DoggyDog World's Comments

December 12, 2014

Broaching the Baseload Issue: Finding Hybrid Solutions to Stabilize the Grid

"Renwables don't need storage anymore than baseload did."

Oh come on. Nuclear and coal can easily load-follow if designed to do so. France's nuclear plants do it every day. The US uses nuclear and coal as base load for economic reasons. Nuclear and coal have very high construction cost and very low fuel cost. You want to run those plants 24x7 to get as many kWhs as possible from your initial investment. Throttling back reduces your revenue without appreciably reducing your costs. Gas/liquid turbines are the opposite - very low upfront cost and high fuel cost. Shutting them down when not needed reduces your costs considerably.

If demand fluctuations force you to buy generators that sit idle 90% of the time, you want the cheapest generators you can find. You don't care so much about their fuel cost, because 90% of the time their fuel cost is ZERO.

You could easily supply the US with 100% nuclear and no storage. Good luck doing that with wind or solar. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of wind and solar. But absurd claims don't promote the cause, they only make renewable supporters look like a bunch of clueless morons.

December 05, 2014

NextEra Buys Hawaii’s Biggest Utility To Study Renewable Energy in the Island State

There's just no pleasing some people.

I'm no fan of LNG, but oil-fired electricity is so dumb even LNG may make sense as a transition fuel for Hawaii. Certainly more sense than using solar panels to make hydrogen. As for Portugal, half their renewable energy comes from large-scale hydro which doesn't apply to Hawaii.

If regulators allow it, NextEra has the capital to vastly accelerate Hawaii's wind and solar rollout. Hawaii is also ideal for pumped hydro, by far the most cost-effective energy storage method. Other renewables (e.g. Big Island geothermal) may also play roles. The economics strongly favor renewables and large reductions in CO2. But beware the politicians and bureaucrats.

December 05, 2014

NextEra Buys Hawaii’s Biggest Utility To Study Renewable Energy in the Island State

Sean > Hawaii, aka the Big Island, has terrific geothermal resource. Oahu, where most of the people live, does not. So geothermal is a niche solution unless you run an inter-island power cable on the ocean floor. Might be worth doing, but it's a vastly more complex project than you imply.

Tell me, how does a utility "keep solar out"? Residents can install panels and disconnect their meter any time they want. Of course most PV enthusiasts prefer to stay connected to the grid and use its services for free. And have their neighbors subsidize their upfront cost while they're at it. That works when PV is an extreme niche market as it's painless for the many to subsidize the few. But it doesn't scale up. How do you pay for the grid and backup generation if everyone net-meters down to 0 kWh? It's absurd. If you want renewables to remain small then go ahead and "stick it to the utilities" by pushing net-metering and other subsidy schemes. If you want renewables to dominate, as I do, you need to start looking at the big picture.

December 03, 2014

Soitec Announces 46 Percent Efficient Solar Cell

Cover the roof of your EV with these exotic beauties and you've got a $250k car. But hey, it can generate 30 cents of electricity per day! Assuming it's sunny......

Multi-junction cells go into space, where efficiency trumps cost, and in HCPV installations, where the extra efficiency saves you a bundle mirror and motor costs.

June 27, 2014

Rooftop Solar Leases Scaring Buyers When Homeowners Sell

Yes Frank, companies do things to make money. Shocking, I know. This applies to companies that lease, that lend, that install, that sell for cash, etc. Leasing is simply an option which enterprising companies offer to give consumers another choice. Leasing has pluses and minuses, including the minus this article brings to light.

Salespeople don't always highlight the minuses. Another shocker.

February 26, 2014

Power REIT's Preferred Stock Offering: A Hedge That Pays 7.75%

Just to clarify, redemption in 2019 is at the company's option. Also, return of capital dividends are not "tax free". They are tax deferred. The amount of ROC reduces your cost basis, increasing your taxable gain by an equivalent amount when you sell.

Because of this, and the fact that the company is tiny and can redeem the preferreds relatively soon, I doubt a court loss would drive the preferred shares meaningfully above $25. But 7.75% is not bad these days in any event.

September 18, 2013

Utility Agrees: (Their) Solar Should Supplant Natural Gas

JDG, solar is NOT a cheaper way to provide peaker energy.

Say you build a solar farm. XCel comes to you and asks for a quote to provide 0-100 hours of peak energy each year, with an average of 25 hours, at their demand with a 5 second response time and 99.9% reliability factor. If you quote would 7 cents per kWh you'll go bankrupt. $7/kWh, maybe.

That's how the cost of these natural gas peakers is calculated. The comparison is a joke.

May 22, 2013

San Antonio Solar Fans Delay Introduction of SunCredit Program

David, extend your concept of "economic analysis" beyond the vague bogeyman of "line and transformer losses". Large solar farms are cheaper than rooftop. CPS gets a volume discount on their large systems and collects tax subsidies. This lowers their cost to the point at which they can feed PV kWhs into the grid and not lose much money, or maybe make a little. Even after line and transformer losses eat a few percent of the output.

When a customer installs rooftop PV, the customer gets the tax subsidy. Not CPS. Then CPS pays full retail for kWhs the customer generates, getting no revenue to offset the costs of being the customer's "battery". The economics are simple - ratepayers without PV carry the load for those with PV. It's de minimis when only a few people have PV, but becomes unworkable as rooftop penetration grows.

Let's say every CPS customer bought enough rooftop to net-meter to zero kWhs. CPS revenue would go to zero. Who would pay for the grid? Who would pay for all the kWhs CPS must generate at night and during cloudy spells to give those net-metered customers the 24x7 service they demand?

Keith is correct. PV can only be an insignificant feel-good story with current net-metering schemes. For PV to succeed on a large scale utilities must adopt rational net-metering price schedules.

May 10, 2013

India May Defer Penalties on $1 Billion of Solar Thermal Plants

Anon, primary zinc-air cells have been sold for ages, but Eos and several other companies now have rechargeable designs. Your comments on the subject are outdated and misleading.

Getting back to CSP-thermal, I agree it has an uphill battle. You get the most kWhs from your investment in mirrors and motors with a 40%+ multi-junction PV cell at the focal point. At 15-30% efficiency, thermal systems deliver much less bang for the buck. Thermal systems also have more maintenance and reliability issues than PV. Thermal's only advantage is cheap storage, but that's not an issue until solar's market share grows at least tenfold from current levels. And even then there are other ways to address the issue.

May 04, 2013

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Energy Power the Grid

Ice-Bear type systems effectively store off-peak electricity in thermal form for daytime cooling. In strong cooling climates they could also help with renewable intermittency. Buildings with very high thermal mass can also help with both load leveling and intermittency. But seasonal thermal storage is a different matter. Ground-source heat pumps do this in a way, but the thermal storage is passive in nature. I'd need a lot of convincing to believe active thermal storage can work on a seasonal basis.

May 01, 2013

Amonix Resets Bar for CPV Module Efficiency

This article misuses the term LCOE. $2.29/W looks like straight capital cost, perhaps adjusted somehow. LCOE is levelized cost of electricity and is almost always expressed in cents/kWh. I'd guess these systems come in around $0.15/kWh LCOE.

Also, Amonix won't achieve the cost declines quoted ($2.95/W to 2.29/W to 1.30-1.40/W) through efficiency alone. These gains also require cost reductions in materials and labor. Such reductions are possible as the technology improves, but that should be noted in the article.

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