lawrence elliott's Comments

October 26, 2013

Solar PV + Storage = The Next Big Thing

"Storage complements solar PV perfectly , but doubles the cost"

This is a blanket statement that does not clearly reflect reality

Yes I suppose if you do very little of any real design planning and just slap a big bank of batteries together and call it a solution then sure the costs could double.

But I'm still amazed at how many otherwise smart designers still ignore the fact that any and all grid tie inverters, no matter the size or type can be easily AC Coupled.

Just as a Uboat commander demanded that, when tracking destroyers had them locked into staying submerged, power demands would be rolled back to keep the sub operational in this emergency, power demands when utility is absent can also be rolled back and you can function at a fairly high level on just a little storage and direct PV power.

An AC Coupling system our team has developed over the last year ,and soon going to UL, seamlessly integrates batteries and inverter to existing grid tie systems and keeps them working in spite of the grid being down.

Unlike other systems that use crude 'slam bang' control or somewhat less crude frequency power shift ,we have full linear regulation of power and voltage and we even include automatic load management and a means of connection without the usual transfer switch methods used by others.

New inverters are coming on line now that are built with both off grid and on grid capabilities and include AC Coupling that is controlled by simply using a master/slave setup and power modulation built into the firmware.

This set up is the true future of backup power and will greatly reduce the unnecessary 'train car load of batteries' most designers are still hung up on.

So does back up solar with batteries double the costs?

Not if you do your homework and start thinking outside the box

October 28, 2013

Solar PV + Storage = The Next Big Thing

@stan curley

"But are you asking ANY American to deal with any analogy of life on a U-boat while under destroyer attack?"

Of course not.
I would think that would be fairly clear

It would seem you miss my point

1. Using batteries for storage where you make no adjustments at all to your load profile (extremely easy as most users waste at least half) when the grid goes down is certainly not cost effective at all.

2. Storage with PV power coupled with the grid is far off from ever being truly economical without another tax scheme or other frauds.

3. Anyone who uses AC Coupling for anything other than being a means of getting at least life saving power from an array that is as useless as 'tits on a boar' when the grid dies or perhaps does not already have an off grid system where you are trying to reduce the BOS of charge regulators etc is a waste of money.

As far as the Uboat scenario I used perhaps I could have used a less dramatic example but it is purely the height of naivety to think that massive losses of the grid with all the accompanying chaos and mayhem is a fantasy.
I'm sure the folks at Fukushima are now rethinking their blind optimism.

October 23, 2013

Is Straw Germany's Next Big Energy Resource?

Excuse me but there is still the debate on Fuel vs Soil Fertility

As we transition out of our crude oil to food model we now have we will no longer be able to have plants viewing soil as nothing more but something to hold roots up and keep them from blowing away while they are fed a steady diet of toxic crude oil derivatives and essentially by-products of natural gas.

Once again the endless search for more and more and more energy to feed the ever growing diet of demands generated by an economic model generated as the result of massive intake of addictive crude oil.

There simply is no such thing as 'a free lunch'

Can't pay?
Then don't eat.

Infinite demands in a finite world.

October 29, 2013

Is Straw Germany's Next Big Energy Resource?

"What has happened to the educated, wise, technically-astute Germans we used to know, respect and even fear?"

That's pretty clear

They, like the rest of the world have fallen victim to believing in too much magic

Howard Kunstler wrote a book by the same title that pretty clearly dispels the delusion all Cornucopian's entertain that man in his 'infinite' wisdom can and will ultimately find the holy grail of energy sources that will allow mankind to continue this very brief grand experiment.

An experiment where man discovered a vast but limited (operative word) supply of ancient stored solar energy that's been the key component in creating a completely unsustainable and self destructive lifestyle that not only cannot be duplicated using only current input of solar energy but if this goal could actually be achieved, little would be left of any environment that would not be unfit to live in.

Yes even vaunted German techno magic is still just that.

No more than a show with no real substance.

And here is the 64 thousand dollar question.

Crunch some numbers and see if even a four fold increase in bio production per acre would deliver the necessary return on energy investment when you have zero inputs of fossil fuels to keep it all running. (remember at some point in the not too distant future that will not be optional) Bare in mind that four fold increases will require a four or more fold increase in inputs to soil fertility. (Where do you obtain that magic element? Elements best used to supply the constantly increasing demands for food sources rather than fueling your Hummer or to heat your crumbling McMansion?)

