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On Are Carbon Capture and Storage and Biomass Indispensable in the Fight Against Climate Change?

Jesse,

China and India, tired of being pilloried by the West, declined to attend the upcoming climate conference in New York.

That means about 2.5 billion people of the 7-plus billion will be going their own way.

CO2 emissions increased a greater quantity, billions of metric ton, in 2013 than in 2012.

Despite optimistic predictions/aspirational goals, the world reducing its CO2 emissions, year after year, is not anywhere near insight, as long as plentiful fossil fuels are around.

CCS, biofuels, etc., are nice talking points, but will not make one iota of difference regarding GW, certainly not within the next few decades, if ever.

September 11, 2014    View Comment    

On Price of US Wind Energy at 'All-Time Low' of 2.5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Brian,

If a wind energy PPA is at 2.5 c/kWh, it does NOT include balancing, standby of other generators and grid buildouts. The PPA price is low because of the subsidies and not counting "socialized costs". See above comments

September 7, 2014    View Comment    

On Price of US Wind Energy at 'All-Time Low' of 2.5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Brian,

If a wind energy PPA is at 2.5 c/kWh, it does NOT include balancing, standby of other generators and grid buildouts. The PPA price is low because of the subsidies and not counting "socialized costs". See above comments

September 7, 2014    View Comment    

On Seeking Consensus on the Internalized Costs of Energy Storage via Batteries

Any manufacturing business has materials, labor, overhead and profit as the major cost categories that determine the minimum sales price; selling at a loss is not an option.

Usually, each are about 1/3, so if $70/kWh for materials, then the total is about $200/kWh, plus profit.

That kWh is total capacity, actual usable capacity, FOR LONG LIFE, is about 70% of the total, i.e., charge to about 90% or less, discharge to no less than 20%, as does GM with its Li-Ion chevy-volt batteries!!

GM has many thousands of Volts on the road and its sales would go down the drain, if battery failures became common. 

Based on my 30-year experience in the utility power field, I expect the same high standards will likely be applied by utlity power systems engineers.

September 5, 2014    View Comment    

On The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

Brian,

See my above comment.

August 31, 2014    View Comment    

On The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

Nathan,

In the future, step one has to be building houses, a la Passivhaus, which use about 80% less energy than a standard house. These houses would be designed for maximizing passive solar. About 2/3rd of all US households own their own home. Millions of them could be candidates for replacement. Far from "cute".

In the future, step two for many homeowners, has to be adding proper energy systems to those houses to be "off the grid".

In my case, I would save about $3500/year, based on 2013 fuel and electricity prices. I have to make well over $5000 to have $3500 left over after taxes. 

At current 30-year mortgage rates of about 4% that is equivalent to $125,000 that I could invest in a 2000 sq ft house to be off the grid.

The actual investment for doing so will be much less, i.e., with rising energy prices, this investment will pay for itself in about 10 - 15 years. Far from "cute".

In the energy sector, there are not many other investments in the housing sector that have such a good payback, AND are as effective reducing CO2 emissions, AND wean the US off fossil fuels over the next few decades.

All technology already exists. It is just a matter of political will to accelerate with incentives its implementation.

August 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Price of US Wind Energy at 'All-Time Low' of 2.5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Brisn,

Here is the email address of a prominent energy systems analyst in France. Ask him what ever you like about the French energy system. He will give you expert answers. As always, you do not have to agree with him and can stick to your own views.

Normal 0 0 1 3 20 1 1 24 11.0 0 0 0 hubert.flocard@gmail.com

 

August 30, 2014    View Comment    

On The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

Energy-Efficient Housing a la PASSIVHAUS: Energy efficiency will go nowhere regarding buildings without a very strict, state-wide-enforced, building code. In Denmark, a recently passed law requires NEW residential buildings must be zero-energy. The US should follow THAT example.

Note my starting point is a house, NOT grid-connected, that uses at least 80% less energy for heating, cooling, and electricity than a standard house. THEN I add the below systems. In winter it will be challenging, as several days may pass with near-zero solar energy generation. At least a week's consumption of electrical and hot water storage will be required; of the storage system nameplate ratings, about 70% is available of battery capacity, as batteries are typically charged to a max of 90% and discharged to a min of 20% of capacity.

