The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

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  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Myself for one hope that they don't do away with net-metering or make it cost more than you can generate.
    Just got my additional 5 KW approved by PG&E. need a few years to recover the cost. I am not rich by any means living on SSI and an IRA. Big saving on total installed system was I have the ability to do all of it myself, so no paid labor. Nice seeing 50-60 KWh a day counting on production, even with 100 deg F days. Lots of AC running.

    Helping keep the peak loads down on PG&E, so far this summer they have only had to control my AC compressor one time to avoid brown-out or rolling blackouts.

    Will wait and see what happens. I can remember back when conservation was pushed, they finally put in for rate increase because revenue's dropped and were losing there profit margin, so it can and has come back and cost the consumer in the past.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    "They" probably will give a 10-20 year grandfathering for existing solar systems... I am probably already ~7 years into my grandfathered TOU net metering rate (that was one reason I went GT Solar at that time--a pretty nice and simpler rate plan).

    New installs have to use a TOU plan that charges elevated kWH charges well into ~8-9 pm -- aka dark -- Solar ain't going to reduce those late evening costs.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    I am on tiered net meter no TOU. Works best for me as have wife that likes to cook and do laundry etc during the day. Doubled system to cover that.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • DanS26DanS26 Solar Expert Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Lots of interesting comments on this tread. Great across the country perspective.

    IMHO solar will not become mainstream until it becomes a "no brainer" decision by the average working class citizen. That decision must be made without handouts, rebates, tax credits or any other non-market incentives. Off grid solar has to become not just affordable, but so economically compelling that the average citizen sees it as something they have to do.

    I'm grid tied, but I have realized that the vested interests in the utility grid will kill grid tied solar at the statehouse. The solar industry has to bypass this very well funded special interest group. We need a technological breakthrough in either of two areas - electrical storage or electrical transmission.
    18.2kW Kyocera panels; 2 Fronius 7.5kW inverters; Nyle hot water; Steffes ETS; Great Lakes RO; Generac 10kW w/ATS, TED Pro System monitoring with PVOutput.org
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    DanS26 wrote: »
    We need a technological breakthrough in either of two areas - electrical storage or electrical transmission.

    Tesla: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_power
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
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    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    westbranch wrote: »

    It's just a pipe dream for utility scale power levels and distances. The guided transmission of electrical power using room-temp superconductors for lines and storage devices might be possible soon but far field wireless power is a dead end.
  • jaggedbenjaggedben Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    DanS26 wrote: »
    IMHO solar will not become mainstream until it becomes a "no brainer" decision by the average working class citizen. That decision must be made without handouts, rebates, tax credits or any other non-market incentives.

    We ought to be getting to that point here in California. If one assumes a 25 year life for a system, and 1.5kWh per year per watt (this will vary somewhat in reality), then the break even on the Tier 1 electricity rate (13.9 cents/kwh) is about $5.21 per watt, installed cost. That is to say nothing of the higher Tiers, which go up to 34 cents and such. My company is selling installed systems for $4.50, and we've even gone down under $4 in some cases. So grid-tied should be a no brainer. It would be even more of a no brainer if everyone caught on, because then our customer acquisition costs would go down and we could sell for even less.

    Granted, that is all still grid tied, but starting to build enough of a margin underneath grid prices to make room for storage cost.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    I agree, as long as we stay with low monthly fees and high per kWH charges with Net Metering--GT Solar is not a bad "investment" in California (if you are going to stay in the home for many years and have enough cash or get a good lease payment).

    If the billing/rate plans change to $40-$50 per month and $0.05 per kWH credit--I think all bets are off.

    I do assume that they will grandfather existing systems for 10-20 years--But if the California PUC (public utility commission) forces the utilities back into near bankruptcy (again), I would not bet that the current plans, grandfathered or not, will continue.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jaggedbenjaggedben Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    In the long term, I have no objection in principle to accepting modifications to California's net metering. I could accept something like a one cent 'commission' on exported, or even a 'demand charge' for exporting (although I think such a demand charge should begin above zero, e.g. no charges for the first few kW.) If it doesn't amount to more than 10% of credits, I'm fairly confident as a residential installer that we could continue to sell solar under such a structure.

