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'Solar power is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity'


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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-15/world-energy-hits-a-turning-point-solar-that-s-cheaper-than-wind

 

But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

 

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Have you guys factored in battery cost for both of these?

 

The best solution of them all is solar panel producing directly hydrogen. And from what I understand, they are only 1 chemical compound away.

 

You would fix everything in one shot since the entire infrastructure is ready for it: cars, furnaces. And no need for polluting batteries that last only 10 years since the energy is stored in the hydrogen and its burning creates water!

 

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Have you guys factored in battery cost for both of these?

 

The best solution of them all is solar panel producing directly hydrogen. And from what I understand, they are only 1 chemical compound away.

 

You would fix everything in one shot since the entire infrastructure is ready for it: cars, furnaces. And no need for polluting batteries that last only 10 years since the energy is stored in the hydrogen and its burning creates water!

 

Cardboard

 

Or installation of a DC power grid to ship the energy around the globe from where the sun is shining to where it is not,

 

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/lets-build-a-global-power-grid

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Have you guys factored in battery cost for both of these?

 

The best solution of them all is solar panel producing directly hydrogen. And from what I understand, they are only 1 chemical compound away.

 

You would fix everything in one shot since the entire infrastructure is ready for it: cars, furnaces. And no need for polluting batteries that last only 10 years since the energy is stored in the hydrogen and its burning creates water!

 

Cardboard

 

Or installation of a DC power grid to ship the energy around the globe from where the sun is shining to where it is not,

 

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/lets-build-a-global-power-grid

 

That makes the most sense out of anything else I've seen.  Let the free market and the law of competitive advantage work its magic. Generate electricity wherever in the world it is cheapest and easiest to do so and move it to the places it is most needed.  The one flaw is that people will worry about terrorism and/or acts of war cutting them off from the grid and money will still be wasted on local power generation even where it doesn't otherwise make much sense to have it.  Technology, markets, and people are awesome.  Politics, radical religion, and people suck.

 

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there are parts of the world such as rural india or africa, where you dont get electricity with any reliability or sometimes none at all. in such places, even an intermittent power source is better than the alternative (firewood which causes cancer, lung disease , expensive kerosene or nothing)

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I wonder how much of the cheap cost of solar is just due to over-production and subsidies in China.

 

That makes the most sense out of anything else I've seen.  Let the free market and the law of competitive advantage work its magic. Generate electricity wherever in the world it is cheapest and easiest to do so and move it to the places it is most needed.

 

I once asked a guy who was responsible for arranging contracts for coal for Ontario why they didn't just burn the coal onsite and transmit the power to Canada instead of shipping the coal by railway to Ontario. I was surprised to find out that the cost of shipping was cheaper and more efficient than transmitting the power over transmission lines.

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Have you guys factored in battery cost for both of these?

 

The best solution of them all is solar panel producing directly hydrogen. And from what I understand, they are only 1 chemical compound away.

 

You would fix everything in one shot since the entire infrastructure is ready for it: cars, furnaces. And no need for polluting batteries that last only 10 years since the energy is stored in the hydrogen and its burning creates water!

 

Cardboard

 

Or installation of a DC power grid to ship the energy around the globe from where the sun is shining to where it is not,

 

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/lets-build-a-global-power-grid

 

That makes the most sense out of anything else I've seen.  Let the free market and the law of competitive advantage work its magic. Generate electricity wherever in the world it is cheapest and easiest to do so and move it to the places it is most needed.  The one flaw is that people will worry about terrorism and/or acts of war cutting them off from the grid and money will still be wasted on local power generation even where it doesn't otherwise make much sense to have it.  Technology, markets, and people are awesome.  Politics, radical religion, and people suck.

 

Nothing says the price of solar won't keep falling a while further. At a certain point, panels are cheap enough that they'll be distributed everywhere, on roofs (especially with the kind of new SolarCity roofs that are basically better than traditional roofs) and there'll actually be less concentration of sources than there was with coal and gas plants.

 

V2G systems with EVs will help store energy in the grid, as will cheaper batteries over time, and as other mentioned, hydro can also help (ie. Norway can act as a battery for parts of Europe).

