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View Diary: The new economics of the power sector (78 comments)

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  •  I sense a little too much spin (1+ / 0-)
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    Isn't there an error of omission:

    This leads us to a first hidden truth: the massive increase in renewable energy production is not paid for by consumers, but by traditional producers who see their revenues decline as the price they earn per MWh goes down.
    This makes it sounds too good to be true.  Renewables so cheap they are driving the cost of power DOWN, isn't that the message?  What is the feed-in tarriff and who is paying for that? Surely that's what matters: the total cost to the system including the cost of subsidies to the taxpayer.

    I am familiar with Ontario, Canada where the cost of the FIT for wind is 13.5 cents/kwh for a guaranteed 20-year contract.  Cost of nuclear and coal in Ontario is about 1/3 of this.

    There must be shadowing fossil backup for the 75% of the time wind isn't producing and 85% of the time solar isn't producing.  When they do produce, they result in inefficient use of the fossil-fuel plant, increasing cost of the backup, which really isn't backup when it is needed the majority of the time!  To be able to absorb the massive fluctuations in supply, one needs redundant grid capacity, further adding to cost.  We currently don't know what these back-up gas plants are costing us due to lack of transparency in this jurisdiction (which doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling).  What are the increased grid costs and who pays for that?  

    Based on this, I am very skeptical about the up-beat message.  It just doesn't fit with the facts, at least in my part of the world.

    I can't get over the hunch there is some serious spin here that glosses over the important systemic cost impacts of introducing low-capacity-factor sources harvesting low-power-density energy fluxes that are not dispatchable.  To gloss over this is presenting a distorted picture of the reality which does a disservice to the debate of how we best decarbonize the world's electricity grids.

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:24:50 PM PDT

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    •  well as long as we're glossing over facts (1+ / 0-)
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      maybe you could work the externalities into that coal that's 1/3 the price of wind.

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:49:26 PM PDT

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    •  No, no spin (1+ / 0-)
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      Quite the opposite, my post aims at fighting some of the spin from anti-wind opponent, some of which you yourself repeat mindlessly.

      Why should wind plants be needed 24/7 (ie why should there be backup for the time they don't run). Very few plants run 24/7, given that demand is itself not flat, running from 1 to 2 or 1 to 3 on a daily basis (depending on the season), and the system adapting to that. It's true that wind is not "on-demand" but all that means is that the grid has to adapt to net demand minus wind production at any time, and that's not substantially harder than to adapt to net demand.

      As to the price effect, you have lower wholesale prices which apply to the full market, but the higher feed-in tariff applies only to the part of production coming from renewables, so the net effect of the two, for a large range of renewable energy penetration, is favorable to consumers - and it does mean that traditional producers get less money while RE producers' income are protected.

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