    What I'm afraid of is the political process, namely the possibility that wholesale changes will be made all at once, rather than incremental changes that allow everyone to adapt. And yes, I think existing systems should be 'grandfathered', at least for something like 25 years from the PTO date.
  • hfrikhfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Well, to add a far-outside view from europe - I#m pretty grateful then with the reliable power and water supply here - a average 5 minute per year power failure in the average, and not water shortage in the last 60 years - and none to expect anywhere in the future.
    The net metering and charging system in california is not fully understandable for me by now - but I also didn#t read much about it - if somebody could tell details for thes not from U.S. this might be helpful. The early evening peak is a significant "problem" in central europe too - a remaining peak even within summer. Here we discuss if local storages, controllabe by the grid operator more or less (so to be discussed) could solve this "problem" during the summer months - jet leaving the winter power supply another topic to be solved.

    Power transmission - for distances of 2000-3000km this is already solved with HVDC-Links in the area of +/- 800kV or +/- 1000kV. This tecchnology already allows low enough losses with a reasonable amoutn of copper / aluminium to transport power in a continental grid. Enough for the use of renuable power generation in large scale. A benefit is that ABB has developed HVDC Power switches (which were missing so far) which allow not just point - to point HVDC-Links, but complete networks (and if neccesary, Power lines for multi-GW Power transport cooled down to -193°C installed underground is also possible for a superconductor networ with existing technology - but it is not neccesary today)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    I will see if I can explain the basics for California and Solar Power billing...

    ~10 years ago, we had a $5 per Watt installation subsidy that slowly has dropped to zero or near zero. During that time, turn key installations went from ~$8-$10 per watt to ~$5 a watt or less.

    And most of the big installer companies are doing various forms of Leased systems (companies keep any "Green Credits" and various tax write-offs for depreciation, etc. And you may pay a fixed fee per month for 10-XX years, or you may pay some reduced $$/kWH for power.

    If you "own" the system and live in Northern California--We have "1 year net metering" with PG&E (our local electric/natural gas utility).

    We have a bi-directional meter. And it is read once per month (for billing use--Smart meters are read once per hour for residential and once per 15 minutes for commercial customers). At the end of the month, if you have used more kWH than generated, we (residential) pay around $0.13 to $0.50 per kWH used + ~$4.50 fixed charge. We have tiered rates, the more power we use, the higher rates we pay (roughly >900 kWH per month is "peak rate").

    If we generate more power than we use, we are credited the $$/kWH rate in our account. The account runs a +/- balance. At the end of one year, we either pay what we owe, or if the amount is "positive", we owe nothing extra and the account is zeroed out for the next year.

    And if we generated more kWH than we used in that one year period, we get paid something like $0.05 per kWH for excess power generated.

    Now--The details are more complex. Most solar residential folks are on E-6 Time of Use Power plan. And the "Meter" has 3 Registers. Peak, Partial Peak, and Off Peak values. More or less, as described above with single register, but depending on time of day, season of year, weekday/holiday/weekend, the power is debited/credited to each register based on the TOU Rules.

    So, it is possible to generate excess power in summer weekday afternoons and get a $0.29 to $0.50 per kWH credit in the account, and run negative over night and "pay from the account" $0.10 per kWH. And to have a positive balance in the "funny money" account and be negative in the kWH per month account (i.e., sell power at $0.29+ per kWH during afternoons and buy power at $0.10+ kWH off peak).

    If you are curious, here are the details for the E-6 Residential Time of Use rate schedule (solar or just normal customer--PDF download):
    [B]TOTAL RATES[/B]
    Total Energy Rates $ per kWh) PEAK PART-PEAK OFF-PEAK
    Summer
    Baseline Usage $0.28719 ( ) $0.17528 ( ) $0.10074 ( )
    101% - 130% of Baseline $0.30529 ( ) $0.19338 ( ) $0.11884 ( )
    131% - 200% of Baseline $0.46623 (I) $0.35432 (I) $0.27978 (I)
    201% - 300% of Baseline $0.50623 (I) $0.39432 (I) $0.31978 (I)
    Over 300% of Baseline $0.50623 (I) $0.39432 (I) $0.31978 (I)
    Winter
    Baseline Usage – ( ) $0.12129 ( ) $0.10495 ( )
    101% - 130% of Baseline – ( ) $0.13939 ( ) $0.12305 ( )
    131% - 200% of Baseline – ( ) $0.30033 (I) $0.28399 (I)
    201% - 300% of Baseline – ( ) $0.34033 (I) $0.32399 (I)
    Over 300% of Baseline – ( ) $0.34033 (I) $0.32399 (I)
    Total Meter Charge Rate ($ per meter per day) $0.25298 ( )
    Total Minimum Charge Rate ($ per meter per day) $0.14784 
    ...
    [B]3. TIME PERIODS:[/B] Times of the year and times of the day are defined as follows:
    Summer (service from May 1 through October 31):
    Peak: 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Partial-Peak: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    AND 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Plus 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
    Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.
    Winter (service from November 1 through April 30):
    Partial-Peak: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.
    

