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Old 10-15-2008, 01:41 AM   #121 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conradpdx View Post
Now I personally wouldn't implement any kinda of rate reduction for the infrastructure, as a matter of fairness to the property owners that are investing into the system. Each person with such a system has their own systems to maintain (that they are personally paying for) and are contributing to the common good. And it could stall reinvestment in system upgrades and expansion. After all, the more potential for profit under this system, the more power the property owners will want to produce.
Why should you be able to sell power to your neighbour who doesnít have any PV through the grid and the grid owner not get a cut? The grid owner also suffers the instability problem of your generation, he has to hold the reserve for when you decide not to supply and there is still demand.

The utility has cost just beyond operation of the grid, it has engineering costs, meter readers and an administration to manage everything. There are a lot of hidden ancillaries not seen by Joe public.

You need to hammer on your state representatives, every jurisdiction is different wrt laws on these things.

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Old 10-15-2008, 02:01 AM   #122 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
I don't think we're arguing about that. We're arguing about the technical details of how much "possible" is likely to be.

The basic problem is that most renewables produce power when they want to, which is not necessarily when people want to use that power. So if you're going to use mostly those renewables, you either have to build a lot of excess capacity, and/or you have to have some way to store the energy until it's needed. Building excess capacity costs money. So does building energy storage, and in addition the inevitable losses mean you waste 15-30% (for pumped storage) or more of the generated energy.

What it boils down to is that neither the engineering nor the economics of a largely-renewable grid are as simple as it seems you'd like to think. The problems just don't scale linearly. Small amounts of intermittent generation are easily handled, large amounts are difficult.
Which is the beauty of the the home owners jumping in. Make it a money making opportunity for them and they pretty much remove themselves from the grid (A few batteries would be a good investment) while at the same time adding power to it.

Like I said there would be the need for outside power sources, but because you have a smaller customer base (houses producing/saving/selling their own power-nearly eliminated from the equation) the back up system gets smaller which in general means it's more efficient and more responsive.

I really don't see how it's that much more complex than it currently is. All power facilities have people and computers watching the systems and adjusting the plants outputs to meet the needs of it's customers. I might get a little more complicated than it is now, but it wouldn't be unsurmountable.

It's not as if the current system is all that great or run well. Ask anyone in California that's suffered through brown outs and black outs. (Usually in the summer while the sun is shining).
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:21 AM   #123 (permalink)
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Never mind the fact that there is a MAJOR assumption that people should have as much electricity as they want whenever they want.

Zero conservation is NOT part of the solution.
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:09 PM   #124 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by conradpdx View Post
Which is the beauty of the the home owners jumping in. Make it a money making opportunity for them and they pretty much remove themselves from the grid (A few batteries would be a good investment) while at the same time adding power to it.
The problem is that you're maybe doubling the cost to the homeowner. A pure grid-tied system (where any excess goes straight to the grid) might cost $20K. Adding storage batteries & controls might double that cost, plus the batteries need maintenance and wear out, so you have to figure the cost of that...

Quote:
Like I said there would be the need for outside power sources, but because you have a smaller customer base (houses producing/saving/selling their own power-nearly eliminated from the equation) the back up system gets smaller which in general means it's more efficient and more responsive.
I think you're forgetting that residential use accounts for only about a third of the electricty generated. The rest is goes to run business & industry...

Quote:
I really don't see how it's that much more complex than it currently is. All power facilities have people and computers watching the systems and adjusting the plants outputs to meet the needs of it's customers. I might get a little more complicated than it is now, but it wouldn't be unsurmountable.
Not insurmountable, just difficult and expensive. The problem is that you still have to have all that non-renewable generation (or storage) out there for the times when the renewables aren't producing. When some utility builds a power plant, they expect to earn back their investment, and pay for the operating costs, from the electricity they sell. If they're cranking out watts 24/7, they have a revenue stream. If you add a lot of solar, the plant only gets to run at night, so makes & sells half as many watt-hours, but the capital & operating expenses (excluding fuel) stay the same. The utility has to charge twice as much per watt-hour to cover the costs.

