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On Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

Robert:

A very good article with clearly presented data that even the most rabid RE aficiaonado can "understand".

BTW the spreadsheet with generation data gets periodically updated.

A few items, not mentioned, are of importance:

Germany failed to build sufficient grid adequacy to domestically handle the solar and wind energy; tens of billions of euros would be required, and the build-outs would be highly visible, and NIMBY has slowed the build-outs for more than 10 years.

Hence its energy exports have been increasing from year to year to get rid of surpluses that are choking the German grid.

To add insult to madness, Germany currently subsizes solar energy at a LEGACY average of about 36 eurocent/kWh, but sells it on the wholesale market at about 3 - 4 eurocent/kWh, even at negative prices on sunny days. Nearby foreign countries gleefully accept Germany's largesses.

With enough of such "business transactions", even Germany's economy will go into the tank.

Note that Germany's RE folly (which grealy INCREASED household electric rates RELATIVE to its competitors, and diverted investments from productivity improvements) has made its economy less competitive and finally slowed its qtr-to-qtr GDP growth from 0.7% to -0.2%, from the 1st to 2nd qtr in 2014; the EU-18 zone went from 0.2 to 0.0 in those periods, and sanctions have not even had any effect!!

Closing its nuclear plants and replacing them with coal plants will not reduce Germany's CO2 emissions, nor increase its competitiveness.

Europe can hardly afford to do the US geo-political bidding by engaging in sanctions games with its major trading partner and low-cost energy supplier, as it will further tank its economy.

Normal 0 0 1 10 58 1 1 71 11.0 0 0 0 http://www.finadvice.ch/files/germany_lessonslearned_final_071014.pdf

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http://euanmearns.com/large-scale-grid-integration-of-solar-power-many-problems-few-solutions/

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http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/368081/russian-gas-exports-and-western-encroachments-russia

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

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/338781/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-germanys-economy

 

August 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

Robert,

The "flatter" month-to-month solar energy production is due to the US southwest having concentrated solar plants with much higher year-round CFs, unlike PV solar, which, in New England, varies about 4 to 1 on a winter-summer basis. See below table. The CSPs' output added to the other PV solar "flattens" the average, a condition somewhat unique to the US. Excerpt from

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http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/332911/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-vermonts-economy

EXAMPLE OF SOLAR ENERGY-WEIGHTED, ANNUAL AVERAGE WHOLESALE PRICE

Normal 0 0 1 393 2241 18 4 2752 11.0 0 0 0

 

Solar energy occurs during the ISO-NE defined "On-Peak" period of 7 AM - 11 PM. The cost of energy of any large SPEED solar facility up to 2.2 MW, connected via a substation, to Vermont's high voltage grid, should be compared against the solar-energy, weighted-average, wholesale price, as follows:

1) Determine the local irradiance, kWh/m2/d, for 12 months. See URL.

http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html

2) Monthly irradiance x the days of each month = monthly solar energy production, kWh. The annual solar energy production is 1,265 kWh per kW of panels. That is for NEW, CLEAN panels, snow/ice-free, facing solar south, at the proper fixed angle. Most owners get less.

3) Monthly wholesale rate, $/kWh x monthly solar energy production = monthly solar energy value, $/mo. The annual solar energy value is $88.366

http://www.iso-ne.com/markets/hstdata/znl_info/monthly/index.html

Open July 8, 2014, “Monthly Data by Load Zone” spreadsheet, go to bottom of page, click on VT tab, monthly wholesale prices, $/kWh, appear.

4) Divide ($88.36/yr)/(1265 kWh/yr) = $0.0698/kWh. This is the solar-energy-weighted, annual-average, on-peak, wholesale price. The simple average of the monthly on-peak prices is $0.0814/kWh.

Both values are high, because of the winter gas shortage; more likely values would be about $0.065/kWh and $0.08/kWh, i.e., more in line with prior years.

