"Renewable energy is not fair"

DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
My local utility company(clearwater-polk.com) is now trying a new tactic to persuade people not use renewable energy. In this months newsletter they state "cost-shifting and unrecovered costs due to a member generating their own energy, becomes a burden on the rest of the membership."

My utility company has always been anti-renewable and telling everyone how cost-prohibitive it is but this is a completely new tactic they have started. Guilting people into not using it because it puts a burden on other people.
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    So if you buy from them at off-peak rates (presumably when demand is lowest) and sell back at peak rates (presumably when demand is highest) this doesn't help their fiscal bottom line. Er, I mean it doesn't help balance the supply-demand for power. :p

    See-through profit motivation here.
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    , becomes a burden on the rest of the membership. Or do they mean their quarterly bonus.
  • DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    The problem with this utility company (which is actually not an investor owned but a co-op) is they have no idea how to make money except to sell more electricity. So anything that causes people to use less they consider detrimental to their existence.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    DaveB wrote: »
    The problem with this utility company (which is actually not an investor owned but a co-op) is they have no idea how to make money except to sell more electricity. So anything that causes people to use less they consider detrimental to their existence.

    They are not unique in that respect.
    It is the "Power Paradox" where they can't supply all the power needed so they want people to conserve, but then when that happens the profits drop off from lack of sales. Stage Two is when they restructure their billing to have large base costs to cover infrastructure, operations, and profits and the actual per kW hour charge becomes a small percentage of the bill. Stage Three is when they demand to be paid by people who don't even have their utility hook-up, because the wires still run past the house.

    Again it is a need for a comprehensive energy program that is missing here. Hundreds of separate utilities running under guidelines and laws that vary from state to state (and province to province) and whose main interest is generating profits not power.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    They are not unique in that respect.
    It is the "Power Paradox" where they can't supply all the power needed so they want people to conserve, but then when that happens the profits drop off from lack of sales. Stage Two is when they restructure their billing to have large base costs to cover infrastructure, operations, and profits and the actual per kW hour charge becomes a small percentage of the bill. Stage Three is when they demand to be paid by people who don't even have their utility hook-up, because the wires still run past the house.

    Again it is a need for a comprehensive energy program that is missing here. Hundreds of separate utilities running under guidelines and laws that vary from state to state (and province to province) and whose main interest is generating profits not power.

    A prime example of that is my utility doing Phase 2 by adding a charge for infrastructure support.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    This is getting scary! If someone thinks of it, Nova Scotia Power will do it! :(
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    A will run utility, especially a co-op could leverage renewables to "make more money". Since co-ops are member owned, in the long term, every kwh produced by RE is a kwh they don't have to generate. Bottom line, "smart" folks unratnd the long term value of e and will do whatever is reasonable to increase its adoption.

    Tony
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    DaveB wrote: »
    My local utility company(clearwater-polk.com) is now trying a new tactic to persuade people not use renewable energy. In this months newsletter they state "cost-shifting and unrecovered costs due to a member generating their own energy, becomes a burden on the rest of the membership."

    My utility company has always been anti-renewable and telling everyone how cost-prohibitive it is but this is a completely new tactic they have started. Guilting people into not using it because it puts a burden on other people.
    Possibly the closest historical analogy to this was the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in the US. The government provided subsidies to run power lines to remote farms, but only on the condition that they destroy, not just shut down, their working wind turbines once the grid came in. This was considered more equitable. Which means that it made it possible for the suppliers to recoup their share of the installation costs sooner.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    DaveB wrote: »
    My local utility company(clearwater-polk.com) is now trying a new tactic to persuade people not use renewable energy. In this months newsletter they state "cost-shifting and unrecovered costs due to a member generating their own energy, becomes a burden on the rest of the membership."

    There's a simple solution to that. Tell them you don't want to be part of the membership anymore. Tell them to come get their meter, wires, poles and transformer off your property. And don't send no more newsletters. Tell them that you feel so bad about being a burden on the rest of the membership that you decided to pull the plug and go on your own.

    The co-op here is the same way. They wanted us to totally pay for their Company Christmas Party, Retirement Pension, Paid Vacation for the executives, Cost of Living raises for all their employees for the next 50 years, and probably a bunch of other stuff, just to run wires across our place and thru the woods. So we told them 10 years ago we would never be part of their membership.
    --
    Chris
  • DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    Stage Two is when they restructure their billing to have large base costs to cover infrastructure, operations, and profits and the actual per kW hour charge becomes a small percentage of the bill.

