It’s time to do the right things “not because they are easy but because they are hard”

Just because a problem is difficult that shouldn’t cause us to avoid facing it. Energy storage is an example that I discuss in my latest blog posting.

One Response to It’s time to do the right things “not because they are easy but because they are hard”

  1. Raymond Rapisand November 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Dear Davis, Re your posting on solar subsidies and utility scale etc.
    Yes you are right that we need to do the Hard Things to make real positive change.

    I have enjoyed reading many of your thoughtful blogs and various articles. While I don’t agree totally with some of your positions I do want to state that you do point out some excellent points on subsidies and improper application of various technologies. You produce some thoughtful work and have made a positive contribution. You say some things that need to be said and I commend you for the excellent research that seems to support your work.
    I recognize and have encountered many a Black Swan event during my 30 plus year career in the energy and environmental field.

    Yes utility scale solar does have have some advantages but questions of equity , energy losses, personal savings and energy independence are important. Rate payers rarely see any cost savings once a utility owns and rate bases a centralized plant. Ratepayers pay for excess costs that centralized systems are burdened by, the law of diminishing returns set in years ago with centralized power stations and long distance transmission and distribution losses are real Black Swans !!!

    I can install 3 to 4 kw of rooftop solar for $3 a watt all in and with 5 % financing and NO utility subsidies just the 30 % tax credit for the US the system in the southwest part of Texas where i work will earn a 9.9 % rate of return. With 1 % utility increases over 25 years it earns 11.9 % with 2 % utility increases it earns 12. 5 % rate of return. These are fixed returns hedges against the looming price increases that the legacy fuels are locked into.

    As for excess generation most of it is during peak utility times when the rates are .18 cents per kwhr and the utility resales the neighbor next door with no energy losses my solar excess Kwhr . I get paid avoided cost which is fuel around $ .0288 cents. My neighbor will pay .12 cents or .18 cents for the solar Kwhr. The net metering true up results in a paltry sum and studies show that during the Mon to Fri week over 50 % of the day time solar goes back into the grid. So this is a positive for the grid and smart inverters reduce VAR issues with the grid as well. technology is a marvelous thing properly applied.
    In my career I have sampled many a coal ash pond water or the fly ash in land fills. Talk about Un healthy materials and it is not treated as hazardous waste even thou it has low level radiological markers as well as lead and arsenic,etc.I don’t know if Canada regulates things well or not but in the States we have large industry written loopholes Sir. Talk about subsidies !!! and it has gone on for 50 years or more. So there is an opportunity waiting to be corrected.

    So I consider this a Black Swan event ….net metering in its first phases has issues and there needs to be adjustments both ways. Nationally the regulatory commissions will refine the net metering and maybe some sort of Time of Use rates for solar customers can be implemented that resolve cross subsidization but also addresses solar value to the GRID. The value of DG solar to the Grid is currently under stated. There are huge opportunities for equitable collaboration between DG solar and the electric grid.
    I will post again if my negotiations with my local utility result in some progress in these areas.

    Ratepayers in the US have paid for many a utility boon doggle , I began my career in the electric Utility Industry.

    The money accelerators on Wall Street and the Millionaire plus hedge fund managers who pay very little in taxes ( talk about subsidies) can not and will not deliver those kinds of financial returns to the public. ( maybe their inside trading colleagues but not to individuals) The solar savings are real too. They provide energy security to the individual and that leads to income security and people can put some money away for the inflation that the speculative nature of the legacy energy sector is famous for, based on historical practices.
    Davis these are just the tips of the energy iceberg..s.

    Your ideas on wind not being utilized properly have real merit. I see wind making hydrogen at night when load is down and then burning it in turbines during peak hours. A win win for the grid. Some Texas and other windy areas are delivering $ .4 cent a kwhr energy now , below grid parity and the PTC should begin to be phased out. So you and I have areas of common ground.

    My question is so why don’t these Monopoly model utilties jump on these types of hybrid generation models? that is the question that burns eternally as I go about my work.
    They would rather collect money up front for nuclear units , that have huge capital costs and then collect more when it is time to decommission them and we are talking more than a few billion $. Those Billions would buy a lot of insulation , high efficient equipment, LED lights and even some solar.
    They could finance it all and still make a buck and stay in business and the consumer would have more money and could spend it and the economy would grow.
    Dg can create good circular economics while centralized units tend to concentrate the benefits , just an observation .

    The Black Swans get in the way is the way i see it.

    Davis, have a good Holiday season thanks for your work.Keep doing your Blog you say things that need to be said . Things are not as simple as sometimes presented. There are many Inconvenient Truths darkened by the Hovering from the Black Swans !
    Raymond USA