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Solar and Wind Power More Expensive Than Thought

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by HK_User, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    No doubt in my mind, just add all the cost!
    But Note that Big Oil wrote this article. Still and all I've concluded this years ago and I do not own any Oil Stock.


    This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world.
    A new study from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, argues that using solar and wind energy may be the most expensive alternatives to carbon-based electricity generation, even though they require no expenditures for fuel.
    The paper, by economist Charles Frank, compares the benefits and costs of renewable energy. The benefits range from the lack of emissions to the savings in expenditures for fuels. The costs include the construction and maintenance of these plants, and the drop in power generated when winds are calm or the Sun doesn't shine.
    Frank's conclusion: Wind and solar power cost far more than anyone expected.
    The paper examined four kinds of carbon-free energy – solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear – as well as low-carbon gas generation, and compared them with generators that burn fossil fuels. It also posited a value of $50 per metric ton of reduced carbon emissions and $16 per million BTUs of gas.
    Frank calculated that electricity generated by a combination of nuclear, hydro and natural gas have much greater benefits than either wind or solar energy because wind and solar generators cost more to operate even though they require no fuel.
    For example, nuclear plants run at about 90 percent of capacity compared with wind turbines, which are only about 25 percent efficient, and solar plants with only 15 percent efficiency. As a result, Frank wrote, nuclear plants avoid almost four times as much CO2 per unit of capacity as wind turbines, and six times as much as solar generators.
    Specifically, this means nuclear power offers a savings of more than $400,000 worth of carbon emissions per megawatt of capacity. Solar saves only $69,000 and wind saves $107,000.
    Still, Frank conceded, nuclear power plants are costly to build. As an example, he cited a new plant at Hinkley Point in southwestern England, which is expected to cost $27 billion by the time it's finished. Its operating costs rise because, like all nuclear plants, it can't be covered by commercial insurance.
    But like all nuclear plants, it will run 24 hours a day and so, Frank calculates, it will be only 75 percent more expensive per megawatt of energy to build and operate than a solar generator.
    Into this equation, Frank included the generators powered by fossil fuels that will be needed to take up the slack for the inevitable idle periods for wind farms and solar generators. He calls them "avoided capacity costs" that wouldn't exist if the alternative energy plants hadn't been built in the first place.
    Therefore, Frank wrote, it would take four wind farms or seven solar generators to replace one coal-fired plant generating similar output. Solar generation costs $189,000 to match 1 megawatt per year generated by coal, and wind power is nearly as expensive. Hydropower, he said, provides a net savings, but only a small one.
  2. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Above articular is mostly true , plus solar panels have dropped in price from 3,5,10+ years ago. I just picked some up for 79/watt . One HUGE thing that many DON'T GET is the wastage of power , from things being left on to wall warts not being used , but still consuming . I have been on this quest for 5+ years now & i'm still late. Dropped my grid tie bill down 100.00 per bill by figuring out all power consummation.[​IMG]
    Bought a few of theses ,Kill-A-Watt ,, measured my old LCD TV , Bought a new one with one of theses . New LED TV is 67 watts on and 2 idle / off ,huge over 89 idle off on the old TV. I went as far to buy a house monitor , it's close but not 100% accurate , better than a guesstimate , but within 2% of billed KWH.
  3. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    I think the point is that the infrastructure is in place for the Coal plants.

    OTOH the start up cost, when you count all that means, for Solar starts at the front door.
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    FWIW, the title is what this is all about.

    Solar and Wind Power More Expensive Than Thought
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    For those who may think I'm talking to myself (not unusual) fact is another monkey bailed and deleted their post.
  6. Dogfood

    Dogfood Monkey++

    Sure if you say so:)
  7. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    The article is last year's news to those of us who actually use solar or wind energy.

    Neighbors and friends marvel over my solar panels and pepper me with questions. The very first question asked every single time is "how much money do you save on your electric bill?" Answer: Almost zero, but that's not the point.

    The second question is usually "how much does all this stuff cost?"