 

We'll see how it plays out, but one thing that solar won't do is make geopolitics more unstable. EVs + solar will solar all kinds of problems on that front in the fullness of time.

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A global grid with more countries getting access to EMP's and an unavoidable coronal mass ejection makes zero sense to me. Unless they can address that issue it seems to be a waste. Then you have geopolitics, standards, security, sharing of cost.... yuk. The beauty of the Internet is that it does not rely on any one path to stay up. This is the exact opposite.

 

And I don't know why that article does not talk about Hydro Quebec since most if not all long distance transmission lines are DC at 735 kV since the mid 60's. I think it would make them a world leader.

 

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A global grid with more countries getting access to EMP's and an unavoidable coronal mass ejection makes zero sense to me. Unless they can address that issue it seems to be a waste. Then you have geopolitics, standards, security, sharing of cost.... yuk. The beauty of the Internet is that it does not rely on any one path to stay up. This is the exact opposite.

 

And I don't know why that article does not talk about Hydro Quebec since most if not all long distance transmission lines are DC at 735 kV since the mid 60's. I think it would make them a world leader.

 

Cardboard

 

No Cardboard, HQ lines at 735kV are AC. There is one DC line, but at 450kV.

 

And as some have mentioned, Norway could be a big battery for Europe while Quebec will probably become one for NorthEast.

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Well as I've said, the hydro plants are a very good battery for renewables. So the battery already exists and is in place. They'll just have to figure out a way to pay the hydro plants for the service. I think a lot of the talk about grid level batteries has to do with the fact that they don't want to shell out the $$$ or some negotiating position or something.

 

On solar, most people just look at their power production. What is often left out is that solar panels also absorb a lot of the heat. So in the summer they actually save a ton of power that would otherwise go into your AC (think of them as negative calories) on top of the power they produce. That makes them a lot more valuable.

 

The requisite parts are available and eventually we'll get there just slower than we probably should.

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Norway already works as a battery for Denmark, and there's new interconnectors planned for UK, Germany and The Netherlands I seem to recall. It's a win-win because Norway gets access to very cheap electricity at times when there's lots of wind. Someplaces they can use electricity (when it's cheap) to pump water up into the reservoir, ie fill the battery.

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Norway already works as a battery for Denmark, and there's new interconnectors planned for UK, Germany and The Netherlands I seem to recall. It's a win-win because Norway gets access to very cheap electricity at times when there's lots of wind. Someplaces they can use electricity (when it's cheap) to pump water up into the reservoir, ie fill the battery.

 

What an elegant solution!

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" (when it's cheap) to pump water up into the reservoir, ie fill the battery."

 

This should be avoided. You need huge pumps, large conduits and where do you get the water from? Do you build a second reservoir downstream? Lots of lost energy in pipe friction, pump inefficiency, etc. There is a cost to all of this and when you add extra power line distance to reach renewables then a battery on site might be overall cheaper and the Chinese are testing this out on a large scale. I still think that your best "battery" is once again hydrogen. When power is not needed in the network, use the power to do electrolysis.

 

Regarding hydro power dam, you guys are also over-simplifying. None of them has been built with the idea of running them flat out at night and down during the day (combined with solar) or only up when need be (combined with wind). Maybe mixed with the two it could work but, there is a lot of sunk cost in a power dam and the ROIC was based on average upstream water flow.

 

If you just bleed the water out or if you don't need their power, there is a loss. Can't let these things overfill.

 

If you want more power, quicker from them, you may need to add turbines/generators to the power plant. Not cheap either as they were designed for a certain upstream flow as I mentioned. And these require a constant inlet water speed/pressure to operate at the right RPM so you can have the correct power frequency. It is adjustable but, to a limit, so you can't move the water level in the reservoir up and down as you please.

 

If this works right now between Norway and Denmark, I suspect that is because there is excess energy producing capacity in both countries.

 

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The reservoirs of some of those large hydro dams are truly gigantic. If right now you run them in a ratio of day/night of say 70/30, if you switch that to 30/70 because the daytime demand goes to solar, that's still the same amount of water flowing through, you just moved it around, and the reservoirs don't even have to be modified (and most have quite a bit of buffer to compensate for years when there's a lot of precipitation versus very dry years).

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