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View Diary: Response to Buffet's Investment in Wind Power (82 comments)

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  •  Lets not forget the building of the grid system (32+ / 0-)

    that will carry this current to the proper places needed.  You betcha, wind and solar could put everyone to work for a very long time.  Add a rail system in that uses this power and now we have something.  In the old days, people used to dream about this kind of progress.   Where are the visionaries?  Until then, we have the Omaha Sage.

    •  Where are the visionaries? (16+ / 0-)

      The Repugnikans are pushing the XL pipeline. Mitt Romney opposed a wind power project as governor of Massachusetts, and wanted to allow the wind energy production tax credit to expire.

    •  How about no grid? (12+ / 0-)

      Or at least smaller, independent grids for each city? Think of the solar we could also harvest by putting panels on every building in a city... think of running our malls on solar and wind combined that is right there AT the mall...

      I have seen solar panels on street lights all around NJ. THAT could be done anywhere.

      DE-centralizing our grids would also be a good national security move too.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

      by SaraBeth on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 06:34:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not going to work (7+ / 0-)

        if anything, the opposite needs to be done - to get much more robust grids over multi-state areas.

        Unless wind and solar are to remain niche technologies w/o any real impact on the environment (which is the case now).

      •  solar panels on poles (5+ / 0-)

        maybe someone could come up with a micro wind turbine
        that clamps onto a pole just like this.

      •  I am an advocate of continuing a grid-based (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeminNewJ, Phoenix Woman

        electrical transmission and distribution, but with much more "point-of-use" generation connected to the grid. In fact, I would love to see much more utility-company-owned point-of-use generation.

        Duke Energy has had a very limited program called "solar distributed generation". This involves Duke installing solar panels on the customers' premises, owning that equipment, operating it, distributing the electricity through the existing grid, and continuing to bill the customer for his electricity use. The program even installed solar equipment on single-family houses!

        Unfortunately, this initiative is very limited, and as I understand it Duke has "maxed out" its current effort and isn't installing any more at this time.

        There is almost no downside to this type of generation. Homeowners don't need to invest in and maintain  their own solar (or wind, for that matter) equipment, so that roadblock is eliminated. The cost of solar generation per kW is dropping quickly, and is approaching the cost per kW of building new fossil or nuclear plants. So, as Duke's customer base increases, the increase is picked up by the point-of-use generation capacity rather than by construction of huge new centralized power plants.

        This blows the rightwingers' arguments that "you can't make solar power when the sun isn't shining" right out of the water (and said rightwingers can shove their BS where the sun don't shine); nobody is saying that utilities should eliminate their central generating facilities. They just don't have to keep building as many new huge generating stations. The grid remains, everything is interconnected, and centralized power plants are "smoothing out" the demand when point-of-use solar or wind are not generating.

        An added benefit is that some of the electricity is used at its point of generation, eliminating some of the huge transmission losses that occur as part of the exclusively centralized-generation model.

        Owners of large-footprint buildings - Ikea, for example (pdf) - are already covering their premises with their own solar equipment and connecting to (and supplementing) the grid:

        IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to install solar energy panels on ten additional United States locations – its entire presence in the Southern U.S. Pending governmental permits, installation can begin this winter, with completion expected in Summer 2012. Collectively, the nine stores and one distribution center will total 10.7 Megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, nearly 45,360 panels, and a projected annual electricity output of 15,248,334 kilowatt hours (kWh).
        It's well past time for large electricity users, homeowners, and especially electric utilities to get on board with this sort of distributed generation.

        "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

        by blue in NC on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:51:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's similar to what I've got with my 20 year (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          lease through the company SunRun.  The house is still connected to Xcel Energy and I'm basically providing roof-space to them to generate power.  Xcel doesn't like anyone but them making money in the deal, especially since it's giving up monopoly power to increase their profits whenever they want (since my costs are fixed in the lease for 20 years).  Xcel wants to end all credits for power generated and also weasel out from under requirements for generating a certain percentage of their power from renewables - I think 30% by 2030.

      •  Decentralized Bigger Grid (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, blue in NC

        Decentralizing the grid means making it a network like the Internet, which means more grid, more thoroughly interconnected. Not "no grid".

        Even the smaller, more local generation like you describe is better when distributed through a more interconnected grid. More efficiency in balancing production to consumption, more redundancy/resiliency. Better pricing, less pollution.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:59:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, massive investment in "the grid" (6+ / 0-)

      is needed to make this into reality.

      Even Germany, which has massively invested in the grid is struggling with these issues (which actually benefits the US considering that our cheap energy is attracting their investment/manufacturing facilities, for whatever that is worth).

      •  Got a cite for that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman

        not in right wing media?

        The Dutch are buying cheap german wind power to make

        •  Is the Washington Post right wing? (4+ / 0-)

          Probably, but I'm not sure what is particularly "right wingish" about observing reality, such as: European industry flocks to U.S. to take advantage of cheaper gas

          Or Reutters

          (Reuters) - BASF (BASFn.DE) chief executive Kurt Bock said German jobs could be lost if the chemicals giant has to start paying electricity grid fees to shift the burden of funding a renewable energy infrastructure to large companies.

