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By Robert Rapier on Aug 27, 2013 with 24 responses

The Carbon Dioxide Problem Worsens

Introduction

This is the 6th and final installment in a series that examines data from the 2013 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

The previous posts were:

Today’s post looks at carbon dioxide emissions, and if you are concerned about climate change the results aren’t good.

The “highlights” are:

  • Global carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.9% to reach a new record high in 2012
  • China led all countries in the categories of most carbon dioxide emitted and the greatest increase in emissions
  • The US had the greatest decline of any country, with carbon dioxide emissions falling by 217 million metric tons from 2011 levels
  • However the US is responsible for 25% of the carbon emitted to the atmosphere over the past 50 years
  • Of the countries tracked, 25 saw decreased carbon dioxide emissions from 2011 levels and 39 countries experienced increased emissions

Emissions Keep Climbing

Global carbon dioxide emissions increased to 34.4 billion metric tons (BMT) in 2012. This was a new global record, 1.9% above the previous record set a year earlier. Over the past decade carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 32%. And since 2004 the increase in global emissions has been 5.9 BMT, which is an increase greater than total US emissions.

Global CO2 Emissions


China was the largest carbon dioxide emitter in 2012 with 9.2 BMT of emissions. The US was second with 5.8 BMT. Rounding out the Top 5 for total carbon dioxide emissions were India (1.8 BMT), Russia (1.7 BMT), and Japan (1.4 BMT).

Emissions in the US are declining and those in China are increasing. Nevertheless, in 2012 the US still emitted more than twice as much carbon dioxide per person as China. Per capita carbon dioxide emissions in China (based on a population of 1.3 billion) were 7.1 metric tons per person. The US emitted 18.4 metric tons per person.

3 Largest CO2 Emitters

While China is the largest current emitter, the US is the country responsible for the most carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere over time. Since 1965 the US has emitted an estimated 261 BMT of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. China is way back in 2nd place at 140 BMT emitted over that time frame, followed by Japan (53 BMT), Russia (52 BMT) and Germany (47 BMT). Globally, 1.1 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide have been released to the atmosphere since 1965. The US is responsible for 25% of the total, while China’s share is presently 13%.

Some Positive Signs

But carbon emissions in the US are on the decline, falling by 217 million metric tons (MMT) in 2012 to lead all countries. Over the past five years carbon dioxide emissions in the US have fallen by 738 MMT, a decline of 11% from 2007 levels. The primary reason for the decline was utilities switching from coal to natural gas, which produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. Italy had the second largest decline in 2012 with a decrease of 25 MMT below 2011 levels. Rounding out the Top 5 decliners were Poland (down 11 MMT), Australia (-8 MMT), and the Netherlands (-7 MMT).

Of the countries tracked by the BP Statistical Review, 25 showed declines of at least 1 MMT of carbon dioxide, 5 showed approximately the same level of emissions, and 39 showed increases of at least 1 MMT. The total decline in those countries registering declines was 340 MMT.

China Trumps Everyone

China managed to more than offset the declines in all other countries. Emissions increased in China by 548 MMT over 2011′s levels. India was in 2nd place with an emissions increase of 122 MMT, followed by Japan (+92 MMT), Saudi Arabia (+38 MMT), and Mexico (+22 MMT). In fact, if we look at the time period of 2001-2012, the combined increase in carbon dioxide emissions for just 2 countries — China and India — is greater than current total US emissions at 6.3 BMT.

Discussion and Conclusions

Even those who don’t believe the climate models should be concerned about the growing carbon dioxide inventory in the atmosphere. After all, we are conducting a global experiment on the atmosphere, and the consequences are potentially disastrous. We don’t get a second chance to try it again if things turn out badly. My hope is that the worst case projections turn out to be wrong, but “hope” isn’t a very effective strategy for dealing with the problem.

The real challenge is that even though the US has the largest share of legacy carbon dioxide emissions, that horse has left the barn. Even if the US could drop emissions all the way to zero, it won’t solve the problem as the world is adding the equivalent of a new US worth of emissions every few years.

In the years ahead this problem is going to be increasingly driven by developing countries. Many of these countries are committing themselves to decades of new carbon dioxide emissions with new coal-fired power plants. In fact, globally there are 1200 new coal-fired power plants on the drawing board. These proposed plants cover 56 countries, but 76% of those being proposed are in India and China. For perspective, the much-discussed Keystone XL pipeline that has eaten up so much time and effort from people intent on stopping it might be equivalent to a single new coal-fired power plants.

