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View Diary: Our Dream Come True: Solar Power is as Cheap as Gas, Coal Plants Closing Slashing CO2 Emissions (248 comments)

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  •  from Germany (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnnySacks, translatorpro, jayden

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 07:55:24 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  German dream? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Churchill, Eric Nelson

      Possibly this slipped by unnoticed:

      German electricity costs are ratcheting up faster than elsewhere in Europe, and are now twice US levels. Households and the "Mittlestand" backbone of the economy are carrying the burden, paying cross-subsidies to exempted sectors of heavy industry. “Spiralling energy costs will soon drive us into the wall. It has become dangerous,” said the German Chemical Industry Association.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...
      •  De should stop subsidizing industry elec usage (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freesia, Lawrence

        that's a cost distribution problem.

        80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

        by Churchill on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 09:29:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I fail to understand why people in (12+ / 0-)

        the US care about what we pay for power in Germany. The cost of living is different,  the culture and mentality are not comparable, and the Germans (I'm an expat) are polled, too. The polls say the same thing over and over: Germans are fine about paying higher energy costs because in the long run it will make power a whole lot cheaper. It's perfectly understandable that being a pioneer comes with higher initial cost. There is not such short-term profit thinking as in the US, and a lot more consideration about the welfare of the country as a whole and into the future. They do not ask: how much profit can I rake in by X date? but plan very methodically and carefully for the long haul.

        So no. Nothing slipped by unnoticed. Of course, industry will bitch and moan, that's normal anywhere.

        Here are some very illuminating comments on the topic of electricity price in Germany by DK member Lawrence - from a diary dated mid-August regarding German coal plants going out of business because they are no longer competitive:
        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 10:03:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We care because (0+ / 0-)

          the cost of living here is different and the culture and mentality are not comparable—not to mention the vast geographical extent of the U.S.. Therefore, proposing that we can and should adopt a system that possibly well suits Germany (except for those pesky industries) does not fly without a lot more discussion—and maybe doesn't fly at all.

          •  Who has proposed such a thing? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob, Churchill

            I  don't think anyone in their right mind would consider a 1:1 transfer, but adjust and adapt what works and reject what doesn't. That is normal. Your statement is just silly, in addition to being  almost completely repetitive of what I state just above. I don't think you have a clue about how things work in Germany. Reading/linking to one article doesn't really cut it. And the person you made the comment to was only trying to make the point that if Germany is that far along with its renewable energy plan (drawn up in 2000 and passed in 2002) already - a country not exactly famous for balmy weather, non-stop sunshine and palm trees -the US should have been at that stage long ago, or could get there much faster.

            Did you read the comments at the link I provided?

            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

            by translatorpro on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 11:21:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did you read the diary?" (0+ / 0-)

              "Our dream of a future powered by solar energy has finally come true. Solar power has become fully competitive with fossil fuel power. " And then the comments referencing Germany as proof of this?

              As for my silly repetitive statement, I believe it draws its silliness from the original. I linked that Telegraph article because it was convenient, but I could have added a dozen others discussing in detail the problems Germany has encountered.

              http://www.spiegel.de/...

              http://www.welt.de/...

              http://www.bloomberg.com/...

              http://online.wsj.com/...

              •  The diary does not mention (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FishOutofWater, Just Bob

                Germany, only specific examples in the US, and one person - maybe more, I didn't read all the comments - brought up Germany as a relevant example. I don't see the problem, and I still think it just means the US could have been much farther along with switching to renewables if it weren't for the Republican and business interests stopping it.

                And yes, Germany was well aware of the fact that there would be bumps along the way, as there are with any big new  project. It is a huge and unprecedented undertaking - the Germans are realists, if nothing else. Just look at the Obamacare rollout - lots of bumps and glitches to deal with  right about now, no?

                The progress with renewables has been pretty spectacular even with the glitches and obstacles, but Germany is committed to it for the long haul - the Renewables Energy Act covers decades - from the time it began being implemented to 2050. So I repeat, figures for one or two years are meaningless. It will be at least five or ten more years before anything definitive can be said about it. And a less conservative government here would help, too.

                „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                by translatorpro on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 12:07:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Germany's reduced costs of installation (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                translatorpro, samanthab

                are important if we can learn how to cut red tape and improve installation efficiency here.

                We have problems here with zoning, FANNIE MAE's archaic rules and a lack of competition in the installation business.

                look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

                by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 06:21:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  who is this "we" ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            translatorpro

            speak for yourself, please.

            thanks for you concern.

