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Revelation
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22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:57 pm

http://www.treehugger.com/energy-pol...alf-germany-was-powered-solar.html

Clearly the site is pro-solar, but that's not a bad thing.

The key statement is:

Quote:

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs.

How did they do it?

Quote:

Germany instituted a feed-in-tariff (FIT) system—which requires utilities to buy solar power from producers, large and small, at a fixed rate—that has fueled the nation's solar boom. Basically, anyone can buy solar panels, set them up, plug them into the grid, and get paid for it.

Now, FITs do make electricity more expensive, since the cost of subsidizing that higher fixed rate is absorbed by all electricity consumers. But Germany doesn't really mind. And why not? Simple: its citizenry has agreed that producing more non-nuclear clean power is worth shelling out a few extra bucks for each month. Gasp.

Add me to the list that would pay a bit more to turn off fossil fuel plants and go solar.

The article claims the US could get there too, if they directed subsidies that the fossil fuel industry gets:



That's mostly a political argument, but the fact of the matter is that Germany and China are going nuts on solar while the US is sitting on its hands.
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Tugger
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:16 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
That's mostly a political argument, but the fact of the matter is that Germany and China are going nuts on solar while the US is sitting on its hands.

That is mostly because the political structure of the USA has those with the most profits/money being best able to control the agenda in Washington. It's about "good business" or at least good current business with little view to the future (because that doesn't benefit those "now" businesses). And the American public has been convinced that this is best.

The truth is the government should always be planning for the future but that is not how people and businesses act and do things. It just is the way it is (I want it all, and I want it now).

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
Add me to the list that would pay a bit more to turn off fossil fuel plants and go solar.

You might want to modify your "fossil fuel" comment as not much energy is generated with oil (only about 1%) and the USA has large reserves of natural gas. The majority of electricity is from coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas and more and more of America's energy is beginning to move towards nat gas which is something we do have a lot of and it is relatively clean.

Tugg
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:24 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
You might want to modify your "fossil fuel" comment

?

Quote:

Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
It's about "good business" or at least good current business with little view to the future (because that doesn't benefit those "now" businesses).

Agree 100%.
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:31 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
?

Quote:

Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

I gotcha, don't know what I was thinking, wasn't including coal in there for some reason. Nat gas is, to me at least, a perfectly acceptable generation source as it is relatively clean and the USA has a good supply of it. The two biggest factors for the move to NG is the low cost (currently), ease of conversion, and regulations (which I am fine with) that make "clean gas" the best and cheapest operating option .

Tugg
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aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
Germany [is] going nuts on solar

*ahem*

I'm truly sorry to say that the current government has ended that trend. I presume that we're still ahead of many other nations, but the investments into the future of our energy supply have been reduced by the CDU/CSU & FDP coalition government... whose energy policy is nothing short of chaotic.
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L-188
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:09 pm

Still short of the 1.21 jigawatts needed to go back in time

I find the pacific northwest graphic hilarious. Bonneville Power is now offering to pay wind farms not to produce power so they can keep water flows up in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

I will try and find the article later but it does have a very surplus government cheese feel about it
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mt99
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:28 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 5):
Bonneville Power is now offering to pay wind farms not to produce power so they can keep water flows up in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

No, BPA is telling wind farms not to produce and EAT the cost.They are not paying anyone

"During times of high hydropower generation, lower electric demand, and high wind generation, BPA‟s Environmental Redispatch and Negative Pricing Policies (“Redispatch Protocol”) allows wind generation contracts to be curtailed by BPA without any compensation to wind project owners."

http://www.awea.org/newsroom/pressre...mments-on-Complaint-Re-BPA-ROD.pdf
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:52 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
How did they do it?

Quote:

Germany instituted a feed-in-tariff (FIT) system—which requires utilities to buy solar power from producers, large and small, at a fixed rate—that has fueled the nation's solar boom.

That fixed rate was recently lowered (because panels are cheaper and more efficient now). Amortization periods are somewhere between 15-25 years.

This is more something you do out of conviction, not to make money.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
But Germany doesn't really mind

The German industries would disagree. Nuclear FTW France has 40% lower energy costs than Germany. Try to explain to customers on the other end of the world, why made in Germany costs more than made in France. They'll tell you they don't care and buy French.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
Add me to the list that would pay a bit more to turn off fossil fuel plants and go solar.

Because you're smart. You understand that fossil fuels seem cheap at first sight, but if you factor in the costs they entail - anything from cleaning up the environment, anti global warming measures to the wars fought over oil - they suddenly become unaffordable. Same goes for nuclear power with the caveat that they have the potential to kill millions of people at an instant and render vast areas uninhabitable for thousands of years.

The average human mind doesn't seem to grasp that and the economy's ''invisible hand'' doesn't account for it. A picture book example of where state intervention is needed.

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
The majority of electricity is from coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas and more and more of America's energy is beginning to move towards nat gas which is something we do have a lot of and it is relatively clean.

Biofuels from corn drive food prices up. Flatulance, is a natural gas as well. Not sure I'd want to call that clean. Not sure the people losing their land to the rising sea levels would either.

Quoting tugger (Reply 3):
The two biggest factors for the move to NG is the low cost (currently), ease of conversion, and regulations (which I am fine with) that make "clean gas" the best and cheapest operating option .

So what about the chemicals used for fracking? What about exploding houses and burning showers, that you hear of all the time?

Natural gas can serve as an interrim solution, but why spend money on something of such fugacity? Every dollar spent on natural gas, is a dollar lost on solar and wind. Both of which are virtually free of side effects and here to stay.

Quoting aloges (Reply 4):
I'm truly sorry to say that the current government has ended that trend. I presume that we're still ahead of many other nations, but the investments into the future of our energy supply have been reduced by the CDU/CSU & FDP coalition government... whose energy policy is nothing short of chaotic.

It's chaotic because they are going a middle way. Trying to manage the 'Energiewende', while protecting the valid interests of German businesses.

This is not the CDU or FDP's fault, this is the fault of every single customer out there in the world who doesn't want to honor Germany's efforts in trying to get things right. If you go for cheap over sustainable, then that is what you get. The market only supplies what the consumer demands.

