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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:39 AM

 

Fuel cell demonstrates 10,000 hours (equiv to 300,000 miles)

Last edited Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:09 PM - Edit history (1)

http://www.hybridcars.com/cost-effective-uk-fuel-cell-tests-as-durable-as-diesel-engine/

Things are getting pretty exciting. Wind is now a very significant part of our electricity supply -- approaching 5% and growing rapidly. Solar is approaching the financial break-even point where it could take off the same way. There is absolutely no reason for any new electrical plant other than solar, wind, or geothermal. We are already at the point of being able to supply all net additional electricity from wind alone. As this accelerates, we can start retiring nuke plants and the worst coal plants, converting some of the other coal plants to gas to supply the energy float needed when wind and solar are slow.

This is all happening much faster than most people realize. We are potentially about 5 years away from the time when a battery-only car will be an excellent choice for most families as their second around-town car. One factor that is rarely reported is that maintenance on electric-only cars is nearly zero. You have to replace tires, and that's about it. After 8-10 years, you might have to replace the battery, but along the way, no oil changes, no tune-ups, no muffler replacements, no bad oxygen sensors, etc. This is huge, and it is so rarely discussed.

And it seems like fuel cells are really approaching practicality in the 10-year horizon.

Somebody reported that the Energy Depart still projects > 99% of vehicles will have an internal combustion engine by 2035. I don't see how anybody could make such a prediction with all of this movement underway.

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Reply Fuel cell demonstrates 10,000 hours (equiv to 300,000 miles) (Original post)
BlueStreak Jun 2013 OP
wtmusic Jun 2013 #1
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #3
wtmusic Jun 2013 #4
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #5
wtmusic Jun 2013 #6
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #7
wtmusic Jun 2013 #8
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #9
wtmusic Jun 2013 #12
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #13
wtmusic Jun 2013 #14
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #16
kristopher Jun 2013 #17
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #18
kristopher Jun 2013 #19
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #21
silvershadow Jun 2013 #2
kristopher Jun 2013 #10
kristopher Jun 2013 #11
BlueStreak Jun 2013 #15
kristopher Jun 2013 #20

Response to BlueStreak (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:02 PM

1. This is just silly.

At 6% penetration, completely dependent on subsidies and backup generation, you're ready to declare renewables' self-sufficiency?

While altogether able to appreciate this fuel cell milestone, you then use it in typical Church of Renewables fashion as a springboard for ecstatic and irrational prophecy.

All Hail Marc Jacobsen and the power of prayer.This signals the dawn of the Great Renewables Awakening.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:23 PM

3. Answer me two questions

 

1) How many additional GW of electricity does the US need each year (above the total MW level of the prevous year)?

2) How many GW are coming online this year from wind and other renewables?

Here's a chart that will help you:

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:40 PM

4. I think your implication is that wind and solar will continue their current rate of growth

indefinitely.

By way of illustration: I recently was able to train on my stationary bike and double my power output from 250W to 500W over the course of 1 month. Had I sustained this trend for a little under 2-1/2 years, I would be able to jump on a bigass generator and provide the entire electrical supply for the United States (unlike wind and solar, I could get no one to subsidize me).

Adding to this confusion is the fact that wind and solar have a combined capacity factor of about 22%, and are only practical in certain areas. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is extremely grateful for the extra time and profits renewables are buying them, even though the climate and the environment are going to hell.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 01:19 PM

5. They can expand 1000-fold before hitting any real barriers

 

Wind is only suitable for millions of acres across the great plains and everywhere else that isn't sheltered by the topography. Solar is only viable in millions of acres of desert and other areas that get direct sunlight. Other than that, they aren't viable.

A concentrated deployment of wind turbines throughout just Texas and the Dakotas could supply 100% of US electrical needs. That isn't likely, but that leaves 47 other states and lots of space offshore -- plus all the solar potential, to get the juice.

The point stands (which you did not address,) that wind is already meeting 100% of our annual increases in electricity requirements, and it is still early in the ramp-up phase. Now that the Midwestern wind farms are producing and giving land-owners a nice return, there will be farmers all over the place interested in signing up. It is a simple, no-risk way to increase the yield off their acreage.

