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A utility love thread......
#31
Politics indeed, there is something for everyone to lobby for or against.  About ten different groups quickly come to mind.  

Back to the efficiency, Otter's chart illustrates big strides for wind this decade.  I had read it improved but it is an impressive cost reduction.  The R&D will come as it is employed by the power generators.  I think that's a good thing, even if it needs a backup.  No reason it shouldn't be part of the mix where it works.  People don't want to see the entire landscape dotted with turbines of course.  It's the put them in others peoples back yard thing.     

Solar is what disappoints me most.  It was hyped to consumers in the 1970s and the cost efficiencies ares still not here, even with much improvement.  I remember the salesman's pitch to my father in the 1980s.  The price was $25,000 for his small home.  Natural gas prices were supposed to increase 500%.  That never happened. Looking back, he would have needed a 75%+ subsidy for it to pay back in any reasonable period of time.  I hope they continue to improve it so it can be viable without the subsidies.  Our new Congress may move that along soon.   Same with EV autos as affordable storage tech isn't there yet either.
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#32
The only alternative replacement for fossil fuels is nuclear, not wind, solar, oceanic waves, hydro.
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#33
(03-02-2019, 09:35 AM)NilesMike Wrote: The only alternative replacement for fossil fuels is nuclear, not wind, solar, oceanic waves, hydro.

If you qualify that statement with "complete replacement", it's true for the foreseeable future.  Unfortunately new nuclear projects seem to be mostly off the table until renewables are given a chance.  Most of the the power companies I own are making renewables a larger percentage of their total output agrees.  The stock performance indicates investors are on board with the plan.
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#34
Otter 

I found the article linked below interesting.  It seems my home state is at 37% wind power for electricity, and expected to hit 40% in 2020.  Found another article that list Iowa as highest in the US.  Now before you consider that complete surrender, it has to be researched more for actual cost comparisons. I admit this sounds encouraging, and higher than I realized while living here. I already told you my Ute bills are low.  That said, here are some facts, or what I believe to be facts, that add some clarity to the stats.    

-Iowa passed a law in the 1980s that forced the Utes to invest in wind power.  What that means as far as subsidies, I don't know?
-We are one of the windiest states in US, top ten I believe.
-only 3 million population, lots of wide open spaces to keep wind farms away from the few populated areas.
-many farmers willingly allow turbines on their private property because of the longterm income. (how much is tax money) 
-We use natty gas for heat, which is probably half our utility needs.  It's a fact if you convert your home to electric heat, water heater and dryer, your total utility bill is substantially higher.              
-Keep in mind Iowa also leads the nation in ethanol production for decades, which is forced on everyone else in the US via subsidies and laws the EPA is behind.  It is NOT more cost effective than the gasoline it displaces, except during the times oil prices spike very high.  The last stat I read years ago was it typically costs $1.05 to make $1.00 worth of ethanol.  The hope was technology would correct that in a short time.  
-It's a fact that ethanol is cleaner energy.   
- I think the reality is subsidies can make technology "lazy".  Fossil fuels are not easy to compete with on a completely level paying field.  The farmers did get more efficient though as their production per acre is FAR higher than the 1970s.  Now ADM needs to make the alcohol more efficiently and still pay us DGI guys. Smile  Otherwise this is just another inefficient government program.               

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Iowa



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#35
(03-04-2019, 08:34 AM)fenders53 Wrote:              
-Keep in mind Iowa also leads the nation in ethanol production for decades, which is forced on everyone else in the US via subsidies and laws the EPA is behind.  It is NOT more cost effective than the gasoline it displaces, except during the times oil prices spike very high.  The last stat I read years ago was it typically costs $1.05 to make $1.00 worth of ethanol.  The hope was technology would correct that in a short time.  
-It's a fact that ethanol is cleaner energy.   

.               

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Iowa



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Burning corn for fuel has to be one of the stupidest ideas the government has ever foisted upon us.
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#36
(03-04-2019, 05:28 PM)NilesMike Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 08:34 AM)fenders53 Wrote:              
-Keep in mind Iowa also leads the nation in ethanol production for decades, which is forced on everyone else in the US via subsidies and laws the EPA is behind.  It is NOT more cost effective than the gasoline it displaces, except during the times oil prices spike very high.  The last stat I read years ago was it typically costs $1.05 to make $1.00 worth of ethanol.  The hope was technology would correct that in a short time.  
-It's a fact that ethanol is cleaner energy.   

.               

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Iowa



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Burning corn for fuel has to be one of the stupidest ideas the government has ever foisted upon us.
In retrospect, probably right up there on the list.  It sounded good pretty 40 years ago.  It does burn cleaner.  It lessened our dependency on foreign oil at a time that was needed.  And the struggling AG industry was going to be assisted one way or the other, as we are not about to stop feeding ourselves, nor should we.  

But that was then, and this is now.  I thought surely the technological efficiencies would come.  After XXX time they should have dialed back subsidies and it stands on it's own, or it just goes away.  Maybe it could stand on it's own, though I no longer believe that.  What is ADM's incentive to invest significantly in research, when it's clear they don't have to.  Or maybe they have, and know almost break even is as good as it gets?  I don't know the answer to that question.  I do know the BTU content of grain alcohol is less than gasoline.  Ethanol cost needs to get to the gas station 10% cheaper, just to make it a tie, and they haven't been able to pull that off.

Now back to utilities.  It's time we know for sure if solar is truly viable. Lets mandate it in AZ where Otter lives and see if it has a shot of working stand alone. Smile Seriously though, there are some good documentaries on Denmark on youtube. They attempted to go all in on green. It is interesting how it is playing out. Spoiler alert, for now they still need their nuke power backup in a major way.
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#37
Xcel Energy was only getting 8-10% of nameplate capacity from solar during recent cold spell because of snow on the panels.

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2...energy.php
My website: DGI For The DIY
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#38
(03-04-2019, 09:32 PM)EricL Wrote: Xcel Energy was only getting 8-10% of nameplate capacity from solar during recent cold spell because of snow on the panels.

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2...energy.php

They should have seen that one coming, at least in their northern region.  Smile  I remember a brutal winter like this and we called it 1978.  Have to be prepared for it even if it doesn't happen again this decade.  That is a point that gets lost IMO.  That makes more sense in much of their service area.  The reality is electricity isn't the issue in a winter like this.  I'd need to sell some AAPL shares to stay warm if I wasn't heating with natty gas, and I live 15 miles from one of Buffets nuke plants.

I believe XELs wind power is now just over 20%, a 400% increase since 2005.  Let's call that big green progress, and tell some politicians to educate themselve's someday soon. I can dream.
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#39
Wind power wanes during both extremes, heatwaves and Polar vortex type conditions.
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#40
(03-04-2019, 10:41 PM)NilesMike Wrote: Wind power wanes during both extremes, heatwaves and Polar vortex type conditions.

Wind power doesn't really work at all in some locales.  XEL is getting 20% overall which I consider very solid.  I don't think anyone is arguing it doesn;t need a backup.  No form of energy to include fossil fuels is without some downside.  And every utility company can't be mandated to look a like.  I'd like to hope that is not the intent of anybody who votes for such things.  I'd like to believe they realize Utes aren't powering alike even in the absence of mandates.
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