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  • Renewable Energy Prices Hit Record Lows: How Can Utilities Benefit From Unstoppable Solar And Wind?

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    • This works only until you factor in a kilowatt-day rather than kilowatt hour. As Germany found out already, too much solar and wind make the grid unstable and when you add the cost of a "smart" grid in, the whole becomes totally cost ineffective.

      The proof is in the pudding so-to-speak. All the highest per KWH cost nations are leaders in percentage of solar and wind being used. In the US, California the leader in solar and wind production also has the highest KWH cost for electricity.

      The question I pose for articles like the above is If what these articles claim is true, then why is all the actual, in service use of solar and wind proving the exact opposite?

      Comment


      • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        The proof is in the pudding so-to-speak. All the highest per KWH cost nations are leaders in percentage of solar and wind being used. In the US, California the leader in solar and wind production also has the highest KWH cost for electricity.

        The question I pose for articles like the above is If what these articles claim is true, then why is all the actual, in service use of solar and wind proving the exact opposite?

        Probably because California & were the 'early adopters'. Everyone knows the early adopters pay top dollar for the new tech, whilst those who wait a few years get the exact same thing much cheaper.

        "Over the last decade, wind energy prices have fallen 70% and solar photovoltaics have fallen 89% on average, according to Lazard's 2019 report. Utility-scale renewable energy prices are now significantly below those for coal and gas generation, and they're less than half the cost of nuclear. The latest numbers again confirm that building new clean energy generation is cheaper than running existing coal plants."

        Which probably explains why the vast majority of new generating capacity are renewables. The pudding proof.

        960x0.jpg?fit=scale.png

        Comment


        • There's political "opportunity cost" to consider as well,

          for the Germans it's presumably acceptable to pay more per KWH, if it means to be less dependent on Russia, ME or USA for energy supply.

          Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

          Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Gooner View Post


            Probably because California & were the 'early adopters'. Everyone knows the early adopters pay top dollar for the new tech, whilst those who wait a few years get the exact same thing much cheaper.

            "Over the last decade, wind energy prices have fallen 70% and solar photovoltaics have fallen 89% on average, according to Lazard's 2019 report. Utility-scale renewable energy prices are now significantly below those for coal and gas generation, and they're less than half the cost of nuclear. The latest numbers again confirm that building new clean energy generation is cheaper than running existing coal plants."

            Which probably explains why the vast majority of new generating capacity are renewables. The pudding proof.

            960x0.jpg?fit=scale.png
            It isn't "early adopters" that's the problem. It's the economics of 24/7 use of wind and solar as base loading. Once you pass about 15 to 20% use you start moving into base loading and that's where the problem arises as it has in Germany. Solar and wind are unreliable and highly variable sources of electricity. They also aren't capable of steady production 24/7.

            If the solar panels were FREE solar would still end up being more expensive as a power source. That's because all the added infrastructure necessary, along with the increased required capacity in production, to make power available 24/7 with them increases the cost astronomically.

            To make one kilowatt day of electrical power using solar you need about five (5) kilowatts of installed solar power panels. You then have to add about 3 to 4 KW of installed storage capacity depending on exactly how you store the power for when the sun isn't shining. Add in a "smart" grid to be able to transfer that power around, then add in the need for conversion from DC to AC at the user end, and the whole supply and distribution system becomes prohibitively expensive. Top that off with a degree of grid instability that can effect commercial and industrial users who then need to install uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) or back up generators to prevent power surges and losses, and the system ends up where Germany's is today. The highest per KWH cost in the world.

            Solar is a loser. If you want carbon free cheap electricity, it's nuclear but that isn't happening because of an irrational, uninformed, paranoid, fear of it by the same people pushing solar.

            As for why solar is getting adopted... That's because of mandated government requirements for it. California (Arizona is too but to a lessor extent) is forcing power companies to go to wind and solar. They wouldn't do it if government wasn't forcing it on them.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
              There's political "opportunity cost" to consider as well,

              for the Germans it's presumably acceptable to pay more per KWH, if it means to be less dependent on Russia, ME or USA for energy supply.