You pay about €0.24 per kW/hr. in Germany. It's about €0.08 in Texas. Sweating, or a/c-cooling is difference instantaneously noticeable. New York under water is a scenario many decades away.
Things that don't affect you directly don't matter to you, that's the human condition. As long as we as a people don't emancipate ourselves from this primitive Neanderthalesque way of thinking, nothing is going to change. I would argue the majority of mankind is not even psychlogically (and intellectually) capable of processing such a paradigm shift.

If you want to make a significant impact on the future of the earth, find ways to deal with global warming. Not to stop it. That ship is sailed. Which is bad, because we might need to live on it in the future..

[Edited 2012-06-13 12:08:14]
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:05 pm

So while we're on the subject, what's the solution to overcome solar power's biggest downside: night time?

Increasing our reliance on Solar will also increase our reliance on some other energy sources which will need to take over during those long winter night or rainy days...
It needs to have a highly flexible power output and be able to, on its own, cover for the entire solar output, on short notice.

Only hydro and gas/petrol/coal power can do that.
So for for every watt of solar power installed, you would need almost a watt or something else to cover for it when the sun's not playing game. And the more solar you install, the bigger that problem becomes.

Call me a spoiled, first world, whining capitalist pig, but good TV shows only air at night...
  
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:08 pm

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but Germany produced 621,000 GW/hours in 2010, or about 1700GWh per day (on average, weekdays will be generally much higher than weekends).

The article mentioned 22GW. That is an instantaneous measurement. How long was that sustained? Let's assume that they can sustain it for 8 hours a day (grossly optimistic, but anyway...), that's 22x8 = 176 GWh.

That's just above 10% of Germany's needs, not 50%. And more likely it did not sustain it for 8 hours, so we are back under 10%.

I noticed another bit of language in the article. "the nation's midday electricity needs." The implication is that 'mid-day' means peak usage. Germany's power needs are nothing like the US. Most homes are not air-conditioned like they are here. Peak power utilization comes from 2 things - industrial machinery and cooking (You would add heating in the winter but we are in June). If you took the measurement at 1 PM in the afternoon, most industrial machinery might be shut down for lunch (Remember this is Germany), and at 1 PM the cooking is already done and people are downing a beer before heading back to work.

This would make sense, because if 22GW was 50% of the load, that would imply 44GW is the peak, and let's say that Germany averages 18 hours at peak usage per day (I'm being generous). That would five us 792 GWh per day.

Given that the yearly average is 1700 GWh per day (more likely something like 2100 on weekdays, a third of that on weekends when the factories and offices are closed), ovbiously that 50% number was taken at a very deep trough in the daily usage curve - i.e. lunch hour.

All in all, it's great that Germany is producing so many GW of solar power. But the implication of the article that it represents 50% of their needs is a whole lot of smoke being blown up your ass. It's more like somewhere between 5 and 10%. Which is great - but I hate to be taken for an idiot.
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mt99
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:18 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 9):
But the implication of the article that it represents 50% of their needs is a whole lot of smoke being blown up your ass.

Wind in Texas represents close to 20% on windy days..

March 8, 2012, AUSTIN – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record Wednesday, exceeding the previous record by almost 200 megawatts (MW).

Wind output reached 7,599 MW at 8:41 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, exceeding the 7,403 MW record from the previous day, March 6, by 196 MW. Prior to March 6, the record for wind output in ERCOT was 7,400 MW, recorded on Oct. 7, 2011.

At the time of Wednesday’s record, wind was supplying 22 percent of the total system load, 34,318 MW.

http://www.ercot.com/news/press_releases/show/495

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 9):

The article mentioned 22GW. That is an instantaneous measurement. How long was that sustained?
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 9):
But the implication of the article that it represents 50% of their needs is a whole lot of smoke being blown up your ass. It's more like somewhere between 5 and 10%. Which is great - but I hate to be taken for an idiot.

You have stumbled on two things:

1- The difference between "Energy" and "Power"- You get browny points for that

2- Germany (We) still a LOT of energy that can be supplied by nonrenewable energy!. You get browny point for supporting clean energy as well

Well Done!
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:36 pm

Quoting something (Reply 7):
It's chaotic because they are going a middle way. Trying to manage the 'Energiewende', while protecting the valid interests of German businesses.

This is not the CDU or FDP's fault

It is every bit the fault of the CDU/CSU and FDP. There was an agreed and binding roadmap to nuclear-free power generation in place when they formed the government. They ripped it to shreds as ordered by their lobbyist supporters - as in Rösler's infamous line: "Starting today, we'll deliver!"

Later, after the Fukushima disaster had made that move incompatible with the opinions of too many of their voters, they came up with their own version of an end to nuclear power. The problems are that they made a complete hash of it (immediate shutdowns of various NPPs etc.) and that they had previously made their pro-nuclear policy almost irrevocable. That is now going to cost me and every other German taxpayer shedloads of money because the energy oligopoly has legal rights to sue the government for damages after their U-turn - which they are using:

Quote:
E.ON will rund acht Milliarden Schadenersatz für Atom-Aus

Düsseldorf (Reuters) - Der Energieriese E.ON will nach der Energiewende und den damit verbundenen Beschlüssen zum Atomausstieg von der schwarz-gelben Bundesregierung rund acht Milliarden Euro Schadenersatz.

Translation: After the change in policy, E.on wants € 8,000,000,000 in damages from the government.

On top of that, there was the naughty little affair of Baden-Württemberg's former prime minister (CDU) pushing through an illegal purchase of EnBW shares... but that's for another thread.

Quoting something (Reply 7):
You pay about €0.24 per kW/hr. in Germany. It's about €0.08 in Texas.

sources and details, please

[Edited 2012-06-13 13:07:09]
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aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:50 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 8):
So while we're on the subject, what's the solution to overcome solar power's biggest downside: night time?

You have stumbled upon one BIG reason why conventional power providers are fighting solar every inch of the way. Solar panels do of course tend to produce most electricity during the midday hours. But those hours are also the ones with the highest demand for power: air conditioners work the hardest during these hottest hours, millions of people use electric appliances such as cookers and microwaves while their computers and machines remain running and almost everyone is actually awake - even serious nighthawks.

The high demand caused by this used to drive up the hourly prices at the mercantile exchanges - every day, as reliably as clockwork. Pump storage facilities released their stocks of water to cope with the demand and this came at a profitable premium. Enter solar panels and the demand spike is suddenly met by a supply spike - and prices drop. That's not what you want...

