EIA: Renewable generation beats nuclear for two consecutive month

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georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
878
A study that says you can get the US to 39% electricity based on solar if you install on EVERY suitable household roof is of what value? The economics of that are staggering.
This is not even the start of a plan, this is a study.

It is a measure of potential..
 

sportbikerider78

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2014
2,493
Saratoga, NY
It's certainly not the idiotic idea to subsidize coal and nuclear.

How these people can claim to not be in the back pockets of special interests is beyond me. I guess voters are just so stupid this is what passes for good planning. ;hm

100% in agreement. Pull all subsidy on everything. It eliminates corruption and no one gets paid off.

Both sides have a TON of mud on their face. The companies play both sides for special favors. Make them wear jerseys!
polls_article_political_nascar_1_thumb_5816_70093_poll_xlarge.jpe

https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?ind=E01&cycle=2016&recipdetail=P&mem=N&sortorder=U


2016 numbers
Presidential campaign contributors from oil and gas companies.
1 Trump, Donald (R) $910,823
2 Clinton, Hillary (D) $868,340
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
824
NY
A study that says you can get the US to 39% electricity based on solar if you install on EVERY suitable household roof is of what value? The economics of that are staggering.
This is not even the start of a plan, this is a study.
I believe the Germans are currently implementing that exact strategy. Guess who is paying for it also? There's a lot to be learned by Europe in turning off large portions of base load generation. Market instability and grid reliability really get challenged.
 

vinny11950

Minister of Fire
May 17, 2010
1,732
Eastern Long Island, NY
Subsidies are not all bad. Most help get us get to a desired goal that has a common good. However much we argue about our energy needs and subsidies and policies, let's not lose sight of the fact that we have copious amounts of energy on demand, while a lot people in other parts of the world maybe get a couple of light bulbs working for a couple of hours a day. Our system has worked to get us this luxury of abundant power.

What we are discussing now is how we make it better by making it more reliable, cheaper and cleaner. I say the government should continue to invest in better and smarter grids, RE projects, nuclear projects (security reasons) and whatever else gets us to cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,404
SE PA
A study that says you can get the US to 39% electricity based on solar if you install on EVERY suitable household roof is of what value? The economics of that are staggering.
This is not even the start of a plan, this is a study.

More to the point, there is enough free land available to meet US primary energy needs with solar many times over. It already appears unlikely that rooftops will be the lowest cost way to do that. Utility solar is already cheap, at or below parity in many states. We're just waiting for cheap grid storage, whose price, like PV is also falling exponentially. Current projections (paid for by EV development budgets) suggest that grid storage will also be cheap before solar gets to 10-20% energy on a national basis, i.e. when it will be needed.
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,404
SE PA
I believe the Germans are currently implementing that exact strategy. Guess who is paying for it also? There's a lot to be learned by Europe in turning off large portions of base load generation. Market instability and grid reliability really get challenged.

I think we are equally critical of the German model. Very rich subsidies are a great way to rapidly grow from squat, but hit a wall when the budget runs out. The US model of (comparatively very stingy) incentives has lead to a later start and slower PV growth (despite a much better solar resource) but is budget sustainable (and being phased out). The poorer incentive however, means that we can grow to greater penetration, and ultimately have a bigger impact. HI and CA already have higher PV energy penetration than Germany....and are still growing, while Germany has flatlined.
 

georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
878
I believe the Germans are currently implementing that exact strategy. Guess who is paying for it also? There's a lot to be learned by Europe in turning off large portions of base load generation. Market instability and grid reliability really get challenged.

There is always Paris... France has ~77% nuclear grid power, and wheels some to Germany every night
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,473
South Puget Sound, WA
There is always Paris... France has ~77% nuclear grid power, and wheels some to Germany every night
France's (and every other country's) dirty not-so-secret problem is nuclear waste storage. It's a 100,000yr issue using 40yr solutions right now. The UK has an even larger stockpile of nuclear waste in seriously aging infrastructure.
http://www.politico.eu/article/euro...ispose-nuclear-waste-french-nuclear-facility/
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/inside-sellafield-nuclear-waste-decommissioning
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
Subsidies are not all bad. Most help get us get to a desired goal that has a common good.

I agree. Subsidies are a tool to encourage desirable technologies and jump-start new industries.

The program that provided low interest loans to Solyndra was (and is) a huge success story. Solyndra was one prospect that didn't work out (out of many that did). It was demonized only because the program accelerates cleaner technologies and threatens petroleum interests. Being critical of the entire low interest loan program would be like identifying one home mortgage loan that lost money and using that as an example of why banks should not engage in mortgage loans!