In other words let it all be self supporting at all levels (pick your renewable energy input) from mining and milling the iron ore for the tractor to using the same bio mass to make its tires etc.

OH!
And don't forget to plug in the exponential increase in world population and their ever increasing energy demands.

And don't forget to include the ever increasing energy needed to mine an ever decreasing yield of iron ore for each unit of energy input.

This tower of babble (built of straw) would soon come tumbling down.

Perhaps you could then at least compost it to help feed the few folks left who made it through the predicted but blindly ignored Grand Experiment that finally ran out of magic.

October 18, 2013

The Big Question: Can Countries Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

I would venture a guess that if one were to analyze the current input of fossil energy into a production stream of renewable technologies production and output the raw numbers would stagger you into at least a bit more real world thinking.

I'm talking about an entire infrastructure built up over the last 100 + years or more entirely on fossil fuels (still almost as cheap as dirt even with massive capital inputs) and still almost %100 dependent on fossil fuels. Renewable development is entirely dependent on it to exist.

You could not even manufacture PV panels in a 'breeder plant' powered %100 by its own PV's even if it had backup power not derived from the grid.

I can just see it now

Hundreds of employees showing up for work in a 'flintstone car' driven on gravel roads.
The attempts to create replacement rubber tires produced from tree bark sap didn't go so well.
Concrete road surface replaced with crushed eggs shells mixed with hemp oil and carrots also failed when they realized there was no feed (all %100 grown using massive fossil fuel inputs) for the chickens and they all starved and Fred and Barney Rubble had to actually eat the carrots to have enough energy to get to the PV plant without fainting from hunger. And the macadam roads (crude oil waste) replaced with what? No substitute for that either? Yeah I thought so.

And on and on and on and on.

Won't even mention the fact that the entire financial industry that fuels any and all renewable energy investment and deployment is based on 'wealth' generated in fractional reserve banking that only exists if we have massive,exponential and 'endless' growth fueled by fossil fuel inputs exclusively.

I suppose the passengers on the Titanic also came up with all sorts of silly and unrealistic solutions to a reality that they WOULD sink and that only those willing to get in the lifeboats (rethinking the current madness) would survive.

I'm quite certain they were not thinking "how idiotic of the designers to build such a ship and then in their arrogance have such blind faith in an illusion that the Titanic could not and would not sink since technology could always triumph over the laws of physics" when they boarded in Liverpool. Least not till they were wet and freezing and sitting in the middle of the north Atlantic waiting on some form of rescue.

This '%100 renewable energy will let us keep up this massive destruction of our only planet pipedream' needs to be seen for what it is.

Arrogance of man.

A being whose ego is so inflated that it cannot even imagine a planet going back to a more sustainable existence. Feeding this current fossil fueled Godzilla mutant an alternative renewable energy diet to keep it alive is the height of madness. Better to let it die and not have the burden of feeding something that will eventually eat the planet anyway.

October 18, 2013

The Big Question: Can Countries Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

@Jim Stack

We sure cannot! Not as currently structured.

Knowing you live in the the middle of the Arizona desert and making this statement makes it all the worse.

Yes if Arizona now had a population of about 1/100th its size perhaps part of your scenario could be played out in real life. At least for a while.

Without massive daily injections of fossil fuels Arizona folks could not even drink fresh water or eat. No one has yet demonstrated how electrons get converted to tractor fuel ,fertilizer or any of the other massive amounts of energy needed in artificial agriculture.

Of course with 1/100th the population that would translate into an economy that in no way can support the likes of a Nissan Leaf.

The suburban blight that is called Scottsdale and Phoenix would be more like Barter-town in Mad Max than the Geography of Nowhere with millions running helter skelter each day across the maze of highways to and from nowhere that it is now.

And that is with a full conversion to EV's and PV's.

Living this utopian life while surrounded by a slowly dying (well camouflaged) existence is like someone marveling at how independent and safe and secure an air breathing mammal can be at the bottom of the ocean and never acknowledging it's due to the temporary compressed air in tanks on their back.

When the air runs out the 'reality' turns quite different.

Man was not meant to exist at the bottom of the ocean anymore than massive populations were meant to live in the Arizona desert.