            “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

            by ozsea1 on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 07:22:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We wouldn't have the same problem with rising (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            translatorpro, ybruti, ModerateJosh

            costs that Germany has had because Germany basically financed cheap solar power for the rest of the world by creating economies of scale and technological advances in solar technology.

            Germany started with the massive adoption of solar power when it was 4 to 5 times as expensive as it is now and they are locked into 20 year contracts with that expensive solar power.  Once those 20 year contracts expire even that solar power will become dirt cheap.

            You should be thanking Germany for financing the economies of scale and technological advances that have now made renewables so inexpensive.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 02:20:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hi Lawrence, nice to see you here. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence

              Pity you arrived a bit late to the thread, you probably could have added a lot to the "discussion", but your comment also makes an excellent point. Thanks. I linked to some past great remarks of yours, but I doubt this person read them.

              „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

              by translatorpro on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 06:10:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Which economies of scale (0+ / 0-)

              will address problems of storage and long-distance transmission? On a gray morning here in NYC, I don't easily see the infrastructure that will bring Nevada's sunshine, photovoltaically transformed, to Brooklyn.

              •  NYC doesn't need sun from Nevada.... (0+ / 0-)

                There's plenty of wind in the N.E. especially offshore wind, and solar pv would actually be far more effective in that region than in Germany, since the rate of insolation is far greater there than in Germany.

                So, economies of scale have already dropped the price of pv modules to low levels and increasing levels of installation will drop the price of installed systems as it ramps up.

                Storage is pretty easily doable in that region with pumped hydro and inexpensive, grid-scale battery storage will be available by the time renewables penetration attains the 30 to 40% or more level where storage actually becomes an issue.

                As I said above, you should be thanking Germany for financing the economies of scale and technological developments that have made renewables inexpensive.

                "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                by Lawrence on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 08:49:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not much economy (0+ / 0-)

                  The drop in costs of PV is the least of the real costs for industrial-strength power, and there are no economies of scale transferrable from Germany (or elsewhere) that I know of that will measurably lower the costs of wind turbines or their placement, connector cables, or transmission lines. The storage options you blithely assume will be both available and cheap are at the moment, more or less nonexistent, and the engineering I have read about for these things casts doubt on optimistic assumptions as to both availability and cost, let alone competitive cost, siting, and a host of other issues that tell me that this is, almost literally, most likely a pipe dream. But perhaps we could interest you in nuclear development?

                  •  Economies of scale have already had a massive (0+ / 0-)

                    impact on wind power tech and prices.

                    Pumped hydro is already easily doable and cheap in mountainous regions and it is pretty obvious to all who have been following the recent storage developments closely and objectively that inexpensive grid-scale battery storage is right around the corner.

                    Those still clinging on to forms of energy production that are rapidly becoming outdated don't realize how fast this is moving, though.

                    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                    by Lawrence on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 03:57:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This could all be wonderful (0+ / 0-)

                      and I would be thrilled to be proved wrong. By the same token, I have been consciously and conscientiously reading about whiz-bang new energy technologies ever since I encountered an exhibit on electro-magnetohydrodynamics at the 1964 World's Fair. But after 50 years of promising announcements and not so much on-the-ground advancement, I don't get my hopes up so readily.

                      •  It's 2013 now, not 1964. (0+ / 0-)

                        You need to understand that the exponential growth in computing power has fundamentally changed the world.

                        The same thing that happened with computers, solar power, etc. dropping to a fraction of their cost over the last ten years is going to be happening with battery storage in the next 5 to 10 years.

                        Keep an eye on redox flow batteries, liquid metal batteries, and sodium ion batteries.

                        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                        by Lawrence on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 02:18:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  part of German Electricity price (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          translatorpro

          is to cover feed in tariff for home based solar power generation

    •  Who Brought Us the Highway System (11+ / 0-)

      Eisenhower came home from WWII after seeing the Autobahn and initiated the USA catch-up.

      Repeat for the space race with USSR.

      High speed rail was a ball dropped and we're still a pathetic joke compared to Germany, France, Japan, and China even.  The Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train) began service on 1 October 1964.  Yes, 49 years ago Japan, a country we virtually destroyed to the core, put a high speed rail line into service.  US to date has one pseudo-high speed rail route between Boston and DC (and it just failed for 2 weeks due to power delivery issues)

      Repeat with renewable energy.

      Pathetic, truly pathetic.  (Meanwhile... iPhone new version coming out... whoopee!

      •  Very well put. Nicely done. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, Churchill

        The US has lost a lot of years thanks to the decline of the middle class, the Bush administration and other reasons. The Republicans are doing their damnedest to make sure that the US devolves into a shadow of its once-touted promise. It makes me very heartsick to watch it happening from across the Pond.

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 12:22:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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