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By Robert Rapier on May 19, 2011 with 151 responses

Beyond Emission Pricing – a Renewables Revolution in the True Sense of the Word

The following guest essay was written by Dr. Felix Mormann from Stanford Law School. Dr. Felix’s research focuses on the regulatory and policy challenges of climate change mitigation through sustainable energy solutions. Previously, Dr. Felix worked as a corporate and energy lawyer representing a major wind turbine manufacturer and advising clients on investment opportunities in renewable energy technologies.

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Beyond Emission Pricing – a Renewables Revolution in the True Sense of the Word

Yes we can. Two years ago, scientists from Stanford University applied the mantra of President Obama’s 2008 campaign to renewable energy, when they published a plan to meet the world’s entire energy demand with wind, water, and sunlight by 2030 – using today’s technology. Similarly, the International Panel on Climate Change’s new Special Report on Renewable Energy includes scenarios, in which renewables supply 80% of the global energy consumption by 2050. The good news is: We can achieve the transition to a low-carbon renewables-based energy sector with today’s technology.

The bad news is that we are far from realizing the technological potential of renewables, not to mention their environmental and economic benefits. In its 2011 Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration forecasts a share of less than 15% for renewables in the U.S. electricity generation mix by 2035. Compared to 2009, the share of renewables is projected to grow by a mere four percentage points, while coal and natural gas are expected to account for more than two thirds of U.S. electricity generation. This meager growth of renewables is all the more surprising, as the EIA’s projections account for the present potpourri of policies promoting renewable energy at the U.S. federal, state, and regional level. So what is wrong with our current policy approach?

Technology is Ready, But Policy Lags

Policy measures in the U.S. and across the globe tend to focus on the cost-competitiveness of wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies. Feed-in tariffs, production tax credits, and certificate trading schemes all aim to bridge the cost gap between renewable energy technologies and fossil fuel incumbents.

With its focus on generation cost, the present policy landscape tends to ignore regulatory, behavioral, and other obstacles to a timely transition to renewable energy. A closer analysis of the electricity market, for instance, reveals a whole plethora of barriers to the entry of renewable energy technologies. A look at Europe’s two largest economies – France and Germany – reveals just how important these barriers are. Both countries have established promotional policies that offer similar financial incentives for electricity generation from renewables. Yet, Germany has achieved several orders of magnitude greater deployment rates than neighboring France, pointing to other forces at play than generation cost-competitiveness alone.

Policy Focus on Production Cost Ignores Other Barriers

One such force is the challenge to gain access to the grid – not exactly a plug-and-play procedure. If incoming renewables entrepreneurs want to sell their power, they need to connect their generation facilities to the electricity grid. Electricity distribution, however, is a natural monopoly. Without a strong regulatory obligation to grant grid access to incoming players, producers of electricity from renewables are left at the mercy of network operators, who themselves tend to be producers of electricity eager to eliminate competition.

Before renewable energy entrepreneurs can sell (or even generate) any electricity at all, they need to obtain the permits necessary to set up and operate their power plants. The longer the lead-time and the greater the uncertainty of the permit process, the higher the cost of capital as banks and other investors will charge a premium for their financial support. A high level of fragmentation greatly complicates and lengthens the permit process. Large-scale power plant projects, e.g., for coal or nuclear, often receive preferential treatment in the form of a single, comprehensive permit process. In contrast, small-scale power plants, such as most wind and solar projects, seldom benefit from such streamlined processes but, rather, require multiple, often duplicative permit procedures. For instance, acquiring the necessary permits for a wind power plant may involve no less than eight different U.S. government agencies – at the federal level alone.

Planning, Permits, and Protests

A key factor determining the likelihood of success of any permit application is spatial planning. Traditionally, spatial planning takes the form of zoning, reserving specific zones for industrial development, including power plants. Without adjustments, many local zoning regimes would treat your residential roof-top solar PV installation and other micro-generation plants using renewables the same as a large-scale nuclear power plant. Al Gore himself fell victim to such zoning when he first tried to put solar panels on the roof of his Belle Meade home. A national survey among local planners revealed that more than 80% of the surveyed communities did not address, much less accommodate renewable energy technologies in their zoning ordinances. The necessary modifications take time and create costly uncertainty for project developers.

Many local authorities, while generally supportive of a low-carbon economy based on renewables, are reluctant to open their communities to the siting of wind turbines and other renewables plants whose aesthetic value is disputed. This “not-in-my-backyard” movement has already gained strong support in the U.S. as evidenced by the recent opposition to wind power projects in Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the Nantucket Sound. Local population, industry, and administration require time to learn how to deal with new technology. In the meantime, renewable energy technologies struggle to overcome issues of local acceptability.

These are just a few of the many obstacles to renewables large-scale deployment. The ongoing debate about the introduction of emission pricing at the federal level and similar state initiatives suggest that a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade regime may resolve the present policy impasse. Indeed, most economists praise emission pricing as the most efficient means of promoting abatement technologies such as renewables. Just like feed-in tariffs, tax incentives and other existing policy measures, however, emission pricing would primarily address the issue of renewables’ cost-competitiveness. The aforementioned and other barriers to the large-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies would remain unresolved.

Emission Pricing – Remedy and Risk

Worse yet, emission pricing exacerbates the risk of replacing our current fossil fuel path-dependency with another. The ensuing market pull toward renewables would likely result in a run for the current least-cost renewables technologies, such as hydro and onshore wind. As the market’s invisible hand grasps for the least-cost short-term solutions, it may well ignore renewables technologies that could prove more cost-efficient in the long term. The transport sector provides an instructive example of the risks involved in prematurely narrowing climate change mitigation efforts to a single technology: The recent focus on biofuels derived from corn, sugar cane, and other food crops, praised by some as the transport sector’s energy panacea, resulted in a scarcity of crops driving food prices up to a level that threatened to bring famine to many developing countries.

Don’t get me wrong: Emission pricing has a role to play in successful climate change mitigation and promoting renewable energy. But we must not overestimate that role or concentrate our efforts solely on one, albeit a very important policy approach. Rather, our policies need to be as diverse as the obstacles they seek to overcome. It is time we embraced this policy challenge and viewed it as an opportunity. After all, it is considerably cheaper to eliminate obstacles, e.g., by regulatory intervention, instead of compensating for them, an aspect of crucial importance in these times of budget austerity.

The necessary institutional and regulatory reforms are so far-reaching that we need a renewables revolution in the true sense of the word. The current trend toward global warming can only be turned around if the economic and legal, the engineering and scientific communities, as well as educators, marketers and the infamous citizen on Main Street join forces. Following in the tradition of the Industrial Revolution, the Renewables Revolution will have to permeate and engage virtually all sectors of society.

Want to know more about what’s keeping us from realizing the technological potential of renewable energy? How the American defense and health sector and Europe’s renewables experience can guide the U.S. on the road to renewables? Then download my full paper for free here.

  1. By Mick Langan on May 19, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Why not just come right out and say it: “We have to make everyone’s electricity costs go up so renewables can be competitive?”

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  2. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

     

    Nothing screams nut case like Stanford law. Writing about energy, ditto. Guest post allowed by RR. If it is not a load of BS, it will be a first that electricity has been the topic and the guest has not been promoting his own looney agenda.

     

    Now that I have my BS meter on the high scale, I am ready to read with an open mind.

     

    “Yes we can. ”

     

    Oh no! Smoke is coming out of my BS meter.

     

    “Stanford University applied the mantra of President Obama’s 2008 campaign to renewable energy ”

     

    I am back. Had to go out to the utility room and get the fire extinguisher, damn BS meter spontaneously combusted. Not just an urban myth anymore.

     

    Can not tell you how much I hate lawyer especially when the talk about energy. Back to keeping an open mind.

     

    “when they published a plan to meet the world’s entire energy demand with wind, water, and sunlight by 2030 – using today’s technology.”

     

    Idiots! It would not hurt for lawyers to consult with engineers as to the feasible of the plan. The biggest barrier to building renewable energy projects is lawyers. What is Stanford law’s plan to stop dragging every project to the 9th circus?

     

    “Large-scale power plant projects, e.g., for coal or nuclear, often receive preferential treatment in the form of a single, comprehensive permit process.”

     

    ROFLOL! That is funny. Much of the watermelon environmental movement is a circular firing squad. Lawyers get rich fighting coal and nuke plants. The same tactic allow lawyers get rich fighting renewable energy projects.

     

    “Al Gore himself fell victim to such zoning ”

     

    Ever wonder what the zoning requirements are for Palo Alto? The folks at Stanford law want to reduce the public input to the siting process?

     

    Wow I read the whole self referencing thing. 100% BS!

     

    First off, if you can not handle the permitting process please stay out to the energy business. It is dangerous and screws up the environment if you are not careful. Renewable energy is no different.

     

    Second the problem with renewable energy is not cost. Wind and solar do not work very well and then they break. When they break is better if you are not around because the expected result is death. Because wind and solar is not a good way to make electricity, it will never be a good way reduce ghg.

     

    What Dr. Felix Mormann is guilty of is focusing on AGW while ignoring all the other safety and environmental criteria. He wants to make it easy to put millions of PV panels on roofs while ignoring that we still need to power steel mills. He want to change regulations to make doing the wrong thing easier.

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  3. By Wendell Mercantile on May 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Wind and solar do not work very well and then they break. When they break is better if you are not around because the expected result is death.

    Kit P.

    There is some truth to your claim that wind power could be dangerous if a blade were to fly off, or if a turbine’s tall support tower were to collapse. Not sure what is so deadly when a solar panel fails. Doesn’t a failed solar panel just sit there — not working?

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  4. By rrapier on May 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Kit P said:

     

    Nothing screams nut case like Stanford law. Writing about energy, ditto. Guest post allowed by RR. If it is not a load of BS, it will be a first that electricity has been the topic and the guest has not been promoting his own looney agenda.


     

    Kit, just address the points. There is no need for you to have this sort of lead-in to your comments. You sit back as an anonymous poster and hurl mud at people who put their names on these pieces. If you want to criticize, fine. Do so. Make your points. Don’t throw around liberal insults in the process. It takes courage to put your name to articles like this, mainly because you subject yourself to this sort of abuse from posters who don’t have the courage to put their names behind their posts.

    RR

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  5. By rrapier on May 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    Wind and solar do not work very well and then they break. When they break is better if you are not around because the expected result is death.

    Kit P.

    There is some truth to your claim that wind power could be dangerous if a blade were to fly off, or if a turbine’s tall support tower were to collapse. Not sure what is so deadly when a solar panel fails. Doesn’t a failed solar panel just sit there — not working?


     

    He has claimed in the past that improperly installed solar panels have led to a number of house fires. I have no idea if anyone keeps statistics on that sort of thing.

    RR

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  6. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    “Doesn’t a failed solar panel just sit there — not working? ”

     

    That would be my first choice if I happened to be walking buy but you have to consider all the ways things fail. I have a great deal of respect for rotating and pressurized mechanical equipment. However, I am really afraid of high voltage since electricity is always looking for a new path to ground and the human body makes an excellent path.

     

    Failing electrical equipment often fails by causing a fire. The problem with PV panels is that they keep producing electricity as long as the sun shines.

     

    Utility scale energy projects have programs to detect problems and fix them before workers get hurt but the risk is still present.

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  7. By Benny BND Cole on May 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I applaud efforts to bring online clean energy. However, the more immediate challenge is liquid fuels.

    We have no shortage of electricity, and can domestically generate it from coal, natural gas, wind, solar, geothermal, nukes, hydro and even biomass. Moreover, conservation efforts can be effective. We will never have a shortage of electricity unless we really bungle things.

    The challenge is in liquid fuels to power vehicles, transportation. We could have shortages, as we import so much from thug states.

    There we still have many pathways forward, around PHEVs, or CNG cars, and simple conservation and higher mpg cars.

    People sometimes conflate “oil shortages’ with “energy shortages,” but we have complete control over domestic electrical production,

    I understand the point of this piece was renewables, and I hope in time we can move in that direction.

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  8. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    “improperly installed solar panels ”

     

    RR bad thing happen even when everything is done correctly. Furthermore, bad things happen all the time that independent of the source of energy. Lighting, wind, trees falling could effects generating systems in ways untrained people have not considered.

     

    “I have no idea if anyone keeps statistics on that sort of thing. ”

     

    I have not seen any either but the anecdotal reports suggest that the number of fires compared to the number of panels is indicative of an issue that the PV industry needs to address.

     

    “Kit, just address the points. ”

     

    Okay how is this? The esteemed professor from the esteemed university overlooked the overarching technical issues of collecting energy from from diffuse and intermittent energy sources.

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  9. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Yesterday, California got approx. 14% of its electricity from Domestic Renewables (does Not include Large Hydro, or Nuclear.)

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    Add in “imported Wind, and Hydro” and you’re probably around 20%. Add in Domestic Hydro and you’re probably getting close to 25%. This, for the 11th largest economy on earth.

    A bunch of Solar will be coming online this year. It’s looking “very likely” to me that they will reach their goal of 33% by 2020.

    Iowa gets 20% of their electricity from wind, and Texas was well on their way to getting a sizable percentage from renewables until Perry came along. There’s a lot more “future,” here, than most of us initially thought.