Not to just pick on Arizona.

One look at Manhattan Island and knowing anything about where energy and food come from (directly or indirectly from crude oil at every level) quickly becomes a preview of a coming train wreck with reality.

And then there is Las Vegas etc etc etc.

October 21, 2013

The Big Question: Can Countries Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

@Delroy Leslie

"Yes, they can and they will"

Care to expound on just who this mythical they is?

Would that be the magic group of techno magicians that got us into this nonsense in the first place and have no real incentive to even try to get us out of this dilemma?

That getting us out only makes things worse.

Do yourself and others a favor

Take one look at just the USA to keep it simple

Take a look at how much renewable energy has been installed in the last 12 months.
I'll let you include any form you like.

Now take a look at how many mega watts of natural gas generators have been installed, as well as how much additional natural gas was produced and consumed for all purposes, especially for nitrogen fertilizers.

Next check on how many existing power plants were decommissioned in that same year. Yes renewable energy is not replacing anything. They are just adding too.

When you take this all together there is only one conclusion you can come to

Not only is renewable energy not having any real impact overall, especially when you consider that there is virtually no oil used directly in generating electric power (and so far I have seen no real evidence that we are making any progress of any measure in replacing that essential liquid fuel where all other forms of energy fail when oil is not available) but the other thing that is obvious is that we are at best running in place. Demand due to population increases,all with the same demented desire to "be like us" is what is driving this.

Just the carbon footprint and pollution generated to keep this futile effort afloat wipes out most benefits renewable energies offer.

And let's not even mention our dying oceans or aquifers drying up or giant plastic islands in the middle of the Pacific as big as the state of Kansas etc etc etc.

How about an entire epidemic of cancers in Argentina as they turn their country into a mass soy bean and corn toxic's plantation spraying oceans of Roundup on mutant GMO's.
And why? So we can feed millions of cows that then convert only %10 of the mutant grain input into protein and fat to feed millions of those scampering around our mega cities in SUV's.

And on and on and on. And growing larger every day.

All these negatives will still exist and even continue to get worse in spite of all the slick techno solutions.

The worst thing a civilization can do is to delude itself into believing that somehow we will overcome the laws of physics and 'win' this battle.

When it is far past too late to change and adapt the folly of this %100 renewable energy feeding an exponentially increasing demand will be evident.

But of course both you and I will be gone by then and we can just let THEM deal with it.

Again I challenge anyone to show me any evidence that any form of renewable energy can fuel even our sick agricultural system.

A system that demands ever more crude oil every day

And no that sick mutant corporation known as Monsanto has no solution


They only offer more consumption and more misery

November 14, 2013

The Big Question: Can Countries Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

Thank you Timothy Maloney;

For a long and detailed examination of just one of hundreds if not thousands of impediments to creating that 'holy grail' that will save all humanity from its folly in believing in "Too much magic".
Were the Belief is entertained and embraced because it makes one feel better about the chaotic shift coming as they are forced to transition from the fossil fuel 'endless buffet' that built all of our current daydreams to a more brown bag sustainable reality.

It will even happen in fairly short order even with all the Wall Street 'magic' and techno self delusion we call hydro fracking

It's certain we all have now heard the massive hype coming out of the submissive and obedient media proclaiming America's new role as The New Saudi Arabia of oil and gas.

Just remember this hype is coming from the same group of blood suckers and sociopaths that claimed that real estate prices never fall and property values can double and triple permanently while real wages fall.
Yes that group.

Those who believe this hype and then retreat from finally breaking their addiction to the 'black heroin' we now very temporarily pump from the ground at the cost of our aquifers, will soon find just how much of a fools errand this new delusion will be.

October 03, 2013

Securing the World’s Largest Wind Turbine

Whoever said that Fox News has the exclusive on propaganda and right wing mind pablum (not to mention a myopic lack of vision and original thinking) hasn't recently read some of the inane comments on this blog.

"Wind and solar energy is not a replacement for fossil fuel. It’s an add-on."

True it is an add on. That states the obvious.

Of course it is false that it is not a replacement for fossil fuel; of course with a caveat.

As anyone who has read my other posts on this site will know I have very severe reservations on the ability of renewables to be a direct generic replacement for fossil fuels,but I don't blindly accept the current non sustainable,self defeating and destructive system that this energy is fed into and just sit down and become a passive slave to 19th century technologies.