As quoted in the original post of this thread:

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs.
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:53 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):

Add me to the list that would pay a bit more to turn off fossil fuel plants and go solar.

The article claims the US could get there too, if they directed subsidies that the fossil fuel industry gets:

It's a little more complicated in the US. Solar in the US means putting up large solar farms in the SW. Although I typically work with wind farms, the Endangered Species Act ramifications are the same. I seem to remember some solar farm in AZ or NM being held up because of some turtle in the desert.

Quoting aloges (Reply 4):
I'm truly sorry to say that the current government has ended that trend. I presume that we're still ahead of many other nations, but the investments into the future of our energy supply have been reduced by the CDU/CSU & FDP coalition government... whose energy policy is nothing short of chaotic.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Germany say they were going to shut down ever nuclear plant they had after Fukushima? Meaning they have to rely on coal, NG and renewables?

Quoting mt99 (Reply 6):
No, BPA is telling wind farms not to produce and EAT the cost.They are not paying anyone

Energy costs have gone up here in Washington state since I-937 passed requiring that 15% of our energy comes from renewable sources by 2020. I haven't heard anything recently about what you mention, but BPA historically has a lot of political power here in the state.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 9):
I noticed another bit of language in the article. "the nation's midday electricity needs." The implication is that 'mid-day' means peak usage.

Isn't that the problem with wind/solar? there's not an efficient way to store the power for times of peak demand. With nuclear or coal it's there. But, the wind and sun only happen when nature wants them to. Hence, why I've always been a fan of nuclear power as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

Quoting mt99 (Reply 10):
March 8, 2012, AUSTIN – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record Wednesday, exceeding the previous record by almost 200 megawatts (MW).

As I say above, you can have the highest wind energy producing day in history, but if it happens in TX during March or April when no one is running their air conditioners and demand is 50% of peak, where does that power go? You really can't store it anywhere right now. I'm not saying that the technology isn't good, just that it has some kinks to work out.
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aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:06 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 13):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Germany say they were going to shut down ever nuclear plant they had after Fukushima? Meaning they have to rely on coal, NG and renewables?

Yes. That knee-jerk reaction came after the very same government had signed a deal with the "Big Four" energy providers in Germany (RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall) which had significantly extended the permissible lifetimes of the German NPPs. At the time, that deal was often criticized as "written almost entirely by the NP lobby", which is now ringing true as I mentioned in reply no. 11:

Quoting aloges (Reply 11):
Translation: After the change in policy, E.ON wants € 8,000,000,000 in damages from the government.
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:22 pm

I'm all for solar, wind, and hydro... but as long as you don't put your plant near earthquake and tsunami zones, go nuclear. We've come a long way since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island... ask France how their nuclear power is going!
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aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:34 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 15):
ask France how their nuclear power is going!

Well, if you enjoy a nationwide monopoly... and for all intents and purposes, EdF still does.
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:38 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
You might want to modify your "fossil fuel" comment as not much energy is generated with oil (only about 1%) and the USA has large reserves of natural gas. The majority of electricity is from coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas and more and more of America's energy is beginning to move towards nat gas which is something we do have a lot of and it is relatively clean.

Natural gas and coal are both fossil fuels and emit a lot of CO2. I know that talking about CO2 and global warming in the U.S. is akin to talking about evolution and events occurring over 6,000 years ago, but that's for another thread. CO2 emissions need to be decreased and if we could generate our electricity without needing to dump CO2, that would be a good thing.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 5):
Still short of the 1.21 jigawatts needed to go back in time

Well, you beat me to it.  
Quoting something (Reply 7):
Biofuels from corn drive food prices up.

I start to get violent thoughts when someone mentions biofuels and then someone brings up corn. Corn is not a real biofuel; it is a political trick. More CO2 is released making corn ethanol than drilling and burning oil. A real biofuel is grown on land that is not suitable for food production, uses minimal water, and fixes more CO2 than it produces. Jatropha and vertical photobioreactor-grown algae are both examples.
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:50 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 13):
Solar in the US means putting up large solar farms in the SW.

It doesn't have to be limited to the southwest. There are plenty of places in the country that get enough sun to have solar generating stations. In fact, I'd say that every single state in the continental US could support solar infrastructure easily.

-Mir
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:00 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 15):
ask France how their nuclear power is going!

Clean power, non speculative energy prices, energy independence... Pretty good until they started to subcontract to independent, uncontrolled private parties and politicians started to ride the Fukushima fear wave during the election campaign with a complete lack of actual objective debate.

But that's for another thread and I don't want to go to bed angry again.
  
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:13 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 13):
You really can't store it anywhere right now. I'm not saying that the technology isn't good, just that it has some kinks to work out.

Variable generation using natural gas. Arguably, a rapid start coal plant could also work. (if designed for that purpose?)

I am really optimistic about doubling efficiency of energy consumption, as well as cleaning up production. Cars are making huge progress. Plenty of new models are posting 30% gains in fuel mileage. That's just incredible.
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:24 pm

Quoting mt99 (Reply 10):
2- Germany (We) still a LOT of energy that can be supplied by nonrenewable energy!. You get browny point for supporting clean energy as well

Here is another problem. The highest power usage in Germany will be in cold winter months, when on top of the normal industrial and cooking needs, you also have more need for lighting (shorter days), and you have a lot of homes which use electric space heaters (not so common for heating the whole house, but a single space heater for one room will pull 1500W or more. This is very different from the US where peak electrical usage is in summer, for air conditioning.

Coincidentally winter is the period when solar panels will work the least in Germany. If they can produce less than 10% of the need in late spring, I'd guess it would be less than 5% on a sunny winter day, and 0% if the weather is lousy.

So you still need just as many nukes, coal and gas etc etc generators.
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canoecarrier
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:40 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 18):
It doesn't have to be limited to the southwest. There are plenty of places in the country that get enough sun to have solar generating stations. In fact, I'd say that every single state in the continental US could support solar infrastructure easily.

Last I heard the largest solar plant was in India, using over 5,000 acres of land producing 600 MW of energy. The entire state of Washington generates 2800 MW in wind energy and uses a huge expanse of land in E. Washington. Could every state support a solar or wind farm? Of course, but just 1 nuclear plant generates around 1,100 MW and doesn't require half a state.
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aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:54 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
you have a lot of homes which use electric space heaters

I don't know about that... from personal experience, very very few people use those things to heat anything more than sheds or garages.