In order to address this problem, we either have to develop low-cost, convenient, and scalable sources of power so developing countries can continue to develop (otherwise they will continue to develop with coal), or we have to find a way to start sucking a trillion metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere and sequestering it. There are some strategies for sequestering carbon (and I am personally working on one of them), but so far none that can significantly impact the problem.

Otherwise, we can all just hope that the doubters are right.

Link to Original Article: The Carbon Dioxide Problem Worsens

By Robert Rapier. You can find me on TwitterLinkedIn, or Facebook.

  1. By Ed_Reid on August 27, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Well done. The only thing missing is a cartoon graphic showing a power shovel labeled ASIA down in a hole digging, surrounded by multiple people labeled as EU, US, etc. throwing dirt back into the hole with teaspoons.

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    • By Woolsey on August 30, 2013 at 4:24 am

      Very good Ed! Also, we’ve outsourced out CO2 generation to these very same asians…

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      • By Ed_Reid on August 30, 2013 at 7:23 am

        …and, they are thrilled we did.

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  2. By Edward Kerr on August 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Great post Robert.

    “Even if the US could drop emissions all the way to zero, it won’t solve
    the problem as the world is adding the equivalent of a new US worth of
    emissions every few years.” I see this as one of the major reasons that is used to justify our slow transition to renewable energy.

    In my mind though a bigger problem now is the venting of methane, mostly from the arctic permafrost and ocean hydrates but some from fracking too. If unaddressed it threatens to send warming non-linear with unpredictable results for our climate.

    I had hoped that humanity might find a way to mitigate this looming catastrophe but it appears that if (or when) they do, it will be too little too late.

    I’m curious as to what you are working on to sequester CO2? I’m working on a solar unit to make bio-char for my garden. Not a big deal but a step forward.

    Best regards,
    Ed

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    • By Joe Clarkson on August 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      The best way of sequestering CO2 is to build up soil organic material and create long lived hunks of solid carbonaceous material above ground. In other words…plant trees (preferably nitrogen fixers). I’m pretty sure that this is RR’s strategy.

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  3. By Tom G. on August 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Very well written Robert. Enough information to wake us up to some very harsh realities but not enough to scare us.

    You are a very talented author.

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  4. By rlhailssrpe on August 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    “..we either have to develop low-cost, convenient, and scalable sources of
    power so developing countries can continue to develop (otherwise they
    will continue to develop with coal), or we have to find a way to start
    sucking a trillion metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere..”

    There is no credible, proven technology that will economically achieve these goals, over the next several generations, other than war in Asia. If CO2 is a real danger to mankind, billions are doomed. Only carbon combustion and fission can supply base loaded energy at costs which are sustainable. No green energy is cheap enough. This, not disappearing islands, is the problem.

    I also hope the doubters are right.

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    • By Tom G. on August 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      rlhailssrpe:

      Like you I also hope the majority of climate scientists are wrong. But from my perspective as a Quality Engineer, it is common place for us to look at all of the contributing factors to a proposed problem statement before we state some conclusion. Do I think CO2 is important? Yes, of course it is. Do I believe it is the only contributing factor nope; I sure don’t.

      As far as developing countries are concerned, we could try sending them 100,000 solar panels manufactured in the U.S. as a start instead selling them F-16 fighter jets. Or we could teach them how to drill geothermal wells for baseload enhanced geothermal power plants instead of sending them foreign aid that gets siphoned off to buy more AK-47′s. We have the knowledge, the skill and the ability to change the world. It is unfortunate that we choose NOT to.

      Have a great day.

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      • By rlhailssrpe on August 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        I have a one note song. Energy engineering. I spent my life studying it.
        I have no expertise in foreign policy, or tax policy, or energy oligopolies. They are a corrupt mess, I agree, but I stay focused, like a laser.

        Geothermal plants are filthy, they reek of poisonous gases which corrode everything. Fortunately they are so few, they are irrelevant to our national needs. (All energy technologies will have niche markets, but again, I focus on our bedrock needs.) Solar panels are simply too expensive to support our basic needs, and will remain so indefinitely. Ditto wind energy. Hence my judgment: America can not sustain our standard of life without carbon combustion. No nation can. The primary reactant of carbon combustion is CO2, and its global control is beyond our power, any nation’s power. Ergo, if CO2 is bad, there is no peaceful means to stop climate change.