PV solar is disruptive, variable, intermittent energy, that requires special coddling and balancing for accommodating it to the grid, as Germany has found out in the Bavaria, etc. Therefore, it is worth LESS than $0.065/kWh.

Current New England annual average grid prices are about 3.5 c/kWh, off-peak, and about 8 c/kWh, on peak (7 AM – 11 PM), for an annual average of about 5 c/kWh.

2013-2014

Month.....$/kWh....Irradiance..Days....kWh........$/mo  

Jul........0.07381......5.49.......31.......170.......12.562

Aug.....0.04303.......4.81.......31.......149.........6.416

Sep......0.04400......3.72.......30.......112.........4.910

Oct.......0.04157......2.45.......31........76.........3.157

Nov.....0.04587.......1.50.......30.........45.........2.064

Dec......0.11261......1.26.......31.........39.........4.399

Jan.......0.18072......1.61.......31.........50.........9.020

Feb......0.17625......2.53........28.........71.......12.486

Mar.....0.12943.......3.54........31........110.......14.204

Apr.....0.04443........4.34.......30........130.........5.785

May....0.03998........4.86........31.......151.........6.023

Jun......0.04506.......5.43.......30........163.........7.340

Total ....................41.54.....365.......1265.......88.366

  

August 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

Donough,

OVERPRODUCTION lowers wholesale prices, not overcapacity.

That happens on a sunny day when southern Germany cannot reduce the output of traditional generators any more (i.e., below 50% to prevent them from becoming unstable and very inefficient), and the excess solar energy has to be exported and sold by utilities at firesale WHOLESALE prices about 3 - 4 eurocent/kWh, sometimes even negative prices!!!, to France, Austria, The Czech Republic, etc.

The GENERATORS of the PV solar energy get paid by utilities, on average, about 36 eurocent/kWh under the ENERGIEWENDE program. See my above comments and URL.

The 36 eurocent is slowly declining as more PV systems with lower compensation/kWh come on line.

However, in 2014, first 6 months, only 1015 MW of PV solar was installed, so the decline will be VERY slow.

http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=16617
August 19, 2014    View Comment    

On How Much Longer Until Solar Eliminates the Utilities?

All,

As the article's subject is to complement solar with batteries to get rid of/do without electric utilities, the below example is to illustrate how that would be possible regarding just one of many economic sectors that use electricity.

It would be an enormously expensive task, taking many decades, to implement it for ALL sectors of the economy.

If more buildings were OFF THE GRID, then that part of electric demand would no longer need electric utilities. With regard to residences, here is a way that can be done:

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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.

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 battery system for electrical energy storage + an electric heater in the hot water storage tank to get rid of any excess electricity, plus

- A roof-mounted, thermal solar system + a hot water storage system + a system to get rid of any excess thermal energy.

- A whole house duct system to supply and return warm and cool air, with 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, efficient AC unit would be required on only the warmest days.

- For space heating, an 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 excessive and too expensive.

NOTE: A future plug-in vehicle could be charged with DC energy from the house batteries by bypassing the vehicle AC to DC converter.

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 

 

August 16, 2014    View Comment    

On Advanced Energy Technology of the Week: Efficient Building Insulation

John,

The world will have to move to Passivhaus standards to achieve a serious reduction of building energy use for heating, cooling and electricity.

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.

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 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 battery system for electrical energy storage + an electric heater in the hot water storage tank to get rid of any excess electricity, plus

- A roof-mounted, thermal solar system + a hot water storage system + a system to get rid of any excess thermal energy.

- A whole house duct system to supply and return warm and cool air, with 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, efficient AC unit would be required on only the warmest days.

- For space heating, an 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 excessive and too expensive.

NOTE: A future plug-in vehicle could be charged with DC energy from the house batteries by bypassing the vehicle AC to DC converter.

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

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

 

August 15, 2014    View Comment    

On World Oil Production at 3/31/2014: Where are We Headed?