Anyway, fixed electric heating systems (storage heaters) will be phased out in Germany over the coming decades. In earlier decades, they were promoted because they use large amounts of electric energy to heat up overnight, which led to a better overall efficiency of base load power plants.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
Coincidentally winter is the period when solar panels will work the least in Germany.

Which is why there are big ideas on how to solve this problem, such as: http://www.desertec.org/

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
So you still need just as many nukes, coal and gas etc etc generators.

A) If you run a coal-fired plant for half the year, its emissions will be less than if you run it all year long. That's still an advantage.
B) Nobody is considering making Germany, or any other place, dependent on just one form of regenerative power. We're going for a mix of sources and decentralisation of generation.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:58 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
Natural gas and coal are both fossil fuels and emit a lot of CO2. I know that talking about CO2 and global warming in the U.S. is akin to talking about evolution and events occurring over 6,000 years ago, but that's for another thread. CO2 emissions need to be decreased and if we could generate our electricity without needing to dump CO2, that would be a good thing.

You cannot fairly lump the environmental impact of natural gas and coal into the same sentence. The carbon intensity of burning natural gas is less than half of coal. When it comes to the particulates and volatile compounds that impact human health, natural gas is orders of magnitude cleaner than coal. That doesn't even consider the vastly cleaner production and transportation of natural gas versus coal.

Since 2009, the carbon intensity of the U.S. power grid has dropped 4% just from the substitution of natural gas in place of coal. That was achieved with no regulation and no subsidies, simply operators following good economic sense due to the low price of natural gas. And despite this clearly positive trend, Obama's EPA was trying to "crucify" shale gas producers on fictitious environmental claims until they were exposed.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
The article claims the US could get there too, if they directed subsidies that the fossil fuel industry gets:

The phrase "direct subsidies" to the fossil fuel industry is a huge misnomer. The vast majority of "subsidies" for the fossil fuel industry are lumped into tax deductions for operation/capital expenses.

Ultimately, the fossil fuel industry subsidies the government, not the other way around. XOM alone paid $12 billion in U.S. taxes in 2011 while the Department of Energy budget is $24 billion.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
That's mostly a political argument, but the fact of the matter is that Germany and China are going nuts on solar while the US is sitting on its hands.

As well we should. We have perhaps a century of cheaper natural gas, which is reasonably clean for everyone who isn't an environmental extremist. It is not carbon-free, but the balance between environment and economics is excellent. That is a rational approach to energy policy.

A figure that would complete the infograph propaganda is a comparison of retail electricity prices in different economies. Wouldn't you know, the U.S. has some of the cheapest electricity. That is a serious advantage for U.S. industries and should be championed by those who want to see job growth, higher standard of living, etc.

 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:18 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 13):
Isn't that the problem with wind/solar? there's not an efficient way to store the power for times of peak demand. With nuclear or coal it's there.

Nuclear and coal can be difficult to throttle due to the thermodynamic momentum of a 1+ GW cycle. Natural gas is much easier to throttle. Some natural gas peaking plants are even based on commercial aircraft engines like the GE LM2500 (based on the CF6) and the Rolls Royce Trent (based on the, well, Trent). Cold-start to full-power can be under a minute for those.

Also nifty is natural gas co-generation. An industrial internal combustion engine drives a 1-2 MW generator and produces hot water, chiller water, and/or steam from the waste heat. The combustion engines these days are already 45% efficient and you can reach up to 90% total system efficiency by delivering hot water and hot/cool air for HVAC. These systems obviously work best for large buildings and complexes, not your every day bungalow. The package with sound insulation is about the size of a shipping container.

[Edited 2012-06-13 15:20:27]
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:30 pm

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 25):
Also nifty is [...] co-generation.

It's particularly appealing when you have the option of running it on biomass or biogas, but of course the sort of efficiency that you can get from this kind of mini-plant makes even fossil fuels look quite "green". They are of course part of decentralisation, so they are fought like the devil's work by lobbyists... but they're only becoming more popular anyway.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 25):
These systems obviously work best for large buildings and complexes, not your every day bungalow.

...or farms, ranches and villages that can feed any superfluous electric energy into the grid. AFAIK, the systems are offered in various sizes which are selected based on the availability of fuels and the demand for heat and power.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:35 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 9):
The article mentioned 22GW. That is an instantaneous measurement. How long was that sustained? Let's assume that they can sustain it for 8 hours a day (grossly optimistic, but anyway...), that's 22x8 = 176 GWh.

That's just above 10% of Germany's needs, not 50%. And more likely it did not sustain it for 8 hours, so we are back under 10%.

Absolutely right. I read the original article in the German paper it was published in and this was the peak production, so theoretically it lasted for a few seconds only. But you have to take into consideration that Germany is not exactly a country known for its great weather and vast empty spaces that could be plastered in solar panels.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 8):
Increasing our reliance on Solar will also increase our reliance on some other energy sources which will need to take over during those long winter night or rainy days...

You can use that surplus energy and produce hydrogen by splitting water. They have a bunch of other ideas too, like pumping water into a storage bassin and then let it run down through turbines to recreate that energy. It's all more wishful thinking than feasible solutions.

The solution is that we will have to re-think. We will have to re-think everything. How we produce energy, where we produce it and how we use it.

Quoting aloges (Reply 11):
It is every bit the fault of the CDU/CSU and FDP. There was an agreed and binding roadmap to nuclear-free power generation in place when they formed the government. They ripped it to shreds as ordered by their lobbyist supporters - as in Rösler's infamous line: "Starting today, we'll deliver!"

We're arguing two different subjects here. You seem frustrated about the execution of the plan; a huge mess no other than they can be flawed for. I argue that the 'Energiewende' is a project that is too ambitious to stand the test of reality, especially with the post Fukushima reactions and the Euro problems.

But that's all just fancy talk. They should socialize the energy providers and knock them off their quasi monopolies. That is, in my opinion, where the problem lies.

Quoting aloges (Reply 11):
Quoting something (Reply 7):
You pay about €0.24 per kW/hr. in Germany. It's about €0.08 in Texas.

sources and details, please

You have to go to the websites of eon or rwe and get a quote for the area you live in. It's usually somewhere between 20-25 cents per kwh, plus Mehrwertsteuer.