          Without the grid exemption BASF would have additional costs of 400 million euros ($533.98 million) running its Ludwigshafen headquarters, Bock told the magazine.

          "This sort of magnitude means that the competitiveness of the location would be under threat," Bock told the paper. Electricity is already twice as expensive in Germany as it is in the U.S., Bock told the paper.

          Since 2011, Germany exempted large chemicals, metals, glass and building materials companies from paying electricity grid fees as a way to help its industry remain competitive despite having to put up with some of the highest power prices in Europe.

          •  methane is a feedstock (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman

            so it helps in plastic synthesis to have a lot of it.

            but you referred to electricity.

            •  Yes, and electricity is cheap in the USA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman

              because of the downward price pressure applied by fracked methane.

              So cheap, in fact it is putting coal fired plants out of business (which Germany, by contrast, is current putting INTO business).

              •  random fluctuation (3+ / 0-)

                Germany's soft coal burn is within average
                for the last 15 years

                they've chosen for policy reasons to wipe out nuclear
                and it's taking some time to fill that gap,
                i'd bet another year or two and coal starts it's terminal

              •  I'm not exactly an advocate of "fracked methane", (6+ / 0-)

                and the toxic and massive collateral damage associated with it.

                Face it, frackers are scrambling to put as much of their disgusting and dangerous production capacity into service as quickly as possible before the long-term damage potential is fully known and evaluated. We must stop being lulled by the corrupt fracking industry into thinking that their "solution" is even a good short-term answer, let along a long-term one.

                It's still a fossil fuel (greenhouse gas, no carbon benefit) and its production side-effects are hideous.

                "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

                by blue in NC on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:57:59 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's basically a deal with the devil (3+ / 0-)

                  a few million jobs today, eternal damnation later.

                  A lot of people think very short term, so the former (jobs today) tends to hold more weight over the latter (eternal damnation).

                  •  Even those jobs aren't real. (0+ / 0-)

                    All the job estimates for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of jobs for Keystone XL proved to be so much hot air.  There were estimates that seemed based on real manufacturing and construction needs that placed the jobs created in the hundreds, not even thousands, and those wouldn't necessarily last longer than the time to build the pipeline.  The next increase in jobs would be for the inevitable cleanups.

                    •  They are quite real to the people who (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      have them.

                      And I'm not sure what Keystone XL has to do with that, it hasn't even been built (and actually would probably have the opposite dynamic if it were).

                      •  I was thinking of the claims about Keystone XL (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        divineorder, blue in NC

                        made by all the groups promoting it.  They claim that it will produced tens or even hundreds of thousands of jobs and they imply that those are long-term jobs.  

                        Neither of you mentioned the pipeline.  I apologize for unintentionally threadjacking this off into the Keystone XL weeds and away from the fracking industry that has produced thousands of jobs that you were writing about.

                        I will pay more attention next time, and hopefully the times after that.

                •  Fracking (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue in NC, Social Contract

                  absolutely must be banned worldwide forever. So that's not a solution either.


                  by Edward L Cote on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 01:00:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  warren buffet says otherwisr (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Social Contract


                Recent contracts for wind energy in Texas have been written as cheaply as $25/MWh. Granted, that includes a tax credit, but it still represents wind energy at a levellised cost well below $50/MWh. This is similar to prices struck in Brazil, where 2.3GW was recently allocated at an average price of $47/MWh. The prices undercut coal and gas fired generation by such a margin that Brazillian authorities had to create a separate auction mechanism for those fuels, although there is no doubt whether they will bother.

                Wind energy may have been around for several decades, but it is still enjoying significant cost decreases. Bloomberg estimates turbine prices have fallen 26 per cent in the last two years, and new structures and mechanisms, not to mention the interest of Buffett and other mainstream investors, are bringing down financing costs as well.

          •  So it's just companies demanding more Gov welfare (0+ / 0-)

            Fossils and nukes get 50 times what solar does form the gov in the USA.  

    •  Actually distributed energy reduces grid load, (0+ / 0-)

      and delays the time when we have to increase the grids capacity.  

      We have many times the rooftop and parking lot area we need to get all our power from solar.

      I like the idea of using existing power towers and poles for wind, but I analyzed it, and found that the towers and poles are already built just strong enough to handle the wind loads they have without turbine on them.  
      Small wind has usually been worse for birds, but there are some new designs that might work, and road and wires already kill more birds.  Maybe with the right sound and lights we decrease birds kills.

      If the turbines are small enough they may slip in under the design wind load, and there are so many poles,

      Who knows.

      But offshore wind is within 100 miles of 80% of our electrical use, and does not generally  have the bird bat, noise and visual problems.

      Back up solar and wind with waste to fuels, recycled everything, no more dumping, then we won't run out of materials either.  

      Germany is already do it.  

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