Figuring the cost isn't as simple as e.g. looking on the web and seeing that PV cells are going for $3/watt.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:01 PM   #125 (permalink)
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Quote:
If you add a lot of solar, the plant only gets to run at night, so makes & sells half as many watt-hours, but the capital & operating expenses (excluding fuel) stay the same. The utility has to charge twice as much per watt-hour to cover the costs.
That is America. I dont think any energy company has a problem converting whatever they need to be green(er), as long as the income is the same or greater. Also, as long as those same companies own all the facilities to harness/utilize renewables, there isnt a "problem" in conversion.
Retooling everything would create lots of jobs, but i dont think anyone's monthly bill in the long run would change.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:32 PM   #126 (permalink)
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For all the spewing of numbers of both sides of the debate, I have yet to see much solid math concepts here. The fact of the matter is a decentralized power grid based soley on renewables (that obviously have varying outputs) can be 100% reliable and cover 100% of the nations power needs, provided that we advance our distribution network far enough.

The reason for this is averages. Say you have a small system with 10 sources of power. The probability of having enough power during all times would be fairly close to zero. However as you add millions of different sources, such as hometop solar panels, wind arrays, hydro, geothermal etc, the probably approaches 100%, which would actually be higher then the current systems capabilties.

Advantages of the decentralized renewable grid are incredible: Low fluctuation of power costs, sustainable, non-polluting

Additionally it would reduce any dependence on foreign energy sources such as oil.



Additionally changes in auto industry will be rapid in the next 10 years, as can be seen with all the influx of hybrid and electric cars. Make no mistake, the electric car will be the replacement for 50-75% of all cars on the road, getting the equivelent of 100-150 mpg for cars that make no sacrifice to passenger comfort or safety. 200-400mpg for more compact cars with less anmenties.

On a sidenote: I am sick of hearing price per kwh or gas per gallon. These prices are not the real value of what we pay. Electricity is really twice the cost or worse, and gas is 5-10 times the cost because of how it effects our foreign policy and affairs (and defense budget). Changes need to occur now not just for the enviroment, but for quality of life, our economy and in some respects our morality.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:56 PM   #127 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concrete View Post
[SIZE="5"]
Duffman
why don't they bury high power lines?
I always assumed it was technical
like 6" thick insulation required to keep from shorting to ground
or capacitive coupling wasting power etc.

and yes I do know that buried cable is ~6 time the installed cost
but it is obviously affordable enough for water - and there is not much profit there
You pretty much have all the answers right there. Wiki as always is also a great resource:

Electric power transmission - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What is not in the article though is: If you are going to transmit power over long distances you are going to maximise your voltage, since the lines would be underground you need insulation as stated, the higher the voltage the more you need. But what else does insulation do? I'll give you a hint, go for a 5 mile run on the hottest day in summer while wearing your winter jacket.

Also while you have solved your terrorism issue with a buried line they do fail on their own from time to time especially as they get older. Finding the break on a line that is 1 mile long is a S.O.B., now imagine if your crew was responsible for 200 miles of it in each direction.

It is like everything else in this argument, it's not that it isn’t possible, it's that we just won’t do it.

P.S. There will be some locales that you will be forced to bury your lines into rock, not really too likely.

Last edited by Duffman; 10-15-2008 at 05:08 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:21 PM   #128 (permalink)
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High voltage lines cannot be buried feasibly. A transmission line at 60k Volts has an enormous potential to jump a large distance. That is why the lines are seperated by 20-30ft of air (which itself is an incredible insulator) I dont know how they would compare to say insulating the wire and burying it, but I imagine you would need a massive insulator.

An underground cable would probably be not much safer then an above ground cable to a terrorist, it would still be easy to locate, and wouldnt be hard to disrupt with a bomb. Additionally it would be much more difficult to repair.