The first phase of the solar panels at Indianapolis Airport will go online in the next 60 days. The picture below is the small installation that is strategically placed at the entrance ramp that all visitors will see. There are bigger fields on the property that aren't so visible from the highway. Every airport has an opportunity to do likewise because they must maintain large buffer zones for noise abatement.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 01:36 PM

6. A concentrated deployment of wind turbines will never, ever, ever supply 100% of needs.

I don't know where you're getting this information, but it's complete nonsense. If the wind stops blowing - and it does in large parts of the country, fairly often - millions of people are screwed. To provide enough solar for the U.S., you'd half to wallpaper about a third of Arizona in PV panels, at a cost of hundreds of $trillions. Then start saving to replace them in 15 years.

I did address your point, but it went completely over your head. You claim it's "early in the ramp-up phase" but offer no evidence whatsoever that this rate can continue.

Your solar farm in Indianapolis is rated at 12MW. With a capacity factor in IN of 10% that's an average output of 1200KW. When the summer sun is shining it's probably enough to power the airport, the rest of the time it's a shiny toy backed up by coal and natural gas.

These sources are drops in the bucket, and contemplating them in admiration don't make them any bigger or more useful. It's a shame you're falling for this fossil-fuel backed and financed bullshit.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 01:54 PM

7. You didn't provide any evidence that wind ower cannot scale up

 

Wind power is currently about 4% of the total US electrical production and new wind capacity is coming on stream FASTER than our electrical needs are growing. Those are facts.

You claimed there is some mysterious force that would prevent what is already working in 0.01% of Indiana's farm acreage from working on 1% of Indiana's farm acreage. There is no such factor until we get to about 10 times the current level of production nationally. It is only then that the variations in wind become a significant barrier. And by that time, we can close down all of the nuke plants and most of the worst coal plants (and convert the rest to gas).

And obviously, this capacity will not be concentrated in just Indiana or just Texas or just the Dakotas. It will be distributed. And by the time we reach 50% renewable generation, the grids will have improved to better balance the supply. That will give us another 15% of growth potential because the winds just don't stop everywhere at the same time.

Moreover, the economics of wind turbines are such that they do not have to run at full rated potential all the time. Even a light breeze still generates a considerable amount of electricity. As we grow into this, the obvious solution is to design over-capacity by 50% or more as necessary to ensure sufficient power even when one region has lower-then-normal winds.

Solar will also play a big role in this peak capacity problem because the peak demand happens on the hottest, sunniest days, which also happens to be exactly the same times that solar panels produce their maximum output.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 02:06 PM

8. Peak demand happens at about 7:30 PM

http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx#SupplyandDemand

Just one of many misconceptions in your post, but at least you acknowledge that gas will be required to back all of this stuff up when it doesn't work. That's not good enough, because in practice that's what is happening most of the time (see CAISO gulf between renewable generation and demand).

"This will be that, and this will be that, and then we can do this, and then...". This is Marc Jacobsen's M.O. - pile one thousand rosy predictions together and you get Renewable Utopia. The fossil fuel industry loves you for it, but it's 100% illusion.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 02:26 PM

9. Do you understand that electricity is fungible?

 

It is on a grid. Do I really have to explain how time zones work? Please don't make me do that.

Oh what the heck. When the east coast is at the end of their peak, the Midwest is at the peak of their sun, and offshore Atlantic wind farms are producing at a high capacity. Grids balance this stuff.

By the time Chicago is at it peak, windmills in Ohio and Pennsylvania will have excess capacity. And solar fields in the Arizona desert are at a high level.

By the time Los Angeles hits its peak, the Hoover dam can be in full production, Northwest geothermal plants can ramp up, and windmills in Oklahoma, Idaho, and Northern California have excess capacity.

And so on.

Have you heard of "smart grid" efforts? This is a big part of what that is about. You don't need much storage capability when you have geographically and technologically distributed production and peaks that roll with the time zones. In any event none of that is a significant barrier until we have deployed ten times as much wind capacity as is in place today.

Have you ever actually seen a major windmill installation? It is not unusual to see half the units stopped. That is how you balance supply and demand with windmills. It isn't complicated. With smarter grids, we can accept more of the energy potential from windmills.

I presume you think that the only good solution is to make the whole country radioactive. Your arguments might have worked 10 years ago. But the problem is that the renewable stuff is happening for real now, so your theoretical arguments just don't work any more. It is plain to see this stuff works and in working.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 03:03 PM

12. Half of the units are stopped because they're either broken, or the wind isn't blowing.

They aren't stopped - ever - to balance load (occasionally they're locked down in extreme wind conditions to prevent damage).

