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Author Topic: cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology  (Read 557 times)
rcjordan
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« on: October 20, 2017, 08:18:22 PM »

https://thinkprogress.org/stunner-lowest-price-solar-power-f3b620d04010/

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littleman
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 08:24:07 PM »

$0.03/kWh  Wow!

I've read that coal is between 7 & 14 cents per KWh, not including the secondary costs.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 09:04:07 PM »

The Saudis will soon be pumping sunlight.

AND there's a pretty good swathe of earth that gets strong sun, too.  On top of that, PV efficiency rates still kinda suck. With a breakthrough or two, it could really get cheap.
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littleman
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 09:07:51 PM »

>it could really get cheap.

It looks like we are talking about a near free energy future.
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grnidone
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 11:18:38 PM »

>a near free energy future.

And you know how many people will pay to prevent that from happening? 
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ergophobe
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 02:09:07 AM »

The Saudis will soon be pumping sunlight.

Check out: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/urban-expeditions/green-buildings/dubai-ecological-footprint-sustainable-urban-city/

We get the print version, but I think this is the same or similar article
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ergophobe
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 02:10:13 AM »

near free energy future.

Which always makes me feel compelled to post this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Too_cheap_to_meter

Could be true this time though
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rcjordan
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 02:46:00 AM »

>meter

As long as the utility companies have to maintain the physical infrastructure, I don't see grid-tied electricity getting much cheaper. BUT, I do think that non-grid DIY generation will get cheap enough (and easy to manage & maintain) that it will become a big part of the total power supply.  You're going to see dual-source homes and buildings where they buy some 'convenience' power but heavy loads like HVAC & water heaters will be on stand-alone solar systems. 
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rcjordan
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2017, 03:57:45 PM »

related:

The US government keeps spectacularly underestimating solar energy installation

https://qz.com/1103874/the-us-government-underestimated-solar-energy-installation-in-the-us-by-4813-along-with-renewable-wind-and-solar-generation/
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littleman
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 01:04:45 AM »

Quote
whopping 4,813% more in 2016 than the EIA had predicted in 2006 it would be.
...
The EIA regularly underestimates the growth in renewables but overestimates US fossil-fuel consumption, which some critics see as an attempt to boost the oil and gas industry.

That all speaks volumes.  So many people betting on a dead horse named Coal.
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ergophobe
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 02:24:28 AM »

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You're going to see dual-source homes and buildings where they buy some 'convenience' power

Which means that the cost per KWh of maintaining the grid will get sky high.

This used to be an issue for our small utility district. Few people using water and many of those were second home owners who used tiny amounts, which meant that it was hard to meet costs based on usage fees. So we were better off if people had leaky pipes, old toilets and ran the water when they brushed their teeth.

Then you reach a point where you are hit with the other side of the equation where you're near capacity and if you don't get people to conserve, you'll have to build more capacity, and that's really expensive.

Anyway, the electric utilities have typically had problem #2. But as solar panels and batteries get cheap, they're going to have problem #1, which means that per KWh rates will go up for using the grid as they go down for producing energy. That may balance, but if it doesn't, it's going to be brutal on the people cannot install solar.

Some people describe net metering as being yet another subsidy for the wealthy along with the mortgage tax deduction (96% of the MTD benefit goes to the wealthiest 20% of Americans) and who knows what else.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 02:30:40 AM by ergophobe » Logged
rcjordan
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2017, 03:45:07 AM »

>Which means that the cost per KWh of maintaining the grid will get sky high.

Yeah.  There are several factors complicating the issue, too. {1} Public power companies are state-regulated monopolies that are usually guaranteed an annual rate of return for their stockholders. They don't react to the usual market forces very well. {2} Their infrastructure development and maintenance costs are calculated based upon being required, in return for their protected status, to provide full power.

> people cannot install solar

I don't see how city-dwelling consumers will end up benefiting from lower production cost. Nor the very poor, anywhere.  
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ergophobe
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2017, 02:41:15 PM »

> people cannot install solar

I don't see how city-dwelling consumers will end up benefiting from lower production cost. Nor the very poor, anywhere.  

If everyone is on grid-sourced solar, the benefits are shared. I was responding to your "dual source" comment, which cuts out everyone who doesn't own a home with a large roof - so almost everyone in the city, everyone who rents, etc.

All of this is great, but just think people need to keep our eyes on unintended consequences. Littleman recently brought my attention to this
http://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank

Notice that solar farms rank higher than rooftop solar. It strikes me just now that the emphasis on rooftop solar today compared with the emphasis on nuclear in the 1950s mirrors so many other changes in our society. Nuclear was a giant, industrial project that shared benefits broadly across society with the goal of brings all Americans to the mountain top, whereas rooftop solar is a decentralized solution where the largest part of the benefits accrue to a relatively small number of people at the top of the social ladder.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying nuclear is a better option and I have little nostalgia for the 1950s. I do think it's interesting how different this second energy revolution is.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 02:49:01 PM by ergophobe » Logged
rcjordan
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2017, 04:09:34 PM »

We're just on different parts of the same page.

>If everyone is on grid-sourced solar, the benefits are shared.

The benefit to all will be reduced carbon or nuclear generation, no matter who produces it.  I don't think cost reductions will ever come to the grid-tied consumer, as the infrastructure will always be a hefty chunk of the overall costs.  Add oligarchy, governments, lobbyists, stockholders, etc. and there's not any place for end-user price rollbacks. We'd need some sort of new (wireless??) power-distribution tech to disrupt the entire supply eco-system.

But, things change if you have or can acquire access to sunlight, locally or remotely.  Currently, a Lowes or other big box store with 2 acres of roof has grid power and a huge kw backup generator out in the rear alley.  Soon, if not already, they will want to put a pv array on that roof and go grid-tied.  But, as soon as they start looking at grid-tied, they're going to run into rules & regs protecting the grid. (Remember the post about solar panels in Florida?)  Jump a couple of years ahead to get past the bleeding-edge costs and someone will be developing 10-ton (120k BTU/hr) commercial, stand-alone, HVAC roof packs. Every big box can use 10 tons of HVAC and they've just cut out the middlemen while shaving their base load.
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ergophobe
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2017, 10:18:51 PM »

We're just on different parts of the same page.

I thought we were on the same part of the same page actually. I was just trying to be a bit more clear. So much for that HHH!
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