Here is an example of what CAN be done, AND it would be invisible, AND it would maximize fossil fuel and CO2 reduction, AND it would REDUCE energy bills of already-struggling households and businesses!!!

If one had a properly-oriented, free-standing house about as efficient as a Passivhaus, then energy requirements for heating, cooling, and electricity would be minimal, even in cold climates. For living off the grid, in a near-zero-CO2 mode, the house would need to be equipped with:

- A roof-mounted, PV solar system + a lead-zinc battery system  + a hot water storage tank with DC electric heater + a system with DC pump and water-to-air heat exchanger.

- A roof-mounted, vacuum thermal solar system. Vacuum systems produce hot water even during the minimum winter irradiance periods, whereas standard tube systems do not.

- A gasoline-powered, 2 kW DC generator with 50-gallon storage tank to provide electricity in case of too little PV solar and thermal solar energy during winter, due to fog, ice, snow, etc.

- Any excess electricity would bypass the already-full batteries and go to the electric heater. Any excess thermal energy would be exhausted from the HW tank to the outdoors.

- A whole house duct system to supply and return warm and cool air, with an air-to-air heat exchanger to take in fresh, filtered air and exhaust stale air at a minimum of 0.5 ACH, per HVAC code.

- For space cooling, a small capacity, high-efficiency AC unit would be required on only the warmest days, as the house will warm up very slowly.

- For space heating, a DC electric heater, about 1.5 kW (about the same capacity as a hairdryer) for a 2000 sq ft house, in the air supply duct, would be required on only the coldest days.

NOTE: As space heating and cooling would be required for just a few days of the year, an air-source heat pump would be overkill and too expensive in this case.

NOTE: A future plug-in vehicle could be charged with DC energy from the house batteries by bypassing the vehicle AC to DC converter, provided the batteries have adequate remaining storage capacity, kWh, for other electricity usages.

NOTE: The PV solar and thermal solar systems need to be oversized to ensure adequate electrical and thermal energy during winter when the monthly minimum winter irradiance is about 1/4 - 1/6 of the monthly maximum summer irradiance. See below URL of monthly output from 2 monitored solar systems in Munich; 1/6 is about right in South Germany. 

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-use-houses

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/71771/energy-efficiency-first-renewables-later

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house

http://oi61.tinypic.com/ev564y.jpg 

 

August 29, 2014    View Comment    

On The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

The energy out/energy in from lead zinc  batteries is about 0.80, i.e., they destroy energy.

The only value is time shifting, i.e. when PV solar generation is minimal and some of its energy was stored earlier (when it was maximal), then solar energy from the battery can be used.

August 29, 2014    View Comment    

On Price of US Wind Energy at 'All-Time Low' of 2.5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Brian,

France has the lowest HOUSEHOLD electric rates of any major nation in Europe, Germany is second highest, after Denmark; both are RE "leaders".

August 28, 2014    View Comment    

On Price of US Wind Energy at 'All-Time Low' of 2.5 Cents per Kilowatt-Hour

Brian,

Here is one study that documents wind is not anywhere near 6 c/kWh when balancing, supplementary energy and grid build-outs are added.

Normal 0 0 1 11 68 1 1 83 11.0 0 0 0

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/310631/more-realistic-cost-wind-energy

August 28, 2014    View Comment    

On The Average Price of Electricity, Country by Country

Here are the German household prices for 2013; to get dollarcents divide eurocent/0.75

Normal 0 0 1 149 852 7 1 1046 11.0 0 0 0

German household electric rates, 29.65 eurocent/kWh in December 2013, were the 2nd highest in Europe, after Denmark’s 30.45 eurocent/kWh. France, 80% nuclear, was at 15.48 eurocent/kWh. See URL for breakdown of electric bill charges per kWh.

 

Total household cost.........................................29.650

Less VAT..............................................................4.744.............16% of Total

Less EEG surcharge............................................5.227

Less other taxes and levies.................................4.722*

Utility energy................................5.5

Utility service, distribution..........1.407

Utility business............................8.0

Energy, Distr., Operations.................................14.907.........50.28% of Total

 

* Includes: Energy tax, Offshore hafnungsumlage, Parapraph 19 umlage, KWK aufschlag, Konzessions ausgabe.

 

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2013/7/2/174936/9080

http://www.energypriceindex.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/HEPI_Press_Release_December-2013.pdf

 

August 28, 2014    View Comment