It makes no sense as the program overall was (and is) a raging success with tremendous benefits to the Federal Budget. That is a fact the oil/gas interests never mention when they demonize one notable loser.

These kinds of programs are one thing that separate developed nations from undeveloped, third-world nations.
 
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WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
HI and CA already have higher PV energy penetration than Germany....and are still growing, while Germany has flatlined.

Germany gets 85% of it's electricity from renewables, HI and CA are not even close. Germany doesn't have as favorable location for photovoltaics as either HI or CA so they have focused their renewables on other forms. Makes complete sense. The explanation that German photovoltaic was "over-subsidized" doesn't have any merit.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,404
SE PA
Germany gets 85% of it's electricity from renewables, HI and CA are not even close. Germany doesn't have as favorable location for photovoltaics as either HI or CA so they have focused their renewables on other forms. Makes complete sense. The explanation that German photovoltaic was "over-subsidized" doesn't have any merit.

Um, no.

Only 30% of German electricity comes from renewables (including 6% solar energy), 70% from fossils or nukes. About 40% in 2016 came from hard and soft (lignite) coal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Germany#/media/File:Power-generation-germany_2016.png

Their carbon intensity for electricity was about 560 g CO2/ kWh, in 2016, not too bad.

Many US states, like California and NY, have greener electricity:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-CO2-is-produced-per-KWH-of-electricity

CA is at 300 g CO2/kWh
NY is at 410 g CO2/kWh
TX is at 540 g CO2/kWh (as green as Germany)

CA source breakdown is here: http://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/total_system_power.html

CA in 2016 is at 40% renewable (with hydro), with solar at 10% annual energy production (not capacity fraction) and growing fast.

Note that the combined size of the CA and NY economies is about the same as Germany. And they got there with a lot of help with cheap natural gas (that Germany does not have access to) and better renewable resources and a lot LESS expensive incentives.

Lastly, Solar WAS a large part of the German energy revolution plan, simply b/c there is not enough room for enough wind to get to 100% renewable electricity (let alone 100% renewable primary energy), which was the stated goal. They were well aware that b/c of the poor solar resource, they would need to install and pay 2-3X as much for a kWh than folks in the US or Spain. They proceeded anyway, with production credits that were $0.50-0.75 per kWh, well above retail rates (and 20X the wind production credit in the US). Waves of PV were installed 2010-2013, when PV was far more expensive than today.

But the rich production credit broke the budget, the incentives were scaled back (sometimes breaking contracts with folks that had installed PV earlier), and the rate of new installations has fallen to a low level, despite PV hardware prices collapsing.

A nice graph can be found at:

https://www.energy-charts.de/power_inst.htm?year=all&period=annual&type=inc_dec
 
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WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
Um, no.

Only 30% of German electricity comes from renewables (including 6% solar energy), 70% from fossils or nukes. About 40% in 2016 came from hard and soft (lignite) coal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Germany#/media/File:Power-generation-germany_2016.png

You know what they say about statistics. And it's never wise to cite an actively disputed Wiki article to try to prove your point.

Your claim was that German solar subsidies were based on a flawed model (overly generous) and that the solar subsidies in the US were somehow better because they were smaller and therefore more sustainable. The evidence cited to make this point was that Germany was rapidly reducing future subsidies. But the fact is that German solar production has reached it's practical limit (without adding massive battery storage). The reduction in subsidies is due to the overwhelming success of the program, not a flaw.

A study by SEIA sums up this point nicely:

Finally, the reform efforts of the solar PV and renewable support programs in Germany should not be interpreted as an acknowledgment of a broad failure of the Germany system of FITs (feed-in tariffs). Rather, while the reforms are indeed an effort to improve the design of the FIT system, for example by introducing more rapid adjustments of FITs to observed deviations of actual from desired installation levels, they are also a sign of the solar PV sector maturing. Germany is unique among OECD countries in having managed to significantly increase the share of renewables in its electricity mix – by now a power generation share of some 25% has been reached. There is broad political support for a continued aggressive move towards an essentially carbon-free sector by 2050 with a renewables share above 50% by 2030. Therefore, after the market introduction phase, Germany is entering the market penetration phase of its renewables deployment, shifting from a primary goal of supporting the early technological development with an emphasis on affecting cost reductions through scaling and learning to a phase of developing complementary technologies and market mechanisms that make a future electricity system powered essentially by renewable technologies alone feasible.

