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On Cheapest Solar Ever? Austin Energy Buys PV From SunEdison at 5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

I would like to see more information.  Five cents/kwh does not say much. Utilities pay an energy rate, capacity rate and sometimes a Bonus.  Then depending on Utility there are time of day rates, peak, mid-peak and off-peak and not to mention any subsidies.

March 14, 2014    View Comment    

On Study: Methane Leakage From Gas Fields Guts Climate Benefit

So what else is new to those with limited information?  The world population is 7 billion, the last billion boarded between 1999 and 2011.  By 2023 world population would have increased 33% over 1999. The world average carbon footprint is 4 tones/yr (20 tons/yr US).  One cannot construct enough RE plants to offset GHG from population growth let alone other sources.

August 15, 2013    View Comment    

On Solar Energy: Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is

I sorry and don't mean to diminsh the writers suggestion, but I invested my entire life or civilian career on solar.  From managing engineering and construction of the world's first utility scale power stations, development of thermal solar, Installation of solar PV, Investor and solar Patent holder and enjoyed every minute

July 8, 2013    View Comment    

On Energy Demand Reductions Help Slash US CO2 Emissions: A Closer Analysis

Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time.

The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958.

The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago - before modern humans existed.

May 10, 2013    View Comment    

On Germany and the Solar Energy Revolution

BS is BS, but I am in solar and continually bothered by people with questions such as why does a commercial system require hundreds of permanent maintenance employees when the same panels are marketed to the homeowner as zero maintenance?  In California, solar will bring the county millions of dollars in sales tax revenue.  Solar in California is exempt from sales, use and property taxes. How about marketing panels as producing electricity cheaper than a gas turbine, one of the cheaper fossil fuel facilities.  But the solar company is comparing their numbers to a simple cycle gas turbine used for peaking that only operates a few hours.  When one amortizes the cost, sure the kWh cost is out of sight.  Now I am being contacted by lawyers as an Expert withness

March 11, 2013    View Comment    

On Germany and the Solar Energy Revolution

I noticed that not one Comment disputed the facts that were presented.  I remember a couple of years, Spain was the example used by solar fanatics as to solar’s glowing future.  Look at Spain now, there is a finite end to number of solar installations and funding. Today in the US, those that don’t install solar will pay for those that do, the poor.  I have found those who are the most fanatical about solar know little of details. I was Project Manager with engineering and construction of the world’s first utility scale power stations at Kramer, developed many numerous projects and invested in others and have a CSP Solar Patent  If an industry cannot be supported without deception as to its true costs or justify it on environmental needs it does not have the right to exist and be a burden on those less fortunate.  I am an advocate of solar but not the BS used to market it.

March 10, 2013    View Comment    

On U.S. Energy Security and the Next Energy Crisis

I remember the Energy shortage, the oil company that provided our gas through a non commercial source told us to use all we wanted at 21 cents/gallon while cars were lined up around the block at gas stations.  One employee who also owned a gas station placed a 1,000 gallon tank in the back of his pickup to transport gas to his station.  There was a gas shortgage but there was alot of hype too.

Electric or hybrid vehicle technology has not advanced to switch over the interstate trucking industry and Alternative Fuel providers cannot supply the amount needed.  Boone Pickens, idea of switching over to natural gas in the interim is a very good idea.

I believe a pipeline around the Straits of Hormuz was very recently placed in service althouigh I can't recall the capacity and it wouldn't carry all the oil anyway.

July 16, 2012    View Comment    

On 24/7/365 Power for North America from Solar Towers

I comment from my personal experiences which may be different from others.  I plan to read your book. I assume you are referring to "The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse" and not the Sci Fi wrote as a kid.

From my perspective, most of the world's problems can be solved by birth control.  There are far more people on this rock than than the natural resources can sustain without creative ideas to mitigate that fact.

July 6, 2012    View Comment    

On 24/7/365 Power for North America from Solar Towers

Solar energy potential is measured as high direct normal insolation (DNI) and reported as kWh/Sq. Meter/Day.  Under clear sky conditions, about 85% of the sunlight is DNI and 15% is scattered light that comes in at all different angles. An Dni around Ivanpah if I recall correctly is in the neighborhood of 8.0.  Texas ranges from about 4.0 in the East to about 6.5 in the West.

One of the main problems affecting solar is the lack of transmission line capacity

July 6, 2012    View Comment    

On 24/7/365 Power for North America from Solar Towers

Dan I believe we are on the same page regarding transmission lines but looking at it from different viewpoints.  From my perspective I don't know of anyone who has installed a superconducting line outside of a research environment. Therefore I could not construct a superconducting transmission line tommorrow that would not be considered a pilot project.  If superconducting transmission lines are commercially in service, I stand Corrected and admit it.

I did not say HVDC was better, but is being consider by many until there is a breakthrough in superconducting which is a basis for my "belief" which is an "opinion" based on the knowledge what others are considering.  Your comments reflect the supplier and mine the customer or user.

July 6, 2012    View Comment    

On 24/7/365 Power for North America from Solar Towers

Au Contraire Mr Rirdan.  Superconducting cables are about the only means to conduct electricity over long distances and considered by Desertec, the project to construct solar facilities in Africa and wheel energy to nothern Europe, but the technology is still in the research phase. I believe the next step baring a breakthrough, is high-voltage direct current technology.  Higher temperature superconduction would be the ideal solution and maybe even make it possible for a transmission line around the earth that wheels electricity from the sunlight areas to the dark.

Bob E

July 6, 2012    View Comment    

On 24/7/365 Power for North America from Solar Towers

Sounds good but the Engineering isn't there.  The solar plant without thermal storage or secondary fossil fuel boiler only has a capacity facto of about 25% of a power station operating 24/7.  Although there is an average of 12 hours daylight over the earth, solar energy is not as strong during the mornings and evenings.  Therefore to operate solar 24/7 using thermal storage assuming electriacal demand  is constand would require a solar field four times the size needed for day operation alone thermal storage is an addition cost on top of day operation only plant.  The solar power facilities that will operate 24/7 are for demonstration (hype) and cannot do so at full load. Also should you have a cloudy day, there isn't any stored power for the evening.  100& solar presents a logistal transmission and generation nightmare as evidensed by NREL studies for FERC.  If a region were affected by clouds how would one move electricity into the region without constructing excess transmission capacity or keeping fossil generation on standby.  Finally the technology does not exist to wheel electricity from one side of the country to the other effectively.

Bob Emery

Engineer/former Luz Project Manager

Pending thermal solar Patent


July 6, 2012    View Comment