    Note that the "tiered charging levels" is complex--And mix+match between them and the three register's power usage (and credits). I have tried before, But I could not figure out exactly how the billing was calculated. It is very messy, and will probably get more messy in the next few years as State Public Utility Commission and the Utilities switch residential customers from a "cheap" monthly charge (say, on average $4.50 per month plus ~$0.20 per kWH) to a non-solar/conservation high monthly charge and low per kWH charge (say $40-$50 per month fixed charge plus $0.10 per kWH charge). For users that have solar, do lots of conservation, the fixed monthly charge can be more than the old whole electric bill (I used to pay ~$35-$60 per month when I was flat rate residential before solar GT system).

    At some point, for people that don't use much power (say less than 100-300 kWH per month), it may make sense to go Off Grid--However, the utilities have the right to charge customers that "abandoned the grid" and use alternative methods to generate power (Solar, co-generation, etc.) for the next 20-40 years. (the utility used our utility account for system planning and to get investments to build infrastructure "in my name"). All very messy. And very political.

    Commercial Billing Plans are more complex and are probably impossible for a customer to figure out how a solar installation will affect the monthly bill for a commercial customer--It is very possible for a large Grid Tied Solar power system to actually increase a company (or school) monthly bill rather than reducing the bill.

    Billed Peak Increased After Install

    A couple of News Articles...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PanamretireePanamretiree Solar Expert Posts: 278 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    BB. wrote: »
    Now--The details are more complex. Most solar residential folks are on E-6 Time of Use Power plan. And the "Meter" has 3 Registers. Peak, Partial Peak, and Off Peak values. More or less, as described above with single register, but depending on time of day, season of year, weekday/holiday/weekend, the power is debited/credited to each register based on the TOU Rules.

    At some point, for people that don't use much power (say less than 100-300 kWH per month), it may make sense to go Off Grid--However, the utilities have the right to charge customers that "abandoned the grid" and use alternative methods to generate power (Solar, co-generation, etc.) for the next 20-40 years. (the utility used our utility account for system planning and to get investments to build infrastructure "in my name"). All very messy. And very political.

    -Bill

    Bill

    Posted this on the What the Utilities Fear thread (?).

    "Was up north at my brother's place, not quite to Timmins, Ontario. Had a look at his last electric bill. Out of the $150.00, $94.00 was for delivery ($66.90), regulatory charge ($4.57), debt retirement charge ($4.55), HST on the bill ($17.27); however, he did get a $15.00 credit for the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

    The delivery and regulatory rates went up 1 May 2013. The Clean Energy Benefit takes 10% off the cost of up to 3,000 kWh/month of electricity use.

    The bill is divided into winter and summer rates, that are further divided into on-peak, mid-peak, and off-peak.

    Using his numbers, you could amortize a $15K system over 10 years, with an earlier payback because rates and charges will go up.

    He averages 16 to 18 kWh/day, with a significant increase in December because he decorates his house for Xmas."

    It is in line with what you say, but it is already happening up north. A lot of people up north state that electric power is cheap and it is; however, it is not the cost of electricity that should be looked at, but the additional charges associated with getting it to your house. As I mention above, at a $100.00 a month in service, delivery fees, and taking a bit of one's discretionary cash each month, one can easily pay for a respectable system in not too long a period.

    I have also stated before that we have to stop looking at ROI, and look at he true cost of doing business. Electric rates are going to increase as are service and delivery charges. I'm certain that I could use my brother's hydro bills for the next 10 years, bounce them against the cost of the system I am installing and get a payback in 10 years.