    Yes! They started this as well by increasing the base cost. We now pay $28/month (increased $2 in past 12 months) just to have a meter even if you use no electricity.

    Here was another interesting quote from their newsletter: "Which begs the question, shouldn't all energy generation be on an equal playing field?" I couldn't believe it when they said that.

    This is co-op gets their power from Minnkota Power out of North Dakota. They were taken to court by the federal government several years ago for violations of the clean air act. They upgraded their coal power plant without installing newer pollution control devices. They lost in court.
  • DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    There's a simple solution to that. Tell them you don't want to be part of the membership anymore. Tell them to come get their meter, wires, poles and transformer off your property. And don't send no more newsletters. Tell them that you feel so bad about being a burden on the rest of the membership that you decided to pull the plug and go on your own.
    Chris
    That is exactly the plan. I have another 2.4KW of PV panels I purchased from NAWS and an Eoltec wind turbine to put up.

    There are a lot of people interested in this area in renewable energy but they then call this electric company for advise! They tell everyone not to install it. I would like to correct this. I was thinking of putting a small ad in the local "shopper"which is an advertisement paper that gets delivered to everyone in the area. I thought I could simply provide a small quip like "interested in using renewable energy in our county? Contact "me" for information.. or something along those lines. Has anyone tried that?

    I did give a speech at a "continuing education" program about renewable energy a couple years ago. The problem is the utility company was there and deceived everyone into thinking how terrible wind turbines are (they used deceptive figures without explaining what they were). They also insisted on going last (so nobody could correct them after their talk, I had asked to go last).
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    DaveB wrote: »
    There are a lot of people interested in this area in renewable energy but they then call this electric company for advise! They tell everyone not to install it.

    I think that's a common theme with small co-ops. They do the same here - I think they try to protect their bottom line more than anything. Your monthly meter charge is cheap, though. They charge $47.50/month to people JUST to have a meter here. And then they tack on an extra $42.50/month for another meter if you hook up a grid-tied renewable energy system.

    They charge .15 cents/kWh for single phase residential, 12 cents/kwh for commercial/farm three-phase. So at $42.50 for the net metering charge and .15 cents/kWh you give them the first 283 kWh you generate every month for free, just to cover the net metering charge.

    Back when it was all NSP (Northern States Power) it was different. There are many Jacobs 23-10 grid-tied turbines scattered thru this area and those turbines used to generate 1,700-2,000 kWh/month in this area. A lot of them produced more energy in a month than the farms they're on used and NSP used to pay the owners for the extra electricity. Now that it's all Xcel Energy, and the co-ops buy their power from Xcel and re-sell it to the consumers, that has all changed. They tacked on the big net metering charge, and no longer pay for excess electricity generated by your Jake. Instead they give you a credit at the average retail rate and you can carry that credit for 12 months. If you don't use the credit back in 12 months you lose it and they get the energy generated on the credit for free.

    So all the Jake 23-10's standing around the country here are all not running anymore because it doesn't pay and you get penalized if you run it. There's only two left running - one up by Ashland and another in the North Woods up by Cable - and those are both 31-20's so they generate 40,000 kWh/year, and they are owned by businesses that use more than they generate. There was also a new 60 foot diameter turbine put in about 14 miles from our place at an industrial warehouse in the Village of Turtle Lake. That turbine is a 50 kW Endurance machine and provides power for the office buildings and warehouse there:

    Attachment not found.

    So it has gotten to where if you don't have minimum 20 kW generating capacity they don't even want to have it hooked to their grid, or bother with it.

    The other thing is, that since the local co-op buys their power from Xcel, if Xcel's lines go down the power goes out. The co-op has four Cummins QSK 2.5 MW standby generators in the powerhouse. Those generators burn HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) and today they are sitting there with the fuel tanks empty and have not been run for 9 years. They used to have four Fairbanks-Morse twin-crank generators in there, and replaced them with the Cummins sets 12 years ago. They have to have the standby's due to regulations involving the national Emergency System. But that doesn't mean they have to keep them maintained or run them. In the old days when the transition was made from NSP they use to fire those standby's up and keep the local lines alive. No longer. When Xcel's system goes down now, the power goes out - and it stays out until Xcel fixes their problem with the interstate HV transmission lines.

