Comments on: Renewables roll-out needs price guarantees Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Matt T Tue, 19 May 2009 14:30:17 +0000 Another of many ‘simple’ fixes: 09/05/18/techs-little-green-secret/#comm ent-14868

By: Anja Atkinson Tue, 19 May 2009 02:38:04 +0000 Hi, I didn’t want my comment submitted as it was, but I hit the submit accidently. Can you simply delete the comment as I wasn’t finished editing and saying all that I wanted to.

Thanks very much
Anja Atkinson

By: Anja Atkinson Tue, 19 May 2009 02:28:50 +0000 I really enjoyed your article John. It was great to read something that actually explains what FIT’s are, and clarifies the government policy differences for renewable energy promotion around the world. I also enjoyed Richard’s comments as they raise a very important point about solar production, as in crystalline silicon harvesting and processing. I just wanted to add that there is a lot of R&D going into solar presently and I would direct anyone interested in what to watch, to Zenith Solar in Israel. The CSP tech, or concentrated solar power, they are using is blowing everything else solar out of the water and without government subsidies. Cost parity, and energy efficiency way above what we have so far with solar, at a fraction of the cost. Rather than describe this in a limited space, it would be more effective to simply check them out online, for those interested. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water on solar. Thanks again for the great article.

By: The Bell Sat, 16 May 2009 08:32:28 +0000 Price guarantees as they stand may be the single largest root cause of the notable deficit in innovation which continues to plague western nations’ energy policies.

The dominant supply oligarchy continually seeks guarantees that they will make absurd amounts of money purveying power generated and distributed via the most bizarre array of Jurassic-grade technology imaginable, with absolutely zero incentive to honestly innovate.

There is something inherently Third-World about the way the West’s energy experts conduct their business in general. Actually, that’s doing the Third World an injustice. The system here is really no more evolved than any other Jurassic beast.

There should be no guarantee that dinosaurs of industry continue to roam and roast the earth. Darwinism is the rule, and the energy sector should be no exception.

“Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge” – Poor Richard, (Illustrated)

It can’t be lack of knowledge that plagues proponents of nuclear power – because it would be really hard not to know that the problems the nuclear industry causes are beyond monetary calculus in terms of their magnitude and devastation potential. Therefore, it appears they simply must not care.

No nuclear power plant runs at a profit. Period. No nuclear power plant has ever been sustained or decommissioned out of its own budget. Period. There is no net benefit in nuclear energy the way it is presently organized. Period.

With DoE sitting on triple-digit millions of tons of Depleted Uranium, a hideously noxious substance with a half-life longer than the life-span of our solar system, and nowhere to dump it once our planet’s supplies of innocent women and children as well as archaeological treasure troves have been destroyed under tonnage of the stuff dropped there in wars instigated (prolonged and profiteered from) by the very same people who manufacture and peddle nuclear technology – it would be fair to say that nuclear energy creates more problems than it solves, and has nothing to recommend it whatsoever in either the cost OR integrity departments.

If (to some) the only alternative to nuclear wallow-cost appears to be fossil-fuel burning, then only because there is (by such individuals) no energy being put into really examining how people distant from the dubious benefits of energy oligarchy manage to survive at all – yet somehow they do. Lessons to be learned? Yes, indeed. Discussed in the above article? Nope.

Actually, price guarantees do provide Sons Of Enron with one incentive: namely, the incentive to stretch for as long as humanly possible (and longer than humanly tolerable) their tabloid-level diatribe against renewability and devolution in energy production and supply. Meanwhile, they want paid and that’s all they really care about.

With energy providers like these, who needs Dark Ages?

By: Mark L. Fri, 15 May 2009 06:08:13 +0000 Here in the desert, the power company has invested in solar but in spite of an abundant supply of sun, it’s growth will always be limited. The most obvious limitation is that it doesn’t produce electricity in the dark – when everyone will be charging their electric/hybrid cars and running the A/C. The next is, that it is the desert for a reason – lack of water. All large capacity generation requires a great deal of water to turn the turbines. The most recent and somewhat surprising obstacle is the Environmental lobby itself. Finding land that doesn’t impact some endangered animal or isn’t Federally owned is difficult. And private land is leased at a premium.