    In Canada with provincial utilities, provinces really don't have to worry about people going off grid too fast because the provinces just increase the paperwork, amend the benefits, and quick as a flash, dependency is up, independence is down.

    I have also read in the local rag down here that the government in Panama has put more subsidies into electric companies to artificially keep the cost of electricity down.

    Edit: Smart meters are installed as well. I can envision the provincial utilities using data from household use and adjust the times for the different rates. Don't know if the times for the different rates are closely monitored; however, the utilities are not going to allow too much latitude in skirting prime time. JMHO.

    JMHO

    Cheers

    Ernest
  • hfrikhfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Thanks a lot for the detailed information. I conclude many things:

    - here electricity is payed by private people with a fixed rate per kWh, dropping with the amount of kWh used, but with low fixed costs for the grid connection (yet). Costs are about 28€ct/kWh, which is quite high, grid connection is just about 5€/month, which is quite low. So far no different rates for peok /of peak uless you make a special contract, which is just usual if you use unusual high amounts of electricity off peak. Well, this will need to change to get more reaction on the consumption side to the situation on the production side of electricity.

    Costs for solar systems are much lower here, about 1,5€/W for small rooftop systems, down to below 1€/W for utility scale systems.

    Connection to grid will cost much less than 100$/70€ _/month here if all grid costs are calculated in the base price as far as I know the numbers of ENBW Transnet. 30€/40$ per month would be the maximum price here for the grid connection, seems this is more expensive in some parts of the U.S.

    Feed in tariff for PV is at the moment between 15,04€ct/kWh for systems below 10kWp down to 10,44€ct/kWh for Systems >1 MWp.
    As it seem s to me here in germany there is much more political discussion about various systems of pricing taxing and support, but much less erratic change in the practical regulation of the market, making it less political, and more realistical, but sometimes a bit slow in reaction in practice.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    hfrik wrote: »
    - here electricity is payed by private people with a fixed rate per kWh, dropping with the amount of kWh used, but with low fixed costs for the grid connection (yet). Costs are about 28€ct/kWh, which is quite high, grid connection is just about 5€/month, which is quite low. So far no different rates for peok /of peak uless you make a special contract, which is just usual if you use unusual high amounts of electricity off peak. Well, this will need to change to get more reaction on the consumption side to the situation on the production side of electricity.

    With such a high cost, it might be cheaper to go off-grid!
  • hfrikhfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Well, you forget we're much further north here in germany, so much less sun in winter. You'd need a 2000kWh (or so) storage to go of grid without diesel generator to carry the electric power from summer to winter - no reasonable result (also, without air conditioning, but significant heating, power consumption in winter is much higher in priivate homes than in summer).
    The higher prices are due to significant higher taxation of electricity (and other energy here), which leads in the end to a significant lower consumption - per $ Earned we need less than half the Energy than the U.S. On the other hand other things are significant cheaper then - taxes on houses are close to zero, and school and university are free for all, and a lot of other differences - which some like, some don't.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    hfrik wrote: »
    Well, you forget we're much further north here in germany, so much less sun in winter. You'd need a 2000kWh (or so) storage to go of grid without diesel generator to carry the electric power from summer to winter - no reasonable result (also, without air conditioning, but significant heating, power consumption in winter is much higher in priivate homes than in summer).
    The higher prices are due to significant higher taxation of electricity (and other energy here), which leads in the end to a significant lower consumption - per $ Earned we need less than half the Energy than the U.S. On the other hand other things are significant cheaper then - taxes on houses are close to zero, and school and university are free for all, and a lot of other differences - which some like, some don't.

