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On Lower Electric Vehicle Prices from GM and Nissan

"Your welcome. It actually is not a bummer. With the state and fed incentive the Leaf was quite afforable and still gives me plenty of fun and I fully enjoy driving it daily."


Well in reality the rest of the taxpayers kicked in to pick up the tab without getting to enjoy the new car. So, it's still a bummer.

March 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Solar Energy: Grid Parity In India, Italy, and More to Come in 2014

"* Cost less than $3/W installed (stated publicly by First Solar VP, Maja Wessels, at our GW Solar Institute annual symposium in April)"


Frankly, I find this claim to be astonishing. Current costs for just panels alone are nearly $3 per watt and they amount to less than half the typical costs of a retail installation. So I suspect that someone is providing some wishful thinking to arrive at that conclusion.

March 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Solar Energy: Grid Parity In India, Italy, and More to Come in 2014

Actually the comments about 3 dimension energy availability show a fundamental misunderstanding of both physics and geometry.

However, that being said we probably can collect enough solar power to provide a substantial amount of our energy supply. The critical factor is and always has been storing solar power. That's a problem that is still outstanding and until we have a real, economically viable solution then solar will remain a niche market.

Currently solar is primarily limited to shaving off peak power demand between the hours of 10am to 2pm with emphasis on replacing air conditioning electrical usage. Beyond that (still substantial) power profile it's economic efficiency dwindles to insignificant or negative.

March 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Innovation Down Under Could Mean Off-Grid AC

"I have to commend you on this great idea. Please shoot for 100% efficiency. I hope it can be done."

LOL, well the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says no to that one.

But to be fair, the source said: "My target is to make it 100 per cent [more efficient than current AC systems]", so he's not aiming for 100% efficiency, he's aiming for twice the efficiency as current AC systems, but his phrasing was misleading.

September 14, 2012    View Comment    

On The Romney-Ryan Energy Plan by the Numbers

"Oil is a fundamentally global commodity. Gas prices are not going to drop just because the US produced more oil."

If the US produces enough oil to have a net increase on World Oil production then yes the price of oil will go down. And as far as the price of gasoline, currently the US is refinery constrained, so we need to build more refineries and that coupled with a decrease in the price of oil will drop the price of gas.

"And unless the US decides not to sell or export natural gas and shift over its energy sourcing to predominanly natural gas (no less revamp transportation and infrastructure to suite it), there is unlikely to be much change."

It's extremely expensive to export natural gas, generally you have to liquify it first, which adds a substantial amount to the cost. So, I think you are completely wrong about this. I think one of the best approaches the US could take would be to aggressively convert our over-the-road diesel trucking fleet to natural gas. This would act to substantially replace a large amount of imported oil with local natural gas. Couple this with using strong hybrid commuter vehicles (that can go dozens of miles off of battery power alone) and the US could be energy independent. Or at the very least, avoid importing petroleum from outside of North America.

August 30, 2012    View Comment    

On US emissions continue to fall

This whole pledge is just green washing. The drop in emisssions is virtually all do to a slugging economy. As soon as the economy turns around the emissions will go back upward. It's ridiculous for the US to pledge to such large drops when they are never going to happen. It's all just propaganda.

The US should restrict its pledges to ones it plans to keep.

August 29, 2012    View Comment    

On Exports Raise the Bar for US Strategic Petroleum Releases

All this talk of opening up the SPR seems bizarre to me. A you point out, currently the high gas prices are due as much to refining constraints as they are to high oil prices. Adding extra oil to the mix will, as you say, make the refineries more profitable. However, it will not decrease the price of gas.

Hurricane Isaac had cut US refinery capacity far more than it has US oil production. Furthermore, the large fires at Venezuela's largest refinery (one of the biggest in North America) will also drive up demand for gas. All of these will contribute to high gas prices. Releasing oil from the SPR will not change those prices at all. Any release of oil will be purely a political move designed to look like the government is doing something. What the US government should be doing is encouraging the building of additional US refining capacity, which would act to lower the cost of gas, at least in the long run.

August 29, 2012    View Comment    

On Obama Administration Makes History by Raising Fuel Standards to 54.5 MPG

"This isn’t some distant dream; it is a concrete reality that begins now."

No, it's not a concrete reality. Nor is it a distant dream. It's a plan. And a tenuous plan at best. There is no clear path to 54.5 MPG at the present time. Granted that's the EPA rating and this may translate to closer to a real world 40-45 MPG. Going from 27-28 MPG to 40 MPG is possible over the next 12 years. Going from 27-28 MPG to 54 MPG is quite improbable.

I would much rather see a realistic, cost effective goal than another pie in the sky, doomed to failure approach. This looks like the latter. I think this is more election year politics than sound policy.




August 29, 2012    View Comment    

On What’s Missing in the Romney Energy Plan?

Yes, this was a good article. Thanks for covering Romney's Energy plan in a balanced manner. I look forward to someone doing the same with Obama's updated Energy plan.

August 29, 2012    View Comment    

On NYC’s Delta Building Uses Smart Tech To Provide Its Own Power

There's something wrong with this story. There is no way that's enough solar panels (from the picture) to provide even the electrical needs for a building of that size in New York City. New York is a cold, cloudy climate. From the article: "It combines solar and wind energy to meet 100% of its energy needs—generating its own electricity, hot water and heat." I'm extremely doubtful of the claim that this building is actually meeting 100% of it's energy needs.


August 1, 2012    View Comment    

On Renewable Energy — Facts and Figures

This is an excellent article. And thanks for breaking out capacity factor and actual production numbers.  It's silly to concentrate solely on capacity when what we, as a society, really want is the electricity, not the machines themselves. And yet countless articles do. This kind of article is why I enjoy reading The Energy Collective.

I think you are a little pessimistic when you place the limit at renewals being capped at around 10% of total energy production. At least as far as electricity production, I've seen estimates of around 20% or so for Wind power alone. Granted those estimates were probably high, but I would expect that wind, augmented with solar to shave peak power usage in the South and a build out of additional high voltage lines from high wind areas to other areas of the country should be able to get us around 20% usage. That combined with another 5-7% hydropower and 20% Nuclear would see the US electrical grid at around 45-50% non-fossil fuel usage.

July 13, 2012    View Comment    

On EU to impose new rules that will cut driving cost by 25%

I wonder if in the long run, Europe will raise the average cost of driving above what the middle class can afford. And thus make automobile usage the purview of the rich.

June 15, 2012    View Comment