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  10. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Of course, there is a 30% Federal Subsidy involved, but most, if not all, of that is eaten up by tremendous overpricing by the blue suede boys (especially in Solar.) With reasonable costs for installation these things will just about work, today; but they get really “interesting” when you start looking out 20 and 30 years.

    We’re finding that Solar Cells last a long, long time – way longer than the projected 20 years when properly made. In fact, as of now, no one knows just how long the danged things will last. They’re taking down 30 yr old cells that are within “factory specs.”

    Wind Turbines, also, seem to be lasting a long time. They’re replacing the Altamont turbines, not because they’re failing, but to comply with Standards relating to migratory birds, and, also, to install larger, higher performance units.

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  11. By paul-n on May 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    The transport sector provides an instructive example of the risks involved in prematurely narrowing climate change mitigation efforts to a single technology: The recent focus on biofuels derived from corn, sugar cane, and other food crops, praised by some as the transport sector’s energy panacea, resulted in a scarcity of crops driving food prices up to a level that threatened to bring famine to many developing countries.

    It should be noted that it was not the transport sector (in the US, anyway) that pushed for ethanol – that would be the corn sector.

    It should also be noted there has not been a scarcity of crops in the two main countries that produce ethanol – though there has been a scarcity of crops and an overabundance of people in many developing countries – and this will lead to famine every time, and has been doing so for thousands of years before ethanol and world food markets were invented. 

     

    As far as the regulatory and permitting processes go, it is amusing to have a lawyer say that these (lawyer driven) processes are a problem – and he would be right.  Some places, like Texas, have done away with the lawyers and have streamlined permitting processes, regardless of the generation type.  That is why it takes 4 months to get a wind farm approved there and four years in California, if you are lucky.

     

    Without a strong regulatory obligation to grant grid access to incoming players, producers of electricity from renewables are left at the mercy of network operators,

    Well, it is not that simple.  The function of network operators is to – operate the network, and if they have their own generation then so what?  They were their first, if the renewable developers want to hitch a ride on their network train they have to pay the fare.  And part of the problem – not addressed by Dr Mormann, is that many renewables, especially wind, are sited far away from the load centres.  So extra transmission capacity is needed, which the wind people never want to pay for.  Coal and nuclear can be located relatively close to load centres (an NG can be in the load centre) so they often can avoid transmission bottlenecks, whereas wind often exacerbates them.

    A final point not addressed here, is that the value of the electricity produced by wind and solar, is often less than that produced by dispatchable sources.  More wind energy is produced at might than day, when it is needed less  Even if the cost of generation is the same, the value/utility of the product is less.  Every kW of wind and solar capacity needs a kW of something else to back it up.  No amount of changes to emissions pricing, permitting etc  will change this inconvenient fact.

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  12. By mac on May 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Wendel:

    Here’s a link showing a windmill failure. Quite amazing. Fortunately when windmills fail, they do not spew nuclear radiation over the surrounding countryside as is the case in the Fukishima tsunami/earthquake..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..14tBwO5QVQ

    Recently, Exelon (the largest Nuke provider in the U.S) bought John Deere’s windfarms for about 900 million $ U.S

    That ought to tell you something……..

    http://www.smartgrideconomy.com/?p=118

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  13. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Paul, this

    “Every kW of wind and solar capacity needs a kW of something else to back it up.”

    isn’t true.

    The last figures I’ve seen state that the “intermittancy” of wind adds about 1/2 of one cent to the cost of a kilowatt/hr.

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  14. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Paul, Here is a good article on wind intermittancy. Admittedly, it’s written by an “advocate,” but it’s reasonably well-sourced.

    Just from what I have observed this seems pretty logical.

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  15. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    The Good Professor might want to take note that the FAO has changed its tune vis a vis Ethanol.

    According to the FAO, the cultivation of crops such as corn for fuel can bring desperately needed investment in agricultural and transportation infrastructure to rural areas throughout the world. If the development is managed sustainably, this investment could provide opportunities to access export markets, raise incomes, alleviate poverty and increase food security. Heiner Thofern, who heads FAO’s Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) project, commented, “FAO has been saying for years that under-investment in agriculture is a problem that seriously handicaps food production in the developing world, and that this, coupled with rural poverty, is a key driver of world hunger.”

    http://ncga.com/biofuels-boost…..ty-5-19-11

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  16. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    “Yesterday, California got approx.”

     

    Rufus I expected better analysis from you. In your retirement did you decide to give up critical thinking and work on a law degree at Stanford? Yes, Rufus a state with a mild climate on a mild spring day with the wind blowing like crazy can get a higher percentage of demand from renewable energy especially after driving industry that uses electricity to China. Check back on a hot day in a drought year. If you also count that California uses a lot of natural gas for home heating and hot water and we just ignore transportation altogether, it starts to look like a case of smoke and mirrors

     

    Second Rufus California leadership is in using smoke and mirrors. Most of renewable energy projects are in other states. You may want to ask why the ‘bunch of Solar will be coming online this year’ needs a natural gas pipeline.

     

    My point here is that pseudo California leadership that takes credit for what is happening in other states may not represent a national trend. Wind is now at an impressive 2.5%.

     

    4,116,334 – Total generation

    101,391 – Total wind

     

    http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/elect…../chap1.pdf

     

    Texas, Washington State, Oregon, and Iowa all demonstrate that there places where people want jobs making electricity for people who will may more. To what extent the low hanging fruit of wind has been built I do not have any idea.

     

    With state RPS and a national PTC, we will keep build wind at a good clip. Unfortunately other renewable energy sources are flat.

     

    I know RR does not want me to say bad things about the folks at Stanford or UC Berkeley but we do not care what they think. It will take people like Rufus and Wendell to support renewable energy in their communities. If they oppose it, it will only take a few Stanford lawyers to block it.

     

    There is a local neighborhood with very expensive houses but they have poor cell phone reception. The well organized owners group have again blocked the cell phone tower saying it is an eyesore. The needs of the many is subject to the whims of a few.

     

    “I applaud efforts to bring online clean energy.”

     

    Speaking of whims, what is ‘clean’ Benny? If the Stanford plan was to build off shore wind up and down the coast of California to power BEV, I would call that leadership.

     

    The Stanford plan is to remove local restriction so no one can object to ‘clean’ eyesores that the Stanford people would object to.

     

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  17. By Wendell Mercantile on May 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    According to the FAO, the cultivation of crops such as corn for fuel can bring desperately needed investment in agricultural and transportation infrastructure to rural areas throughout the world.

    Rufus,

    And then there’s this viewpoint: The New Geopolitics of Food

    Among the more attention getting issues is that virtually every country is over pumping their aquifers (as we are the Ogallala) , and that rich countries (China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Japan) are buying up large tracts of land in the poor countries to grow food for their own country, and that growing food from which to make bio-fuels will only add to the stress.

    So how much will all this expand world food output? We don’t know, but the World Bank analysis indicates that only 37 percent of the projects will be devoted to food crops. Most of the land bought up so far will be used to produce biofuels and other industrial crops.

    Even if some of these projects do eventually boost land productivity, who will benefit? If virtually all the inputs — the farm equipment, the fertilizer, the pesticides, the seeds — are brought in from abroad and if all the output is shipped out of the country, it will contribute little to the host country’s economy. At best, locals may find work as farm laborers, but in highly mechanized operations, the jobs will be few. At worst, impoverished countries like Mozambique and Sudan will be left with less land and water with which to feed their already hungry populations.

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  18. By Felix on May 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Benny:
    The transport sector is, indeed, a big challenge. But for now, the electricity sector is the greatest emitter of GHG and, hence, the focus of my work. Also, the ongoing electrification of the transport sector with plug-in hybrids, etc. will likely make sustainable options for electricity generation even more important in the future.

    Paul:
    I agree that the output windows of intermittent renewables do not always match our peak consumption periods. It works reasonably well for solar where ACs are ramped up during the day. Wind represents a greater challenge. However, there are interesting solutions under investigation. In fact, with more electric vehicles, these vehicles and their batteries can serve as buffers to help store excess capacity, e.g., from wind turbines operating at night. Greater interconnectivity is another option. For instance, Denmark sells its excess wind capacity to neighboring Norway and Sweden and uses the proceeds to purchase their hydro. In essence, the Danes use Norwegian and Swedish hydro to store their excess wind power. However, this option requires a better transmission infrastructure that currently in place in most parts of the U.S.

    Speaking of transmission, you are absolutely right about grid access requiring a lot of work (reinforcements, extensions, etc.) to the transmission system. In fact, the pioneering nations in renewables deployment like Denmark or Germany have implemented cost allocation schemes for these transmission enhancements. Under the so-called shallow approach, the generator seeking grid access has to pay for the line connecting his plant to the transmission system but not for reinforcements. Under the so-called super-shallow approach, even the line to the existing transmission network is subsidized. The second option is sometimes used for off-shore wind to ensure optimal siting in the windiest regions.

    Rufus:
    Thanks for the comment on intermittency. Indeed, studies in the U.S. and Europe have shown that – up to a wind penetration of 25% – the cost of balancing wind energy’s intermittency is less than 0.5 cent per kWh. Here is another paper on the topic by the NREL (see p.): Link

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  19. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Kit, the numbers I cited were from “Domestic” ie California sources. If you’ll look at the link I gave you will see a breakdown of Domestic, and Imported (keeping in mind that a Large percentage of the imported is Wind, and Hydro.

    BTW, if you will click on the numbers for past days you will see that it runs between 12 and 14% almost always.

    Look, I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing since “sliced bread;” I’m just saying it’s coming, and it may not be all bad. Projections are that, those Powder River Basin mines that are currently supplying 40% of the nation’s coal will be, largely, kaput in 20 years. Now, it’s true that there is more coal, deeper, but it will be more expensive, and there is coal in Il, and a lot of other places, but, after removing the sulfur it will be more expensive, and as the price of oil increases the price of All coal will increase.

    Therefore, even though I believe the whole AGW thing to be a bunch of nonsense, I’m pretty much on board with developing some wind, and solar, and such, as kind of an insurance policy if you will. But, that’s just me. YMMV.

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  20. By Felix on May 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Mac:
    Thanks a lot for adding a bit of perspective on the alleged frequent (and lethal) failures of solar and wind plants as opposed to nuclear and other conventional plants.
    In fact, conventional power plants have orders of magnitude greater down time than most renewables. For instance, from 2000 to 2004, U.S. coal plants were down on average 6.5% of the year for unscheduled maintenance (6% for scheduled maintenance). In contrast, modern wind turbines have down times of only 0.2% (onshore) to 0.5% (offshore). NERC has compiled some interesting data on the subject, available here.

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  21. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    “Fortunately when windmills fail, they do not spew nuclear radiation over the surrounding countryside as is the case in the Fukishima tsunami/earthquake.. ”

     

    Mac like the windmill in your video, the radiation did not hurt anyone in Japan. The point being that energy system that fail is not a good place to be next too.

     

    “That ought to tell you something…….. ”

     

    The leaders in producing electricity with wind and CSP just happen to be leaders in making electricity with nukes too. Those big evil energy companies just happen to have the skill sets to do the job.

     

    Here is the deal, if you let us pass the cost on to the customer; we will make electric however the customer wants cheaper that the customer can. The leaders develop and build and operate their own projects.

     

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  22. By Felix on May 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    As for the “Stanford plan”, local participation in the planning and siting of renewables should not be limited but enhanced. Why do you think Denmark has achieved such high rates of deployment for wind energy? Because special tax incentives fostered the creation of wind cooperatives that gave the local population a stake in local renewables projects. By 2009, there were over 100 wind cooperatives in Denmark with participation of more than 200,000 Danish families.

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  23. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Two instances come to mind. It got really, really cold in texas, and they suffered Brown-outs. Not because of the Windmills (they just kept twirling, happily, along.) It was the fossil fuel plants that went down.

    Then, came Japan. Fukushima. We know all about that, but, unremarked upon, is the fact that there are a lot of wind turbines in the area, and, they too, just kept throwing off megawatts.

    In fact, there are some Offshore turbines fairly close to the epicenter of the Quake, and, they also, just kept on spinning. So, right now it’s looking like, Wind 2 Nukes -1 Coal/nat gas -1.

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  24. By Wendell Mercantile on May 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    For instance, from 2000 to 2004, U.S. coal plants were down on average 6.5% of the year for unscheduled maintenance (6% for scheduled maintenance). In contrast, modern wind turbines have down times of only 0.2% (onshore) to 0.5% (offshore).

    They don’t count as down time those periods when a high-pressure system moves over an area and its calm for a day or two?

    The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that a wind farm’s actual output is usually about 30% of rated capacity, i.e. a 100 MW wind farm can be counted on to average about 30 MW. (The one near where I live has so far averaged only 22% of placarded capacity.)

    On the other hand, a 100 MW coal-fired plant can steadily pump out 100 MW — except for that 6.5% when its down for unscheduled maintenance.

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  25. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    “kaput in 20 years”

     

    Me too, if I am lucky. However, it will take a lot of maintenance to keep wind farms running. That means lots of young men with good knees.

     

    “and lethal ”

     

    Fexlix the US generating industry has a perfect record for not killing our customers. We are also very good about sending our workers home every night in the same condition that they arrived. Please tell me about the exceptional record of your industry.

     

    “In fact, conventional power plants have orders of magnitude greater down time than most renewables.”

