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Thread: OT: Duke Climate Change Study

  1. #781
    Quote Originally Posted by going4roses View Post
    If new home construction (track home developments) in CA could/should have been built with a solar systems. From San Diego to Sacramento. feasible? Cost effective?


    Would the state of Ca be in better shape now in the renewable energy category?

    I suspect PG&E and other electricity providers would have fought any such ideas.
    My solar house was a custom and the solar system was integral to the design of the whole house. Cost me about $10K extra (in '80 dollars). Best way to find out about the demand for such a place would be to find a willing builder who was about to introduce a tract. Convince him to add one more design to the offering at an ask of something more than the others (don't know what it would be, say $30K, today). See what happens. Maybe it's being done already.

    I don't think the power company would be a factor at all. Most of them all over the country have programs where they buy back unused power generated by the user. Easy money.

  2. #782
    Volvo, an unimportant auto maker in this country, but a bigger player in Europe, will begin selling only electric or hybrid vehicles in 2019, less than TWO YEARS from now..
    Obviously they don't care about the American market's reluctance for energy change, but feel they need to be competitive in their European base.

    Catch up isn't hard if you are in second or third place, but it becomes almost impossible the longer you stay in the starting blocks after the race has begun.

    Actually that California mandate isn't that hard to achieve. The life expectancy of a fossil fuel plant, before major rebuilding or replacement, is on the order of
    twenty years, in 13 years that decision will have to be made for well over half of all electrical generation facilities. IN 2016 Natural gas fired plants supplied 49%
    of California's electricity, hydroelectric supplied 14.5%, solar 9.6%, nuclear 9.5%, wind 6.9%, geothermal 6.3%, biomass 3%. By 2030 I expect the nuclear
    portion to be zero, so basically only about 20% of natural gas power plants will have to be replaced by alternative fuels (like biomass). Also home solar generation
    was not included in this electrical production breakdown. In thirteen years solar will likely be well over 20%, if the home solar generation is included. In reality,
    a meaningless mandate because it will likely be achieved without any Government action required.

    Caveat: Unless the Feds bans importation of cheap Chinese solar cells.

    Quote Originally Posted by GB54 View Post
    California's new mandate is electricity be 50% renewable by 2030- not very long term

  3. #783
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post
    You did...

    You actually implied nothing would happen until technology had advanced, then maybe a switch would occur in 50 years.
    The think tank's conclusion is that the business/economic community would have to make the switch in 10 years, they didn't cite a
    need for technology advances not yet developed.
    Ah, the gotcha moment. I love 'em. It's what happens when you try to take a statement in the way you want it to have been meant.

    So, let me explain what I meant. I didn't say nothing would could be implemented until 50 years out and didn't mean for it to have been interpreted that way, literally or figuratively. I was reflecting on the process of technical innovation.

    No one contends that nothing happened after 2 way radios were invented until we have Dick Tracy watches now.

    Solar, wind and other "sustainable" power sources are still in their infancy (although with solar, late infancy) and still need considerable subsidies to get anyone to try them. We look forward to the day when all these new sources will get sorted out by trial and error and the marketplace. Until then, it will be "hit the ball and drag Fred" (for all those golfers out there). Wind probably won't make it; solar might not, either, in its current form (sorry), but seems to have a better chance.

    In the meantime, people will refine things and try different ones and bring them to the market. That's how it will go during the next 50 years. Maybe 40 or 60. 30 years would be nice. Sooner or later, something will come along that everyone can get behind, but we still don't know how much stored energy we have in the ground. So, predicting how long it will last is iffy.

    Hope that fify.

  4. #784
    Having purchased three new homes in the last 20 years; all could have been built with solar in mind, but none were designed for simple, non-intrusive conversion to solar.
    In our San Diego county house the electrical sub-contractor wouldn't have been capable of an effective solar installation; he missed NECA codes as it was.

    The big problem with home solar is dumping it into the power grid, there are better workarounds now than 20 years ago. It has been far easier for utility management to avoid
    the issue with opposition than to find a solution. Imagine you were Mobil and a home owner reclaimed(provided) 20 quarts of motor oil from their vehicles each year and wanted to dump
    it into your tanks of MobilOne. Mobil would probably say Hell NO !, to avoid contamination of their motor oil. A stable electrical system is more important to our economy than clean motor oil and 'uncontrolled' external power generation can destabilize the grid.