        So what do we do? Intense voluntary conservation? Yes. A central dictatorship? No.

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  5. By ThisOldMan on August 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    “There are some strategies for sequestering carbon (and I am personally working on one of them), but so far none that can significantly impact the problem.”

    That’s debatable. See e.g. http://www.biobamboo.org. Of course it would involve transfer payments from the developed to the developing world, along the lines of REDD, which may have been the best use of those funds (even if anyone had lived up to their commitments). I think the politics is a much bigger impediment than the lack of available technologies.

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  6. By Brian M on August 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    “But carbon emissions in the US are on the decline, falling by 217
    million metric tons (MMT) in 2012 to lead all countries. Over the past
    five years carbon dioxide emissions in the US have fallen by 738 MMT, a
    decline of 11% from 2007 levels. The primary reason for the decline was
    utilities switching from coal to natural gas…”

    That, and a really poor non-FIRE economy.

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  7. By TonyPrep on August 28, 2013 at 1:03 am

    It’s all very well to mention the decline in US emissions but that only counts the emissions from within the borders of the US. It doesn’t count emissions due to the lifestyles of US citizens (sorry, consumers). Any discussion of emission reductions needs to take into account that we now live in a global society where the emissions due to human behaviour need not occur solely within the country that that behaviour takes place.

    I’ve seen many comments elsewhere that likes to tout US emissions drops (probably 18% below where they would have been if the trend up to 2005 had continued) without considering how they have occurred (about 4.5% due to the switch to natural gas, the rest due to a declining real economy and outsourcing production, with maybe a little due to conscious lifestyle decisions). Also, US coal exports are rising, as power stations switch to natural gas, and emissions from these aren’t counted.

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  8. By Forrest on August 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Yes, the pipeline a colossal distraction to important discussion. Also, the desire to limit discussion to solar and wind is a distraction. We need to get real and defer to the sciences, engineering, and statistical community. Meaning to much chatter out there with political and environmental motivations. For example some are using global warming to empower federal control of economy. Some exploit per desire for urbanizing and mass transit or to limit standard of living conditions or population growth. Not good to fantasize of old time social solutions of utopia. We need international change in power generation and it must be cost effective. Might it have been a huge mistake to not continue with nuclear? Would we, currently, be having this discussion if the industry were empowered to develop. It appears to me this technology the only practical solution. Also, the science community believes the future does belong to this technology. Problem is the regulation industry has been active gutting the potential per politics.

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    • By Russ Finley on August 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Well put. The problem is that we don’t have enough renewable, non-environmentally destructive, affordable, low carbon sources of energy. To take nuclear out of the equation just makes matters worse.

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  9. By ben on August 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Well, Mr. Rapier, you certainly have rained on the parade, again! Why must you inconvenience us with these pesky little things called details? It really is dispiriting to hear that the faster we run the more we stand still–or, worse yet, lose ground.
    Why, it nearly leaves one feeling a bit hopeless in that whatever we might do, we find our efforts futile against the backdrop of rising (and understandably so) energy consumption among the LDCs. Little wonder the Limits to Growth crowd remain very much on their high horses with the specter of lower growth, and concomitant standards of living, as their default position in this zero-sum game.

    We might do well, however, to look beyond the current season and begin to appreciate that there are forces at work (albeit fledgling movements against a tidal wave of momentum built into modernity’s status quo of how we power global economic output) beginning to reshape the energy landscape. Much of these changes bear directly on social changes on how we organize our lives–and livelihoods. Like it or not, we are inching into a Brave New World of the Digital Age that promises to alter so many traditional socioeconomic arrangements that a new generation of workers/consumers we will hardly recognize what most of us take for granted here in the early days of a new century.

    Will the 21st Century be a second “American Century” full of opportunity and promise? Perhaps. If it is, we can fully expect that it won’t be policy out of Washington that leads the way. Rather, it will be, as ever, the guy tinkering in his garage or the young lady burning the midnight fuel (of whatever source) aiming to build a better mousetrap for all of us to enjoy for the benefit of our individual and collective well-being. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the government. I’m just a little too rational to expect much from a group that has clearly become more of a captive of special/petty interests that place the welfare of the commonweal a distant second behind those of narrow, self-interest. Until we bell that cat, well, we can expect the average American to take a view not very different from that of a parent dealing with an increasingly unruly child–take away his allowance and see what adjustments might possibly result.