     

    Congrats Frelix you just demonstrated a total lack of understand of the data. Wind turbines do not make electricity when the wind does not blow and solar does not work at night. This limits the capacity factor to about 33% and 20% if you put those systems in the right places.

     

    Availability factor is the amount of time that the plants are available to operated when the load dispatcher needs them. Nuke plants have an availability factor of 99%. I suspect coal and NG are about the same.

     

    It will never be 100% because there is always something. For example, my two favorite nuke plants are shutdown right now. One unit found cracked turbine blades during a refueling outage so the other unit shut down to inspect turbine blades. This will reduce CF by 5%. If both units are up during the summer high demand period the availability factor would be 100%.

     

    I do not know the failure rates of wind or solar. Who cares? Nobody! Wind and solar are a pain for the reliability of the grid. The primary purpose is pictures on the cover of annual reports. We make electric with wind and solar not because it is a good idea but because people who do not know anything about energy and the environment thinks it is a good idea.

     

    If you pay us we will do it. Before every mandate, somebody from the utility testified to explain why it is not in rate payers interest. Just so you know that your renewable energy is not produced by hippies wearing flipflops. Bunch of grouchy guys in steel towed boots make your electricity. I think if I was young I might love working on wind turbines. I suppose wearing a climbing rig everyday might get old and I would be happy with a desk job.

     

    Please do not get me wrong, I think wind turbines are great. Maybe not as much fun as having have a nuke reactor but then you do not have to listen to college professors explain how to make electric.

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  26. By Felix on May 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Wendell:
    You are right that down time is not the same as intermittency, e.g., as a result of low winds or no sunshine. My post referred to an early post alleging that wind turbines and other renewables were not technologically reliable. From a technical standpoint, they are more reliable, i.e., available for generation than most conventional power plants. As you say, nobody calculates with constant output at 100% of the nameplate capacity for wind turbines. However, the turbines are available to harness the wind when it does blow more than 99% of the time – unlike coal plants with, on average, only 87.5% availability.

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  27. By mac on May 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Rufus said

    Then, came Japan. Fukushima. We know all about that, but, unremarked upon, is the fact that there are a lot of wind turbines in the area, and, they too, just kept throwing off megawatts.

    Yes, and many of the relief vehicles were.electric (i.e. the . Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiev) because the gasoline infrasrructure in the immediate area was destroyed

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  28. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    “Two instances come to mind.”

     

    It was an ice storm Rufus. Us Yankees have no problem keeping steam plants running even in the coldest of days. Maybe they run power plans in Texas with x-marines.

     

    “Offshore turbines fairly close ”

     

    That is your plan Rufus, to power Japan with 14 MWe of wind turbines? Nothing against offshore wind but me explain the problem with your theory. Lots of people are acting like the release of radioactive material happen in a vacuum.

     

    “lot of wind turbines in the area ”

     

    Do you have any date on how they held up? Just interested!

     

    “just kept throwing off megawatts ”

     

    And where did the power go? One of the problems in Japan is a lot of thing got destroyed including some transmission lines. First the nuke plants lots off site power. Many nuke plants were designed to shutdown when transmission lines are lost but some are designed to keep supplying house loads so that when the grid is repaired power can be returned faster to customers.

     

    Huge amounts of damage was done to the infrastructure in Japan. The readability of power is a secondary concern, however Rusus you have to supply more data to suggest that the least reliable most intermittent.

     

    Wind 20% Nukes -99% Coal/nat gas – 99% assuming having power all the time is something you like Rufus.

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  29. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Maybe they run power plans in Texas with x-marines.

    Well, that would explain it. :)

    All I (think) I know is what I’ve read, Kit. My understanding is that those offshore turbines that were fairly close to the epicenter were undamaged, as were the one onshore. I did not read whether the powerlines leading away from them stayed in operation. My “guess” is that they did. (if I remember, correctly, they didn’t have to go all that far *from Fukushima* to hook onto “live” lines.)

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  30. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    “Why do you think Denmark has achieved such high rates of deployment for wind energy?”

     

    Because it is a small country in the EU with a good wind resource. You do not say where you live Felix but that does not describe where I live.

     

    “As for the “Stanford plan”, local participation in the planning and siting of renewables should not be limited but enhanced.”

     

    You could not be more wrong Felix. They want to limit the ability of local people on how energy is produced. The Iowa and Texas among other places where there does not seem to be a problem building wind farms if that is what is wanted. If you to find out how to promote renewable energy, study Iowa and Texas.

     

    My problem with California is that they keep promoting a path that dooms renewable energy to failure and want it as a national policy.

     

     

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  31. By Optimist on May 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    My problem with California is that they keep promoting a path that dooms renewable energy to failure and want it as a national policy.

    LOL! As if the national policy is something to be admired!

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  32. By Rufus on May 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I think Kit’s problem with California is “California.” :)

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  33. By Mark Duffett on May 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    A look at Europe’s two largest economies – France and Germany – reveals just how important these barriers are. Both countries have established promotional policies that offer similar financial incentives for electricity generation from renewables. Yet, Germany has achieved several orders of magnitude greater deployment rates than neighboring France, pointing to other forces at play than generation cost-competitiveness alone.

    Hmmm, yes, those ‘other forces’ would be the willingness of the French to not displace the low-carbon electricity they already have, i.e. nuclear (75-80% of total supply).

    A better question to ask would be, if Germany has deployed several orders of magnitude more renewables than France, why is the CO2 intensity of the former’s electricity still several times worse than the latter’s?

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  34. By Kit P on May 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    “LOL! As if the national policy is something to be admired! ”

     

    You got me there. The best I can tell when it comes to making electricity, POTUS likes to talk about Chinese leadership. He said he would bring change. When Bush was president the US was the leader in wind capacity. China is also a leader in burning coal and polluting their cities.

     

    As I said, state RPS and federal PTC providing the incentives to build renewable energy that meet state goals. We do not need a policy to make coal more expensive.

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  35. By paul-n on May 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Paul, this

    “Every kW of wind and solar capacity needs a kW of something else to back it up.”

    isn’t true.

    The last figures I’ve seen state that the “intermittancy” of wind adds about 1/2 of one cent to the cost of a kilowatt/hr.

    Rufus, I don’t think you can really mix the concepts of “backup” and “price”.  That guy argues that it addless than 1c/kWh, and he may be right, but that’s not the point.  The point is that when the wind stop you must have something else to meet the load, or else you have to start load shedding, it’s that simple.  The cost of this over a year may be about 0.5 to 1c per wind kWh, but the backup must be there. 

    Consider the wind power production for the Bonneville Power Administration – they cover a 300,000 sq mile area of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  That’s bigger than Texas! (though smaller than B.C.)

    They have a good wind resource and as of last August had 2750MW of wind capacity, and a typical system peak demand of 7000MW, here is what happened in late August;

    So in less than 24 hrs, wind went from providing over half the system demand, to near zero.    Let’s take a closer look at 25 August;

    For a 24 hr period, the average wind gen was 5MW, or 0.2% of wind capacity, and 0.07% of demand.  There were four one hour periods when the wind power, across 300,000sq miles, was zero.  So unless you have 2700MW of something else available, you are into curtailment.

    The BPA has lots of hydro power and is a net energy exporter, so this is no problem.  Denmark is interlinked to Norway and Sweden’s hydro power, so this is no problem.  

    As long as people are aware that you either have 100% backup, or else you have curtailments on those still hot summer days – which coincidentally is usually when demand peaks.  

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  36. By navin-r-johnson on May 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    Wind and solar do not work very well and then they break. When they break is better if you are not around because the expected result is death.

    Kit P.

    There is some truth to your claim that wind power could be dangerous if a blade were to fly off, or if a turbine’s tall support tower were to collapse. Not sure what is so deadly when a solar panel fails. Doesn’t a failed solar panel just sit there — not working?


     

    It is possible, that global warming will cause huge amounts of snowfall like it did this year, and then when you go out to shovel off your solar panels, you might have a heart attack.

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  37. By walter-sobchak on May 20, 2011 at 12:23 am

    There will be no cap and trade, nor any carbon tax, in the USA, at any time in the near future. The Democrats could not get C&T through the Senate during the last Congress, and it won’t get to the floor of the house in this Congress. For multiple political and demographic reasons, the Senate will trend more conservative over the next couple of elections, and the House is likely to remain in Republican hands.

     

    There will be no new subsidy or similar programs for “renewable” energy either. There is a reasonable chance that existing programs will be cut back or cancelled, because the US is bankrupt, and can’t afford them. Indirect subsidies like belending mandates, and feed-in tarrifs, will also be under pressure from consumers struggling with high energy costs.

     

    The news about nukes is that you can stop worrying about them. As long as Natural Gas is ~$4/MBTU, all new additional electricity will be produced by gas. I love nukes, and I think that Fukushima proved not that they are excessively dangerous, but that they are very safe. Nonetheless, at existing NG prices, there will be no new nukes in the US. Japan is a different story, it does not have its own gas deposits. My guess is that they will re-build their electrical system with more nukes than they used to have. It is either that or going back to sea weed and dried cod.

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  38. By russ-finley on May 20, 2011 at 12:31 am

    The article has a missing link. The options available for dealing with the intermittent nature of wind and solar when they are the only source of power are not not feasible.

    I’m a big fan of solar but using Germany as an example may not be the best idea:

    Solar PV has failed in Germany and it will fail in the UK

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  39. By Rufus on May 20, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Paul, now that I think about it, I understand what you’re saying. But, as the author stated, No nat gas back-up plants have been built for back-up for solar/wind. I suppose that means that certain nat gas, or coal, plants have been “throttled back” as wind was put on-line.

    Anyway, after all the dissection, and rhetoric, it seems to me that we have to look at what is, actually, happening, right now, in states like Ca, Ia, and Tx. And, quite honestly, I kind of like what I see.

    As for Europe? Well, I for one, haven’t a clue. I’ll let them figure that one out.

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  40. By paul-n on May 20, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Rufus, the advantage for Denmark, and Germany, and even France, is that they are interlinked with Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, who between them have lots of hydro, and even the large coal and nuke plants can load follow to some extent, so no NG turbines were needed – to date.  

    I am a fan of wind – there are many places where it makes sense – but we/they also have to accept the limitations and realities of it.  Once we do so then we can then work out how and where to best use it.  Even if it can;t go over 20% of grid supply, on the scale of the US – that is huge – all the nukes put together – it will take wind a long time to get to even half that.

    It was only two years ago that wind electricity exceeded biomass electricity!

    In my opinion, we haven;t really worked out how to take advantage of very cheap, but intermittent and unpredictable, off peak wind power.  Whoever can come up with a viable business that can do that will do very well, and likely shift the 20% barrier somewhat higher.

    Unfortunately there are very few industrial or electrochemical processes that you can ramp up and down with the wind.  And the only one that you can easily do so – electrolysis of water, produces a product  (hydrogen) that is of limited use and very hard to store (safely).

    I do have one idea that involves – I know you’ll find this hard to believe – ethanol! But I can’t see how to make it work very well,  so it remains on my ideas “shelf” – which is already stacked up!

     

     

     

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  41. By moiety on May 20, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Felix said:

    Wendell:

    However, the turbines are available to harness the wind when it does blow more than 99% of the time – unlike coal plants with, on average, only 87.5% availability.


     

    But at what quality? Availability is a bad term that hides that the power output of wind depends on the speed of the wind just as a coal plant output depends on the quality of coal. In general the quality of coal is high but wind speed is a complete variable.

    Rufus only certain types of gas plants cna be significantly throttled back. These are OCGT and are less efficient that other gas plants. Further the guy clearly states that wind power is less valuable because it cannot supply capicity or ancillary purposes (though he does not pose it that way). While the cost of wind intermittancy could be costed at 1% extra, these reports do not take into account the cost of building the required backup or interconnection.

    What it does get like solar is massive subisies based whic are much larger than other types of energy when compared based on production.

     

    Rufus said:

    As for Europe? Well, I for one, haven’t a clue. I’ll let them figure that one out.


     

    That is always a cop out. You are not willing to look and perhaps learn from your neighbours? Is that not a tad shortsighted.

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  42. By Rufus on May 20, 2011 at 4:56 am

    California wind accounted for 6.8% of the electricity generated in California, yesterday.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    Ca produced Renewable in total accounted for 15.3% of that state’s electricity. The wind was, basically, steady for the whole 24 hrs.

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  43. By Rufus on May 20, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Thermal (coal, and nat gas) accounted for about 20% of California’s electricity.

    If you include imports, Hydro, and Renewables supplied more than 50% of California’s power, yesterday. That impresses me quite a bit.

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  44. By Kit P on May 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    “Nonetheless, at existing NG prices, there will be no new nukes”

     

    Walter if you look you can find places where a thousand construction workers are building 6 nukes in the US. By 2020 there will be 6 new nukes and maybe one retired. It depends on the demand for electricity which depends on the economy.

     

    If you look at the last page of the Energy Markets Report – May 2-6, 2011 you will see the fuel cost to utilities. The reason we are building new nukes is that gradual increase in the cost of coal. On page 3, there are curves that show rig counts for oil and natural gas. http://www.nei.org/filefolder/…..6_2011.pdf

     

    Building a new nuke is a monumental task. But keeping the gas, oil, and coal flowing to the power plant is too. Keeping a nuke running for 60 years requires vigilance so that you do not get complacent.