    I am very glad we ended up not being hooked up to their house-of-cards system they have today. It was not easy for the first 6 years. But today we have a decent off-grid system and our place stays lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - no matter what - while a lot of our neighbors that don't have their own standby generators are in the dark for sometimes days at a time. A couple years ago it was six weeks with no power for some of our neighbors when a storm took the lines out and snapped off wood poles. That's when our off-grid system paid for itself in one fell swoop.
    --
    Chris
  • Organic FarmerOrganic Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 128 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    DaveB wrote: »
    My local utility company(clearwater-polk.com) is now trying a new tactic to persuade people not use renewable energy. In this months newsletter they state "cost-shifting and unrecovered costs due to a member generating their own energy, becomes a burden on the rest of the membership."

    My utility company has always been anti-renewable and telling everyone how cost-prohibitive it is but this is a completely new tactic they have started. Guilting people into not using it because it puts a burden on other people.

    A couple years ago, when I was just investigating the idea of using solar-power, I mentioned it to a worker at Home Depot. [He and I had spoken about many different things before, as I am building my house and doing a few unconventional things. He is a former Utility company engineer, now 'reduced' to working in a big-box hardware outlet.] He really 'went off' on me, about how solar is cost-prohibitive, and how I will never get back the great expense that I put into it. He has a well rehearsed litany of multiple points on why solar power is bad for the consumer, bad for the environment, and bad for America.

    It kind of surprised me that he would be so strongly and emotionally against solar-power.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,151 admin
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    It is happening to other utilities too... The telephone. We never used it that much and just with a few things like call waiting and the ability to make long distance calls, the price was about $30 per month. So, I got an Internet Phone ($140 for the hardware, less than $10 a month for unlimited calling, voice mail, two lines, 1/10th the cost for overseas calls, etc.) and reduced my land line to the minimum (around $15 per month). Phone company convinced the state PUC to "deregulate" to let them better adjust to the market--but costs, over all, will not be affected.

    A couple years later, my phone bill is creeping up to $30 per month again. And about the only thing it is used for is an old fax machine a couple times a year (there are still offices out there using Faxes) and the home alarm system. And my cell company only charges $10 a month for a standard cell phone added to the account (sharing ~700 minutes a month).

    Once I can convince my wife that we are only two blocks from a fire station and less than a mile from the police HQ (land lines usually work better in emergencies)--Then it will be going bye bye too.

    It still amazes me that I can pay $30 a month for 56kBit phone line, or $60 per month for a 20,000kBit (20 mBit) IP over cable (500x as much data rate). And I am sure there are people paying less than I for cable (cable TV is about to go away too--over the air digital TV has much better quality and more channels than basic cable).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    so here is a break down of the bill I get on a typically good month (March of 2012):
    Charges for electricity services
    Cost of net electricity

    Basic service charge $7.62
    Delivery service charge $0.00
    Environmental benefits surcharge $0.00
    Federal environmental improvement surcharge $0.00
    System benefits charge $0.00
    Power supply adjustment* $0.00
    Metering* $5.95
    Meter reading* $1.98
    Billing* $2.24
    Generation of electricity on-peak* $0.00
    Generation of electricity off-peak* $7.26 <-- still buying some
    Federal transmission and ancillary services* $0.00
    Federal transmission cost adjustment* $0.00
    Cost of electricity you used $25.05
    Taxes and fees
    Regulatory assessment $0.06
    State sales tax $1.69
    County sales tax $0.18
    City sales tax $0.56
    Franchise fee $0.50
    Cost of electricity with taxes and fees $28.04
    Total charges for electricity services $28.04

    Net electricity
    On-peak electricity from APS, in kWh 162
    Minus on-peak electricity credited, in kWh 897
    Minus last month's on-peak kWh credit 800
    Net on-peak electricity, in kWh -1535 <-- In the kWh bank for summer consumption

    Off-peak electricity from APS, in kWh 749
    Minus off-peak electricity credited, in kWh 393
    Minus last month's off-peak kWh credit 0
    Net off-peak electricity, in kWh 356