I've read the article someone referenced earlier from SciAm about high powererd trans lines, but I think that is not as nearly as viable as a decentralized power with a smart grid tech.
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:29 PM   #129 (permalink)
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Blue Bomber Man:

I think you are oversimplifying it. Making the probability equal to 1.0 is easy, it’s the std deviation that is the problem. Really the probability needs to be 1.0 + std dev. Just looking at this thread, people who don’t believe in global warming wont pay more. It is possible but what is the cost, 2x, 3x 4x?

Canada had an election yesterday and one of the major parties had a policy of adopting a revenue neutral carbon tax. What this means is the govt will not increase its overall revenue, increases in tax revenue from carbon would be offset by tax cuts to corporate and income taxes. From a policy perspective it is brilliant, from a political perspective it tanked. They even excluded gasoline because they knew it would be suicidal given current gas prices, it didn’t matter.

My argument is we need to reduce our carbon footprint, but why adopt technologies that have significantly higher costs when we have known technologies that are reliable and cost effective now.

Also while much of your oil comes from hostile locations, I don’t think your domestic electricity is coming from outside of north America.
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:21 PM   #130 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
The problem is that you're maybe doubling the cost to the homeowner. A pure grid-tied system (where any excess goes straight to the grid) might cost $20K. Adding storage batteries & controls might double that cost, plus the batteries need maintenance and wear out, so you have to figure the cost of that...
Batteries would be optional, it'd be your decision. For some battery arrays would be a good investment, others wouldn't. It could turn out that if I had an array and was a getting wholesale rate payout on the power produced from my array in the daylight hours, I could probably get by with paying for the electricity my house uses at night and still get get a check at the end of the night. Remember it'd be "your" system, you could take or leave the batteries. Start with an array only and with each check add a little battery power.

Quote:
I think you're forgetting that residential use accounts for only about a third of the electricty generated. The rest is goes to run business & industry...
No I realize this, so lets say only a third of the residential properties are capable of producing just enough power to cover their own power needs. Then perhaps a third that could produce excess power. Right there we've gotten to 22% of the electricity in the nation on renewables. That's not including the power produced by the aprox. 11% that produce more power than they need. If they even produced enough excess to cover half of the remaining 1/3 that has problems producing their own power we are now pushing 27% of the nations power coming from home owners.

Now I know your going to say who can afford $20,000+ grand for a system like this. Well, I'm sure you'd find many a banks willing to lend you money once individual power profits became standard. But honestly, everyday that passes solar panels are getting more efficient and cheaper. There could even be the potential for big tax write offs since one could argue that it's a business venture and thus much if not all the hardware and loan interest could be deductible.

Now factor in that people tend to live closer to the commercial and industrial sections of a town than the power plants do. So how much power is lost when the power is sent a mile or two from house to strip mall compared to power transmissions that span hundreds of miles to the same strip mall.



Quote:
Not insurmountable, just difficult and expensive. The problem is that you still have to have all that non-renewable generation (or storage) out there for the times when the renewables aren't producing. When some utility builds a power plant, they expect to earn back their investment, and pay for the operating costs, from the electricity they sell. If they're cranking out watts 24/7, they have a revenue stream. If you add a lot of solar, the plant only gets to run at night, so makes & sells half as many watt-hours, but the capital & operating expenses (excluding fuel) stay the same. The utility has to charge twice as much per watt-hour to cover the costs.

Figuring the cost isn't as simple as e.g. looking on the web and seeing that PV cells are going for $3/watt.
Screw the investors/owners of the old power plants. They don't give a shot [kid friendly site and all] about us so why should we care about them. If they were stupid enough to invest in new plants in old tech now-a-days they get what they deserve. It's not like they've been playing fair lately -price gouging and fixing the books (anyone remember Enron) and what not. Lets not even get into tax breaks and other perks they take considering they are profitable companies without them. Just like the felons on Wall Street they belong in prison.

Honestly, I think this system would work very well. If by simply making it possible for individuals to invest in an array/turbine and actually get paid for doing it it would take off very quickly. With the current net metering systems that are in place it truly isn't worth it for the individuals.


And I never claimed it to be a cure all, just something easy to make a big dent, or a just good place to start.

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