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Last weekend half of Germany was solar powered

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    This was (pathetically) symbolized the day that Reagan had the solar panels removed from the White House.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Not originally mine. I was summarizing the opinion of an article I read recently.
  3. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    We can do great things,but we usually pick the ones for bragging rights(go to the moon,police the world ect.) over solving practical problems, ours and the worlds.We much rather sit back and let asia and europe (mostly germany) clean out clocks when it comes to cars,tech, and now jumbo jets. Oh but we do export an huge load of Scrap metal.My we have come a long way.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hey, at least we recycle boat loads of cardboard packaging back to China for more stuff. Doesn't that give you a warm and fuzzy, ironic feeling?
  5. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Along with all the pests that hitch a ride along with the scrap.[​IMG]
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I've always used the grade of packing cardboard as an indication of the quallity and origin of the contents. The cardboard coming from China is usually inferior to domestic stuff.

    I like the idea of sending it back.
  7. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone.

    Yup, if they add 24 times the equipment they already have and a means of storage Germany will get there.
  8. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    The cost for 4% solar in Germany is about 100 billion euros capital cost, with subsidies adding another 100 billion over 20 years. To support Germany's current energy consumption would take 48 trillion, or approximately $750,000 UDS per every German in Germany.

    When we start seeing PV manufacturing plants actually powered by PV plants (and not just a stunt like the White House) we will have arrived. EROEI of common energy sources:
    [​IMG]
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Ok. There are a lot of different EROI numbers out there. I don't know the journal that is referenced for that chart.

    The chart is a bit hard to read at values near 1, but it looks like PV is 4-5.

    Typical PV EROI numbers I've seen have been more like 10, but even if its 5, what's the problem with that? Its probably about where leaves come in.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Why is it that in good ol' USA there is a compulsion to reduce everything to short-term ROI or profit and ignore everything else, such as social costs, environmental costs, health costs, infrastructure costs, subsidy costs, etc.? All of these other costs are real, and if they were added into the cost of coal-fired or other fossil fuel electric, I suspect we all would either be turning out the lights or installing PV without any subsidies or tax credits incentives.

    Germany has been a power house of innovation and technology for well over 100 years. By the early 1980's German citizens were recycling practically everything and proud of it. In USA most citizens were mocking recycling and throwing aluminum, glass, paper, and hazardous products either into landfills or the oceans because it was "cheap" ... and that still continues today. Same thing with electricity. Fossil fuel electric is "cheap" because its price does not include the myriad of costs that will be paid by a future generation, perhaps as soon as that of our children.

    The "threat" of PV to the fossil fuel electric industry is that once it is installed, it generates electricity for free: no more monthly bills to customers, no more rate increases, no more big profits to utilities and multi-million $ salaries to CEO's, no more holding the public hostage to brown-outs or lights-off.

    Kudos to Germany for investing in a future which is likely to be brighter, healthier, and safer than the path the USA fossil fuel electric profit-mongers have hood-winked many, but not all, of us into.
    Karl_northwind and midwestcoast like this.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    How long do those cells last? What is the long term maintenance cost of those units? How much damage is done making them? How much land is taken out of the Eco System to install them?

    I have yet to see anything that is truly free.

    Just sayin' .
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I agree EROI numbers are fuzzy. Oil changes from country to country, coal changes from mine to mine and even hydro can change (often due to regulation). We always use the easy stuff till we start to run out. I guess if we were to put wood on the chart it would be about 3x as long. Just the energy it takes to make steel would push coal down the list.

    I feel good about the math with solar at 5-10x EROI, but can't get a straight answer about the input of energy into the panels. Does that number include the manufacture of aluminum and mono-silicone, and the infrastructure to have that in place? I'd love (and I mean LOVE) to have my own panels with no meter on my house but I'm a long way from that.
  13. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Guilt isn't going to keep the lights on. Germany has no oil, doesn't want nukes and has no other choice than to try something else. They have very little option if the spigot gets turned off and other countries keep their oil/electricity for themselves. They currently import 2/3 of their energy used, and energy production for Germany has been on the decline since 2004.
  14. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    The fact is that Germany were 50% self sufficient in green electricity over one weekend.

    All the factories are closed over the weekend, and they have spent a fortune to achieve this.

    The greenies in the EU don't mention this unfortunate fact............;)
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The fact is that they produced 22 gigawatts of power from NOON FRIDAY to noon Saturday. We have no idea how many factories were or not running during this period, though I suspect many run round the clock. You don't shut down chemical plants with a single switch.

    Regardless, it is an exceptional and unparalleled accomplishment.

    "German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said ... 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."
  16. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I read that quote differently, that the instantaneous power near noon was 22 GW on those two days, not a sustained power from noon to noon (how would that be possible?). Or perhaps I am misreading you...
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Not arguing, but WE have spent a fortune overseas to protect oil that is just going to get burnt up. If we are gonna spend it, spend it here with a return for the foreseeable future. We subsidize tons of energy, so if we are gonna do it, why not spend it on renewable?

    (I realize that the article is about Germany, but the argument against subsidization is boarder-less). If you are gonna do it (and we are) do it for the good....

    It truly baffles me why we don't take every available opportunity to ween ourselves off of imported energy.
    firebroad likes this.
  18. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Because you can't sell sunlight, but you can sell treasury bonds.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Right, not possible at night.More correctly, it says through the mid-day hours. The point being it included Friday, a work day.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Exactly. We have a fortune invested in our grid power too. So? Power infrastructure costs a lot. Is that news?
  21. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    You know what they say ? It only cost a dollar more to go first class.
  22. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    There's really no good excuse for not moving to renewable energy in this country. Have you all seen this recent report from the National Renewable Energy Lab:

    http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

    The key finding in the report..."Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country."
    semipro likes this.
  23. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    There is a really really good reason not to do it. It costs more. As it gets cheaper we'll see more of it, but the same claim of solar+wind were made back in the 1970s. Are the claims of grid parity real this time, or are we faking the stats again? Solar/wind are probably 10x cheaper now vs 40 years ago, and still NH imports coal to burn in Bow NH. I'm not doubting the concept or the advantages, just the claims about costs. 50% for one day in Germany is still only 4% of their energy needs after a ton of money. If you're good with the subsidies over 80% of a solar plant's capital costs can be thrown on the backs of the taxpayer, the rest coming from "investors" who get a tax shelter and a green star for their "green" portfolio. Get rid of the subsidies and the whole industry collapses. That's not economically sustainable.

    I have faith there's going to be a breakthrough in the next 10 years that will combing some clever doping of silicone and manufacturing techniques that will shrink costs by another factor of 10. When we start seeing the hippies picketing the desert because a power company wants to blanket a canyon with enough solar panels to power New England I'll know it's really here.
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/03/30/45184.htm
    Maybe sooner than I thought!
  24. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Jebatty said PV would mean no more monthly bills to costumers, but I 've read somewhere that at least in NY, legislation was slipped in to allow companies ( NYSEG eg.) to bill property owners a service charge whether off grid or not or even on vacant land if there is or ever was an easement or right of way. I don't believe they're acting on this but holding it as a trump card. Has anyone heard of this? I can't give a source off hand.

    Ehouse
  25. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    After searching for a source, I can only find " pay whether you use it or not" billing referenced for Australia.

    Ehouse

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