    Thanks for the data and the analysis. Once again you’ve left me acknowledging the annoying inconvenience of truth.

    Ben
    fighting flies in the Allagash

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  10. By Tom G. on August 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    O.K. so lets talk about CO2 or nuclear power if
    that’s o. k. Of course that means we should also consider; high oil
    prices, carbon sequestration, solar, wind, king coal, distributed
    generation, fission, concentrated solar, fusion, hydro power,
    electric vehicles, energy efficiency, natural gas, battery storage,
    $4.50 gasoline, sustainability, heating oil and lots of others I
    haven’t even listed.

    I have a belief that most of us on this site have a
    pretty good understanding of energy. If you did nothing more than
    just read the postings on this site you would be in a knowledge group
    way above the average individual someone like J. Leno interviews in
    his Man on the Street segments. Most of them can’t even identify who
    the Vice President is after being shown his picture. Anyway I enjoy
    posting on this site. This time it is going to be about my latest
    views when it comes to new nuclear power reactor designs. A company
    called General Atomic [GA] has created a new reactor design they
    claim has the potential to reduce energy costs by up to 40%. I
    became aware of this new reactor design by reading an article on the
    MIT Technology Review website. The article was entitled “A Nuclear
    Reactor Competitive With Natural Gas”, By Kevin Bullis, August 19,
    2013.

    This High Temperature Gas cooled Reactor [HTGR]
    design is what I would call an evolutionary improvement. From a
    historical perspective GA was one of the lead engineering firms for
    the HTGR reactor facility located in Colorado called Fort St. Vrain.
    During the design, construction and operation of the facility they
    learned a great deal about how these facilities function as
    documented in the following Wikipedia link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_St._Vrain_Generating_Station

    GA is a company with lots of nuclear experience and
    you don’t have to go very far to find a lot of their technology in
    our fleet of nuclear powered submarines. I even visited their San
    Diego faculty at one point in time to evaluate some X-Ray film for
    a reactor core load for a fast attack nuclear powered submarine
    project I was assigned to earlier in my career.

    I spent the last 20+ years of my career
    working at a PWR facility in California that basically ran flawlessly
    for all of those years. However, it was recently decided that this
    facility would be decommissioned in 2013 before the expiration of its
    two authorized licenses to operate. The REASON for this planned
    decommissioning has a lot to do with my current thinking about the
    future of nuclear power in America.

    The plant I helped build and operate was NOT shut
    down due to some failure of some nuclear technology; but rather it
    had become too expensive to operate. To replace that two unit
    facility today would most likely cost between $5-$12 billion if it
    could even be built in its current location. It seems to me that
    money is becoming another nuclear power Achilles heel. Based on my
    historical perspective, it seems to me that regardless of the type of
    reactors involved, nuclear power is becoming obsolete. It is being
    forced into obsolescence by MONEY.

    So what do you think. Are there other things beside
    money holding back a nuclear resurgence in America? Well other than
    the costs shown above it all depends on the what, when, where and how
    you build that nuclear facility. It will also most likely take
    anywhere from 5-12 years to create the plant design, obtain the
    regulatory approvals, find and have approved a site, select and
    qualify nuclear manufacturers and suppliers and then actually build
    the plant. And all of this must be done BEFORE even one kWh of
    electricity can be produced to pay back the billions and billions of
    dollars of loans and/or loan guarantees.

    I am beginning to believe that it really doesn’t seem
    to make much difference what type of reactors we design. Small
    Modular Reactors [SMR], Boiling Water Reactors, [BWR], Thorium, PWR,
    Traveling Wave, Breeders, Molten Salt or HTGR. And right about now,
    I suspect that some of you are beginning to think; do we really need
    more nuclear power plants? Don’t we need more nuclear power for
    business and industry and to maintain our way of life? I will leave
    that decision up to you after you have read the information contained
    in the below link.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/26/us-wastes-61-86-of-its-energy/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IM-cleantechnica+%28CleanTechnica%29

    Much has changed since we built 100+ nuclear power
    plants back in the 1980′s. Today we have many more choices when it
    comes to the type of generation facilities we can use to provide our
    electrical power. We have even more choices being studies in our
    national labs and research departments of our colleges and
    universities. Choice is good right? So I decided to put together a
    short list of just 10 little things I believe we would need to
    address before we can think about having some type of nuclear power
    resurgence in America. The list is of course not all encompassing or
    even in any priority order; its just a bunch of my random thoughts
    that came to mind as I wrote this posting.