    Here in Canada, we're quite a bit more to the North than Germany, although our continental climate is sunnier. My energy was cheaper than yours, still it made sense to move off-grid. You cannot store the energy in batteries from summer to winter even if you had enough capacity, so in winter you have to use a generator. Lower consumption is good for off-grid and will lead to a smaller (cheaper) off-grid system.
  • hfrikhfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Well, the generator is also not really environmental friendly, and with the fuel prices here not cheaper 8all installation and sound portection etc. installed) than grid power. 35ct/kWh is calculated usually for big diesel generators here, which are used as backup systems (I just have one with 600 kVA in a project) . So it's better to stay on grid and use the wind power which is generated in higher amounts in winter than in summer - which fits perfectly well as addition to PV.
    Wind also has the advantage, that - calculated over whole europe - it delivers a nearly constant power output 24/7. A mixture of Wind and PF on a rate around 1:1 (measured in kWp) and a stron european grid would allow to run with 100% renewable power all year in europe with just small additions of pumps and generators at existing hydropowerstations. Which works very well in germany with 33 GW Wind and 36GW PV. Wind is dragging feet a bit, with additions of just 3 GW per year.
    Due to the price differences between PV power and grid power, people here also start to experiment a bit with storage systems at home, but what is missing is a smatrt grid and incentives to use the storages in faver of the system as a whole. Not grid integrated, the strorages at home increase costs and load problems on the grid level, than redusing it (which they could do if there would be a integration in smart grid and incentives to behave in the interest of the whole electric power system) By the way, we have here a optimum of 1100Wh/Wp in optimum positions, 950Wh/Wp in the south (average) and around 850Wh/Wp in the north of germany. For 1500Wh/Wp you need to travel a thousand km or more south. Power generation here in large systems is down to 10€ct/kWh, which is about 13USct/kWh, since we have installation costs in large systems of 1€/Wp/1,3US$/kWp. Rooftop systems here are about 30% higher.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    hfrik wrote: »
    Wind also has the advantage, that - calculated over whole europe - it delivers a nearly constant power output 24/7. A mixture of Wind and PF on a rate around 1:1 (measured in kWp) and a stron european grid would allow to run with 100% renewable power all year in europe with just small additions of pumps and generators at existing hydropowerstations.

    There's been a much higher adoption of renewable sources in Europe than in North America. Just to the north of you there in my wife's home country of Sweden roughly 65% of the power comes from renewables. The majority of that from the huge hydro installations on the Lule River north of the Arctic Circle. They have hydro power in Sweden that makes Hoover Dam here in the US look like child's play - roughly 45% of the electricity there comes from hydro power from 2,057 plants and about 65 giga-watts of generating capacity.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    There's been a much higher adoption of renewable sources in Europe than in North America. Just to the north of you there in my wife's home country of Sweden roughly 65% of the power comes from renewables. The majority of that from the huge hydro installations on the Lule River north of the Arctic Circle. They have hydro power in Sweden that makes Hoover Dam here in the US look like child's play - roughly 45% of the electricity there comes from hydro power from 2,057 plants and about 65 giga-watts of generating capacity.
    --
    Chris

    We have large amounts of hydro-electric in British Columbia too. We could use more, but the trouble is that building dams is now environmentally unsound practice as it destroys habitat.

    You can't win for losing.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    although the most power will be had with the dams, smaller amounts can still be had by the use of paddle wheels on a smaller segment of the river so as not to impact the environment.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    We have large amounts of hydro-electric in British Columbia too. We could use more, but the trouble is that building dams is now environmentally unsound practice as it destroys habitat.

    I don't know how those kinds of problems can even be. So you put in coal or natural gas fired plants and destroy habitat and the environment by fracking and drilling and mining and puke millions of tons of CO2 into the air just to get the fuel.

    In Sweden those huge reservoirs on the Lule have some of the best northern pike fishing on earth. 25-30 lb fish are not uncommon, water so clear so you can see 40 feet down, and it looks to me like the habitat is just fine. No pollution, very few people (unless you go to Stockholm or Gothenburg), forests, wildlife, lakes and rivers all pristine. Way more pristine than the open pit coal mines that I've seen.
    --
    Chris
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    In California and the North West--We have been on a dam removal kick. Back to making rivers "wild" again.

    There are lots of environmental and safety issues with dams--They do have impacts on their local environments and down stream water users.

    interestingly enough, if you are into CO2 reductions--Turns out that dams release high amounts of CO2 (decaying vegetation).

    And dams release "cold water" (affects fish) and mix excess nitrogen into rivers which can give fish "the bends".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Curiously we now have a "mandate" here for BC Hydro to buy power from small-scale, supposedly not as environmentally unfriendly generating plants. Trouble is you have to go through the same legalese rigamarole to get a 25 kW over-shot water wheel system approved as a 250 megawatt dam.