    In any event, I imagine that West Coast states are in far better condition with current renewable energy generation than the rest of the country
    which has been (and will continue to be) heavily tied to coal fired power plants.

    Quote Originally Posted by going4roses View Post
    If new home construction (track home developments) in CA could/should have been built with a solar systems. From San Diego to Sacramento. feasible? Cost effective?


    Would the state of Ca be in better shape now in the renewable energy category?

    I suspect PG&E and other electricity providers would have fought any such ideas.

  5. #785
    Quote Originally Posted by Unit2Sucks View Post
    They are and have been for a while. But they are also continuing to hire lobbyists to fight regulations and otherwise influence government interference in their primary business of turning fossil fuels into dollars. Right now the party in charge of Washington happens to enjoy catering to this special interest. The strategies aren't mutually exclusive.
    Knowing that they have for a while, it seems like they are still dragging their feet and in effect remaining an oil company, thus my point. They need to go with the flow (not that of oil as time goes by)

  6. #786
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post
    Having purchased three new homes in the last 20 years; all could have been built with solar in mind, but none were designed for simple, non-intrusive conversion to solar.
    In our San Diego county house the electrical sub-contractor wouldn't have been capable of an effective solar installation; he missed NECA codes as it was.

    The big problem with home solar is dumping it into the power grid, there are better workarounds now than 20 years ago. It has been far easier for utility management to avoid
    the issue with opposition than to find a solution. Imagine you were Mobil and a home owner reclaimed(provided) 20 quarts of motor oil from their vehicles each year and wanted to dump
    it into your tanks of MobilOne. Mobil would probably say Hell NO !, to avoid contamination of their motor oil. A stable electrical system is more important to our economy than clean motor oil and 'uncontrolled' external power generation can destabilize the grid.

    In any event, I imagine that West Coast states are in far better condition with current renewable energy generation than the rest of the country
    which has been (and will continue to be) heavily tied to coal fired power plants.
    FWIW, I seem to remember WifeIsAFurd reporting that lots of upscale developments in SoCal are going solar that is connected to batteries, not the grid.

  7. #787
    Looking at the history of 'power' sources, from the oldest to the youngest (infants)

    Wind power (sailing ships were replaced by wood/coal burning steam ships) though there were 'hybrids'
    Windmills were quite prominent in settling the West.

    Water power (mostly stationary uses, Sutter's mill was water powered)

    Fossil fuels
    Wood - a biomass renewable
    Coal -replaces wood, greater BTUs, easier to store, less space required
    Oil -easier to use to fire boilers, is easier on the equipment
    Natural Gas - probably the best choice due to reduced emissions and wear and tear on the physical plant
    Geothermal - not widely available and can be very caustic, corrosive of equipment.

    Nuclear - has been regressing for the last 30+ years, in need of major technology leaps

    Solar - there may be technology tweaks to improve efficiency of solar cells, but no order
    of magnitude leaps are possible. Cheaper to produce cells are likely, helping cost effectiveness.
    Development is probably comparable to the auto industry of the sixties (compared to today),
    the future will provide safer, perhaps smaller products, but no major power gains for the average customer.

    Fuel cells - stuck in the infant stage, hydrogen and oxygen too dangerous for consumer power generation.

    Of all the power sources in the list above, nuclear is the one in biggest need of technology advances.
    It remains in it's infancy with arrested development.
    Disposal (spent fuel) issues will stunt development for years.

    Fuel cells - has very limited advocacy even though with zero emissions (other than water)
    it should be environmentally friendly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rushinbear View Post
    ...

    Solar, wind and other "sustainable" power sources are still in their infancy (although with solar, late infancy) and still need considerable subsidies to get anyone to try them. We look forward to the day when all these new sources will get sorted out by trial and error and the marketplace. Until then, it will be "hit the ball and drag Fred" (for all those golfers out there). Wind probably won't make it; solar might not, either, in its current form (sorry), but seems to have a better chance.

