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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ELECTRICITY


Of course, Hawaii is around 35 cents/kWh, putting us on par with Germany.  A U.S. dollar. however, will go a lot further, so when you crank in this factor:


The above came from Lindsay Wilson (right) of Shrink That Footprint.  Canada, China and the USA look good, but India has gone from lowest to average.

However, in the U.S. (world looks similar), only 5% of this electricity comes from the non-hydro renewables:


  • Coal 37%
  • Natural Gas 30%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Hydropower 7%
  • Other Renewable 5%
    • Biomass 1.42%
    • Geothermal 0.41%
    • Solar 0.11%
    • Wind 3.46%
  • Petroleum 1%
  • Other Gases < 1%

Note that our winds provide 35 times more electricity than the Sun.

Interestingly enough, the Energy Return on Investment of a wind system is 36.5:1, while photovoltaic solar panels return just 5:1 (the higher the better).  Part of the reason is that the cost of electricity for wind is around 9 cents/kWh, while that for solar PV is slightly higher than 14 cents/kWh.  EROI or net energy is attempted to be explained to the left.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance:

  • 33.8 GW of new onshore wind farms plus 1.7 GW of offshore wind capacity will be installed globally in 2013 (this is somewhat less than the global installation data of 2012, when 44.6 GW of wind power were brought online, marking an all-time high in wind installations
  • This decline in wind installations is mainly due to a slowdown in the world's two largest wind markets, China and the U.S., along with strong growth in photovoltaics.
  • PV is overtaking wind power with a forecast of 36.7 GW for new photovoltaic capacity (by comparison, new PV installations amounted to 30.5 GW in 2012).

Keep in mind that 1 GW (or gigawatt) is about the size of a nuclear power plant ( of course, as barely seen to the left, wind and sun farms plants take up a lot more land).
  • combination of wind and sun will this year bring online more than 75 nuclear power plants
  • but not really, because nuclear facilities run 90% of the time, while wind machines have a capacity factor of 34% and PV 25%). 

According to Bloomberg, the reason for this solar shift is that Japan and China are now providing attractive incentives for PV to influence the general population.  Germany became #1 in PV for this same reason, but is now backtracking.  A homeowner almost always is smart enough not to install a wind device, mainly because you don't build a home where the average wind speed is greater than 14 miles per hour, plus, there is that noise pollution issue.  The operative statement here is that it takes government support to make the renewables attractive.  The cost of electricity production (in cents/kWh):

  • 10.0   conventional coal
  • 13.5   advanced coal with carbon capture
  •   6.6   advanced combined cycle natural gas
  • 13.0   conventional natural gas combustion turbine
  • 10.8   advanced nuclear
  •   9.0   geothermal
  • 11.1   biomass
  •   8.7   wind
  • 22.1   offshore wind
  • 14.4   solar PV
  • 26.1   solar thermal

Thus, fracking (to the left, chemicals added into the underground--click on it to read the details), the wider availability of cheaper natural gas and the fact that electricity produced from this gas emits half the carbon dioxide than from coal are changing the nature of electricity.   Is it, thus, smart for government to provide incentives for higher cost but cleaner options?  When you include the externalities, life cycle cost and other factors not currently utilized in decision-making, probably yes, but this is certainly a debatable matter.

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There are two ocean storms with the potential to gain hurricane force winds:

Tropical Storm Nari, now at 40 MPH, will soon become a typhoon, and should make landfall sufficiently north of Manila in the Philippines on Saturday:


In the Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone 2 formed and will head for India:




2 comments:

Annie Khan said...

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