The entire goal of the subsidy program was to encourage faster adoption of solar. It was a raging success. Using sunny Texas and Hawaii to say it was a comparative failure is disingenuous. Despite the less than ideal solar potential of Germany (due to climate), they have managed to transform their national energy grid at a rate that puts the US (with it's much higher solar potential) to shame. And with the urgency of tackling the biggest threat facing humanity today being highlighted by current droughts and floods, which will only become more common and more damaging, Germany should be applauded for their rapid adoption of solar and other renewables. This benefits us all, not only through reduced emissions but also due to the fact that the demand for photovoltaics in Germany is a primary driver of the rapidly dropping price per installed kW we have witnessed over the last decade.

But, yes, big oil interests will try to make this sound like a failure to dissuade other countries from achieving similar or greater success. Because solar is a very real threat to their profits.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
824
NY
I am less familiar with how France and Germany are dealing with used nuclear fuel than the US. If it's similar/same to the US then it's actually a robust storage system and I have very little long term concerns with.
The truth is the government has failed to come through on providing a centralized storage facility. In return, utilities have developed their own storage on site. They design is certainly designed as a long term permanent solution.

Regarding current subsidies for nuclear, certain states recognize the important role nuclear has on carbon free generation and meeting future goals. Without them the current growth and offset carbon by solar and wind would be completely off set. Depending the state and amount of nuclear generation the offset could take the better part of 3 decades to match the current carbon free generation. NY is smart enough to recognize this and has created the ZEC program. Part of the financial challenge nuclear faces is the market and poor infrastructure. Not all plants in NY earn full potential due to grid congestion.

If our goal is to reduce our carbon generation then nuclear deserves a place in that picture. If our goal is to move renewable dominate generation then you can argue maybe nuclear doesn't belong but I still believe it palys a key roll in getting to either end goal.
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
If it's similar/same to the US then it's actually a robust storage system and I have very little long term concerns with.

I suppose that depends upon your definition of "long-term".

The truth is the government has failed to come through on providing a centralized storage facility. In return, utilities have developed their own storage on site. They design is certainly designed as a long term permanent solution.

Well, which is it? Long-term or "permanent"?

Because the consequences are too great to use fuzzy thinking here.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,473
South Puget Sound, WA
If it's similar/same to the US then it's actually a robust storage system and I have very little long term concerns with.
Not always so. Look at the mess at Hanford in WA state. Leaks and explosions have plagued many storage facilities around the globe.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
824
NY
I suppose that depends upon your definition of "long-term".



Well, which is it? Long-term or "permanent"?

Because the consequences are too great to use fuzzy thinking here.
You bring up a good point. Let me put it this way, it won't need anything other than security surveillance for multiple generations. Yeah, not exactly a clarification is it. If you are looking for an exact number for design life, I cannot provide that. I can assure you that there will be far greater environmental impacts due to leaking fly ash ponds and contamination from PV panels, and more deaths from fossil fuel pollution, than spent fuel in the US.
 

vinny11950

Minister of Fire
May 17, 2010
1,732
Eastern Long Island, NY
Heard some one say nuclear storage is a 40 year solution to a 500 year problem.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
824
NY
Not always so. Look at the mess at Hanford in WA state. Leaks and explosions have plagued many storage facilities around the globe.
Hanford was a weapons facility. Not commercial power generation. There is a distinct difference. Might not be apparent to the average person but they play by a different set of rules.
Heard some one say nuclear storage is a 40 year solution to a 500 year problem.
IAE has a document about long term storage. The licence for storage is generally 40-50 years but can be extended later granted all regulations are met. Don't mistake the license to mean that is the designed life of the storage container. It's far greater than that.
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
I can assure you that there will be far greater environmental impacts due to leaking fly ash ponds and contamination from PV panels, and more deaths from fossil fuel pollution, than spent fuel in the US.

Contamination from PV panels? :rolleyes:

I can assure you that normal household waste is more toxic than PV panels. But, when PV panels useful life comes to an end, after 30-60 years of valuable service, they will be too valuable to put in a landfill. Instead, they will be mined for their semiconductor content and recycled for their glass content.

How come nobody thought the toxicity of TV's were an impediment to their widespread adoption? Of course TV's didn't threaten the profits of big oil interests.
 
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WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
IAE has a document about long term storage. The licence for storage is generally 40-50 years but can be extended later granted all regulations are met. Don't mistake the license to mean that is the designed life of the storage container. It's far greater than that.

Is 40-50 years supposed to represent a long time?

To my way of thinking, that is just a flash of a moment. Radioactive waste would agree.
 

Marshy

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2016
824
NY
Contamination from PV panels? :rolleyes:

I can assure you that normal household waste is more toxic than PV panels. But, when PV panels useful life comes to an end, after 30-60 years of valuable service, they will be too valuable to put in a landfill. Instead, they will be mined for their semiconductor content and recycled for their glass content.