    Answer: Everyone seems to concern themselves with the cost of solar panels. Solar panels are insane cheap right now, sometimes less than $1/watt. What wipes out your bank account is all the support electronics and hardware needed to turn daylight into useful juice. My charge controller alone was about $600. Jeeze...the MC4 connectors for connecting panels are about $3-$5 each and I have dozens of them. The special tool to terminate the connector is about $80. There is another, separate tool to take them apart. A DC breaker will set you back $50.

    If it were only about solar panels, everyone would be doing it.

    And by the way, building a solar installation of any significant size requires advanced technical skills, or the budget to pay someone. I was able to do all the work myself. Even with my qualifications, it was not easy and I made a few costly mistakes. It's not for newbs.

    I understand there is a difference in economies of scale between individual home installations and large commercial plants. But the difference is not that great. The same background issues apply.

    I could go on and on but I get irritated as hell when the media or some congressman pablum pukes about how easy and cheap renewable energy is.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    "I could go on and on but I get irritated as hell when the media or some congressman pablum pukes about how easy and cheap renewable energy is. "

    No doubt!
    Tevin likes this.
  9. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    It's NOT cheap at All !!
    3 Pallets of 24 per pallet of 305W per panel is how I got my .79/watt. I ordered 4.2 mm glass with a heavy frame as well .
    Charge controllers daisy systems , gutter boxes , heavy cabling, and then there is the expensive part time part of battery's !! Or cells in my case . I run 2volt cells 1680 Ah or 1840 Ah , Split systems (2 different as in wells also ) Just in case .

    THEN what another problem that could arise is where ?? Add it to roof , can it hold another ton / tonn of panels & fixtures to hold the panels , angles / summer over winter if than makes a difference. How good is the weather proofing of the roof , install it on a 15 year old roof of tar shingles that are to be expired , HUGE double work , pole ground mounts , lawnmower stones kills with a strike (not this month but over the winter weather when needed) .

    Just realism of instant lip service I also hear!
    Tevin and HK_User like this.
  10. Dogfood

    Dogfood Monkey++

    Solar is one thing I have looked at for years. It would take many years if ever for it to pay for it self in savings. I know that is not the point to having it but it is a so called selling point some companies use.
    Tevin, ghrit, kellory and 1 other person like this.
  11. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    If it's your only choice for a power supply then you need to honest with your self.

    In this the honesty comes with admitting that the major expenses comes with a total replacemnet of your existing life style.

    Batteries are a major non green part of such a system. There is no way to go truly GREEN with the systems of today.

    I've looked and for now solar water heating for a potable water system and a passive heat system is about all that is anywhere near green.

    Of course being in the south means you sweat a lot, being in the north means you have cold water.
  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    There IS one way to be green with solar and few if any batteries.
    If solar were used to pump water into reservoir or holding tank, and used on demand to create power as needed. The tank would be your battery, as well as your backup water supply.
  13. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    The math does not play well with that idea. Concrete alone, for the tank, is the most non green thing aka power consuming in production>transportation>forming up(wood and nails and man power) and space not to metion the cost of the land or excavation.
  14. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Raised tank, water pumped by wind and or solar, and I would go with steel.
    Water could be raised in stages. And by several sources including, ram pump, solar, wind, solar turned to steam turbine, heat turned to electric by peltzer chips, (many sources).
    Yes, it would be large, but all renewable resources are large.
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Each step is an added cost and each step's device is a non green item as well as added maintenance. The raised tank alone would require how much steel? And how much space? And unless galvanized (more non green cost) costly painting with epoxy paint that is also noxious and anti green and carbon based chemicals.

    I wish it wasn't so but for now the cost is not worth it.
  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I didn't claim it was cost effective. And no matter WHAT you build, it must come from non green sources, because all things do. But once installed, it would pretty green.
  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Got a BOM and a Price?
  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    No, it is not my power source of choice. If I had the room for it, I have a power generator in my head (and on paper) that would run on solar and water) as long as both were present.

    If I ever hit the lotto, I'll build the damn thing.
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    If I hit the Lotto..........................................................................................
    kellory likes this.
  20. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'm one of those who would still work even if rich. I'd just work on what interests me.
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