    1. Solar efficiency has improved about 50% in the
    last 10 years while costs have decreased by the same amount in just
    the last 3.
    2. Wind power has become cheaper and easier to site
    and build than even a natural gas plant in many parts of America.
    3. Enhanced geothermal, hydro, biomass, storage and
    other technologies of various types can provide 24/7 power without
    emitting CO2.
    4. Utilities are learning that it is much easier to
    manage the grid with lots of renewable energy than they once thought
    possible.
    5. The crown once worn by King Coal is becoming increasingly tarnished. The public is slowly acknowledging that itscontinued use is not a very wise choice.
    6. When money is tight, it is much easier to obtain
    short term capital and regulatory approvals to build non-nuclear 300
    MW facilities instead of a $5 billion dollar nuclear plant requiring
    long term capital investment.
    7. Energy efficiency and conservation are starting to
    take their toll on the need for new generating plants regardless of
    their type. If you reviewed the above link you now know the U.S.
    wastes 61-86% of the energy we create.
    8. Our public utilities are learning that distributed
    generation, energy efficiency and strategies like demand response are
    far easier to implement than they thought. This is especially true
    when the public supports the energy systems involved.
    9. Financially viable grid storage appears to be just
    around the corner. When renewable energy systems become 30% – 40%
    efficient and storage becomes cost competitive; there will be little
    need to burn fossil fuels or build more nuclear plants with their
    associated health and financial risks, and;
    10. Did I mention that our government which funds
    most nuclear power research and development is BROKE!

    Thank for reading this very long posting.

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  11. By Russ Finley on August 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Hey, Tom

    Nice comment.

    “The plant I helped build and operate was NOT shut down due to some failure of some nuclear technology; but rather it had become too expensive to operate … . It is being forced into obsolescence by MONEY (my edit) competition from a cheaper fossil fuel.

    Too expensive to operate = not as cheap as natural gas (a fossil fuel that produces 30 times more GHG than nuclear). Certainly, wind and solar are not any cheaper than Nuclear. The last estimate I got said it would cost close to $70 grand to replace my electric use with solar panels on my roof.

    A recent study by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory that is purported to be “the most comprehensive analysis of high-penetration renewable electricity of the continental United State,.” estimated that by the year 2050, a massive expansion of all renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro) may, in theory, be able to provide only 32 of the 98 Quads of the total energy consumed annually in the United States (80 percent of electricity generation).

    Where are you going to get the low carbon energy without help from nuclear or do you think the NREL is out to lunch? ; )

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  12. By Russ Finley on August 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Some more things to consider, Tom, on the subject of nuclear energy

    To replace that two unit facility today would most likely cost between $5-$12 billion if it could even be built in its current location. It seems to me that money is becoming another nuclear power Achilles heel.

    If cost is the Achilles heel of nuclear, it is also the Achilles heel of wind and solar. From Elias Hinckley’s recent article about the tax credit for wind:

    “An investor simply could not have certainty that it could earn the necessary return (or in most cases any return) without realizing value from the credit, so no investments were made.”

    From “Cost of German Solar Is Four Times Finnish Nuclear:

    So it came as a shock to many and an offense to some to learn that new nuclear plants still cost substantially less than solar.

    $5-12 billion sounds like a lot of money but the only metric that matters is profitability over time. A nuclear power plant that cost $12 billion to build, if it produces enough power for half of a century, in the face of escalating fossil fuel prices, could be a very wise investment. We’ve been producing gargantuan amounts of electricity with nuclear energy for over half of a century. It isn’t a hypothesis that it can compete with other energy sources.

    Certainly, thanks to temporarily cheap natural gas, the large up-front investment in nuclear is more financially risky than a cheap natural gas plant. The price of natural gas will eventually go back up. It’s only a matter of time.