Your fanciful idea that they'll all fill in for each other is not backed up by real world experience:

"A single wind turbine is highly intermittent. Theoretical arguments often claim that wind farms spread over a geographically diverse area will as a whole rarely stop producing power altogether, however this is in contradiction to the observed variability in total power output of wind turbines installed in Ireland and Denmark."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_energy_source

Thanks for having a civil discussion on this but I can see your mind is made up. I don't believe it's made up on the best information, and you don't believe that adding nuclear (especially safer Gen IV nuclear) will make the "whole country radioactive". There's much more practical experience with nuclear than the renewables gamble, and in my opinion we don't have the time or resources to accept that gamble.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 04:03 PM

13. That just isn't true

 

If half the units are not turning and the other half are, that is not because the wind died down. And if half of them are stopped, it isn't because they are broken. I used to work in the Bay Area, and you often saw that pattern in Compton. On my trip through Indiana earlier this week, probably 10% were off. It is possible that one or two were broken, but not that 40 were broken.

And what if they were? I'll take a broken wind turbine any day over a broken nuclear reactor. Wear and tear is simply a cost of doing business that factors into the total ROI. But it doesn't endanger millions of people.

Again, you are talking as if it were 1960 and wind farms had not already been well proven. There is no gamble whatsoever. The economics are well known. The reliability is well known. The impact on the grid is well known. It is all known now and is already working. To deny that just defies all logic.

Next I guess the argument will be that a windmill could fall over and kill somebody, Yes, I suppose there is that risk. Or a plane could fly into one. But I'm not sure it has happened even once in the last 20 years, but we most certainly have had several nuclear disasters in that time.

And as far as the Netherlands and Ireland, these are relatively tiny geographies. We have the advantage in the US of a grid that can link power generators all across the nation. Certainly the grid has been segmented regionally, but even that is changing as we speak. The weather conditions in Pennsylvania are rarely the same as those in Texas, and they have little connection with wind patterns offshore Massachusetts or Oregon.

The bottom line is that is absolutely no case for any new capacity from anything but renewable, and there is a clear, obvious course ahead that will allow us to gradually shut down the most dangerous, filthiest nuclear and coal plants in the next 40 years.

You know, if the numbers didn't make sense -- if wind weren't already happening at a pace that clearly can fill a big part of our electricity requirement, then I would be open to nuclear as "the least bad of the worst options". I.e. the admittedly low risk of a horrendous nuclear calamity is more acceptable than the certain results of more CO2 emissions. But that is simply not where we are. Conservation has allowed us to remain relatively flat in electricity consumption for a decade while wind has come on strong. We don't have to accept ANY of the bad solutions for incremental capacity and instead can start identifying the path to eliminating all the bad ones eventually. It really is a very positive situation -- possibly Obama's best achievement, yet he rarely talks about it.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #13)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 04:54 PM

14. OK, points taken.

FYI there is a cutoff for wind turbine blades to overcome inertia and turn at all:

"Wind turbines typically cut in at 7-9 miles per hour...The turbines also need a very large electrical 'kick-start' from the National Grid to get them into action, and a large amount of power is also required to brake them when the wind speed hits around 50-55 miles per hour, which is their upper safety limit."

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_minimum_wind_speed_to_turn_the_blades_of_a_wind_turbine

This is why you might see some turbines in an array turning slowly and some not turning at all.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:15 PM

16. Fair enough. I agree with you in principle

 

that there is some limit where we can't depend on wind and solar. My sense of that is that with improved grid technology, a wide over-capacity in wind turbine potential (maybe an expected productivity of 50% or 40%), and wide geographic diversification of the solar and wind farms, we should be able to get at least to the 50% renewable level without needing a whole new storage technology.

And we could get to the 80% renewable level if we could rework the ownership / political issues with the coal, gas, nuke, , hydro, and geo plants. If the politics could be changed such that enough of the gas plants could operate mainly as standby power, then we could push wind/solar up to the 80-90% point. That's a heavy lift because those plant operators like the deal they have today. But we could move to a model more like the agricultural plan where farmers receive payments for NOT producing if that is in the best interests of the overall food supply. The same concepts could (theoretically) be applied to private electricity plant operators.

What I am describing will not happen in 5 years, but it could happen over the course of 20 years, and that could have a huge impact on our carbon emissions. And during that same time, we will move a lot of vehicles to electric or hydrogen (made from electricity), which will in turn multiply toe progress on carbon. And this is all within the realm of affordability. It doesn't require consumers to buy products that are ridiculously expensive and it doesn't require massive government subsidies. It requires some short-term support to get it going, but it is economically viable in the long run.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:55 AM

17. She didn't provide evidence because there is no evidence.

The claim is nothing more than decades old 'conventional wisdom' with little to no actual detailed analysis behind it.