How come nobody thought the toxicity of TV's were an impediment to their widespread adoption? Of course TV's didn't threaten the profits of big oil interests.
I can assure you that the largest contamination of heavy metals in landfills today are from E waste (electronics). When your panels burn out where do you think they will go? The same spot all the rest of semiconductors are headed.

Initially I was talking mining contamination but some of the same argument can be made about the mining of uranium however, there is a significant difference in the two. PV panels use large quantities of toxic chemicals and have a carbon footprint to manufacture.
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
I can assure you that the largest contamination of heavy metals in landfills today are from E waste (electronics). When your panels burn out where do you think they will go? The same spot all the rest of semiconductors are headed.

They will be recycled at a profit.

Initially I was talking mining contamination but some of the same argument can be made about the mining of uranium however, there is a significant difference in the two. PV panels use large quantities of toxic chemicals and have a carbon footprint to manufacture.

Well the manufacture of televisions uses large quantities of toxic chemicals and has a carbon footprint too. But a TV just keeps drawing electricity over it's useful life while a solar panel PRODUCES electricity, far more than is necessary to offset it's carbon footprint.

I'm sorry but your arguments are not convincing.
 

georgepds

Minister of Fire
Nov 25, 2012
878
Contamination from pv panels..???

How can you compare this to radioactive waste which takes a 100,000 years to degrade, and is toxic in microscopic amounts?

Something biblical comes to mind, involving beams in your own eye

Talk about invented problem s
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,404
SE PA
You know what they say about statistics. And it's never wise to cite an actively disputed Wiki article to try to prove your point.

Your claim was that German solar subsidies were based on a flawed model (overly generous) and that the solar subsidies in the US were somehow better because they were smaller and therefore more sustainable. The evidence cited to make this point was that Germany was rapidly reducing future subsidies. But the fact is that German solar production has reached it's practical limit (without adding massive battery storage). The reduction in subsidies is due to the overwhelming success of the program, not a flaw.

.....

But, yes, big oil interests will try to make this sound like a failure to dissuade other countries from achieving similar or greater success. Because solar is a very real threat to their profits.

Thanks for pointing out my inadvertent shilling for Big Oil. ;em

You asserted that German electricity was 85% renewable, and waaaay more renewable than HI or CA, without any citations or sources.

I pointed out that Germany electricity was 30% renewable, a lower renewable fraction than CA (40%), and provided a source (wikipedia).

I'm so confused....which is it? 30% (me) or 85% (you)?

Here is another couple links, if you don't like wikipedia...

Fraunhofer: https://www.energy-charts.de/energy_pie.htm?year=2016
33% renewable electrical energy in 2016 (and 41% coal).

Cleantechnica: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/07/04/germany-generated-35-electricity-renewables-first-half-2017/
35% renewable electrical energy in 2017H1.

I have now provided three sources that agree, do you have any sources for your 85% figure?

And again, several large US states (comparable in GDP and population to Germany) have managed to reach higher renewable fraction and or cleaner electricity without German style subsidies, and CA is growing their renewable share rapidly.
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,404
SE PA
Your claim was that German solar subsidies were based on a flawed model (overly generous) and that the solar subsidies in the US were somehow better because they were smaller and therefore more sustainable. The evidence cited to make this point was that Germany was rapidly reducing future subsidies. But the fact is that German solar production has reached it's practical limit (without adding massive battery storage). The reduction in subsidies is due to the overwhelming success of the program, not a flaw.

I don't think I ever said the US model was better, I certainly said is was slower. Just pointing out that the US is making great progress in renewable energy despite not having German-style subsidies, and that we might (ironically?) also be passing them (Germany/EU/etc) on the way to greener and more renewable electricity.

I asserted that this largely was due to a combination of higher natural gas fraction (damned frackers), better renewable resources (damned climate), and lower cost of solar at this time.

And provided data/sources.

What about the above do you disagree with? Why?

I guess I find it tiresome when someone says the US just has to do its policy the way some other country does it. Maybe. Maybe not. That is not the way we do any other policy decisions...each country is a different context. We do plenty of things stupidly and plenty of things well. On the particular point of reducing gCO2/kWh of the grid the US is not doing as poorly as one might think.

Was it free? Nope. About $100B in fracker junk bonds went belly up last year, and that was deducted from the accounts of actual investors. Their $100B investment has given TX and NY and CA greener grids than Germany. Did Germany spend $100B on solar and wind to achieve the same goal, or less? I don't know...but its different.
 
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