    They always do these things in a micro-managed way and never evaluate the holistic aspect. That and having become environmentally paranoid pretty much keeps my little corner of the world from advancing on the renewable energy front.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    In California--"Big Hydro" is not even counted as green energy--It is lumped in with fossil fuels and nuclear. "Small Hydro", that is green.

    And for California (which is as large, or larger, than most European countries) does not find wind to average out 24x7... Here is the graph for today for ~85% of the power generated from "renewables" in California:

    http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx#Renewables

    Between midnight and 10 am, wind went from 3,200 MWatts to 200 MWatts... And the min/max load today ranges from 23,000 to 37,000 MWatts (scroll up in page). That is a lot of generation capacity to "lose" or manage. Makes base load regulation (coal, nuclear, etc.) which is our "cheap power" less usable vs having to use Peaker Plants (gas turbine, hydro) to make up for variable power (hydro is usually cheap, peaker plants are usually not).

    -Bill :roll:
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    BB. wrote: »
    And for California (which is as large, or larger, than most European countries) does not find wind to average out 24x7... Here is the graph for today for ~85% of the power generated from "renewables" in California:

    We use a lot of wind power here in the Midwest and it runs steady 24/7. The main problem here is that the grid is in such bad shape it can't handle the output of the turbines. There are also still scores of Jacobs turbines dotting the countryside here that have been powering farms and ranches for over 30 years - something you never see in California.

    I think using California as a "yardstick" to measure efficiency, practicality or sustainability is an exercise in futility.
    --
    Chris
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,153 admin
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Unfortunately, California politicians hold themselves out as the "yard stick" and many governments are playing follow the leader with California (some good--Like initial pollution control laws, some bad like energy and government spending polices).

    I am using California Metrics because (many bad policy decissions going back a decade or more) I know where to find them. More than happy to see metrics from different sources with different takes on the subject.

    Wind was "sold" to California based on it would be generated during summer afternoon peaks when energy usage was highest. And, it is sort of true--But as mfg. left the state and prices have changed energy behaviors, the acutal needs have moved on (much faster than any state or utility bureaucracy can plan/implement/control).

    Are we going over the cliff--Yes, and California is leading the way to the bottom... In my humble opinion.

    -Bill :cry:
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    BB. wrote: »
    Wind was "sold" to California based on it would be generated during summer afternoon peaks when energy usage was highest. And, it is sort of true--

    Wind power does work. But not like they sold it there. The prairies of the Midwest have enough wind resource to power the entire nation with no problem. But there's no wires to get it from there to the places that use the most electricity.

    Small wind has been incredibly successful in the Midwest for over 100 years. From the thousands and thousands of Aeromotor water pumpers that every single farm had back in the 40's, to the Jacobs turbines that were built in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1931, the Midwest has a rich heritage in wind power.

    California is over-populated so bad in the cities that they have to pipe in water and electricity and food, and haul garbage out by the shipload. If a fence was erected around San Francisco or LA so nothing could get in or out, the whole place would collapse into utter chaos in a matter of five days. When you have something that is that unstable, it doesn't take much to make it collapse with just minor glitches.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    I just did a 4000+ mile drive thru the heartland and was amazed at how many Aeromotor type turbines were still out there turning. Big wind seems to be huge as well, from Illinois all thru Texas.

    Here in AZ the grid tie solar was originally sold as a way to minimize the need for afternoon peakers in the summer months, I know in my case I buy a so much less electric it is just not even funny. I figure about 65kWh a day less in mid summer plus what I have banked in stored kWh. But now that has cut into revenues enough the utilities are taking it as a real threat.
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 262 ✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)

    Here's an article from the Financial Times discussing many of the issues on this thread. People here are probably familiar with much of what they say, but I thought it noteworthy to see these things discussed from a reputable financial media perspective (as opposed to hearing only power industry participants).
  • PanamretireePanamretiree Solar Expert Posts: 278 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: The game's a-changing in California (insanity reigns)
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    California is over-populated so bad in the cities that they have to pipe in water and electricity and food, and haul garbage out by the shipload. If a fence was erected around San Francisco or LA so nothing could get in or out, the whole place would collapse into utter chaos in a matter of five days. When you have something that is that unstable, it doesn't take much to make it collapse with just minor glitches.
    --
    Chris

    Escape From LA - what about New York. Kind of makes the "B" grade movies very prophetic.

    Cheers

    Ernest
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