I'm quite certain that the author's true intention was to denigrate renewable energy's in a wholesale manner and ignore introducing any caveats to the reader that could elicit further thinking and possibly encourage them to come up with a solution to the limitations renewable energy admittedly has.
We all know the Wright Brothers had limitations to transporting 400 people at 500 mph from New York to London in a few hours,all the while enjoying the latest movie.
That took time and creative thought and a lack of intentional propaganda that would lead people to think 40 mph and altitudes of a few hundred feet were all we could ever expect.


"the nacelle alone weighs 500 tonnes" -- that's as large as the biggest nuclear reactor vessel capable of generating over 1GW, 24/7 for decades. If we counted the CO2 generated by producing the steel from ore, concrete from rock and so forth we'd additionally see there's no reason to erect any such wasteful machines, because their carbon footprint is worse than geothermal, hydro or nuclear, "

So let's parse this.
A nacelle that weighs 500 tonnes.
A pressure vessel weighs about 500 tonnes also but does not a nuclear power plant equal.
Add in the other million tons of steel,concrete and copper and then totally ignore the massive tax payers subsidies needed to even get one off the drawing boards,and add in the billions of further costs needed to even partially deal with the waste and pollution.(dealt with exclusively with current and future tax payer money) And of course let's ignore the damage done to marine and aquifer environments in supplying the oceans of cooling water etc etc.

Now let's also ignore the fact that the wind turbines also have severe downsides due to the fact that they are built in a futile attempt to keep our current oil and coal based reality alive so that no real fundamental changes will appear to be needed. At least until the effluents from an artificially created affluence eventually reduces the planet to an unlivable wasteland as we try to live off of wind and sun and in addition try to avoid the cancers generated by that other 'benign and green' smoke screen promoted by those who volunteer to be deaf and dumb while praying at the altar of nuclear power.

Those who are now drunk on 'green' energy and see it as the silver bullet to problems that can only be solved by a fundamental shift in how we view what actually created the problems in the first place should be ignored like you do any drunk at a bar.

Those who are so damaged and mind altered by what can best be called Conservative KoolAid, that they respond in a well rehearsed response like a version of Pavlov's Dog when renewable energy is mentioned should also be ignored.

Yes we all know that the $$$ connected with wind and solar subsidizes are tainted and are not applied in a manner that will create real and lasting benefit overall.

But is one so naive that they think that somehow those $$$ don't all come from the same common source as those spent on coal,nukes and oil?

If that is so then please take a look at this fine ocean side property I have here in Arizona.

September 28, 2013

Six Myths About Renewable Energy, and Seven Answers

As Johnson notes in his article, “there's no technical reason renewable energy can't provide 80% of the power in the U.S. by midcentury.”

Provide 80% of the power??
How we delude ourselves.

What does this statement even mean?

So we have %80 of our power from renewables and the number of those who need it
keeps getting smaller as not one electron can ever be practically converted to more land,fresh water and especially more liquid fuels needed to keep transportation moving ( all electric transport by 2050 is at best a dream) and just how do we feed another billion souls without the current massive injection of over 10 units of fossil energy for each unit of calorie.

Yes let's keep focused on renewable energy such as PV and wind so that we can keep ignoring the 800lb elephant in the room that will eventually crush us.

September 29, 2013

Six Myths About Renewable Energy, and Seven Answers

@P J Van Staden

I would think that discussion or debate over Mr Kazantsev's version of the hydrogen economy, (yes remember that gratefully dead nonsense sold with the same hype) algae bio diesel,ethanol "fuel" or perhaps zero point free energy magnetic motors that avoid the limitations of the first and second law of thermodynamics , could be entertaining but it's no more a solution to anything as all the other 'pie in the sky' attempts at whistling past the "we have painted ourselves into a catastrophic energy corner" graveyard.

Getting flattened by his water balloon would be the least of our worries.

lawrence elliott

lawrence elliott

40 + years of working directly and indirectly in renewable energy and energy efficiency Everything from engineering systems to doing the actual wrenching to get them up and running Also live what I preach on a daily basis and try to do...

Total Access Partners

Growing Your Business? Learn More about Total Access