    In the meantime, people will refine things and try different ones and bring them to the market. That's how it will go during the next 50 years. Maybe 40 or 60. 30 years would be nice. Sooner or later, something will come along that everyone can get behind, but we still don't know how much stored energy we have in the ground. So, predicting how long it will last is iffy.
    ...
    Last edited by sp4149; 07-17-2017 at 12:18 PM. Reason: formatting

  8. #788
    Quote Originally Posted by OdontoBear66 View Post
    Knowing that they have for a while, it seems like they are still dragging their feet and in effect remaining an oil company, thus my point. They need to go with the flow (not that of oil as time goes by)
    They are maximizing shareholder value. In the absence of regulation or jurisprudence requiring them to do otherwise, I'm not sure why these energy producers would behave differently. They are more or less continuing to operate in the ordinary course and using alternate energy as both a PR move and as a backstop in case their lobbying and regulatory fighting efforts fail. Make no mistake, they are still throwing lots of money at Washington to protect their entrenched interests and that is their primary business plan. Again, given the political climate in this country (and the success they've had funding the denialist movement) it's hard to argue that they are doing their shareholders a disservice in the medium term, at least with respect to return on their investments in these companies.
    Last edited by Unit2Sucks; 07-17-2017 at 12:47 PM.

  9. #789
    Quote Originally Posted by Unit2Sucks View Post
    They are and have been for a while. But they are also continuing to hire lobbyists to fight regulations and otherwise influence government interference in their primary business of turning fossil fuels into dollars. Right now the party in charge of Washington happens to enjoy catering to this special interest. The strategies aren't mutually exclusive.
    Even Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell are in favor of the Paris agreement and to the left of the Republican Party. Since they sell natural gas they also have a vested interest.

  10. #790
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post
    Looking at the history of 'power' sources, from the oldest to the youngest (infants)

    Wind power (sailing ships were replaced by wood/coal burning steam ships) though there were 'hybrids'
    Windmills were quite prominent in settling the West.

    Water power (mostly stationary uses, Sutter's mill was water powered)

    Fossil fuels
    Wood - a biomass renewable
    Coal -replaces wood, greater BTUs, easier to store, less space required
    Oil -easier to use to fire boilers, is easier on the equipment
    Natural Gas - probably the best choice due to reduced emissions and wear and tear on the physical plant
    Geothermal - not widely available and can be very caustic, corrosive of equipment.

    Nuclear - has been regressing for the last 30+ years, in need of major technology leaps

    Solar - there may be technology tweaks to improve efficiency of solar cells, but no order
    of magnitude leaps are possible. Cheaper to produce cells are likely, helping cost effectiveness.
    Development is probably comparable to the auto industry of the sixties (compared to today),
    the future will provide safer, perhaps smaller products, but no major power gains for the average customer.

    Fuel cells - stuck in the infant stage, hydrogen and oxygen too dangerous for consumer power generation.

    Of all the power sources in the list above, nuclear is the one in biggest need of technology advances.
    It remains in it's infancy with arrested development.
    Disposal (spent fuel) issues will stunt development for years.

    Fuel cells - has very limited advocacy even though with zero emissions (other than water)
    it should be environmentally friendly.
    All in all, not a bad summary with the following observations:

    Wind power - you knew I was talking about the modern ones, which are proving ineffective.
    Hydro - we're about as far as we can get with that.
    Geothermal - still potential for local use. I was prez of an hoa and we changed our pool heat to geo. Cheap and effective.
    Nuclear - still can't tell how much its decline is from tech vs opposition by enviro groups. Thought we could solve disposal.
    Fuel cells - interesting but how do you produce hydrogen cheaply and handle it in various apps.

    I've always wondered about putting gigantic solar panels in space with laser transmission to receivers on earth. Yeah, Buck Rogers, I know.

  11. #791
    Back in college I remember the discussions about orbiting power stations with immense solar panels,
    in fixed orbits sending power back to earth with microwave beams.
    Seems the continuing problem was objects, planes, birds, Rocky and Ironman inadvertently flying
    into the beam. Now there is so much space junk that maintenance and repairwould be another issue.

    AS far as wind power, it's at the end of it's life cycle of development, not it's infancy and it can't respond
    to need without expensive (currently) storage facilities. I drive bye the ones in Palm Springs frequently
    and they operate when their computer tells them the demand/price is high for their power. A few weeks back they
    were all running; I can't recall seeing that before in the last 20 years. Two weeks before on a similar windy day
    only about 10% were operating.

    I didn't mention tidal power because of the Coastal Commission.