Bob,

The unreliable part has to do with Ukraine, which is, by far, the most corrupt state in Europe, right up there with Cameroon. Everything worth owning is owned by oligarchs who run the country; President Poroshenko is one of them, as is his prime minister.

Ukraine is the major transit for Russian gas and Ukraine has been pilfering gas for decades, as noted in my article, referenced below.

Russia and Germany has built North Stream under the Baltic, so Germany's supplies are secure.

Russia NEEDS to sell the gas, but it does not want to be blackmailed and stolen from by Ukraine. Thus, it wants to build South Stream which bypasses Ukraine, for the sole purpose to ensure reliable supply to other EU nations.

Replacing Russian gas with LNG from other countries at double the Russian gas price and rearranging the piping in 5 - 10 years is not attractive for Europe.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/368081/russian-gas-exports-and-western-encroachments-russia

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August 15, 2014    View Comment    

On 'Germany, Want to Rid Yourself of Russian Gas? Turbo-Charge the Energiewende!'

Roman,

"A 2006 Russian natural gas shutoff left many Europeans without heating fuel during a bitter cold winter."

That was due to dead beat, corrupt, dysfunctional, corrupt Ukraine not paying its bills, as were the subsequent gas interruptions.

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http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/368081/russian-gas-exports-and-western-encroachments-russia

Regarding the ENERGIEWENDE-1, or EEG-1, this article states the historical costs from 2000 - 2014, based on data from German government sources, and states an estimate the projected costs of EEG-2.

The high costs of Germany's ENERGIEWENDE are finally starting to make on impact on German competitiveness by reducing economic growth from 0.8% first qtr 2014 to near zero % in second qtr 2014, which will affect the economies of less robust neighbors.

Russia, a big customer of Germany, is having a slowing economy and German car sales to Russia are down 23% YTD. 

The Ukraine events will add to the economic downturn.

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http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/338781/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-germanys-economy

Excerpt:

This section has an estimate of the capital and surcharge costs of the EEG-1 phase; start 2000 – end 2014 (15 years), and EEG-2 phase; start 2015 - end 2030 (16 years). The assumptions take into account the EEG surcharge build-up and wind-down periods of RE systems built during the phases. RE subsidies are for 20 years. 

EEG Capital and Surcharge Cost Summary:

EEG - 1

The total EEG-1 surcharges on electric bills increased from zero at start of 2000 to about 24.5 b euro in 2014, will be decreasing to zero by end of 2034. 

Costs During the EEG-1 Build-up and Wind-down Period:

Surcharge during build-up from start 2000 to end 2014, b euro...........111.6

Surcharge during wind-down from start 2015 to end 2034, b euro.......275.8

Total surcharge, b euro.......................................................................... .....387.4

200.1 b euro capital cost to build the RE systems, which typically last only 20 to 25 years!!

Costs, such as grid build-outs, capacity adequacy, balancing losses, etc., are not included.

EEG - 2

The total EEG-2 surcharges on electric bills increased from zero at start of 2015 to about 11.7 b euro in 2030, will be decreasing to zero by end of 2050.

Costs During the EEG-2 Build-up and Wind-down Period:

Surcharge during build-up from start 2015 to end 2030, b euro.............102.

Surcharge during wind-down from start 2031 to end 2050, b euro........111.0

Total surcharge, b euro...............................................................................213.2

243.0 b euro capital cost to build the RE systems, which typically last only 20 - 25 years!!

Costs, such as grid build-outs, capacity adequacy, balancing losses, etc., are not included.

NOTES:

- RE systems installed at the start of 2000 receive feed-in rates to the end of 2019, i.e., for 20 years, etc.

- (EEG-1 + EEG-2) surcharge peaks at about 25.68 b euro during 2019, will be decreasing to zero by end of 2050. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2014    View Comment    

On In Ukraine Crisis Wake: Geopolitics and a Case for European LNG Import Terminals

Roman,

You stated Europe LNG imposts were 51.4 bcm in 2013, but the subsequent THIERRY graph shows about 42 bcm.

