Why do people think it's a good thing to have more solar jobs than coal jobs? If solar requires more labor hours to generate much less electricity it's a huge step backwards.
We could have many more agriculture jobs by outlawing tractors and combines. Or think of all the jobs we could create by building roads with picks and shovels instead of huge machines from Caterpillar.
If you really want to promote solar you need to stop with the jobs nonsense.
This is a massive misinterpretation of the report's findings. They basically say the long-anticpated CA solar "duckbill" problem is now showing up in wholesale pricing. The duckbill problem arises because solar output peaks several hours before summer demand peaks. This REDUCES the value of new solar in CA vs. what it has been in the past. The report also says this favors wind, which peaks later, but I think that may be geographically limited to certain areas such as the famed San Gorgonio Pass.
The duckbill problem can be resolved at a cost. My favorite approach is load-shifting. Ice-Bear type AC systems do a great job of removing summertime demand peaks.
@ Anumakonda Jagadeesh - Although offshore has advantages, the cost is still very high compared to US onshore. With so many terrific US onshore sites still available the economics make offshore a tough sell, even when subsidized.
@Ross Wexford - The report actually says 35% of the nation's electricity. This article should be corrected. Wind provided about 4.5% last year. The industry added 110 TWh over the past 5 years, averaging 22 TWh of new generation per year. We'd have to add about 35 TWh/year to hit their 2050 goal. That doesn't seem like a stretch.
I wonder how many of the 13 billion dollars we invested in PV went to China?
How does CSP compete with a capital cost of $6/W ($4.4b/767MW) vs. about $2/W for PV? Especially since CSP opex is also higher. I love the concept of desert CSP with thermal storage, but the cost is hard to justify. The largest of these plants (Ivanpah) doesn't have storage and still cost >$5/W, ones with storage like Abengoa's Solana plant in AZ run $7-8/W.
The cost is astonishing. This is expensive electricity. Capital cost alone will run about 20 cents/kwh. Plus a penny or two for operations. And that's just wholesale. Still, it beat fuel oil at $100/bbl. Does it beat oil at current prices? Probably not, but it could be close.
The main thing the greens accomplished was increased transport of oil via rail. Rail transport is much more dangerous and environmentally damaging than pipeline, but Keystone XL was always a "rally the troops" issue not a "protect the environment" issue.
I love your Starbucks analogy. To make the analogy really match net metering, though, you need to pass a new law forcing Starbucks to let customers bring in their excess home-brewed coffee whenever they feel like it (e.g. just before closing time) and get a full cup-for-cup credit to be redeemed later (e.g. during the morning rush).
Starbucks wouldn't have any problem with that, right?
Brian, can you clarify your statement that ecars will double electricity demand? US vehicle miles traveled is about 3 trillion miles/year, which would consume 1 trillion kWh or roughly 1/4th of current US electricity demand.
$748m spent to upgrade and extend Monticello will provide Minnesota with 671 MWs of electricity with over 90% duty cycle. That's roughly 14,500 MWh each day.
$748m spent on PV would (optimistically) provide 374 MW of rated power. Minnesota averages a bit over 4 hours of solar insolation per day, so the same $748m delivers roughly 1,500 MWh/day.
Even with massive cost overruns, upgrading and extending Monticello provides roughly 10x bang for the buck over PV.
Brian, although it's true oil is rarely used to generate electricity these days, natural gas is used quite often. And in many countries the price of natural gas is related to LNG import/export prices, which are tied directly to oil prices. So cheaper oil -> cheaper LNG -> cheaper NG-fired electricity.
None of the above is true in the USA. The US does not materially participate in the global LNG market so our natgas prices are disconnected from oil. In fact, as oil companies cut back on drilling the US market will see reduced output of associated natural gas, possibly driving natgas prices up a little.
Finally, the Saudis aren't "killing" solar and wind. They pump the same amount of oil as they have for years. The people blaming the Saudis for the price crash are mostly other oil producers such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela and investors in shale oil companies. They want Saudi Arabia to cut their own output so everyone else can pump all out while enjoying $100/bbl pricing. That's great for everyone else but bad for Saudi Arabia. It's absurd to think the Saudis would go along with such a lopsided scheme, but that's what people expected.
Some Passivhaus designs may achieve costs close to conventional, but this one came in a $396/sqft exclusive of land. Conventional building here in TX, even with those expensive heating/air conditioning systems, is around $80/sqft. I applaud the professor's passion and his willingness to put his money where his mouth is. We need pioneers to move these designs forward in the hopes that some day they'll make sense for typical working families.