Q&A: Can renewables alone (with storage) power the grid?
Posted on 01/11/2013 by Dan Ferber


Conventional wisdom among many utilities and analysts says that renewable energy is expensive and unreliable because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine when electricity demand is highest, and because grid-scale storage is expensive and not ready for prime time.

As a result, many in the electric power industry believe that to power entire regional electrical grids, we must continue to rely on fossil fuels for much of our baseload power.

Last month, Willett Kempton, a renewable energy expert at the University of Delaware, reported a detailed analysis turning conventional wisdom on its head.

Writing in the Journal of Power Sources, a peer-reviewed journal, Kempton and his colleagues reported for the first time that by 2030 the grid could be powered almost entirely using a mix of wind (both on- and off-shore), solar and grid-scale energy storage, and that this grid would be both affordable and reliable.

This conclusion came from extensive computer modeling that analyzed four years of hour-to hour data on weather and electricity consumption by the PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization for a 13-state swath of the mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Midwest Energy News caught up with Kempton to ask him what it will take to move to a grid powered almost entirely by renewables....

Rest of interview here: http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2013/01/11/qa-can-renewables-alone-witih-storage-power-the-grid/

Open Access Study:
Journal of Power Sources

Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

Abstract
We model many combinations of renewable electricity sources (inland wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaics) with electrochemical storage (batteries and fuel cells), incorporated into a large grid system (72 GW). The purpose is twofold: 1) although a single renewable generator at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours. And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs. Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data. We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacity—at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today's—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312014759


...The purpose is twofold:
1) although a single renewable generator at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours.

And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs.

Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, ...

...each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data.

We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacity—at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load.

This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost.

At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today's—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #17)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:38 AM

18. Very interesting references

 

Several points:

1) We don't have to trust all this computer modeling if we are dead set on ignoring science. The fact is we cannot go from 5% to 100% overnight (obviously). We will go to 10% then 20% eventually 50%, then 60% and so on. That will take many years for this transition, and the shift will happen as we decide to take one dirty/scary plant offline at a time. In other words, we will approach the 100% point very gradually, so we will have lots of real world experience with the fluctuations of wind. If it is a real problem, then we will obviously proceed cautiously. So in 30 or 40 years there might still be 15% coming from gas-fired plants. But even if that happens, this will have been a fantastic transition, especially when you consider that millions of oil-powered vehicles will also be removed from the roads in that time. The key point for me is that as of today, we never have to build another coal, gas, or nuke plant. We do have to convert some coal plants to gas, but we can supply all new demands through renewables -- forever. Any approval for any new non-renewable plant is a complete failure of our political system. I will not live to see all of these changes, but I hope to live long enough to see that this move is unstoppable.

2) Economics are driving this. It is the argument that Al Gore make many years ago. Going green is good business, good for the economy, good for the environment, good for workers, good for everybody -- with the possible exception of people who have enjoyed the right to pollute freely (but even they can profit if they act responsibly.). I just bought a new weed whacker/edger -- a Ryobi 44 volt lithium deal. This is BETTER than my gas-powered unit in every respect. It has the same power or more. Starts instantly. It runs longer on one a battery charge than the gas one ran on a full tank of fuel. And it costs less than a gas-powered one.The only drawback is that if I were cutting a football field with it, a recharge takes 90 minutes. In my situation, I will never run down the battery. Maybe 10% of the weed whackers will continue to be gas, as needed by professional landscapers. But the rest of us can easily and economically switch to electricity. Same for chainsaws up to about 12". The bigger ones are mostly used by professional arborists and aren't quite practical for battery power YET. Same thing for cars. The smallest ones are nearing the realm of practicality, and the key point is that once the technology becomes practical for your situation, the benefits are overwhelming. People will find the maintenance costs are so low on electric cars that they will look back laughingly at how much money AND TIME they spent on transmission repairs, burned oxygen sensors, and fuel injector cleaner over the years. Wind turbines are already into the economic zone for the best locations, and that technology will just get better. As it gets better, it all becomes a no-brainer.

3) We have done this before. This is no different from the electrification of the nation, the build-out of trans-continental railroads, the phone network, the Interstate highway system, or the Internet.