     

    “very cheap ”

     

    I suspect Paul N does not know what it costs to produce electricity. The PNW has cheap hydroelectric. Wind is cheaper than solar. To the extent that wind reduces the use of NG which we can store, it reduces the cost of NG.

     

    Again, it necessary to point out that we are not having a problem with making electricity. I suggest that any one who thinks wind is ‘clean’ which I assume means environmental friendly have never seen a nuke plant up close or the equivalent amount of wind generation.

     

    I think wind farms are a great asset to a community. Some people at Stanford or NYC do not like nukes but I dare you to try to put up more than a token wind where those flakes can see them. Wind is build where power is not needed. It is a transfer of wealth from places with too much money to places where people live in modest modular houses on five acres and own 2.3 horses and drive 4wd PU to pull the horuse trailer to the rodeo.

     

    Some will try to explain why these folks should not market to the whims of California and use the energy themselves. Good luck with that!

     

    “California, yesterday.”

     

    Rufus check out Tuesday, September 28, 2010! Wind produced 185 MWh. Renewable energy was 6% of Cal ISO. Also keep in mind that CA ISO does not include any large public utilities like LADWP and SMUD.

     

    “That impresses me quite a bit.”

     

    You should not be impressed. It at how they do things different places is useful sometime. Is it really a good idea and does it apply to where you live. I lived and worked in California for many years. I enjoyed having a sailboat on SF bay. California is a beautiful place.

     

    When it comes to making electricity and energy these folks are inept and arrogant. Utilities in California are poorly manged and have the highest rates. It is not all their fault because they controlled by clueless politicians. Many times I have dug into wonderful press releases by the CPUC just to discover they are a pack of lies. I follow daily announcement of projects from before the EIS is started to commercial operation. There is a lot of milking the California RPS by other states but not a lot to be impressed about in California except they are pretty good at smoke and mirrors.

     

    Iowa and Texas are places to be impressed with. When I was developing renewable energy for my company, I always wished that Washington State was doing some of the same things. Washington State and Oregon rivaled California in BS when I lived but I think things changed after I moved. Following is not the same as leadership.

     

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  45. By paul-n on May 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I suspect Paul N does not know what it costs to produce electricity. The PNW has cheap hydroelectric.

    Now, Kit, you know I know.

    But what is more important is what it sells for, and at night time in the PNW (and by extension, BC) electricity is very cheap, and all the wind power in eastern Wa and Or is pushing down the night time prices even further.  As is happening now, the price is near zero, and you have pointed out that often it can even go negative, it doesn’t get much cheaper than that.

    So from the point of view of a large customer in the PNW, night time power is very cheap.  Customers do not care what it costs to produce, only what the price to buy is.  All that is needed is a way to use this almost free, but variable electricity.  With another 6000MW of wind being built in the PNW over the next five years, I’d say it’s a good time to be an electricity customer there.

    With all this cheap power you would think the PNW would be a good place for an aluminium smelter!  That is why Rio Tinto is expanding their BC one by 50%. 

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  46. By Benny BND Cole on May 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Felix-

     

    In general, I agree with sentiments that we need to continually decrease our environmental impact of the planet. 

     

    I am happy to go with nukes, wind, geothermal, solar, conservation.  My understanding of PHEVs is that since most people will charge at night, they do not present much of problem for total grid size. 

     

    The good news is that we can have higher living standards and a cleaner planet too.  

     

    I am agnostic on global warming, but totally for cleaning air, especially in urban areas.  

     

    The “right to pollute air other people breath, and to pollute their land, water and air”  is not written into the Constitution. 

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  47. By Rufus on May 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I think that is what continually surprises the “laissez faire” Capitalists (re: Republicans;) People just naturally like the idea of “clean air/water.”

    Every time the Pubs take off after the EPA, etc, they get their head handed to them. Same with Medicare, Soc Sec., etc.

    It only makes sense that there is probably a point at which you shouldn’t add any more wind. However, it’s lookiing to me like that point is probably quite a ways away. I’m thinking the, soon to come, next logical step will be a few HVDC Power Lines.

    It would be hard to find a four year old that you could convince of the viability of a magic bottomless cup. Mineral Resources deplete. It was just a few years, ago, that various Oil Boosters were running around the world with a slide presentation showing plentiful oil for fifty, or a hundred years. Now, just a few years later, Gasoline is $4.00/gal, and even Federal Agencies are talking about “Declining” oil supplies.

    As for Europe: they have their own Unique set of problems, and aspirations. Germany, for example, wants desperately to not be so dependent on Russian Nat Gas. For Societal reasons they don’t want to get all wound up in Nukes. That has led them to attempt Solar at a lattitude that would give many of us pause.

    England, also, has a set of problems that are not terribly similar to Tunica Co. Mississippi. That’s why I say I’ll let them sort out their own solutions. I’ll concentrate on what seems to make sense for the U.S. Parochial? Perhaps, but maybe it’s just a case of realizing there are” different horses for different courses.”

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  48. By Kit P on May 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    “Now, Kit, you know I know.”

     

    I do not think you know Paul.  Please tell me what IPPs are contracting to sell wind per kwh.  You did say it was ‘cheap’ so that means you know the number off the top of your head.

    “But what is more important is what it sells for”

    Yes, Paul what electricity sells for when there is demand, not off peak in the spring. When the average price of electricity was $80/MWh, selling electricity from wind farms was easy. If there is an PRB coal plant not running at capacity, then no new wind farms are going to get built without an mandate.

    The point here is that someone has to pay the freight. A BEV to use off peak electricity may be a good idea in BC but it would only be good idea for 30 days at the Mid-C. I have been through the locks on the river this time of year on a good size sail boat. Mr. Toads wild ride and there is no coming back until run off decreases. Also keep in mind two of five years there is not a surplus of hydro.

    “I am agnostic on global warming, but totally for cleaning air, especially in urban areas.”

     

    You keep saying that Benny. Just how many coal plants do you have making your air dirty? I do not see how renewable energy is going to make your air cleaner.

    “Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for about one-half of State electricity generation.

    Due to high electricity demand, California imports more electricity than any other State.

    However, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) operates the coal-fired Intermountain power plant in Utah, which delivers almost all of its output to LADWP and other California municipal utilities. A recent California law forbids utilities from entering into long-term contracts with conventional coal-fired power producers. Intermountain’s existing contracts with southern California cities are set to expire in 2027.”

    http://www.eia.gov/state/state…..cfm?sid=CA

    An LA elected official threatened to boycott Arizona products. How dumb is that?

    “People just naturally like the idea of “clean air/water.””

    Look around Rufus, your air is clean. The EPA is no longer about protecting the environment it is about mindless new regulation to show your base that you are tough on the environment. The problem with mindless regulation is it causes uncertain which kills renewable energy especially biomass.

    “The project is one of the few biomass projects in the U.S. that was not placed on hold due to regulatory uncertainty associated with the Industrial Boiler (IB) MACT, the carbon neutrality of biomass, and/or whether or not the biomass supply qualified as renewable.”

    http://www.energyonline.com/In…..Project___

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  49. By mac on May 21, 2011 at 1:12 am

    “Now, Kit, you know I know.”

    Paul. No. you do not know .

    Your ignorant statements about windmills should have tipped off discerning readers that you don’t know what you are talking about

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  50. By mac on May 21, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Look Paul;.

    Nat gas “peakers” can come on line in a matter of minutes to take up slack in the grid. And sometimes utilities actually purchase power from so-called competitors. This happened when Hurricane Ike ripped through my area appx three years ago. I think my electric utility Entergy (based in Louisiana) actually purchased some power from TXU, a competitor and one of the main electricity providers in the Houston metroplex area,

    Don’t worry your mind Paul nat gas peakers will save British Columbia and the windmill farms to boot.. When coal fired plants are down for weeks on end and cannot contribute to the grid we call them “shutdowns” Nukes also shut down from time to time. It‘s no big deal..

    Our brilliant buddy in Vancouver B.C. however thinks that when the wind doesn’t blow for a couple of days up there in B,C. that it’s a major catastrophy

    It’s not and there is absolutely no need for a massive ”back-up” build out for wind

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  51. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    “Dispersal,” and “Transmission” are the Key.

    The Wind is always “Blowin,” and the Sun is always “Shining,” somewhere. :)

    And the Mississippi river is A’flowin’, and the Trees are A’growin,’ and the waves are crashing, somewhere. And, the Core of the Earth is gonna stay hot for a long, long time.

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  52. By Kit P on May 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    “This happened when Hurricane Ike ripped through my area appx three years ago. ”

     

    That kinds of indicates Mac that you might not know anything about how electricity is produced in the PNW where it was my job to know those things. IPP often to not share the cost of making electricity for competitive reason. When people claim to know something about electricity that I do not know, I am a little skeptical.

     

    “Don’t worry your mind Paul nat gas peakers will save British Columbia and the windmill farms to boot. ”

     

    The wind farms Paul was talking about are in Washington State and Oregon. They were built to sell electricity to California for the most part. The problem is that the PNW does not need the electric and the wind farms do not make electricity when California needs.

     

    Furthermore, BC hardly has any wind except a small 100 MWe near Dawson Creek which is is a small city in northeastern British Columbia. That is other the other side of the Rocky Mountains. A very different place than the Columbia River Basin.

     

    Here is a link to what wind generation look like on the Midwest ISO:

    https://www.midwestiso.org/MarketsOperations/RealTimeMarketData/Pages/RealTimeWindGeneration.aspx

     

    So Mac tell us about wind power where you live. Oh wait, Mac lives where there are no wind farms. Just another advocate for how other people should do things.

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  53. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Okay, Kit just made my point. Yesterday, the wind in Ca was sparse around 12 (noon) their time. However, Kit’s link shows that the wind was blowing like crazy at that time in the Midwest 14:00 (also, known as 2:00 PM CST.) Of course, I was probably blowing pretty good in Wy (where Ca gets a lot of its wind power.)

    Then, there’s Tx. And, “offshore.” And, the PNW.

    Transmission Lines, we need “Transmission Lines.” Next.

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  54. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    And, btw, if you’re burning coal, the cost of your “Delivered” coal has gone up a lot since this time last year, Even Though, the cost of coal hasn’t gone up hardly any. Huh? You say.

    It’s the cost of Transport. When oil goes up, the cost of “Truck Transport” goes up. When the cost of “truck” transport goes up, Railroads Raise “THEIR” Rates (even though, they are much less affected by the costr of diesel than are trucks.) They don’t price by “their” costs; they price to be a certain percentage cheaper than their competition.

    As we have to dig deeper to get the coal (or spend more to clean it,) and as the cost of oil goes up (and, thus, the cost of rail transport) coal-fired electricity Will get more expensive. Wind and Sunshine will cost the same as today. Zero.

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  55. By Kit P on May 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    “somewhere”

     

    Really, Rufus everyplace I have lived the sun does not shine at night. I knew some insurance agents who sold insurance to people who did not need it. So I do understand your ethical confusion.

     

    Except for heating with wood and corn ethanol, storing renewable energy so it is available when people need it is very limited.

     

    Your electric utility has the responsibility of providing all the time, not just when it is easy.

     

    I do not have a problem with California doing things that make sense in California. Where I lived in California, building thermal mass made more sense that PV panels on the roof. When I built my house it was situated so that huge ‘live’ oak that provided shade from the intense summer sun. On a sunny day in the winter, I need no hear because of passive solar. A small wood stove on cloudy days.

     

    However, I had to fight the California energy code because those loons prescribed building a Michigan house.

     

    I suspect we agree in principle about renewable energy Rufus. On this topic, how we regulate renewable energy the California is very flawed. The reason I keep post articles about biomass in the southeast is it is an example of how renewable energy can be produced and reduce the environmental impact of decaying wood. Biomass is just not sexy enough for California.

     

     

    [link]      
  56. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    mac said:

    “Now, Kit, you know I know.”

    Paul. No. you do not know .

    Your ignorant statements about windmills should have tipped off discerning readers that you don’t know what you are talking about


     

    Could you be more specific regarding Paul’s “ignorant statements”? I would like to know specifically which statements you are talking about, and why you viewed them as ignorant.

    RR

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  57. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Yeah, and I know some insurance agents, myself included, who sold some insurance to people that ended up Desperately Needing it. Don’t be an ass.

    However, we probably do agree on most of it. I’m not here to Defend California. I don’t give two hoots, and a holler about Ca. I live in Ms.

    But, I am, intensely, interested in Renewable Energy. Mostly, ethanol, and other transportation fuels, but, also, Electricity from sustainable systems. I reference California because they are further along than most states, and some of the information is easier to find.

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  58. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Kit P said:

    I do not have a problem with California doing things that make sense in California.


     

    I also don’t have a problem with Iowa doing things that make sense for Iowa. But when you force Iowa’s ethanol into California, you are now doing something that doesn’t make sense for California. Yet you have displayed some schizophrenia on that particular issue. Your standards of what makes sense are quite different if we are talking about electricity from solar or wind power, or liquid fuel from ethanol.

    RR

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  59. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Why is it okay to “force” Saudi Oil into California, but not “Iowa Ethanol?”

    How about Arizona? Is it better to “force” Saudi oil into there than Iowa Ethanol?

    How about Mississippi?