    So APS just admits they have a problem and will now have a new incremental way to annually increase the bill. They drove the implementation of Solar with a high rebates and it has impacted their bottom line as you can see above. The added cost is still not enough for me to cut the tie with the grid, but it makes you think.
    Now they are going to do this and blatantly state the reason why:
    Important News About Your Electric Rates
    New Charge on Your Bill Beginning March 2013
    In May 2012, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved new rates for APS. Because more customers are installing
    renewable energy systems such as solar and wind, and energy efficiency measures such as compact fluorescent light bulbs
    and refrigerator recycling, APS is selling less electricity, but fixed costs remain. APS is allowed to implement a new charge
    to recover a portion of the fixed costs.
    A new charge will begin appearing on affected customers’ bills in March 2013 in one of two forms: a flat addition to
    the existing customer charge (Flat Charge Option) or a new Lost Fixed Cost Recovery (LFCR) percentage of bill charge.
    Unless a residential customer notifies APS and selects the Flat Charge Option, the new LFCR will automatically begin
    appearing on your bill in March 2013. For more information or to select the Flat Charge Option, you can call
    602 371 6820 (in metro Phoenix) or 1 877 371 6820.

    What is the difference between the two options?
    The projected total costs of the two options should be approximately the same at the end of four years. The main difference
    is that the Flat Charge Option will remain constant or flat for the next four years. The LFCR will change from year-to-year based
    on the amount of APS’s lost sales.
    As an example, we expect the LFCR for the average customer using 1,110 kWh per month to be 26 cents per month for year one,
    subject to increases in subsequent years. The addition to the existing customer charge in the Flat Charge Option for that same
    customer would be $2.75 per month.
    Before making your choice, you can visit aps.com/LFCR. There you will find more information about the charge and
    a chart comparing costs. If you have additional questions, please call 602 371 6820 (in metro Phoenix) or 1 877 371 6820.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    BB. wrote: »
    (cable TV is about to go away too--over the air digital TV has much better quality and more channels than basic cable).

    Bill - they are putting in a new thing here - HDTV thru the fiber optic wires. The local TelCo has been very proactive in getting fiber optic wires buried to rural customers (all there basically is here). They have fiber optic running cross country thru the swamp not too far from our place and we got it buried up to our house for free for our internet (although we have to pay for the monthly 20 Mbps internet).

    Starting this summer we will be able to get the new digital TV that comes in on those fiber optic wires too. I think the fiber optic thing is different than cable.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Bill - they are putting in a new thing here - HDTV thru the fiber optic wires. The local TelCo has been very proactive in getting fiber optic wires buried to rural customers (all there basically is here). They have fiber optic running cross country thru the swamp not too far from our place and we got it buried up to our house for free for our internet (although we have to pay for the monthly 20 Mbps internet).

    Starting this summer we will be able to get the new digital TV that comes in on those fiber optic wires too. I think the fiber optic thing is different than cable.
    --
    Chris

    I see a company furiously laying what looks like fiber on all the main streets in my neighborhood. Perhaps the cable company will have some real competition.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    solar_dave wrote: »
    I see a company furiously laying what looks like fiber on all the main streets in my neighborhood. Perhaps the cable company will have some real competition.

    It is pretty neat - they put in these "pedestals" that come out of the ground and there is a junction in there. They can tie into that junction, run the fiber optic wires to your house, put in a converter of some sort, and there is a regular DSL modem that plugs into a phone jack. We have to rent the box that plugs into the phone jack for the TV if we decide to get it.
    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Now they are going to do this and blatantly state the reason why:

    I think this is mostly bogus. It shows that distributed generation with renewables DOES work and is much better than putting in new power plants. But it also means that the utility does not have to invest in new infrastructure to meet ever increasing demand, and only has to maintain the existing infrastructure. This should actually SAVE them money over the long term, not cost them money from reduced sales.