4) The economics will allow us to have lots of excess capacity in wind turbines and solar panels. That is inherent in the analysis you cited, and that is what allows us to approach the point of 100% renewables. It really is a paradigm shift. We avoided building nuke plants or coal plants that were not needed because the economics required them to run more-or-less at full capacity. With renewables, we don't have a heavy labor cost, including the labor through the fuel supply chain. Just put up the turbine and let it run until it breaks. If you only get paid for 20% of the potential juice it could be producing, that can still be a very sensible economic argument. I predict that eventually we will have to regulate the addition of capacity because there will be a motive for people to install TOO MUCH CAPACITY. We need enough to reliably meet our energy needs, but not 30% more than that. It will be government's job to regulate that.

5) Regarding storage, we can certainly make hydrogen with the excess electricity, and that will feed vehicles and other devices with fuel cells. It is certainly practical to make large-scale hydrogen storage (somewhere away from large population centers, please.)

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:37 AM

19. Define "too much capacity"

The Kempton etal paper shows the the economically optimum mix will have what some might call "too much capacity".
While I concur with most of what you wrote, that particular idea (of regulating the maximum amount of capacity) opens the door for misuse by the existing power structure. A large part of the energy transition we are entering into involves not only decentralized generation but decentralized ownership of generating resources. It turns the (hehe) power over to the people at a very local level.

This shift in ownership is the central goal of the German transition - it is seen primarily as a social movement.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:20 PM

21. People who invest in turbines need to have a reasonable expectation of profits

 

I guess if we really want to be "Republican" about it, we could say that the free market will reach its own equilibrium. But there are so few really free markets anymore that I don't trust the "unseen hand". What would undoubtedly happen, absent a regulatory regime that imposes a level playing field, is that we would end up with 3 or 4 gigantic companies owning 90% of the turbines, just as we have with cell phones, health insurance, airlines, gasoline, and almost every other large market.

The reality is that we are nowhere near the point where over-capacity will be a problem. That might be an issue in 20 years, but not now. But We really do need to try to force this into an open marketplace, and the time is now for that. You can bet that Exxon, BP, Shell, and the like are way ahead of that game on that.

I doubt we have any disagreement about that.

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Response to BlueStreak (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:07 PM

2. Quick somebody buy it so it can be shelved for 100 years. nt

 

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Response to BlueStreak (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 02:34 PM

10. 2016 renewables will be 2X nuclear, also exceeding natgas

Renewable energy use gaining worldwide - IEA
BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
POSTED ON 06/27/2013 11:00 AM

NEW YORK, USA - Renewables like solar and wind represent the fastest-growing source of energy power generation and will make up a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, the International Energy Agency said in a report Wednesday, June 26.

The IEA said that in 2016 renewable energy will overtake natural gas as a power source and will be twice that of nuclear, and second only to coal as a source of power.

The growth of renewables "is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak assessment of global progress towards a cleaner and more diversified energy mix," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

The growth of renewables -- non-fossil fuels like hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal and bioenergy -- has been bolstered by increased competitiveness compared with conventional energy, the IEA said....

http://www.rappler.com/science-nature/32300-renewable-energy-use-gaining-worldwide-iea


Renewables outpacing natural gas, IEA says
Renewable energy will surpass natural gas as the planet's No. 2 electricity source by 2016, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

Thu, Jun 27 2013 at 1:45 PM


Renewable energy may be on the verge of a breakthrough. Endless power sources like wind, water and sunlight are on pace to produce more global electricity than natural gas within three years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, thus dethroning gas as the world's No. 2 electricity source behind coal.

Renewables are already the fastest-growing sector in power generation, the IEA reports, and they're expected to increase by 40 percent worldwide over the next five years. That would mean renewable sources overtake natural gas by 2016 and represent 25 percent of all electricity production by 2018, up from 20 percent just two years ago.

"As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation," IEA director Maria van der Hoeven said Wednesday as she unveiled the report at a New York energy forum. "This is good news for a global energy system that needs to become cleaner and more diversified, but it should not be an excuse for government complacency, especially among OECD countries."

"OECD countries" are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a 34-nation coalition that promotes economic growth, and many can easily afford to invest in technologies like wind or solar power. But according to the IEA, two-thirds of the growth in renewable energy will come from non-OECD developing nations, especially China, due to falling prices and surging demand for electricity. Fading subsidies will likely slow growth in Europe and the U.S., although President Obama's new climate change plan does call for expanded renewable power on federally owned land...