    [link]      
  60. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    BTW, Kit, speaking of the Southeast, I think you might like this. It’s a pretty good (short) little article about the progress in “enzymes.”

    http://www.ethanolproducer.com…..yme-enigma

    Takeaway seems to be that some Commercial scale refineries are under/starting construction, and that the “Enzyme Cost” is down to around $0.40 Gallon.

    If you add that to the fact that Abengoa is contracting for its feedstock in Hugoton, Ks at $15.00 Ton, you start to see something developing, I think.

    [link]      
  61. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Rufus said:

    Why is it okay to “force” Saudi Oil into California, but not “Iowa Ethanol?”

    How about Arizona? Is it better to “force” Saudi oil into there than Iowa Ethanol?

    How about Mississippi?


     

    How is oil “forced” into California? They have ethanol mandates they are legally obligated to meet (no oil mandates, though), even though the Midwest is not close to being self-sufficient in ethanol. It would make much more sense for California to produce and use what they can produce, Iowa to produce and use what they can, and then discuss how to deal with any excess. In the case of ethanol for California, there wouldn’t be any since it can all be used up close to the point of production much more efficiently than transporting it halfway across the country to use it.

    As long as the Midwest exports their ethanol, they have to backfill with oil. So California using Saudi oil is much better than Iowa sending ethanol to California and causing Iowa to use Saudi oil.

    RR

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  62. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Rufus said:

    BTW, Kit, speaking of the Southeast, I think you might like this. It’s a pretty good (short) little article about the progress in “enzymes.”

    http://www.ethanolproducer.com…..yme-enigma

    Takeaway seems to be that some Commercial scale refineries are under/starting construction, and that the “Enzyme Cost” is down to around $0.40 Gallon.

    If you add that to the fact that Abengoa is contracting for its feedstock in Hugoton, Ks at $15.00 Ton, you start to see something developing, I think.


     

    And I think I have mentioned this, but if enzyme costs were zero it still wouldn’t make the process viable. 4% ethanol in water is the fundamental problem.

    Further, you would think if feedstock was going to be widely available at $15 ton, farmers wouldn’t be paying $100 a ton for hay. They should all just contract for feedstock at $15 ton. The reason they don’t is that $15 is a niche exception to the rule, which should be obvious since hay has been produced commercially for decades, but can’t be produced for $15 a ton.

    RR

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  63. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    The way I see it, Robert, as long as oil has a monopoly in Ca, they are going to be “forced” into using some “Saudi” oil. The Renewable Fuel Standard partially breaks up that oil monopoly.

    How about this: As an Insurance Agent, to whom do you think I had a better chance of selling an insurance policy? A Hawkeye, or a Sheik?

    [link]      
  64. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Robert, you were raised on a farm. Please tell me you know the difference between “straw,” and “Hay.”

    [link]      
  65. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    When enzymes were $5.00 per gallon of ethanol, enzymes were the problem. NOW, enzymes are $0.40, and 4% ethanol/water is the problem.

    Well, obviously, not. Since, they’re powering the process with lignin, and having enough left over to produce a megawatt of power for every million gpy of ethanol.

    [link]      
  66. By drunyon on May 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    As far as the wind always blowing somewhere, John Peterson did a nice analysis of wind production around the world at the same time: http://seekingalpha.com/articl…..y-debunked

    I think it is a decent extrapolation of the variability of wind even on extreme scales.  Looking at this, it makes me think in most areas matching the peak wind generating capacity with pumped hydro makes the most sense.  Of course, many people aren’t thrilled with putting in more dams (and the cost) for this either.

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  67. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I’ll tell you why Abengoa is getting their feedstock so cheap. They are Not asking the farmers to buy special equipment, and take time out during their most important, busy time – the harvest.

    They are operating through “Contractors” who go to the farmer, and say, “after you’ve harvested that field will you sell me the straw if I Go Get It?”

    Big Dif.

    Huge Dif.

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  68. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Rufus said:

    The way I see it, Robert, as long as oil has a monopoly in Ca, they are going to be “forced” into using some “Saudi” oil. The Renewable Fuel Standard partially breaks up that oil monopoly.

    How about this: As an Insurance Agent, to whom do you think I had a better chance of selling an insurance policy? A Hawkeye, or a Sheik?


     

    If you are the Hawkeye shipping your ethanol out of the region, then you are sending your money to the sheikh (and moreso than California would due to the need to ship ethanol from the Midwest to California, and oil backfilling into the Midwest).

    Bottom line: Not efficient; not good energy policy until the Midwest is self-sufficient on their own ethanol.

    RR

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  69. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Rufus said:

    Robert, you were raised on a farm. Please tell me you know the difference between “straw,” and “Hay.”


     

    Yes, hay is much more conducive for making cellulosic ethanol due to a higher cellulose content and lower silica content. You get what you pay for.

    RR

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  70. By Walt on May 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

     

    MAY 21, 2011

    Inconvenient Truths About ‘Renewable’ Energy

    —————————————

    You can likewise question the green and clean credentials of other
    renewables. The wind may never stop blowing, but the wind industry
    depends on steel, concrete and rare-earth metals (for the turbine
    magnets), none of which are renewable. Wind generates 0.2% of the
    world’s energy at present. Assuming that energy needs double in coming
    decades, we would have to build 100 times as many wind farms as we have
    today just to get to a paltry 10% from wind. We’d run out of
    non-renewable places to put them.


    You may think I’m splitting hairs.
    Iron ore for making steel is unlikely to run out any time soon. True,
    but you can say the same about fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons in the
    earth’s crust amount to more than 500,000 exajoules of energy. (This
    includes methane clathrates—gas on the ocean floor in solid, ice-like
    form—which may or may not be accessible as fuel someday.) The whole
    planet uses about 500 exajoules a year, so there may be a millennium’s
    worth of hydrocarbons left at current rates.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..and+matter

    —————————————-

    Costs of energy do matter.

    [link]      
  71. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Rufus said:

    When enzymes were $5.00 per gallon of ethanol, enzymes were the problem.


     

    According to who? The fundamental problem has always been the low concentration of ethanol. You could point to enzymes as another killer problem, but getting rid of that won’t change the other. It is like saying “The reason we don’t live on Mars is that there are no farms there.” Well, that isn’t the only reason we don’t live on Mars.

    Since, they’re powering the process with lignin, and having enough left
    over to produce a megawatt of power for every million gpy of ethanol.

    That’s like using soaking wet newspaper as a fuel source. Not very efficient, but if you piled enough subsidies on top of it, someone would do it. In fact, if that wet lignin was such a hot fuel source, why waste it trying to remove all that water? Just use it directly for power. In that process, that vast majority of the biomass is wasted trying to get water out of the process.

    RR

    [link]      
  72. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Nah, I can ship 300 gallons of ethanol to Ca using 4 gallons of Biodiesel made from Iowa Corn Oil (1/3 of all ethanol refineries are now producing corn oil on the back end, and the number is growing weekly.)

    [link]      
  73. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Rufus said:

    They are operating through “Contractors” who go to the farmer, and say, “after you’ve harvested that field will you sell me the straw if I Go Get It?”

    Big Dif.

    Huge Dif.


     

    Then their costs aren’t $15 per ton. If that’s what they pay the farmers, costs are much higher if they actually have to go collect that themselves. Again, no free lunch I am afraid.

    RR

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  74. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Rufus said:

    Nah, I can ship 300 gallons of ethanol to Ca using 4 gallons of Biodiesel made from Iowa Corn Oil (1/3 of all ethanol refineries are now producing corn oil on the back end, and the number is growing weekly.)


     

    Or you could use it locally and use zero gallons of biodiesel to move it, freeing up that biodiesel for putting in vehicles that could actually displace oil. But that makes too much sense I suppose.

    RR

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  75. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Actually, RR. they’re paying the Contractors $15.00/Ton. The contractors are, obviously, paying the farmers a little less.

    [link]      
  76. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m Totally on-board with the produce/use locally concept. To me, that’s the beauty of cellulosic ethanol. However, Iowa, IIRC, produces about twice as much ethanol as they could use if they ran every car, and pickemup truck in the state on 100% moonshine.

    So now, we get down to the question: Do we cut way back on Iowa ethanol production, and buy more oil from the Mideast, or do we produce More ethanol in Iowa, and cut back on ME Oil. I know what makes the most sense to me.

    [link]      
  77. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    And, of course, in Iowa, as in the rest of the United States, 95% of the autos are not allowed, by law, to be fueled with more than 10% ethanol.

    Even if you mandated that All cars sold in Iowa be flexfuel, and that all flexfuel cars in Iowa must run on E85 it would take Many Years to “turn over” the fleet.

    Then, would you do the same to the number two producer, Nebraska? How about Illinois, the #3 producer?

    [link]      
  78. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Yes, hay is much more conducive for making cellulosic ethanol due to a higher cellulose content and lower silica content. You get what you pay for.

    RR

    That’s the whole point of “cellulosic,” Robert. To use Waste Products that no one wants, or needs. Those Kansas wheat fields produce a lot of straw that are of very little vaue.

    “Hay” is an, entirely, different crop, grown in different areas. It contains alfalfa, or lespideza, and other nutrients that are Valuable for animal feed.

    Wheat Straw is just straw. Worth a couple of dollars/ton for animal bedding, and not much more.

    [link]      
  79. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    We used to burn the stubble. It (the ash) added a few bu/acre the next year. You’re not allowed to do that anymore (and, I doubt they ever did it on those big wheat fields out in Kansas,) but if you burn the lignin for process energy, and power generation, you end up with . . . ash. Another revenue stream.

    [link]      
  80. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Rufus said:

    Actually, RR. they’re paying the Contractors $15.00/Ton. The contractors are, obviously, paying the farmers a little less.


     

    I can tell you from experience, if the contractors are getting $15 per ton they are going to fast realize what a bad deal they have gotten themselves into. Their costs of gathering it up and delivering it will be higher than $15 per ton — even if the biomass is free. I am not just supposing; this is actually part of what we do. Long term, you can count on most feedstock costs being $60 a ton or so as the niche biomass is used up.

    Of course, it isn’t like we haven’t heard of people dramatically underestimating their costs before. That is pretty standard in this business.

    RR

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  81. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Rufus said:

    Yes, hay is much more conducive for making cellulosic ethanol due to a higher cellulose content and lower silica content. You get what you pay for.

    RR

    That’s the whole point of “cellulosic,” Robert. To use Waste Products that no one wants, or needs. Those Kansas wheat fields produce a lot of straw that are of very little vaue.


     

    And the point I am making to you is that those waste products are waste for a reason. They will have less usable energy content for cellulosic ethanol, which leads to a number of incorrect extrapolations. For instance, in that case the yield of ethanol might not be 4%, it might be 3% (the latter isn’t even worth the energy to separate it out) and then the leftovers are much more difficult to utilize due to higher silica and chloride contents.

    There is one thing of which I am absolutely certain. Ten years from now you are going to look back and none of this will have played out like you thought. But you won’t ever attribute that to the things I have been trying to tell you. You will blame the economy, oil companies, etc. instead of placing the blame on the fundamental technology.

    RR

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  82. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Well, now I gotta admit, that price sounds awfully cheap. However, remember, this is a little guy out in the middle of Kansas. He’s going to pay a couple of boys $8.00/hr to drive a couple of small, fuel-efficient tractors, and pay another guy $10.00/hr to haul the bales a fairly short distance.

    The truck, and tractors won’t be “new,” and a lot of OSHA, and DOT rules don’t apply to “agriculture.” They’re working on a dry, level surface; and a lot of efficiency will develop through repetitively handling the same feedstock, under the same conditions. The contractor is probably trying to make a couple of dollars a ton (maybe as little as a dollar.)

    We’re in Kansas, now. I think they know what they’re doing.

    [link]      
  83. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Well, Inbicon uses wheat straw, and Abengoa is using it in their Demo plant in Spain.

    And, I’ve been right so far; I think I have a pretty good chance of being right this time.

    [link]      
  84. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Rufus said:

    We’re in Kansas, now. I think they know what they’re doing.


     

    Changing World Technologies and their claims of $8 renewable crude oil were in neighboring Missouri, and they didn’t know what they were doing. Why you think there is something magical about Kansas and an ability supply ultra-cheap feedstock, I have no idea.

    And, I’ve been right so far; I think I have a pretty good chance of being right this time.

    Right about what? Tell us which of your predictions have come true. You have been telling us for years that this was right around the corner (and it is always “right around the corner”). Wasn’t POET supposed to be building a plant, until the realities of dealing with that feedstock became apparent? Didn’t you tell us how they had the feedstock situation under control?

    The fact is, government subsidies will drive some plants to get built. When the subsidies dry up, so will cellulosic ethanol. It can’t possibly stand on its own.

    RR

    [link]      
  85. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Robert, I will never forget how, back in 2008, I said the eroei on corn ethanol was slightly better than 2:1. You exploded. Said I was crazy. etc. remember that? At the Oil drum? Now, of course, the USDA, among others, has come out to agree with me. Remember?

    I said, almost from the git-go, that cellulosic would be a “small, local refinery thing. That the cost of transporting biomass would assure that. remember?

    So, Dupont, with their billions, will get their corn stover to cellulose plant built before Poet, big deal. Same process, might even end up in the same county. Jeff Broin is a good businessman. He won’t jeopardize his whole company, by building without borrowed money – which means a loan guarantee – just to be first. If he has to let Dupont-Danisco “Prove” the process that’s what he’ll do.