    Geothermal in many locations is basically superheated sulfuric acid resulting in a much lower life expectancy
    (for heat exchangers) than was expected. Heat exchangers are also major weak point in co-generation plants.

    Production of hydrogen and oxygen from water is simple and could be done using off-peak surplus electric power.
    Storage of hydrogen is the major problem.
    The fuel cell would be an alternative to the battery to supply power to electric vehicles. Refueling the gas tanks
    would likely be much faster than recharging electric batteries and would weigh less.

    Nuclear opposition is also from the NIMBY middle class, SoCalEdison's San Onofre plant will cost billions and take
    decades to restore the property and dispose of radioactive waste. Their major overhaul of the plant was a major disaster
    when it's design flaws were too costly to correct. When you screw up that bad technically,
    you can't blame environmentalists. Of course having a Japanese designed overhaul wasn't helped by the Fukushima melt down
    after the earthquake and tidal wave.
    We can't even get help from the Russians, Chernobyl was in the Ukraine and they backed Hillary (as reported by Fox News)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rushinbear View Post
    All in all, not a bad summary with the following observations:

    Wind power - you knew I was talking about the modern ones, which are proving ineffective.
    Hydro - we're about as far as we can get with that.
    Geothermal - still potential for local use. I was prez of an hoa and we changed our pool heat to geo. Cheap and effective.
    Nuclear - still can't tell how much its decline is from tech vs opposition by enviro groups. Thought we could solve disposal.
    Fuel cells - interesting but how do you produce hydrogen cheaply and handle it in various apps.

    I've always wondered about putting gigantic solar panels in space with laser transmission to receivers on earth. Yeah, Buck Rogers, I know.
    Last edited by sp4149; 07-17-2017 at 03:32 PM.

  12. #792
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post
    Back in college I remember the discussions about orbiting power stations with immense solar panels,
    in fixed orbits sending power back to earth with microwave beams.
    Seems the continuing problem was objects, planes, birds, Rocky and Ironman inadvertently flying
    into the beam. Now there is so much space junk that maintenance and repairwould be another issue.

    AS far as wind power, it's at the end of it's life cycle of development, not it's infancy and it can't respond
    to need without expensive (currently) storage facilities. I drive bye the ones in Palm Springs frequently
    and they operate when their computer tells them the demand/price is high for their power. A few weeks back they
    were all running; I can't recall seeing that before in the last 20 years. Two weeks before on a similar windy day
    only about 10% were operating.

    I didn't mention tidal power because of the Coastal Commission.

    Geothermal in many locations is basically superheated sulfuric acid resulting in a much lower life expectancy
    (for heat exchangers) than was expected. Heat exchangers are also major weak point in co-generation plants.

    Production of hydrogen and oxygen from water is simple and could be done using off-peak surplus electric power.
    Storage of hydrogen is the major problem.
    The fuel cell would be an alternative to the battery to supply power to electric vehicles. Refueling the gas tanks
    would likely be much faster than recharging electric batteries and would weigh less.

    Nuclear opposition is also from the NIMBY middle class, SoCalEdison's San Onofre plant will cost billions and take
    decades to restore the property and dispose of radioactive waste. Their major overhaul of the plant was a major disaster
    when it's design flaws were too costly to correct. When you screw up that bad technically,
    you can't blame environmentalists. Of course having a Japanese designed overhaul wasn't helped by the Fukushima melt down
    after the earthquake and tidal wave.
    We can't even get help from the Russians, Chernobyl was in the Ukraine and they backed Hillary (as reported by Fox News)
    How can we agree on so much and still have policy differences?

    More Buck Rogers - make a standardized battery that is thin and wide for elec cars. You drive into an elec station, throw a lever and the empty batt drops down. Then, you're pulled 15 feet and a full batt is raised into place. You lock it up and go. Empty batt is moved to a charging rack along with the others that are charging/waiting.

    I say this, believing that elec cars may only be an interim measure, if at all, due to costs of generation/transmission, of car construction and of maintenance and decommissioning (let's say).

    I understand that nothing would get done without pressure, but we haven't been the low hanging fruit for 20 years. Let's pressure the big violators to get to where we are while we look for new techs. Then, we could collaborate. I'm not for coughing up carbon taxes that line the pockets of the elites while they do nothing but confront us to make them. THAT'S when bankruptcy starts.