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/blogs/renewables-outpacing-natural-gas-iea-says


And, while I personally (due to their past record of abject failure) do not accept the EIA's predictions on future performance of energy sources, apparently WTPam does since she cited this page:
http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm
Cited here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/112747814

I therefore presume that she also accepts their assumptions, which makes her constant lowballs about renewable capacity factors puzzling.
...The capacity factor ranges for these technologies are as follows: Wind – 30% to 39%, Wind Offshore – 33% to 42%, Solar PV- 22% to 32%, Solar Thermal – 11% to 26%, and Hydro – 30% to 65%. The levelized costs are also affected by regional variations in construction labor rates and capital costs as well as resource availability.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2013, December 2012, DOE/EIA-0383(2012)

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

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Response to BlueStreak (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 02:52 PM

11. After Record 2012, World Wind Power Set to Top 300,000 Megawatts (300GW) in 2013

After Record 2012, World Wind Power Set to Top 300,000 Megawatts in 2013
by J. Matthew Roney, originally published by Earth Policy Institute | APR 10, 2013
Even amid policy uncertainty in major wind power markets, wind developers still managed to set a new record for installations in 2012, with 44,000 megawatts of new wind capacity worldwide. With total capacity exceeding 280,000 megawatts, wind farms generate carbon-free electricity in more than 80 countries, 24 of which have at least 1,000 megawatts. At the European level of consumption, the world’s operating wind turbines could satisfy the residential electricity needs of 450 million people.



China installed some 13,000 megawatts of wind in 2012, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). This was a marked slowdown from the previous two years, when new installations averaged 18,000 megawatts annually. Reasons for the drop-off include concerns about project quality and inadequate electricity transmission and grid infrastructure, which prompted the government to approve fewer projects and to restrict lending. Still, all told, China leads the world with 75,000 megawatts of wind capacity: more than a quarter of the world total.

In a country more readily associated with coal-fired electricity and nuclear power ambitions, wind reached some impressive milestones in China’s energy mix in 2012. Wind-generated electricity increased more than coal-fired electricity did for the first time. Even more remarkable, the electricity produced by wind farms over the course of the year exceeded that produced by nuclear power plants. And this is just the beginning: with massive wind projects under development across its northern and eastern provinces, and 19 ultra-high-voltage transmission projects connecting windy rural areas to population centers (all to be completed by 2014), more milestones lie ahead in China. Consulting firms GTM Research and Azure International project that China will reach 140,000 megawatts of wind by 2015 and nearly 250,000 megawatts by 2020.

The U.S. wind industry made headlines too. More new wind electricity generating capacity was added in 2012 than any other generation technology, including natural gas—a record 13,100 megawatts. An incredible 5,200 megawatts, spread among 59 wind farms, came online in December alone as developers raced to qualify for the federal production tax credit before it expired at the end of the year. The United States remains second only to China, with 60,000 total megawatts of wind capacity—enough to power more than 14 million U.S. homes....


http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-04-10/after-record-2012-world-wind-power-set-to-top-300-000-megawatts-in-2013

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Response to kristopher (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:03 PM

15. It really is transformational, and hardly anybody talks about it.

 

And the other thing nobody talks about is that for the past 5 years or so -- even predating Obama a little -- our conservation efforts have been paying off. We really aren't growing much in national electricity usage.

This whole energy policy thing is no linger an economic or technology issue. The economics of wind energy work, and the technology is here today, and deploying as fast as turbine production can ramp up. And we all know that costs come down with volume production, so we are seeing a powerful virtuous cycle here -- and almost nobody is reporting on it.

It is not an economic issue. it is not a technology issue. We are approaching the point of no-brainer on both those fronts. It is now "just" a political issue. The old dirty/dangerous energy barons don't give up their position easily. That's where we are today. But this is one change that really is happening and will be irreversible by the time Obama leaves office.

I am plenty critical of him in other areas, but this is a great success. Maybe it is actually better that it is just happening without much fanfare. If it were discussed more openly, the GOP would find a way to get in the middle and mess it up.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 08:21 AM

20. Excellent point.

At the heart of the two competing systems (centralized vs distributed), lie two competing concepts of growth. The economic and social models associated with centralized generation both serve to drive increased consumption. With distributed generation, where the costs and limits of production are directly observable to the end user, it goes in exactly the other direction.

I think it is economics that are working to make this paragraph true, so I would phrase that just a bit differently, but nonetheless, your words speaking to the barriers deserve repeating:
"It is not an economic issue. it is not a technology issue. We are approaching the point of no-brainer on both those fronts. It is now "just" a political issue. The old dirty/dangerous energy barons don't give up their position easily. That's where we are today. But this is one change that really is happening and will be irreversible by the time Obama leaves office."

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