    [link]      
  86. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    And, let us not forget that, in July of 2008, just as various companies were starting to think seriously about cellulosic ethanol refineries, we had a Global Financial Crisis, ALL Financing Dried Up, and Oil dropped all the way to $35.00/bbl.

    Don’t you imagine That set a few plans back a bit?

    [link]      
  87. By duracomm on May 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Rufus said,

    Now, of course, the USDA, among others, has come out to agree with me. Remember?

    Did they include energy usage for irrigation? They had not included it before which makes their energy return calculations artificially optimistic.

    How Reliable are Those USDA Ethanol Studies?

    Nebraska again provides a perfect example of how the energy balance tends to get much worse as you move away from the best corn-producing areas.

    The energy input for Nebraska is almost 20,000 BTU/bushel higher than for the 9-state weighted average, primarily due to their need to irrigate.

    So, their energy balance will be much worse than the average number that was ultimately calculated.

    [link]      
  88. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Robert, do you know when I was absolutely sure that I was right, and you were wrong about cellulosic ethanol?

    When Dupont agreed to pay $5.8 Billion for Danisco, their enzyme-maker.

    [link]      
  89. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Rufus said:

    Robert, I will never forget how, back in 2008, I said the eroei on corn ethanol was slightly better than 2:1. You exploded. Said I was crazy. etc. remember that? At the Oil drum? Now, of course, the USDA, among others, has come out to agree with me. Remember?


     

    The USDA study doesn’t say that. I delved into that into quite some detail. What it said was that you can take 1 BTU of fossil inputs and produce 1.4 BTUs of ethanol. The rest is just shifting energy inputs into the byproducts. The USDA has engaged in some creative accounting, but the bottom line today is the same as it was in 2008: You CANNOT take 1 BTU of fossil fuel and produce 2 BTUs of corn ethanol. You were wrong then; you are wrong now.

    I said, almost from the git-go, that cellulosic would be a “small,
    local refinery thing. That the cost of transporting biomass would
    assure that. remember?

    Yes, and I said you were wrong, and so far there are no commercial plants actually in operation. Until those happen, you are still wrong. As I said, subsidies will drive some to be built, but those small cellulosic ethanol plants can’t stand on their own economically. If anyone would know that, it would be Iogen. They have been doing this longer than anyone. Where is their commercial plant?

    Jeff Broin is a good businessman. He won’t jeopardize his whole
    company, by building without borrowed money – which means a loan
    guarantee – just to be first.

    But don’t you always present this as a no-brainer? Or are the economics perhaps more challenging than you seem to let on?

    And, let us not forget that, in July of 2008, just as various companies
    were starting to think seriously about cellulosic ethanol refineries, we
    had a Global Financial Crisis, ALL Financing Dried Up, and Oil dropped
    all the way to $35.00/bbl.

    Didn’t stay there long, though. That is really just an excuse. The technology isn’t there. If the money was there, then sure, some plants would be built. But the technology still isn’t close to being economically viable. It’s all Range Fuels all over again — people overestimating the viability of the technology, and getting governments to fund their exaggerations.

    RR

     

    [link]      
  90. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Rufus said:

    Robert, do you know when I was absolutely sure that I was right, and you were wrong about cellulosic ethanol?

    When Dupont agreed to pay $5.8 Billion for Danisco, their enzyme-maker.


     

    Right, because nobody has ever made a strategic investment that later turned out to be not so hot. Zero gallons of cellulosic ethanol in commercial production, and you claiming victory with your predictions. Amazing. Besides that, Danisco does quite a lot that has nothing to do with enzymes for cellulosic ethanol. So this is once more a case of an extreme reach by you leading to an incorrect conclusion.

    You will be right about cellulosic ethanol when we see plants in commercial operation around the U.S. that are standing on their own. You know when that’s going to happen? Never.

    RR

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  91. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Duracomm, I’m sure they probably did; but it doesn’t really matter. You only use 60% of the bushel for ethanol (you get back in DDGS 40% of your animal-feeding ability,) and you get approx 3 gal of ethanol from that.

    So, 20,000 X 0.6 / 3 = 4,000 btu/gal

    That would just knock it down from 2.3 to 2.1 in Nebraska; and Nebraska is only about, oh, I don’t know, maybe 15% of total U.S. Production.

    It would be a distinction w/o a difference (or vice versus, however that old saying goes.) :)

    [link]      
  92. By duracomm on May 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Rufus said,

    Robert, do you know when I was absolutely sure that I was right, and you were wrong about cellulosic ethanol?
    When Dupont agreed to pay $5.8 Billion for Danisco, their enzyme-maker.

    You might have a point if the only product line they had was biofuel enzymes. But biofuel enzymes are not their only product line.

    * Food & beverages * Animal nutrition * Cleaning & textiles * Pharma & health care * Industrial solutions

    For your acquisition argument to hold water you have to show that most of their value and revenue was in the enzymes for biofuels business.

    I wonder if their sales of Meprobamate exceed the dollar value of their biofuel enzymes?

    Meprobamate is a white crystalline powder. It is almost odourless and has a slightly bitter taste. It is commonly used as a tranquilliser in CNS pharmaceuticals.

    [link]      
  93. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Rufus said:

    Duracomm, I’m sure they probably did; but it doesn’t really matter. You only use 60% of the bushel for ethanol (you get back in DDGS 40% of your animal-feeding ability,) and you get approx 3 gal of ethanol from that.

    So, 20,000 X 0.6 / 3 = 4,000 btu/gal

    That would just knock it down from 2.3 to 2.1 in Nebraska; and Nebraska is only about, oh, I don’t know, maybe 15% of total U.S. Production.

    It would be a distinction w/o a difference (or vice versus, however that old saying goes.) :)


     

    You really should go to work for the USDA. Their mathemagic is right up your alley. A hand wave here, a hidden energy input there, and voila! A conclusion designed to mislead everyone who reads it.

    Anyone who reads that the energy balance of ethanol is 2 to 1 would be under the impression that you could take 1 BTU of fossil energy and produce 2 BTUs of ethanol. Yet that is not the case.

    RR

    [link]      
  94. By Kit P on May 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    “Paul’s “ignorant statements”? ”

     

    I find Paul well informed but he sometimes draws incorrect conclusions on complicated issues that are location specific.

     

    “I reference California because they are further along than most states, ”

     

    That is what they would like you to believe Rufus but they are far behind most states. If think about where California was 40 years ago with a massive hydroelectric system and leadership in nuclear energy. Then Jane Fonda took over. If you look at the research a very good ag school, UC Davis, has done on anaerobic digestion you would think California would be building then like crazy. An environmental no brainer and the Sierra Club is against them

     

    Texas in 15 years ahead of California in wind. The first major wind project in the PNW that provided the leadership was the Stateline Wind Farm (Washington/Oregon) began operation in 2001. California was having trouble keeping the lights on. It was preceded by a smaller project, the Vansycle I Wind Project in 1998.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S….._Wind_Farm

     

    I am a big advocate of putting wind turbines in dry land wheat fields. The environmental impact is minimal. The area has a nuke plant, coal plant, several new NG fired, and huge amount of hydroelectric. I love wind farms.

     

    On the other hand, where I now live in Virginia I would not like to see wind farms unless they were off shore.

     

    “As far as the wind always blowing somewhere ”

     

    Was that a joke drunyon? Living in Livermore maybe you would like to comment on how the wind farms are doing in the Altamont Pass Wind Farm and the delta?

     

    “my model wind supergrid ”

     

    Clearly a certain amount of electricity can be provided by renewable energy but it is a huge engineering challenge. Fanciful leaps of logic serve no purpose. Before we get to 10% we have to get to 5%.

     

    [link]      
  95. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    In your link you cited the USDA numbers:

    Finally, the ratios that the USDA highlighted and reported across all three reports:

    2002 – 1.34
    2004 – 1.67
    2010 – 2.34

    Which is, almost exactly, btw, what I said they were in 2008.

    Robert, you like to pretend that DDGS don’t exist; but they do. And, as a result, the ethanol plant only uses 60% (some say, less, but I’ll be conservative) of the Animal feeding value of the kernel.

    [link]      
  96. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Duracomm, Danisco is a good company, and certainly produces many valuable products worth far more, at present, than their fledgeling ethanol enzyme business. However, it’s in the enzyme business that Dupont has been working the most closely with Danisco.

    I believe that was the main driver in Dupont buying Danisco.

    Your Mileage May Vary. :)

    [link]      
  97. By duracomm on May 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I thought the article lacked the usual technical rigor that is found here then I noticed this

    The following guest essay was written by Dr. Felix Mormann from Stanford Law School.

    Looked at the Stanford website to see what his expertise was in and found this.

    Felix Mormann

    Felix was a visiting scholar at Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall),

    where he conducted research for his doctoral dissertation on transatlantic securities litigation.

    Felix previously worked for some of Germany’s premiere law firms and as a a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.

    As a Kauffman Legal Research Fellow at Stanford Law School, Felix will examine various legal regimes with regard to their ability of promoting the transition to renewable energy sources

    Not to say that he does not know what he is talking about or that an in depth knowledge of “transatlantic securities litigation” is not useful.

    However, it would be helpful to know if he had applied any sort of an engineering or technical reality check on his policy pronouncements.

    Because without this reality check his writing have a substantial credibility gap.

    [link]      
  98. By Rufus on May 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Anyways, we have much more Serious Problems.

    You all Do realize that none of us have been “Raptured,” right?

    [link]      
  99. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Rufus said:

    In your link you cited the USDA numbers:

    Finally, the ratios that the USDA highlighted and reported across all three reports:

    2002 – 1.34

    2004 – 1.67

    2010 – 2.34

    Which is, almost exactly, btw, what I said they were in 2008.

    Robert, you like to pretend that DDGS don’t exist; but they do. And, as a result, the ethanol plant only uses 60% (some say, less, but I’ll be conservative) of the Animal feeding value of the kernel.


     

    Wow, talk about taking things out of context. The whole point of that report was to highlight the creative accounting done by the USDA, comparing “real” energy balances with what they had done. You only cite what they had done, ignoring that to come up with that number, they have 1). Admitted to leaving out energy inputs; 2). Changed their accounting method; 3). Assigned energy inputs to DDGS that shouldn’t be assigned there (for instance, the only reason DDGS has to be dried is because it had been run through the ethanol process).; 4). Subtracted the energy assigned to DDGS from the inputs to the process. The only reason to do that is to exaggerate the energy balance for the process.

    So I rejected your 2.34 in 2008 for the same reason I rejected it in that USDA report: It is wrong. It leads people to believe that 1 BTU of fossil fuel produces 2 BTUs of ethanol, and that is wrong. As I reported, here are the ethanol only numbers using a consistent method of calculation:

    2002 – 1.09

    2004 – 1.06

    2010 – 1.42

    And here is the number for ethanol plus DDGS:

    2002 – 1.27

    2004 – 1.26

    2010 – 1.69

    A perfect example of the USDA’s strategy can be seen in the change from their 2002 to 2004 report. The energy balance actually got worse as they reported better data, but they reported a huge improvement (and many ethanol boosters parroted that ‘improvement’). In fact, the only ‘improvement’ was a change in how they did the calculation that allowed great room for creative accounting.

    As far as DDGS, you apparently only skimmed the link, because I directly addressed them. Hard to accuse me of ignoring them when they were specifically addressed.

    RR

    [link]      
  100. By rrapier on May 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    duracomm said:

    However, it would be helpful to know if he had applied any sort of an engineering or technical reality check on his policy pronouncements.

    Because without this reality check his writing have a substantial credibility gap.


     

    But, we tend not to take people at their word around here anyway. So one shouldn’t believe or reject his views because of who he is, but rather it should be based on whether data supports his statements.

    RR

    [link]      
  101. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    “Because without this reality check his writing have a substantial credibility gap. ”

     

    That is why I check to see where they are from before I start reading. If you are an academic at places like Stanford, Cornell, or Berkeley you are not going to get feedback from others at the university for fear of reprisals for not being politically correct. These folks spend their time reachering why West Virginia should not mine coal and Indiana should not grow corn.

     

    If you look up the hill from Stanford you will see some of the best wind resources in the the world. However, try to line the coastal redwoods with wind farms and you get tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail, or CALRAINS.

    [link]      
  102. By duracomm on May 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Rufus said,

    Ca produced Renewable in total accounted for 15.3% of that state’s electricity. The wind was, basically, steady for the whole 24 hrs.

    The unfortunate problem you gloss over is the fact that power is needed every day. “basically steady for 24 hours” is not an acceptable performance metric for electric power.

    Rufus also said,

    Okay, Kit just made my point. Yesterday, the wind in Ca was sparse around 12 (noon) their time.

    However, Kit’s link shows that the wind was blowing like crazy at that time in the Midwest 14:00 (also, known as 2:00 PM CST.) Of course, I was probably blowing pretty good in Wy (where Ca gets a lot of its wind power.)

    You are ignoring the costs required and complexity involved, to move that power around.

    Wind pixie dust does not automatically install the transmission lines, switches, and control systems required to move that power around. That adds cost, complexity and instability to the system.

    Ignoring these costs does not make them disappear.

    You said

    Of course, I was probably blowing pretty good in Wy (where Ca gets a lot of its wind power.)

    Do you have a cite for the amount of windpower California gets from Wyoming?

    Can you show that california gets actual windpower from wyoming not just renewable energy credits?