For the US, you can go to http://www.chooseenergy.com/ and look up energy prices in different areas. The Houston area is around 9 US cents per kwh, the rural areas a bit under that.

Quoting aloges (Reply 12):
Solar panels do of course tend to produce most electricity during the midday hours. But those hours are also the ones with the highest demand for power:

That depends on the day as evidenced by this study
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grundlast

Quoting aloges (Reply 12):
why conventional power providers are fighting solar every inch of the way
Quoting aloges (Reply 12):
Enter solar panels and the demand spike is suddenly met by a supply spike - and prices drop. That's not what you want...

Absolutely so. Yet another reason to socialize providers of essential goods. If profits are the objective, how is anybody or anything other than profits supposed to drive the business decisions?

Quoting aloges (Reply 14):
Yes. That knee-jerk reaction came after the very same government had signed a deal with the "Big Four" energy providers in Germany (RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall) which had significantly extended the permissible lifetimes of the German NPPs. At the time, that deal was often criticized as "written almost entirely by the NP lobby", which is now ringing true as I mentioned in reply no. 11:

Quoting aloges (Reply 11):
Translation: After the change in policy, E.ON wants € 8,000,000,000 in damages from the government.

I have read through the entirety of their lawsuit and they will win the lawsuit. That's what you get for not knowing what you want. But thankfully, the CDU/CSU and FDP are the fiscally conservative parties.. it's not like universities and schools could have been propped with that money.

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 15):
but as long as you don't put your plant near earthquake and tsunami zones, go nuclear.

And where are you gonna store the nuclear waste and who will pay for it? Not Joe Shmuck who insists on living in the desert but sitting in a 60°F living room today, I can tell you that much.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
Quoting something (Reply 7):
Biofuels from corn drive food prices up.

I start to get violent thoughts when someone mentions biofuels and then someone brings up corn. Corn is not a real biofuel; it is a political trick. More CO2 is released making corn ethanol than drilling and burning oil. A real biofuel is grown on land that is not suitable for food production, uses minimal water, and fixes more CO2 than it produces. Jatropha and vertical photobioreactor-grown algae are both examples.

At least you don't have to burn the rain forest down to make way for the fields..

Quoting Mir (Reply 18):
It doesn't have to be limited to the southwest. There are plenty of places in the country that get enough sun to have solar generating stations. In fact, I'd say that every single state in the continental US could support solar infrastructure easily.

Seattle, the US' northernmost city of size, is still in in the southern third of Germany. And especially middle to northern German weather is very much akin, if not worse, to rainy Seattle. Solar panels don't need 100°F heat and blue skies to produce energy.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
Here is another problem. The highest power usage in Germany will be in cold winter months, when on top of the normal industrial and cooking needs, you also have more need for lighting (shorter days), and you have a lot of homes which use electric space heaters (not so common for heating the whole house, but a single space heater for one room will pull 1500W or more. This is very different from the US where peak electrical usage is in summer, for air conditioning.

Coincidentally winter is the period when solar panels will work the least in Germany. If they can produce less than 10% of the need in late spring, I'd guess it would be less than 5% on a sunny winter day, and 0% if the weather is lousy.

So you still need just as many nukes, coal and gas etc etc generators.

Which is why I said earlier we will have to re-think. Energy production won't be centralized in the future anymore, it can't be. We will need to lower our consumption, we will need to exploit all forms of energy productions, be it water (lots to be had in Norway), wind (lots to be had in North and Baltic sea), sun (Southern Germany), geothermal heating (all over Germany), and hydrogen which can be produced during peak production phases.

In the meanwhile, it'll be natural gas (being dependent on Russia is just a fantastic privilege!) and oil and coal. The thing is, we have to stop kidding ourselves. The only reason Germany invests in ''green'' energies is because eventually conventional energy sources will become price prohibitive. Germany is trying to preempt such issues. And when it's come that far, they want to sell their technology of tomorrow to the rest of the world.
But nobody actually believes the environment will be saved. Neither China, nor Russia, nor India, nor Brazil, nor the USA want to even stop using oil, coal and gas until it's run out and that is the amount of CO2 we will blast into our atmosphere. It's of infantile naivete to believe these efforts are undertaken to not get to that point.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
aloges
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:48 pm

Quoting something (Reply 27):
They should socialize the energy providers and knock them off their quasi monopolies. That is, in my opinion, where the problem lies.

Hallelujah! The supposed liberalisation of the German energy market has been a resounding failure. But alas, the resulting regional monopolists have such influence that they can buy or obtain otherwise many of the laws the require.

Quoting something (Reply 27):
I have read through the entirety of their lawsuit and they will win the lawsuit.

I'm sure of it, too - that was built into the deal as a sort of poison pill, to dissuade any pesky attempts of a future Red/Green government at shortening the lifespans of the NPPs.

Quoting something (Reply 27):
But thankfully, the CDU/CSU and FDP are the fiscally conservative parties.. it's not like universities and schools could have been propped with that money.

It's only tax money anyway...    I still wonder how I was ever capable of considering voting for Mummy Merkel.

Quoting something (Reply 27):
You have to go to the websites of eon or rwe and get a quote for the area you live in. It's usually somewhere between 20-25 cents per kwh, plus Mehrwertsteuer.

For the US, you can go to http://www.chooseenergy.com/ and look up energy prices in different areas. The Houston area is around 9 US cents per kwh, the rural areas a bit under that.

Alas, I'll have to log off for now, but thanks anyway!
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:01 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 4):

I'm truly sorry to say that the current government has ended that trend. I presume that we're still ahead of many other nations, but the investments into the future of our energy supply have been reduced by the CDU/CSU & FDP coalition government...

See, it is you guys who are screwing up the whole world's economy!  
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
I start to get violent thoughts when someone mentions biofuels and then someone brings up corn. Corn is not a real biofuel; it is a political trick.

Yep, politicians paid by agri-business.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 17):
A real biofuel is grown on land that is not suitable for food production, uses minimal water, and fixes more CO2 than it produces. Jatropha and vertical photobioreactor-grown algae are both examples.

  

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 24):
Ultimately, the fossil fuel industry subsidies the government, not the other way around. XOM alone paid $12 billion in U.S. taxes in 2011 while the Department of Energy budget is $24 billion.