Practicality and wisdom seems to be the first victims of those pressuring for green power transitions. Whatever method(s) is finally agreed upon, the technology does not yet meet the vision requirements without penalizing those that can provide more power for less cost and in the end, the consumer. Simply put, there is no regulation that doesn’t cost the consumer to whom all costs are passed on.

Finally, many naive people are striving like never before to discover the “holy grail” of power generation thinking they will get rich with their invention or innovation. Unfortunately, you can be sure it will go the way of GM and be taken control of by this administration. After all, “it wouldn’t be right for a few to profit from the many.” Let’s hope they all keep that in mind.

By: David Seymour Thu, 14 May 2009 21:22:36 +0000 What will governments do if they lose the tax revenues from so many people generating their own electricity or people feeding extra capacity into the grid for which they will be paid? Do you think EDF or Centrica are going to say, fine ladies and gentlemen, what a great idea. This is why governments nor big industry will ever truly back eco-friendly power generation in a distributed model, whatever their platitudes and fine words for political consumption. Why have tax on any of the products used to generate energy via solar, wind, etc? The loss of revenue would be just too much to absorb. Hence be cynical my fellow readers or if you prefer, just be plain skeptical about governments and power generation companies.

By: Matt T Thu, 14 May 2009 15:12:28 +0000 Thanks LPF. I am no expert, but having worked on mechanical objects for many years one truism usually holds: simple engineering goes a long way in complex systems. Richard’s rigid thinking is why discussions on renewables continue to be taken off topic. There is no single answer. The solution will be multi-prong on both engineering and policy.

By: Don Thu, 14 May 2009 15:03:18 +0000 Personally I think the “problem” isn’t lack of money but lack of precedence. It’s a new industry without and adequate framework for municipalities to approve permits. Photo-voltaics and wind-turbines for instance can contribute to decentralized power generation. But the safety industry is largely self-regulating. People are reluctant to embrace technologies for which they have little or no experience.

It is expensive, time-consuming and always a little bit risky for experts to get into a new area of development. If you were involved in codes for fuel cells, who is responsible if the practices resulting from those codes lead to accidents? How about if a strong gust of wind comes along and blows those panels away resulting in destruction of property or injury? We need to know how the panels should be mounted, what types of foundation are acceptable, the solar-tracking capabilities that still work if there is a build-up of snow, ice or sand.

So right now we are very much at the conceptual stage. The only area were we are making reasonable progress by nature of the products is in building upgrades and automation. Even in a house we don’t need windows that open if there are redundant mechanical ventilation systems and specially designed air ducts. We can cut heat loss by a third in the winter. That’s a lot of energy for a home wind turbine to produce.

By: Benny Acosta Thu, 14 May 2009 14:37:37 +0000 Here’s an idea. Maybe those companies and government agencies involved in getting our green infrastructure in place should simply focus on getting it done at cost. If the focus is getting the green infrastructure in place then profit should not be considered. If everyone is focused on getting it done instead of profit, the contributions of those most able can be brought to bear with ease.

Supposedly government and business care about the future of this country. Pay attention to what the “problems” are. Most, if not all, can be traced back to someone wanting money. No money, no public good. And the flow of this needed money is controlled by a few people who want to make sure their interests are maintained.

That is to say. The problems concerning getting the green movement going revolve around maintaining a system of control that keeps the powers that be at the center, either by finance or direct control of resources.

Look at the big picture. I’m sure that to some I must sound ridiculous. But in order for the public to truly benefit, from this movement, it must be started with the common citizen in mind.

If the money problem is solved. This green problem will no longer be a problem.

By: LPF Thu, 14 May 2009 11:19:29 +0000 Richard, both you and Lifton (who I guess you’re thinking of) are wrong – there are no rare earth metals in large wind turbines: they use wound copper magnets, not neodymium ones – check out the LCA on the Vestas website for more info.

So, there are no material shortages for either wind turbines or standard silicon panels (we really do have an awful lot of silicon available).

The lifetime of a wind turbine is around 20 years, after which almost all of its components can be recycled into the next generation of turbines.

The lifetime of a monocrystalline solar panel is around 25 years, after which the low-cost encapsulation can be replaced, and the monocrystalline cells reused in the next panel.