    [link]      
  103. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Duracomm, a quick search did not yield the answer to your question, but it did come up with something I thought was pretty interesting. Duke is, currently, generating about 500 Megawatts from Wind, and has 5,000 Wind Megawatts Under Development.

    [link]      
  104. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I, also, ran across this: It seems there are a couple of large Solar Thermal Plants (One in the Mojave, one in Nevada) that are going to come to fruition. These Plants Will Produce Electricity 24/7.

    They’re pretty expensive, but they do produce electricity when the “Sun don’t Shine.” We’ll see if the price on later models come down any.

    [link]      
  105. By Wendell Mercantile on May 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Okay, Kit just made my point. Yesterday, the wind in CA was sparse around 12 (noon) their time. However, Kit’s link shows that the wind was blowing like crazy at that time in the Midwest 1400 (also, known as 2:00 PM CST.) Of course, I was probably blowing pretty good in WY (where CA gets a lot of its wind power.)

    Rufus~

    It’s unlikely that any electrons generated in a Wyoming wind farm actually end up in California. Do you know how far it is from Wyoming to California?

    The losses of moving electricity through a transmission line soak up that energy at the rate of about 0.6% per mile of line.

    I’d need to use calculus to give you an exact answer, but a transmission line only 83 miles long actually delivers roughly 50% of the energy pumped in at the generation end.

    [link]      
  106. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Wendell, I’m sure as shootin’ not an expert on any of this, but that doesn’t sound right. Are you sure you didn’t miss a decimal somewhere?

    On another interesting note: Japan Mulling Requiring All New Houses, and Buildings to Have Solar Panels by 2030

    [link]      
  107. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Some people are spending some big money trying to get some monster-sized transmission lines built from Wy to Ca. Transwest Express

    [link]      
  108. By duracomm on May 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Felix Mormann said,

    A look at Europe’s two largest economies – France and Germany – reveals just how important these barriers are.

    Both countries have established promotional policies that offer similar financial incentives for electricity generation from renewables.

    Yet, Germany has achieved several orders of magnitude greater deployment rates than neighboring France, pointing to other forces at play than generation cost-competitiveness alone.

    What has Germany gotten in terms of pollution reduction for all of those expensive wind turbines they installed? A big fat nothing.

    Wind Turbines in Europe Do Nothing for Emissions-Reduction Goals

    Despite Europe’s boom in solar and wind energy, CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram.

    Indeed, when it comes to climage change, investments in wind and solar energy are not very efficient. Preventing one ton of CO2 emissions requires a relatively large amount of money.

    Other measures, especially building renovations, cost much less — and have the same effect

    The problem is building renovations does not make money for rent seeking corporations.

    Because of this the rent seeking companies are lobbying for the for laws that force the public to buy expensive power produced by their wind turbines and solar panels.

    [link]      
  109. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    You don’t like “transmission” costs? Okay,

    California Green Designs has completed the largest commercial solar installation in Los Angeles at Konoike-Pacific (KPAC), a cold-storage warehouse in Wilmington.

    1.5 Megawatts has whacked about $40,000.00/mo off of their electric bills this Spring. Assuming the Savings will be even more in the Summer months.

    A few thousand of these projects scattered around S. California (or any other Southern City, for that matter) would make a difference, I think.

    [link]      
  110. By Wendell Mercantile on May 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Are you sure you didn’t miss a decimal somewhere?

    Rufus~

    Even if I was off by a factor of ten (which I’m not) that would be only 50% of the energy remaining after 830 miles of transmission line. Wyoming to California is more than 830 miles. Wind farms in Wyoming might be of some help to Boise or Salt Lake City.

    [link]      
  111. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    “Wind pixie dust does not automatically install the transmission lines, switches, and control systems required to move that power around ”

     

    The State Line Wind was located next to a big old substation and a NG compressor station with a big machine shop. The wind component were brought in my barge and the port was 15 miles away. It is near an industrial area with lots of talent to support the the power industry. Each wind farm that gets farther way from such facilities, get more expensive.

     

    My yacht club holds races every other Saturday in the spring and fall. We do not sail very much in the summer there is no wind and it is really hot. The power boats take over the river. If you fall in the river when the mountain run off is at the peak, you will be dead in five minutes unless you are wearing a pfd. It take 15 minutes in that case.

     

    The point being is that knowing something about the environment comes in handy if you are trying to protect it. Who do we need to protect it from? Environmental activist lawyers at Stanford.

     

    “Duke is,…”

     

    Yes Rufus Duke is a leader. As a matter of disclosure, I used to work for Duke and have stock and retirement from them so I follow them closely. My company is also in a joint venture to develop biomass. Duke is also:

     

    Building a gasifier coal plant and a regular one

    Developing 6-7 new nukes

    solar

    putting in the first digital control system at a nuke

     

    At one time, Duke was building 40% of the CCGT in the US. If the current merger is goes through’ duke will have electric customers from Florida to Indiana. Duke is very low key about business development. Before the they turn the first shovel of dirt, they have local support from the community. When Stanford Law comes to aid of ‘American for the Protection of Stripped Kangaroo Squirrels’; Duke lawyers will already have in hand the peer reviewed study of the first ‘Stripped Kangaroo Squirrel’ wildlife refuge.

     

    Unlike Stanford Law, the people who make electricity actually live where we make electricity.

     

    “These Plants Will Produce Electricity 24/7.”

     

    That is just BS Rufus. Go read the EIS ask why these plants need a NG pipeline.

     

    “The Obama administration provided a loan guarantee of $737 million to SolarReserve on Thursday ”

     

    So how much electric can it make.

     

    “The power plant’s electricity generation capacity (basically, how much it can generate) is 110-MW ”

     

    Now Rufus I want you to look at the picture in your link and tell me what you see. This is again a case of putting power plants where few live. Since no one has made these work with out using a lot of natural gas, CSP should be located nest to existing coal and NG thermal plants to supplement heat generation. Somewhat like mixing wood pellets with coal. This does not make the purist happy but it is renewable energy.

     

    When the CSP industry starts barging about performance with other power engineers, CSP will have arrived. When you look at the spreadsheets looking at how much electricity is produced and how much gas is burned, a power engineer would conclude that it is an inefficient gas fire plant.

     

    [link]      
  112. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Kit, I would suppose that they will use the nat gas for a back-up for those periods of consecutive days w/o sun; wouldn’t you?

    Kit, tell us what the “per 100 mile loss” is for high voltage transmission, such as is being developed between Wy and Ca.

    [link]      
  113. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    In Jan, 2011, Los Angeles Dept. of Power and Water (LADPW) announced that it provided 19.7% of the City’s Electricity from Renewables (does Not include Large Hydro)

    [link]      
  114. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    A good chunk of it came from their own Pine Tree Wind Farm

    You know, when I first started hearing about “windmills” I thought it was, maybe, the silliest idea I’d ever heard. However, at some point you have to stop and look at what is, in the Real World, on the ground, actually, happening. And, the fact is, they are producing large amounts of electricity, and incorporating it into the grid fairly well.

    And, let’s face it, if we use a little less coal, today, we’ll have a little more, at a slightly better price, tomorrow. Besides, it’s kind of interesting. :)

    I’m having a hard time seeing the downside.

    [link]      
  115. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    “1.5 Megawatts has whacked about $40,000.00/mo off of their electric bills this Spring”

     

    Rufus I would like you to explain how $10K worth of electricity saves $40k.

     

    “A few thousand of these projects scattered around S. California (or any other Southern City, for that matter) would make a difference, I think. ”

     

    No, they would make no difference. Tell me Rufus, how many $5 life insurance policies did you sell. How many lemon stands did you insure for children . By you reasoning, if you sell a few thousand, you could make a decent living. Of course, you can make a living as a con artist scamming people for their money without giving them value.

     

    The first thing I want to know when I buy something is how much it costs. Then you look at how much it produces . Then you check to see how much it cost to buy the same amount of stuff.

     

    While I think 1.5 MWe utility scale might be a good idea in the right place, the article that Rufus linked is a scam.

     

    I do have a deal for you Rufus. I have something that I want to sell you something that is worth $50 and you need it. If you order now, I will give you two for free (you only one) saving you $100. The catch is in the fine print. Shipping and handling is $120. One other thing, after I get you money it up to me when I ship.

     

    Rufus, you may want to see how well those work before you buy them. The manufacture guarantees that will work in his factor. You pay for shipping.

    [link]      
  116. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    “Kit, tell us what the “per 100 mile loss” is for high voltage transmission, such as is being developed between Wy and Ca. ”

     

    About the same as from Ireland to California. It does not matter where the wind farms are. Supplying large amounts of electricity produced with wind in Wyoming is not practical. What is practical is producing electricity in Wyoming and have the extra cost paid by California rate payers and the people in Wyoming put the money in their pockets.

    [link]      
  117. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Kit, I think you need to cool your jets, and think about what you just wrote. Those people are probably paying somewhere around $200.00/mwh during the day in LA. That unit should average 7 hrs of close to peak performance in That location.

    And, That would do it.

    [link]      
  118. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    In fact, if you will eyeball This Chart,

    you will see that Solar kicks in at, basically, full strength at 08:00 in S. Ca, and goes strong until 18:00 (Six PM.,) after which it winds down for an hour, or so. And, that’s in May, not July/Aug/Sept.

    So, if the electricity they’re replacing only costs $150/mwh it would still seem to work fine.

    You seem all too fond of throwing around phrases such as “scam,” and “con job,” etc. Makes me wonder.

    [link]      
  119. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    “LADWP said 39 percent of its power portfolio came from coal. The utility is in the process of divesting its ownership of the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona by 2014. ”

     

    Rufus what do you want to bet that the Navajo Generating Station will keep burning the same amount of coal?

     

    Did LADWP improve how they did things by how they make electricity in their service are or is it just a bunch of PR? In California, it is always PR.

    [link]      
  120. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I keep reading that “losses” in transmission, distribution, etc in the U.S. are about 7%. Also, that the most efficient components of the grid are the “High Voltage” Power lines.

    I’m thinking Wendell’s numbers for “losses in transmission” are way high (even More than a factor of 10.) I wish someone could pipe in here, and help us out.

    [link]      
  121. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    “Those people are probably paying somewhere around $200.00/mwh during the day in LA. ”

     

    What are you saying Rufus, LADWP is so inept at providing industrial customers affordable electricity that customers can save by putting PV on the roof?

     

    Tell me that you give money to charity because it is the right thing to do, but that does not make it a good investment. Tell me you are willing to pay more for PV because you think it is the right thing to do fine, but if you say are saving money your making things up.

    [link]      
  122. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Kit, sometimes you just gotta “play it as it lies.”

    Those people are cutting a little over $40,000.00/mo. off their utility bills.

    Theories are made to be argued over; facts is facts.

    [link]      
  123. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Here is a link to a good solar project in Arizona.

    Tucson Electric Power (Springerville Generating Station: http://www.greenwatts.com/page…..Output.asp )

     

    “You seem all too fond of throwing around phrases such as “scam,” and “con job,” etc. Makes me wonder. ”

     

    That because I can tell the difference Rufus. Still the the solar panels only produce $10k in electricity. If a detailed analysis showed how it was worth $40k that would be really cool except it is a smoke and mirrors scam. Rufus your link was from marketing guys. They sell stuff by not telling the truth. Unfortunately, the renewable energy business is ripe with con artists. Then there is the deceptive policies of in leaders in places like LA or Seattle. I am always looking for good projects and posting them. I just wonder how many times mayors will claim to have some agreement to close down a coal before the coal plant is 60 years old.

     

    [link]      
  124. By moiety on May 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Transmission data.

     

    The entire US grid loses approx 7-8%

    http://www02.abb.com/global/se…..r+grid.pdf

     

    The loses for UHDV are around 3% per 1000km. AC systems have higher losses (circa 5%).

    http://www.energy.siemens.com/…..t=Benefits

     

    Losses also occur when stepping the voltages and switching. I do not have specific data for those.

    [link]      
  125. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks, Moiety.

    I guess that settles, that.

    [link]      
  126. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    This:

    That because I can tell the difference Rufus. Still the the solar panels only produce $10k in electricity.

    is just Bizarre. Pray tell, Kit, how do you come up with the number $10,000.00?

    [link]      
  127. By duracomm on May 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Rufus,

    Your love of expensive, ineffective, uneconomic, consumer fleecing energy is a wonder to behold.
    None of the projects you link to would exist if government did not hold a gun to consumers head and make them buy products that make zero economic, engineering, or environmental sense.

    A wise economist put it this way.

    for a big enough subsidy we could take used toilet paper and make dental floss. And that subsidy would be popular with industry.

    Here is a good example of that sad fact.

    We gave Evergreen Solar millions and millions of dollars, nearly $50 million, to subsidize production of solar energy panels.

    But they closed shop and moved to China.

    Now the U.S. is mad at China…FOR SUBSIDIZING PRODUCTION OF SOLAR ENERGY PANELS!

    Look, if the only way you can make money is to pay more than 100% of the purchase price in subsidies, you don’t want to be in that business.

    [link]      
  128. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    “Pray tell, Kit, how do you come up with the number $10,000.00?”

     

    The panels produce 1,49 MW per hour. Assuming an average price of electricity and a 20% CF. It is not likely that PV on roofs do as well as ground mounted PV in the desert.