    It will also most likely take anywhere from 5-12 years to create the plant design, obtain the regulatory approvals, find and have approved a site, select and qualify nuclear manufacturers and suppliers and then actually build the plant

    That would all go away with standardized designs, like France did, which

    …has the lowest carbon dioxide production per unit of GDP in the industrialized world. As of 2012 France’s electricity price to household customers is the 7th cheapest amongst the 27 member European Union and the 7th cheapest to Industrial consumers, behind other nations which produce the majority of their electricity from Hydroelectric and nuclear power plants such as Bulgaria, but substantially cheaper than Germany.

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  13. By Tom G. on August 30, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Hi Russ: I would have been totally disappointed had you not commented. Very good points one and all.

    I guess if someone pressured me into selecting a reactor type to standardize; it would most likely be a High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor. I do not believe liquid metal or sodium reactors are the answer. Molten Salt maybe. Anyway how do we get B&W, GA, Mitsubish. GE, Westinghouse and others to come to the table and standardize on ONE design? I am getting really tired; and older by the way; waiting for the nuclear resurgence. I would love to go back to work for about another 5 years.

    One of your other statements was interesting. You said: “The last estimate I got said it would cost close to $70 grand to replace my electric use with solar panels on my roof”.

    Please go to the below link to look at current pricing in my area for a roof mounted grid tied solar PV system. For ground mounting add about another $1000. Then calculate about 3 men, for 2 or 3 days and maybe another $1,500 – $2,000 for racking and misc stuff. In some parts of the country you can even do much of the work yourself if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. Almost every system today is pretty much plug and play. However if you do decide to do some of the work yourself, you can not turn the system on until it is inspected by the city and the local utility.

    http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=pv_systems&id=1816&type=GT

    The link takes you to a 8640 watt DC system which should zero out [$0] your electric service if you are using about 12,000 kWh’s per year. That of course depends on where you live. As shown, system cost is $13,500+/- and about $2,000 for misc. stuff. Puts you right at about $16,000.

    Have a great day Russ.

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    • By Russ Finley on August 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      Tom,

      I’ve always been a big fan of solar. Go here and put in 12,000 kWh in Seattle. The cost is about $65K, assuming your roof slopes to the south (mine doesn’t). All of the solar installation cost estimator websites give similar results.

      I may yet go for it but I once stood on top of my roof which is about 40 feet above street level …and has a 45 degree slope, …terrifying experience ; )

      Very few people are going to install their own solar. And again, It was the NREL which estimated that only about 5% of our energy by 2050 might consist of roof top solar.

      This isn’t a battle between renewables and nuclear. It is a battle with nuclear and renewables pitted against cheap fossil fuels.

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      • By Tom G. on September 1, 2013 at 1:57 am

        Calculator reveals a significant difference between our two locations. My calculator system results were 40% less than yours of course my rate is $.11/kWh. Of course with your bill being only $88/month, it doesn’t seem to make you a very good candidate. And of course a roof mounted system in your case would most likely be inappropriate given your homes orientation. Certainly a ground mount system in your case would seem to makes more sense.

        As far as the 5% solar in 2050 goes, unfortunately I won’t be around by that date to see who is right :-) My gut feeling would be to apply a higher range something on the order of 7-10%. But to make that happen we would need to be very aggressive and there are so many variables.

        Have a great day Russ. .

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        • By Russ Finley on September 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

          Good discussion

          I might go for solar one day, not so much to save money, but to eliminate another monthly utility bill …put a chunk of cash down to not have to bother with another bill. Not real rational, I suppose. I would not want to have to make payments on a system instead of pay an electric bill.

          If I had high electric bills from air conditioning in a very sunny place, solar would make a lot more sense, especially if I did it myself. Seattle is best suited for hydro, which, because the weather is driven by the sun, is also solar powered.

          The problem isn’t so much the higher costs of wind, solar, and nuclear …it is the low cost of fossil fuels (we get to choose our perspectives ; )). On the positive side, natural gas is also giving coal a run for its money, so maybe it will give us some breathing room allowing nuclear and renewables to gain ground. Coal needs to be obsoleted by something better, the way it obsoleted the burning of trees …which ironically is being pushed as an option again.

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          • By Tom G. on September 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

            I find absolutely nothing to disagree with in your posting Russ especially the part about coal. I don’t care what you do to coal either before, during or after combustion – ITS DIRTY.

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  14. By TruthHurts78 on October 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    But CO2 isn’t a pollutant. It certainly doesn’t come out of a car exhaust.

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