Why is the DoE budget a suitable point of comparison?

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 24):
Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
That's mostly a political argument, but the fact of the matter is that Germany and China are going nuts on solar while the US is sitting on its hands.

As well we should. We have perhaps a century of cheaper natural gas, which is reasonably clean for everyone who isn't an environmental extremist. It is not carbon-free, but the balance between environment and economics is excellent. That is a rational approach to energy policy.

So, why not both? As above, solar is good at taking the peak out of peak demand. Clearly solar is still on a path to improved efficiency, and other countries are getting the 'learn by doing' advantage.

Is the US ever going to get serious about energy independence?
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:26 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Why is the DoE budget a suitable point of comparison?

If you are looking for sources of government spending in the energy sector, the Dept of Energy would be a good place to start. Even taking the infographic's claim of $72 billion of subsidies over 5 years, that woks out to $14-15 billion per year. Alternatively, the $521.73 per taxpayer over 5 years works out to about $15-16 billion assuming 150 million taxpayers.

Refer to ExxonMobil's SEC filings and they alone paid $12 billion in taxes last year. Who is subsidizing who?

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
So, why not both? As above, solar is good at taking the peak out of peak demand. Clearly solar is still on a path to improved efficiency, and other countries are getting the 'learn by doing' advantage.


If private energy companies want to invest in solar, by all means let them. However, there is no reason for the government to start acting like a venture capitalist in an established market like the utilities industry.

1. The current price of solar is higher than the market average, so it doesn't bring any advantage to the consumer
2. Solar is intermittent, so it brings no reliability advantage to the power grid
3. Emissions from electricity generators is already on a downward trajectory
4. There is a real risk that other technologies could be more compelling than solar, which would turn a massive public investment into a white elephant.


Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Is the US ever going to get serious about energy independence?

That's extremely ignorant. We do not import fossil fuels for electrical generation, we export them. Even in terms of crude oil, the U.S. quietly achieved energy independence last year when we became a net exporter of petroleum products by dollar value. At the rate shale exploration is increasing, the U.S. could potentially be the world's largest petroleum producer by 2020, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

[Edited 2012-06-13 17:04:28]
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:37 pm

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 30):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Is the US ever going to get serious about energy independence?

That's extremely ignorant. We do not import fossil fuels for electrical generation, we export them. Even in terms of crude oil, the U.S. quietly achieved energy independence last year when we became a net exporter of petroleum products by dollar value. At the rate shale exploration is increasing, the U.S. could potentially be the world's largest petroleum producer by 2020, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.
http://205.254.135.7/dnav/pet/pet_mo..._impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm

And this is missing the point entirely of becoming independent of natural, and therefore finite, ressources.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:45 pm

Quoting something (Reply 31):
And this is missing the point entirely of becoming independent of natural, and therefore finite, ressources.

Our reserves will outlast anyone who is alive today. It's a waste of time to solve problems that do not need solving today. We will stop using fossil fuels for economic reasons with unfathomable quantities still in the ground.

This is taking place right now as natural gas displaces coal, even though we have more than a century of coal reserves. Eventually, the price of renewables will be driven to a lower price point than natural gas, and the industry will shift to renewables. There is no reason to tie-up and distort the economy with regulation and subsidies when your desired outcome will transpire via market forces.
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:02 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 32):
There is no reason to tie-up and distort the economy with regulation and subsidies when your desired outcome will transpire via market forces.

Where in the profit margins of those energy companies lies the budget to clean up the ecological mayhem their products leave behind? What fund do they finance that cleans up after them?

It's not an open market if there is no accountability. With ressources, there is not even a real creation of value. Therefore, there are no market forces at play. But even if I were to accept your premise: Why would oil become cost prohibitive, if, as you say, there is still an abundance of it in existence? If the supply is infinite, the price is zero. That is not a cost prohibitive price threshold. The cost of extraction and production even of the most remote sources of oil would not amount to more than $40 a barrel.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:21 am

Quoting something (Reply 33):
Where in the profit margins of those energy companies lies the budget to clean up the ecological mayhem their products leave behind? What fund do they finance that cleans up after them?

You could win a Tony with that performance. Reality is far less dramatic.

Quoting something (Reply 33):
With ressources, there is not even a real creation of value.

Obviously false. Production of resources results in products that are more valuable to society than the minerals originally in the ground. Crude oil is more valuable than a rock. Gasoline is more valuable than crude oil. Plastics are more valuable than gasoline. That is creation of value.

Quoting something (Reply 33):
But even if I were to accept your premise: Why would oil become cost prohibitive, if, as you say, there is still an abundance of it in existence?

There is no premise. There is a fact that natural gas is displacing coal because it is more economical. This has occurred many times in the history of human energy consumption. That is no more a premise than the Earth orbits the Sun.

Quoting something (Reply 33):
If the supply is infinite, the price is zero. That is not a cost prohibitive price threshold. The cost of extraction and production even of the most remote sources of oil would not amount to more than $40 a barrel.

You are full of contradictions. As you say, there is a real cost of production so the price cannot be zero. And even though the supply is vast, it is concentrated in areas that can be owned and protected. That means producers have to pay for the right to drill them. Hence, the market price for oil is well over $40.

Another technology could emerge that produces (or stores) the same energy for less than today's market price. That technology would become very popular and displace the incumbent technology.
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:54 am

I'm on the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor train.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK367T7h6ZY

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:56 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 22):
Could every state support a solar or wind farm? Of course, but just 1 nuclear plant generates around 1,100 MW and doesn't require half a state.

Even the staunchest advocate of solar energy wouldn't say it's a viable solution to generate 100% of our needed energy. I'd say that 10-20% would be a good achievement, and obviously the rest will have to come from other sources.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 32):
Our reserves will outlast anyone who is alive today.

When it comes to energy, we need to be thinking longer term than that.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
RussianJet
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:01 am

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 35):
I'm on the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor train.

All sounds very convincing. I bet there's a catch somewhere though.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:05 am

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 37):

The main drawback I've seen is the corrosiveness of the salts. Not to say that couldn't be worked around.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
something
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:48 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 34):
Quoting something (Reply 33):
Where in the profit margins of those energy companies lies the budget to clean up the ecological mayhem their products leave behind? What fund do they finance that cleans up after them?