    The utilities have executives and employees and shareholders that want to get their raises and make profit. And that's what it's all about - profit. They have had years of ever increasing demand, increased sales and profit. They cannot accept a curve where that levels off and remains constant because it means no more growth - which means their incomes also have no more growth.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    It is pretty neat - they put in these "pedestals" that come out of the ground and there is a junction in there. They can tie into that junction, run the fiber optic wires to your house, put in a converter of some sort, and there is a regular DSL modem that plugs into a phone jack. We have to rent the box that plugs into the phone jack for the TV if we decide to get it.
    --
    Chris
    And what might they charge for that TV box and the programing Chris? The cable company here has gone nuts with prices just out of sight. The 20 mbit internet connection is like $59 a month, the TV stuff is about $100. The phone company is offer DSL here @ 12 mbit fix price of $19.95 for 5 years if bundled with phone but my current line doesn't qualify. Maybe it is the phone company fixing the lines by laying fiber, I know mine line has some sort of multiplexer in the line some place disqualifying the DSL.

    One would think that there would be a market for the main networks to have a company that would provide Internet streaming TV shows ala carte.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    solar_dave wrote: »
    And what might they charge for that TV box and the programing Chris?

    Our 20 Mbps internet is $49.95/month, and we bought the modem that makes it work for $50 bucks. Otherwise they would charge $3.95/month for the modem. They told us the TV will be $59.95/month and that includes the converter box to make it work. It's supposed to have 200 channels on it.

    We got digital over-the-air HDTV now for free with an antenna and booster on one of our wind turbine towers so we can get stations up to 80 miles away. There is a couple programs on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel that we buy from amazon.com's TV service. We buy a "season pass" for the programs we want to watch, and download those over the internet. We can watch the programs on our TV by hooking our computer up to it. There is no ads on those programs that we buy from amazon. If the digital TV proves to have lots of ads on it we probably won't buy it, and just stick with what we got now.
    --
    Chris
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    One fact not stated here is the electric co. in my area sells less electric because of all the manufacturing plants that have closed. There are a lot of business,s rhat closed, went to mexico or China. About a year ago the electric co. added a solar surcharge to regular customers bills to help pay for the people that have renewable energy systems. They say this is a recovery charge to cover the state mandate that they have to accept netmetered solar panels. Customers that have solar don,t have this charge yet. My net metering bill is reasonable so far. It is around $10 per month if you don,t need to buy any electric so I am not complaining. splarvic
  • DaveBDaveB Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    The question I have is where is this leading to? At least for coal power (which my co-op relies on) the costs keep rising whereas PV panels keep decreasing. Sooner or later the payback even without subsidies is going to force utility companies to take more drastic actions to keep business as usual. This reminds me of companies in other industries that had a cash cow they milked for years and when competition finally heated up they got more and more defensive of their turf without actually innovating.

    Are there utility companies/co-ops that are more pro-active and finding ways to integrate renewables successfully into their system? I don't know much about how the "electric market" works but can't most of them sell renewable energy to other utility companies on the open market at a premium? Why can't they look into arrangements of even out-of-state companies "purchasing" renewable energy from them? They can't hold back this tidal wave forever.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    A friend belongs to a co-op and I went to one of thier meetings at the fairgrounds and got a free KFC dinner. They had a solar installer there with a display. Last year they had an item in thier newsletter promoting solar. This is in crawfoed county west, PA. solarvic
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    i know what you guys are saying and i was just talking to the wife just yesterday of how we used to have a phone bill at about $28/m and our dsl was about $25. wife wanted sat tv from dish so we paid extra for that for 2 years then they tried to rake us for $ and dumped them. we saw verizon offer a triple play for about $80 and now a few years later our bill is almost $200. i really think they should be more realistic as i already recommended to the wife to dump them. we have few internet access choices now and she won't be without a phone, but i can still get 20+ tv stations over the air. sure i'll miss some shows, but at this price i don't mind giving them up. so far she is staying with it, but they are suckering people in with low prices and when the contract runs out or competition is wiped out they push up the prices. cable companies are set up similarly and it winds up just a few options to choose from that are high priced.

    the electric companies can be of the same mindset as they don't want competition so they can keep themselves as being the only option you have. even the offshoots that have been allowed to compete are in the same neighborhood price wise and some are even much higher. there are scam companies out there too that, although legit from state puc standpoints, they charge an enormous amount of $ to the customer while their sales pitches were outright lies to get you hooked. local news covered such an incident and the lady didn't even give them the ok for the switchover.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    I'll be the contrarian here. Even with a basic meter charge of say $25-50/month, look at the value that 24/7/365 access to energy is. Middle of the night, turn on he light, pump water, make toast, run the furnace. Yea, I can do all that with my off grid system, only that ain't cheap eatery. When you consider the infrastructure they hve to maintain especially for scattered rural and ex urban areas, it really is a bargain.