              Yes true. Only Hermany isn't a good example to use seeing as they are in such a hurry to close their nuke plants.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                It's the economics of 24/7 use of wind and solar as base loading. Once you pass about 15 to 20% use you start moving into base loading and that's where the problem arises as it has in Germany. Solar and wind are unreliable and highly variable sources of electricity. They also aren't capable of steady production 24/7.
                The UK hit 43.7% of electricity production by wind over a 24 hour period about a month ago. Currently wind is generating only about 3% of electricity demand. The lights have not so much as flickered.

                To make one kilowatt day of electrical power using solar you need about five (5) kilowatts of installed solar power panels.
                Yes. Coal power stations work at about 35% efficiency CCGT 60%.

                You then have to add about 3 to 4 KW of installed storage capacity depending on exactly how you store the power for when the sun isn't shining.
                Far more efficient to use the limited storage capacity to deal with unexpected drops and peaks when you can fire up the CCGT and/or coal power station to deal with the usually utterly predictable times when the sun ain't shining and the wind ain't blowing.

                Add in a "smart" grid to be able to transfer that power around, then add in the need for conversion from DC to AC at the user end, and the whole supply and distribution system becomes prohibitively expensive.
                You think a "dumb" grid is going to be cheaper?!


                Solar is a loser. If you want carbon free cheap electricity, it's nuclear but that isn't happening because of an irrational, uninformed, paranoid, fear of it by the same people pushing solar.

                As for why solar is getting adopted... That's because of mandated government requirements for it. California (Arizona is too but to a lessor extent) is forcing power companies to go to wind and solar. They wouldn't do it if government wasn't forcing it on them.
                Solar is such a loser in the US that you are installiing over 13GW of new capacity this year compared with a whopping 0Kw of new nuclear.

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                • \
                  Britain has been refurbishing a lot of the old run of the river hydro plants with Archimedes screw hydro- a smart idea that allows for immediate increase in output to smooth out wind fluctuations.
                  Screw generators are a lot more environmentally friendly

                  The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    It isn't "early adopters" that's the problem. It's the economics of 24/7 use of wind and solar as base loading. Once you pass about 15 to 20% use you start moving into base loading and that's where the problem arises as it has in Germany. Solar and wind are unreliable and highly variable sources of electricity. They also aren't capable of steady production 24/7.
                    These statements seem to be becoming more and more questionable as time passes. Also, by denying climate change you eliminate THE single most significant comparison factor between renewables and fossil fuels.

                    For many countries/people/organizations, the choice of problems is this: solve the problem of renewables as base load or solve the problem of removing carbon from the atmosphere. Perhaps the former seems easier than the latter.

                    I'm aware of one project that uses solar power to split water to create hydrogen when power demand is low. The stored hydrogen is used to provide power when demand is high. Solar can also be used to pump water for hydro when demand is low. Or hook solar up to a molten salt storage facility.

                    Even the entire concept of baseload is coming into question. Experience seems to be showing that flexibility and geographical distribution are key.

                    Renewable energy can provide baseload power - here’s how


                    The Key to Unlocking ‘Renewables as Baseload’ Is the Control System


                    Baseload myths and why we need to change how we look at our grid


                    'Baseload Is Poison' And 5 Other Lessons From Germany's Energy Transition

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                    • How Germany helped make renewable energy cheap for the rest of the world

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                      • The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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                        • Flywheel energy storage is one I’m interested in, can be used in many applications... it’s even used on the new Gerald Ford carrier to help launch aircraft.
                          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                          Ernest Hemingway.

                          "We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorised and flattened by trivialities."
                          Bukowski

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by DingBat View Post

                            These statements seem to be becoming more and more questionable as time passes. Also, by denying climate change you eliminate THE single most significant comparison factor between renewables and fossil fuels.

                            For many countries/people/organizations, the choice of problems is this: solve the problem of renewables as base load or solve the problem of removing carbon from the atmosphere. Perhaps the former seems easier than the latter.

                            I'm aware of one project that uses solar power to split water to create hydrogen when power demand is low. The stored hydrogen is used to provide power when demand is high. Solar can also be used to pump water for hydro when demand is low. Or hook solar up to a molten salt storage facility.