You could win a Tony with that performance. Reality is far less dramatic.

The Maledives will have gone completely under water before 2100. There will be significant problems to feed the world's population by 2050. If you don't find that dramatic, then I can't help you either.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 34):
There is a fact that natural gas is displacing coal because it is more economical.

In cases where gas displaces coal where it can, it is due to government regulations. And besides.. I am not even arguing the economical benefits of either. Both are unbalancing the eco system and it boggles the mind that the usage of either is even legal to begin with.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 34):
You are full of contradictions. As you say, there is a real cost of production so the price cannot be zero. And even though the supply is vast, it is concentrated in areas that can be owned and protected. That means producers have to pay for the right to drill them. Hence, the market price for oil is well over $40.

If oil was infinite, it would be as worthless as air or sea water. The production value of the most inaccessible oil reserves is estimated at $40 a barrel. These drilling rights you speak of are not a market force; they're an external intervention by the state who happens to govern the land under which the oil is buried.

But irrespective of all this magic.. my point is, as it always has been: The price of oil does not account for the price of the damages it causes. Oil or eco taxes or emission trade schemes around the world are feebly attempting at it, but to a vastly disproportional extent than what damages the emission of carbon into the atmosphere are ultimately causing.

That would not happen in any situation in a true, free market.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:54 am

Quoting something (Reply 7):
Biofuels from corn drive food prices up. Flatulance, is a natural gas as well. Not sure I'd want to call that clean. Not sure the people losing their land to the rising sea levels would either.

Flatulance is not clean, one of the biggest drivers of putting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Cows produce a hell of a lot of methane and one of the biggest sources of warming. If we are serious about climate change we do have to at some point curtail our demand for red meat.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 8):
So while we're on the subject, what's the solution to overcome solar power's biggest downside: night time?

You always have a backup system when solar or wind can't produce. No one is saying that any of the traditional methods are going anywhere but power demand is highest during the day so solar can account for a good chunk of it drastically reducing emissions.

With solar being developed so our ways of being able to store surplus energy also.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 13):
It's a little more complicated in the US. Solar in the US means putting up large solar farms in the SW.

Lots of places in the US get a lot of sun. It would probably be better to have smaller farms as well as putting panels on roofs of houses and buildings as well.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 32):
Our reserves will outlast anyone who is alive today. It's a waste of time to solve problems that do not need solving today. We will stop using fossil fuels for economic reasons with unfathomable quantities still in the ground.

They may but they won't always be cheap. Barring the nationalization of US resources you will have another billion people entering the middle class in the next few decades and they will demand those resources as well. Oil and mining companies are going to sell the resources at the market price.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:34 am

Quoting something (Reply 39):
The Maledives will have gone completely under water before 2100

Venice managed to adapt a few hundred years ago because that is what human beings do. We also have to come to grips that islands would be erode, seas would change, and CO2 levels would fluctuate wildly even if no humans were on planet Earth.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
There will be significant problems to feed the world's population by 2050.

We don't know that. In the 1970s, some were projecting famine in western nations from overpopulation by the 2000s. Those projections were laughably wrong as evidenced by the over abundance of calories in western diets.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
If you don't find that dramatic, then I can't help you either.

It is hubris to think society in 2050-2100 will be less equipped to manage these problems than we are today.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
In cases where gas displaces coal where it can, it is due to government regulations

Nope, wrong again. The surge in natural gas power generation in the U.S. is directly correlated to the long-term forecast of depressed natural gas prices caused by the shale gas boom. There has been no landmark "cap & trade" or rule changes in the U.S. that would force such a rapid change across so many regions at once.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
Both are unbalancing the eco system and it boggles the mind that the usage of either is even legal to begin with.

The ecosystem is never in balance. It is constantly changing.

Your extremism is now crystal clear. You think burning fossil fuels should be illegal. You have no interest in reasonable policy that balances economics and the environment.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
If oil was infinite, it would be as worthless as air or sea water.

It is not infinite. I never said it was infinite. I said it was vast and unfathomable. All that means is that the human brain cannot comprehend the actual volume (which is finite) if it were put into a number.

Even if it were infinite, it would still have economic value. Have you never seen the sale of bottled water or a cylinder of compressed air? I can do things with oil, which means if you can bring it to me, I am willing to pay for it.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
The production value of the most inaccessible oil reserves is estimated at $40 a barrel

That is a reasonable median value, but huge quantities of production are done at higher cost when the market price justifies it.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
These drilling rights you speak of are not a market force; they're an external intervention by the state who happens to govern the land under which the oil is buried.

Governments, and people with mineral (aka property) rights.

Quoting something (Reply 39):
The price of oil does not account for the price of the damages it causes.

Oil or eco taxes or emission trade schemes around the world are feebly attempting at it, but to a vastly disproportional extent than what damages the emission of carbon into the atmosphere are ultimately causing.

Because you can't account for the price of "damages." It would be pure speculation to say X-tons of CO2 cause Y-dollars in damage, so either offset or pay a fine.

Quoting Mir (Reply 36):
When it comes to energy, we need to be thinking longer term than that.

No, we don't. You only say that to sound savvy and politically correct. Go back 25+ years and projections of the future are consistently wrong. We cannot possibly plan for a hundred years from now, and doing so would only make us look like fools. Society would advance faster by addressing today's problems rather than those that have not even manifest themselves.
 
Longhornmaniac
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:38 pm

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 41):
the human brain cannot comprehend the actual volume

Just as you accuse him of that, you're doing the exact same thing by understating the environmental damage being caused.

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:40 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 30):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Why is the DoE budget a suitable point of comparison?

If you are looking for sources of government spending in the energy sector, the Dept of Energy would be a good place to start.

Why not the Department of Defense, the world's single largest consumer of liquid fuels? They're spending $16B a year on energy, and currently projecting $1B+ shortfall in their fuel budget due to the high price of petroleum.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 30):
However, there is no reason for the government to start acting like a venture capitalist in an established market like the utilities industry.

But they should in an under-established market like the bio-fuel market, IMHO. DoE is not a major consumer of energy so they have no actual ability to nurture bio-fuel, and the oil patch congressmen are busy torpedoing the one agency who has such an ability, the DoD.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 30):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
Is the US ever going to get serious about energy independence?