  13. #793
    Quote Originally Posted by Unit2Sucks View Post
    They are and have been for a while. But they are also continuing to hire lobbyists to fight regulations and otherwise influence government interference in their primary business of turning fossil fuels into dollars. Right now the party in charge of Washington happens to enjoy catering to this special interest. The strategies aren't mutually exclusive.
    Not just the oil companies. Per the NYT last week, the power companies are lobbying many state legislatures to eliminate or reduce "net monitoring" (?)- which I understand to be the process whereby the power companies must debit against a customer's energy bill, the amount of energy the customer with solar panels sells back to the energy company. The power companies claim that this is done solely in order to be fair to the customers who don't have the money to fund installation of solar panels. However I understand that there are many solar companies which will provide that financing in return for payments from the customers based upon the savings on their energy bills.

    The result is that the power companies keep their monopoly on power generation and their reliance on fossil fuels.

  14. #794
    Quote Originally Posted by sp4149 View Post

    Solar - there may be technology tweaks to improve efficiency of solar cells, but no order
    of magnitude leaps are possible. Cheaper to produce cells are likely, helping cost effectiveness.
    Development is probably comparable to the auto industry of the sixties (compared to today),
    the future will provide safer, perhaps smaller products, but no major power gains for the average customer.

    .
    Several years ago I was in a alumni meeting with Dan Kammen one of the honcho's of Cal's Green energy project. He said that there was technology already in existence but not yet in large scale production that would allow production of solar power "film" as thick as 35 mm film which could be installed on roofs for roughly $1,000 to $2,000 for the average house. It would last roughly only about 1/3 the life of current solar panel but at a cost so low that replacement every 7-10 years would be cost effective alternatives to current solar panels.

  15. #795
    The transfer of lab technology to large scale production is not always as easy as hoped. Remember Solyndra, new solar technology to replace existing thin film solar cells? For an engineer the failure of Solyndra was very troubling as it seemed capable of cutting the cost of solar cells in half. However when Chinese solar cell providers cut raw materials cost almost 90%, they undercut domestic solar cell producers, stole the market with little penalty. AS a result, Solyndra large scale production was still born; it was no longer competitive when it completed a $700 million plant in Fremont. For some reason the US has been reluctant to protect home grown technology and the companies that could grow the market for US goods. Government loans are probably not as important as Government contracts to purchase from these companies even if the price is not competitive on the world market. Especially, as has been alleged many times, when foreign prices are manipulated through short term exchange rates set at artificially low prices to penalize US production.

    The Grump is threatening tariffs against Chinese products, solar cells are a likely target and in a trade war with the Chinese, cell prices could go up 100%, 200%, and more. An outcome that large scale energy producers would welcome as it would price many homeowners out of the investment. From a facility managers perspective, I would not install a roof mounted product that would have to be changed 3-4 times during the life of a roof. Many, if not most, new homes have 25 year roofs; which can fail early if there are repeated installations placed on the roof. However most solar installers seem incapable of anything other than a roof installation. The largest wall of my house (longest and two story) faces South with very little shade and as a result that wall absorbs a lot of heat and substantially increases the cooling load. Covering that wall with solar panels would not only generate electricity but also shade the wall and reduce the cooling load, a win-win solution, but the solar installers won't consider such a radical solution. Right now I'm entering year 19 of a 25 year roof. There have been no roof failures and the roof probably has another ten years of life expectancy as long as I keep workers off the roof. I am reluctant to install rooftop solar panels because it highly likely that I will have to remove and replace the roof and solar panels within just a few years if I install roof top solar panels now. The age of my roof is likely the reason several solar installers would not even give me a quote. Some of the bigger companies have a region wide database of home construction, plugged my address into their computer and said, "No".

    Quote Originally Posted by GivemTheAxe View Post
    Several years ago I was in a alumni meeting with Dan Kammen one of the honcho's of Cal's Green energy project. He said that there was technology already in existence but not yet in large scale production that would allow production of solar power "film" as thick as 35 mm film which could be installed on roofs for roughly $1,000 to $2,000 for the average house. It would last roughly only about 1/3 the life of current solar panel but at a cost so low that replacement every 7-10 years would be cost effective alternatives to current solar panels.



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