                            Even the entire concept of baseload is coming into question. Experience seems to be showing that flexibility and geographical distribution are key.

                            Renewable energy can provide baseload power - here’s how


                            The Key to Unlocking ‘Renewables as Baseload’ Is the Control System


                            Baseload myths and why we need to change how we look at our grid


                            'Baseload Is Poison' And 5 Other Lessons From Germany's Energy Transition

                            The articles don't answer the question. Instead they propose solutions that largely haven't be tried on a large scale. As for storage of energy, this is added complexity in a system where it isn't necessary if you can control the amount of production to begin with. Take "pumped hydro" for example. Here you are using some of the energy produced to move water as stored potential energy to later be released as hydroelectric energy. You need a lower and upper basin to store the water used. You need make up water for evaporation. Pumping the water 'uphill' to storage requires as much or more energy as the hydroelectric energy later produced will amount to. That's basic physics. Therefore, you need installed twice the installed capacity (plus a bit for inefficiency) of the storage system's production to make the system work.

                            All of that adds massive costs to the system, which isn't very efficient to begin with.

                            Then Gooner brings up:

                            The UK hit 43.7% of electricity production by wind over a 24 hour period about a month ago. Currently wind is generating only about 3% of electricity demand. The lights have not so much as flickered.
                            So? If wind production is that variable, the problem becomes how do you install other sources that don't create duplication and inefficiency? That is, if you can sometimes count on wind, but other times need natural gas or whatever, now you need two plants-- one wind, one the other method-- and that duplication costs a lot of extra money to install and maintain. Better to build what reliably works than two systems one of which sometimes works great and at other times doesn't work at all.

                            Yes. Coal power stations work at about 35% efficiency CCGT 60%.
                            You are talking about efficiency. Irrelevant to the discussion of grid reliability and ability to produce constant power. What matters here is Capacity factor.

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_factor

                            The capacity factor of solar plants and installations runs around 15 to 25%, although some argue it's as high as 40 but that is not observed in actual systems. For large nuclear and coal plants capacity factor is typically above 90%.

                            What this means is over time, days, weeks, etc., a solar plant puts out 15 to 25% of its potential generating capacity. That's horribly inefficient even if the panels used were say 99% efficient at conversion. A coal or nuclear plant at 90% that's just 35% efficient would still be over 30% total efficiency in energy conversion and beats the solar plant.
                            I've pointed out the comparison between solar and nuclear before. Ivanpah solar....



                            versus Palo Verde nuclear:



                            Over the course of a typical year Palo Verde produces about 35 times more power than Ivanpah yet only costs about 5 times what Ivanpah cost to build and less than 3 times what Ivanpah costs to operate. Nuclear power absolutely demolishes solar for efficiency.

                            Solar is such a loser in the US that you are installiing over 13GW of new capacity this year compared with a whopping 0Kw of new nuclear.
                            Because government is mandating and heavily subsidizing it. If government weren't forcing power companies to build solar plants, they wouldn't be building them because they are economic losers and power companies know it. But, when government makes up for the losses and mandates that's all a company can build, that's what you end up with.

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                            • It may be wise to upgrade the grid slowly to allow for not only a smart grid but additional distributed production. A lot of the grid like most of the infrastructure is aging and replacement is lagging behind what is prudent. If income continues to grow especially for the low and middle classes as it has under Trump the time to start investing on infrastructure may have arrived.

                              https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-...ss-11569786435

                              In places where low and middle class income is not growing the majority of the burden for "environmentally friendly" energy production has fallen disproportionately on the poor. Especially true in places like Germany.

                              while households at the bottom saw their incomes drop by 8%
                              https://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/new...ome/index.html

                              The other thing you have to consider is that a large proportion of the pollution and slave labor associated with green energy has been exported to the poor in places like China. Not so progressive :-)
                              We hunt the hunters

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                              • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                                All of that adds massive costs to the system, which isn't very efficient to begin with.
                                Maybe. But the point I was making is that it's more than a little disingenuous to try to evaluate energy options only on the basis of efficiency. This is the climate change thread, after all.

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