    Tony
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    The utilities have executives and employees and shareholders that want to get their raises and make profit. And that's what it's all about - profit. They have had years of ever increasing demand, increased sales and profit. They cannot accept a curve where that levels off and remains constant because it means no more growth - which means their incomes also have no more growth.
    --
    Chris
    Welcome to the Free Market System. :D
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    icarus wrote: »
    I'll be the contrarian here. Even with a basic meter charge of say $25-50/month, look at the value that 24/7/365 access to energy is. Middle of the night, turn on he light, pump water, make toast, run the furnace. Yea, I can do all that with my off grid system, only that ain't cheap eatery. When you consider the infrastructure they hve to maintain especially for scattered rural and ex urban areas, it really is a bargain.

    Tony


    Yeah I have to agree, with high reliability, grid tie and a decent net metering plan is the cheapest battery in the world too. For my monthly base charges of about $18 I can't beat it and to have it off grid and meet my mid summer consumption needs would be about impossible because of the panel real estate and battery capacity required. I used 3433kWh in July last year and only generated about 1850 kWh but my net metering plan covered all the on peak deficit and what wasn't covered was at super low off peak rates. I would have to at least double my panel count to 25,000 watts and have no clue as to how big a battery bank and multiple charge controller setup that would take.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"
    solar_dave wrote: »
    I used 3433kWh in July last year and only generated about 1850 kWh but my net metering plan covered all the on peak deficit and what wasn't covered was at super low off peak rates. I would have to at least double my panel count to 25,000 watts and have no clue as to how big a battery bank and multiple charge controller setup that would take.

    For off-grid power, using generator support for peak loads is a lot more cost effective than adding more RE sources, batteries and controllers. But we only use about 7 MWh in a year at our place and we generated around 4.5 MWh with wind and solar last year. So roughly 35% comes from the generator providing peak load power in a year's time for us. We rarely use the generator for battery charging, which is quite inefficient. We use it for peak load, which takes the load off the battery bank and powers the heavy loads directly with gen power - and is considerably more fuel efficient.

    January is typically the worst month of the year for us. Our fuel bill in the generator for January was 179 bucks, and our average daily power consumption was slightly over 30 kWh/day. Buying that power off the grid for 15 cents/kWh would be about $135 plus a $47.50 fixed charge = $182.95. So not counting our investment in off-grid equipment, for January we were about at parity (out-of-pocket expense) with what somebody on grid power would pay for the same amount of electricity.

    The upside is that there was two outages in our area in January - one that lasted for two hours. Our power never went out for even 1 second. And we didn't even know about the power outages until we went into town one day on the snowmobiles and every business in town was closed up tighter than a drum because there was no power to the whole township, and about half the county.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: "Renewable energy is not fair"

    When you live off-grid, you generate electricity in the day time (off-peak), store it in batteries, then use in the night time (peak-hours). Batteries and associated equipment are expensive and need to be changed from time to time. So, you pay dearly for the shifting.

    When you are grid-tied, you simply unload all your off-peak energy to the electric company, and then get it back during the peak-hours. They store your energy for free, or, at least, for the fraction of the cost of batteries. However, this is a very valuable service. The question is who's paying for that.

    Let's suppose all the customers switched to grif-tie solar. The electric company would get a lot of energy during off-peak. They cannot do anything useful with it, so they would have to sell it. During the peak hours they would have to buy it back and supply it to customers. But, during peak hours the electricity costs 3 to 5 times more. So, by doing this energy trading the company would be losing money all the time until the government would bail them out and the taxpayers would be paying the bill for energy shifting.

    Let's now suppose that only half of the customers switched to solar. The electric company wouldn't need to buy energy off-peak because it still has plenty, possibly even too much. All the electricity would have to be bough during peak hours. As a result, the cost of energy, which used to be some sort of average of off-peak and peak prices, would be now pure peak rate. If the electric company kept the margin the same, the non-solar customers would have to pay this higher rate, thus indirectly subsidising energy shifting for solar customers. That definitely is a burden.

    If electric company would charge solar customers an energy shifting fee, which is similar to what off-grid people pay for batteries, there would be no burden on the rest of customers.
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