Which is the correct number?

Here is an article which may be of interest.

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http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/368081/russian-gas-exports-and-western-encroachments-russia

 

August 5, 2014    View Comment    

On World Oil Production at 3/31/2014: Where are We Headed?

Gail,

Another good summary of the oil patch.

Connected with this is the Ukraine situation.

Regarding the US, this has nothing to do with Ukraine, or the Crimea. It has to do with geo-politics, with PERMANENTLY debilitating the FUTURE oil production of and access to some markets by Russia, by withholding the necessary technologies and multi-billion dollar credits.

That will cause Russia to have declining future oil production, weaken its economy and have less geo-political clout. The US and others will do the future arctic exploration and production, etc.

If Europe decided to stop buying gas from Russia, and replace it with LNG, it would increase gas prices in Europe by about 50%.

In 2013, Europe spent about 530 bcm x   $400/1000 cm = $212 billion/yr (wholesale prices), which would become about $318 billion/yr.

At least $150 billion in investments would be required to get to that mode of operation in about 5 - 10 years.

Europe would forego most of the lucrative trade in goods and services with Russia, amounting to $416 billion in 2013.

This would have a great adverse effect on the economies of Europe and Russia, but would greatly benefit the energy, defense and finance sectors of the US economy, which would have energy prices even lower relative to the rest of the world than at present.

Europe’s “stepping up to the plate” to follow the US macho “lead” will be very expensive!!

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/368081/russian-gas-exports-and-western-encroachments-russia

   

July 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Why China's Energy Consumption Will Keep Rising

Bob,

Here is what China's soot does to snow and ice surfaces ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Remember, China's burning of one ton of coal is equivalent to the US and Europe burning 50 to 100 tons.

China, etc., are the culprits.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/05/dark-snow-speeding-glacier-melting-rising-sea-levels

People did not become pollution conscious until the late 60s, which resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1970.

The US was in the lead and Europe followed quickly, but China DID NOTHING until 2012. It just built dirty coal plants for 42 years, just as the US and Europe had done in the first 60 years of the 20th century.

China does not just burn an ittybitty amount of coal, but it burns a lot of coal IN A DIRTY manner, hence it has a special responsibility regarding this aspect of pollution.

As China, Russia, India, Brazil, and others, mostly continue BAU, no amount of RE spending by the rest of the world will make much difference regarding CO2 and GW. 

Maybe the world should set up an environmental defense fund to help underdeveloed and developing nations clean up their act. That spending would be at least $200 billion per year in addition to current spending on RE.

Here are the numbers for the worldwide RE (excluding hydro) for 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Total genration was 22,613 TWh in 2012., RE was 4.6%, hydro was 16.2%

RE

TWh

 

254.2, 612.2,742.6,892.2,1035.8

 

July 14, 2014    View Comment    

On Why China's Energy Consumption Will Keep Rising

Bob,

Adding high efficiency fabric filter systems to catch almost all particulates greater then 0.5 micron and adding SOX scrubbing systems is the least China should do regarding its ENORMOUS coal consumption, which is unique in the world, and unique in its damage to its own people and its own environment.

The US started that process under the Clean Air Act of 1970 under Nixon.

The Chinese rulers finally recognized and admitted they had a major problem by passing their own clean air act (modeled after US and EU acts) regarding coal plants, effective the end of 2012.

That means, for 42 years, THEY were bad actors and did not want to spend the money to clean up THEIR mess regarding coal burning, which they knew, and most of the rest of the world knew, to be an upcoming problem AT THAT TIME.

Comparing pollution per capita is absurd regarding this aspect of emissions.

"Massive abdication of responsibility" are words used by people who make poor arguments.

I made nothing "prerequisite". Those are your words.

Regarding other issues, no  one is "copping out".

July 12, 2014    View Comment    

On Why China's Energy Consumption Will Keep Rising

Nathan,

See my above comment to Bob.

July 12, 2014    View Comment