That's extremely ignorant. We do not import fossil fuels for electrical generation, we export them. Even in terms of crude oil, the U.S. quietly achieved energy independence last year when we became a net exporter of petroleum products by dollar value.

Your points are so narrowly focused that they betray your biases, and your description of my points as being extremely ignorant means to me that you don't want an intelligent discussion, so as far as I'm concerned, don't even bother replying....
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ozglobal
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:43 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 24):
A figure that would complete the infograph propaganda is a comparison of retail electricity prices in different economies. Wouldn't you know, the U.S. has some of the cheapest electricity. That is a serious advantage for U.S. industries and should be championed by those who want to see job growth, higher standard of living, etc.

Cost is not just about unit price. Americans consume several times more energy per consumer than their European counterparts. This costs more economically and in terms of environmental impact.
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Dreadnought
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:39 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 44):
Cost is not just about unit price. Americans consume several times more energy per consumer than their European counterparts. This costs more economically and in terms of environmental impact.

Let's not exaggerate. Here are the annual energy consumption numbers. There are countries that consume more than the US per capita, and China will soon swamp us all.



Source: CIA World Factbook
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Aesma
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:20 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 8):
So while we're on the subject, what's the solution to overcome solar power's biggest downside: night time?

Solar as in photo-voltaic, it's complicated. Pumping water up is one way, but not that practical. Batteries, maybe, when talking about home installations. But there is also solar thermal electric, using molten salts that can store heat for the night.

Quoting aloges (Reply 16):
Well, if you enjoy a nationwide monopoly... and for all intents and purposes, EdF still does.

What's the downside, when the government is keeping prices down ?

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 22):
Last I heard the largest solar plant was in India, using over 5,000 acres of land producing 600 MW of energy. The entire state of Washington generates 2800 MW in wind energy and uses a huge expanse of land in E. Washington. Could every state support a solar or wind farm? Of course, but just 1 nuclear plant generates around 1,100 MW and doesn't require half a state.

Well, the US is big enough that a lot more could be done for sure. And photo-voltaic doesn't need space, you put it on roofs. Around here I even see people putting a wind turbine in their backyard (and geothermal A/C / heaters are selling like hot cakes).

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 25):
An industrial internal combustion engine drives a 1-2 MW generator and produces hot water, chiller water, and/or steam from the waste heat. The combustion engines these days are already 45% efficient and you can reach up to 90% total system efficiency by delivering hot water and hot/cool air for HVAC. These systems obviously work best for large buildings and complexes, not your every day bungalow. The package with sound insulation is about the size of a shipping container.

I just learned the other day it is in fact available for homes, it's the job of a cousin of mine to sell those small units. The smallest unit has a 1KW generator, pretty cool.
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ozglobal
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:39 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 45):
Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 44):
Cost is not just about unit price. Americans consume several times more energy per consumer than their European counterparts. This costs more economically and in terms of environmental impact.

Let's not exaggerate. Here are the annual energy consumption numbers. There are countries that consume more than the US per capita, and China will soon swamp us all.

There can be a huge difference between consumer consumption per capita and consumer plus industry comsumption per capita on a national basis. It is not clear which your CIA figure represents.

Even with these figures, it confirms the US is close to double that of most European countries, including all the large ones: France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, UK, etc. The excpetions are those in the artic circle: Iceland, Norway, Sweeden (not surprising). I don't think we're exaggerating...
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Dreadnought
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:50 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 47):
There can be a huge difference between consumer consumption per capita and consumer plus industry comsumption per capita on a national basis. It is not clear which your CIA figure represents.

It should be total, industrial, residential, transportation etc.

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 47):
Even with these figures, it confirms the US is close to double that of most European countries, including all the large ones: France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, UK, etc. The excpetions are those in the artic circle: Iceland, Norway, Sweeden (not surprising). I don't think we're exaggerating...

You said the US uses "several times more energy per consumer than their European counterparts". The difference is more like 60% more, not the 200-400% or so you implied (several generally means more than two or three - as you might be of English mother tongue you might not realize that. The closest equivalent in French is 'plusieurs')

Europe should not tell the rest of the world that they should not use more energy than they do. Europe has an unusual climate. Winters are relatively moderate, as are your summers. Very few homes or offices need air conditioning to the extent we do, for example. You don't need as much heat in the winters as do people living in Canada or the northern states or Russia, where daily temperatures of -10 to -20 Celsius are normal. Same goes with people from California - just because you are blessed with unusually good weather doesn't mean we can all live like you.
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ozglobal
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RE: 22 Gigawatts: Germany Sets Solar World Record

Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:51 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 48):
Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 47):
Even with these figures, it confirms the US is close to double that of most European countries, including all the large ones: France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, UK, etc. The excpetions are those in the artic circle: Iceland, Norway, Sweeden (not surprising). I don't think we're exaggerating...

You said the US uses "several times more energy per consumer than their European counterparts". The difference is more like 60% more, not the 200-400% or so you implied (several generally means more than two or three - as you might be of English mother tongue you might not realize that. The closest equivalent in French is 'plusieurs')

Europe should not tell the rest of the world that they should not use more energy than they do. Europe has an unusual climate. Winters are relatively moderate, as are your summers. Very few homes or offices need air conditioning to the extent we do, for example. You don't need as much heat in the winters as do people living in Canada or the northern states or Russia, where daily temperatures of -10 to -20 Celsius are normal. Same goes with people from California - just because you are blessed with unusually good weather doesn't mean we can all live like you.

OK. All of that is pretty fair. You are right.

However, I lived in Washington D.C. (McLean, V.A. more precisely) as a kid and I can tell you we CONSUMED energy there: homes of several hundred sq. metros centrally air conditioned all summer even if only one or two people were occupying one floor most of the day, even if they ware out often..., shopping malls and offices air conditioned to improbably low temperatures (like 18 degrees C) so you need a jacket or sweater when it's boiling hot outside and 85% humidity, V8's, 1 per person per household, to get from A to B, when a 4c would equally do the job, in winter, electric boilers centrally heating the same 200 sq metro homes, regardless of which floors were in use, and of course town planning totally centered on the automobile so that few tasks are even possible on foot or public transport. All of these BEHAVIOURS also help drive a per capita consumption in the US of 13.79 MW vs 7,5 in Germany ( US is nearly 2 x) and 8.5 in France.
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