of the panels. It was the same price to install, but unfortunately will produce only about 11.4 MWh or so...)

    I suppose if you wanted to move here and install a bunch of solar you could make it work. No one's doing it though, especially with it looking increasingly like the 30% rebate not getting renewed beyond the end of 2016.
     
  14. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Well... nice thing about Texas... no code inspections or permits depending on location :cool:

    Still... those things aren't hard; I did everything above board and inspected in WA state... I hired a licensed electrician to do the final wiring and pull the permits for $1k.
     
  15. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Same here. Some counties don't even have building permits. :)
     
  16. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I love Tennessee. I pulled the permits on my fist 7kw system and they said what took me so long and charged me $25 then add the $50 for the utility. When I added an additional 5 panels the permit was $20 and the utility waived the inspection since nothing changed.
     

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