    [link]      
  129. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    That still doesn’t explain where you came up with your $10,000.00 figure.

    Let’s work backwards, whattayasay. We see from all the charts that Solar in S. Cal is pumping out strong for about 10 hrs./day. So, those panels are producing, possibly, 15 Megawatts/day, or 450 megawatts/mo.

    They say the panels are reducing their electric bill by $40,000.00/mo.

    So, if we divide $40,000.00 by 450 it would be 40,000/450 = $88.89 that they’re paying for a megawatt/hr Or $0.09/kwh.

    If you were right, and the number should be $10,000.00, and not $40,000.00 then their price from the electric company would have to be $0.02kwhr.

    Which seems the most reasonable?

    [link]      
  130. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Actually, the truth is probably that they’re not producing quite as much as I’m extrapolating, and their hourly rate from the utility is a little more than that. :)

    But, the fact is, there’s no reason to doubt them on their savings; and, at $500,000.00/yr, and assuming an investment in the $4.5 to $5 Million Range – W/O any Subsidies *of course, they got some pretty serious subsidies* (btw, I bet I could do it for close to $3 Mil W/O Subsidies,) and, as low as interest rates are, now, This looks like a good, viable, long-term play.

    As for as the “anti-subsidies” argument: Look, we’re trying to jump-start an industry before the fossil fuels “jumpstart” us. The cost isn’t really all that much in the wider scheme of things, and as other businessmen see the units working, and saving money the need for subsidies will go away.

    [link]      
  131. By Wendell Mercantile on May 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I guess that settles, that.

    Au contraire Rufus, not at all. The overall number is as low as Moiety cited because most electricity isn’t shipped very far. (The electricity I use comes from a coal-fired plant about 15 miles away. Using 0.6% per mile, that’s an efficiency loss of ~ 9%.) I believe you were talking about Wyoming electricity going to California — not locally to places such as Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Denver or Boulder. It’s 1218 miles form Sheridan, WY to Los Angeles.

    Here’s the basic formula: Ploss = P²R/V²

    P = power
    R = total resistance (a function of the conductive material used, diameter of the line, and distance of the run)
    V = voltage

    There are ways to reduce the power loss:

    1. Make R as small as possible by using larger diameter (lower resistance) conductors, or by super-cooling them with liquid helium. (But no one I’ve yet heard of has figured out how to use liquid helium over a long run of many miles, and increasing the diameter of the conductor adds dramatically to the cost of the line.)

    2. Use higher and higher voltages.

    3. Run DC electricity through the line instead of AC, but that adds cost at the end converting DC on a large scale back to AC for customers.

    I still maintain little of that Wyoming-generated wind power makes it all the way to California as you stated.

    [link]      
  132. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    If Siemens says it’s 5% for a thousand kilometers (for AC,) that’s good enough for me.

    It’ll lose more once you start “stepping it down,” but, that would apply whether the power plant was 1 mile away, or a thousand.

    [link]      
  133. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Looks like, maybe, a little less than a thousand miles from the middle of Wy to LA. Maybe, according to Siemens, a 5, or 6% loss with DC, and a 9% loss with AC.

    Not a “show-stopper,” I would think.

    [link]      
  134. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    “Which seems the most reasonable? ”

     

    To start with, 7 MWh is reasonable. Second $50/MWh is reasonable. Both of those are conservative numbers. Third, ignoring the capital cost of the system to determined savings is lying.

     

    Rufus your link was from marketing guys. They sell stuff by not telling the truth. Unfortunately, the renewable energy business is ripe with con artists.

     

    Let me repeat that I do not have a problem with putting PV on the roofs of industrial buildings. Being small and insignificant does not make it a bad project.

    [link]      
  135. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    So, you’re saying that that 1.5 megawatt system will only produce 7 megawatt hrs/day in S. Cal? And that those guys can buy electricity from LADPW for $0.05 kwh? Really?

    Kit, those weren’t “Projected” savings from some “Marketing” guys. The statement was very unambiguous: “We are saving $40,000.00 to $42,000.00/month in reduced electricity costs.”

    [link]      
  136. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    “Not a “show-stopper,” I would think.”

     

    You are right, if you already have power lines, wind and solar can use them. Rufus what part of wind and solar not being a good way to make electric do you not understand? That what all those curves are telling you. Go for a trip. Drive by a nuke plant and coal plant. Then go find 3000 MWe of wind and 5000 MWe and then tell me you think it is ‘clean’.

    [link]      
  137. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I think it will end up being “way the cheapest,” Kit.

    Simple as that.

    [link]      
  138. By mac on May 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Wendell,  

    Here’s  a couple of interesting articles about DC transmission lines.  The longest one in the U.S. is the the Pacific DC Intertie that runs from Bonneville to Sylmar, Ca, just outside L.A. where the DC is inverted to AC.  It’s 846 miles long.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…..C_Intertie

    At present, the longest DC line runs from the Three Gorges Dam to Shanghai,  about 1,287 miles. “In 2012, the longest HVDC link will be the Rio Madeira link connecting the Amazonas to the São Paulo area and the length of the DC line is over 2,500 km (1,600 mi).[3]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..Europe.svg

    This article discusses some of the various drawbacks and pluses for each transmission system

    Long distance HVDC lines carrying hydroelectricity
    from Canada’s Nelson river to this station
    where it is converted to AC for use in Winnipeg‘s local grid.
    [link]      
  139. By Kit P on May 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    “So, you’re saying that that 1.5 megawatt system will only produce 7 megawatt hrs/day in S. Cal? ”

     

    On a good day if every thing works correctly. Rufus your link was from marketing company and ‘very unambiguous’ was by design.

     

    And Rufus, commercial rates are public information so look it up. Part of the solar con is ignoring the cost of service service. The facility still need power at nigh and cloudy days.

     

    I do have not problems with feed in tariffs. Say you get $100/MWh for PV. That is fine with me but if you are being subsidized by other rate payers.

     

    The reason I do not object to modes RPS and feed in tariffs is it allows us to learn the costs and benefits without being very expensive. However, California does not have a modest RPS.

    [link]      
  140. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    All the “Detractors” are missing that huge payoff on the back-end when the systems are paid off.

    When you’re looking at 20, 25, 30 years, or more, of energy with NO feedstock costs (or, a greatly reduced amount of electricity bought from a utility with “rising inpot costs.”)

    [link]      
  141. By Rufus on May 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Kit, unambiguous means not ambiguous.

    The Statement was very clear:” Energy savings have averaged between $40,000 and $42,000 a month since the system power-up in March.”

    [link]      
  142. By mac on May 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Wendell,

    I sent you the wrong link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H…..ct_current

    [link]      
  143. By mac on May 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Rufus,

    Here’s something that might interest you…

    <strong>Renewable electricity superhighways</strong>

    A number of studies have highlighted the potential benefits of very wide area super grids based on HVDC since they can mitigate the effects of intermittency by averaging and smoothing the outputs of large numbers of geographically dispersed wind farms or solar farms.[27] Czisch’s study concludes that a grid covering the fringes of Europe could bring 100% renewable power (70% wind, 30% biomass) at close to today’s prices. There has been debate over the technical feasibility of this proposal[28] and the political risks involved in energy transmission across a large number of international borders.[29]

    The construction of such green power superhighways is advocated in a white paper that was released by the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association[30]

    In January 2009, the European Commission proposed €300 million to subsidize the development of HVDC links between Ireland, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, as part of a wider €1.2 billion package supporting links to offshore wind farms and cross-border interconnectors throughout Europe. Meanwhile the recently founded Union of the Mediterranean has embraced a Mediterranean Solar Plan to import large amounts of concentrating solar power into Europe from North Africa and the Middle East.[31]

     

    Two HVDC lines cross near Wing, North Dakota

     

    Bipolar system pylons of the Baltic-Cable-HVDC in Sweden

    [link]      
  144. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Wing, ND hasn’t exactly caught the “prosperity wave,” has it? :)

    That is interesting, Mac. HVDC makes a lot of sense if you’re going to connect dispersed wind, and solar farms with Large Customers in Big Cities.

    [link]      
  145. By Rufus on May 23, 2011 at 12:57 am

    The basic user rate in LA seems to be $0.12/kwh. That would be $120.00/mwh.

    So, if they’re saving $40,000.00/mo they must be producing about 333 mwhrs/mo. Or, about 11.1 mwh/day

    Divide that by 1.5 and you get 7.4

    So, a nameplate of 1 mw is producing 7.4 mwhrs/day. That would be Mar, and April We could assume that Summer will be more, and during a short winter it would be less. Looks pretty good to me.

    [link]      
  146. By moiety on May 23, 2011 at 3:21 am

    I will give my opinion on the transmission part.

     

    I quoted the UHDC data directly as I felt that this would be the most suitable way to transport energy from a large farm. If this were the case I would expect that the losses would be on the low end; no more than 6% over the distance cited for the transfer to Wy. to Ca.Transfer from DC to AC would add another 1-2% so overall from plant to consumer, you get the 5-8% range.

    However that does not mean that a UHDC line is in existence. On of the problems with the Irish strategy for implementing wind is that the grid is not suitable to accommodate wind power. UHDC or (UHAC for that matter) do not extend to where people propose these turbines to go. The locations are far from population centres so connecting to existing lines is not possible. Furthermore, an here I expect similarities with the US, the Irish grid is old with many lines that should be UHDC (ultra high DC) are just high DC. While upgrades have occurred in the past (http://www.tradingeconomics.co…..-data.html) there is still room for improvement and capacity of the system (in those areas) is an issue. Just to bring the grid up to spec will cost 4 billion over the next few years. The addition of wind power nodes would increase that cost dramatically http://www.eirgrid.com/transmi…..re-grid25/. Interestingly enough, the state would be paying for these grid extensions.

    In short if the UHDC exists then losses will be low. If it does not, losses could be much much higher. It depends on what grids is available to accept the power. Once you know the voltageo f the lines (i.e 10000 kV or 400000 kV) you can easily apply the formulas to get your losses.

    [link]      
  147. By duracomm on May 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Rufus said,

    As for as the “anti-subsidies” argument: Look, we’re trying to jump-start an industry before the fossil fuels “jumpstart” us.

    Most of the electricity in the US is generated by US companies using US produced coal and natural gas.

    The same thing can’t be said of the “alternative energy” technology Rufus has a crush on.

    The Workshop was the first to report last October that more than 80 percent of the first $1 billion in grants to wind energy companies went to foreign firms.

    Foreign companies collect bulk of grants

    By a margin of almost 4-1 foreign companies dominate the stimulus program that has distributed almost $2.2 billions since September, reimbursing renewable energy developers.

    Even worse for Rufus China controls most of the global supplies of rare earth minerals which are crucial to alternative energy.

    China has expanded export quotas for rare earth metals, further tightening its grip on the minerals used in a number of high-tech electronics.

    The unfortunate Rufus crush on alternative energy has him advocating for a switch from electricity produced by US utilities using US fuel to electricity produced by:

    1. Foreign corporations using
    2. Equipment manufactured overseas
    3. Built using materials produced overseas.

    [link]      
  148. By duracomm on May 23, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Rufus said,

    The cost isn’t really all that much in the wider scheme of things, and as other businessmen see the units working, and saving money the need for subsidies will go away.

    A cite supporting the gibberish above would be appreciated.

    I suspect if the installations actually saved money they would not need a subsidy in the first place.

    [link]      
  149. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

    “The basic user rate in LA seems to be $0.12/kwh. ”

     

    This is a commercial facility; however, you know how much electricity is produced by a PV system by reading an meter not back calculating based on a lie. There are ways to tell the truth so that you can determine the benefit of something and there are ways to lie.

     

    Rufus you provided a link that tells me nothing except that you do not know when someone is lying to you. Let me tell you who are dealing with. LADWP was the biggest gouger of neighboring rate payers in California while burning coal in the dirtiest coal plants in other states I look at an annual statement, LADWP had picture of wind turbines and solar panels. The word ‘coal’ had been scrubbed from document but if you knew the name of the power plant you could still find out the revenue from the power plant.

     

    If you want to know how PV works look for links that show you how they work. I provided the best.

    [link]      
  150. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Back to transmission lines, let’s get personal Rufus. Every power project is personal to someone. What would you do if you came home and there was a notice on your door to move because of “eminent domain”? The first thing I would do is hire a good lawyer. The second thing I would want to is what ‘public good’ was involved. Does my area need to build a new waste water treatment facility and I have the misfortune of being in the wrong place or is it something else.

     

    If the public good is California’s idea of ‘clean’ energy, I would want to know why California can not make electricity with offshore wind. My hammer is the EIS. The clear alternative to building transmission lines in my backyard is for California to stop importing so much power and make it within the state.

    [link]      
  151. By Kit P on May 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

    “I suspect if the installations actually saved money they would not need a subsidy in the first place. ”

     

    You need to consider investor risk duracomm. When you put wind turbines in the correct place, less NG is burned. The lowest risk to investors when it comes to making electricity is NG because it has the lowest capital cost and fuel cost can be passed on to ratepayers. When more NG is burned to make electricity, the cost to rate payers and people heat with NG. Then there is the issue of businesses that use NG.

     

    So it can be argued that the PTC benefits everyone. So I am confident that a certain amount of wind generation is a good thing. I am equally certain that very large mandates like California are not the way to protect the environment.

    [link]      
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