Comments by Jeff Watts Subscribe

On What is the Potential of Distributed Generation with Storage and Demand Response?

Good article. Thanks for the information.

October 10, 2014    View Comment    

On Rise of Renewables in Germany

Assuming that Nuclear is shutdown as planned, it's hard to see how coal can also be removed. Solar and Wind don't provide baseload power, they can't import all of their baseload power from France, and there still isn't much storage capacity.

If Germany (or any country) truly wants to be serious about renewable power, they need to build a lot more energy storage capacity.

October 10, 2014    View Comment    

On Did the "People's Climate" March Leave Conservatives on the Sidelines?

As a libertarian leaning conservative, I certainly agree that conflating conservative and Republican is a mistake. That being said your caricature of Republican's is ridiculously cartoonish.

And adding a diatribe about Supreme Court decisions you disagree with that have nothing to do with environmental policy is just trollish.



October 10, 2014    View Comment    

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 15, 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