JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Green Electricity in Denmark, Germany, costs three times as much as US

It’s a bit costly trying to control the weather:

“Germany has been paying over $26 billion per year for electricity that has a wholesale market value of just $5 billion (see here).”

That’s $21 billion that could have been spent on health or education that was used instead to feed the Green Machine.

A few handy facts to memorize. The cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour: 

Denmark, 42c; Germany 40c, and the USA, 12.5c. ( — Forbes)

Wind and solar power supplies 28% of electricity in Germany (is it really that high?) This is what Australia is aiming for?

 

Industrial energy prices, electricity, germany, US, UK

Graph from Forbes (link below)

Europe is a “green energy” basket case. Washington Post

“Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good.”Der Spiegel

Europe’s Energy and Electricity Policies are a Bad Model, Jude Clement, Forbes

“The direct loss of industry because of higher cost electricity is particularly destructive. Manufacturing jobs are very high-paying and the manufacturing business greatly advances nations with a massive “multiplier effect,” where 1 new manufacturing job can create as many as 6 or 7 across the overall economy.

While the manufacturing sector in the EU now employs about 30 million persons directly, down from 37 million 10 years ago, the real devastation is far worse because manufacturing is a building block of a strong economy.”

 

h/t GWPF

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98 comments to Green Electricity in Denmark, Germany, costs three times as much as US

  • #
    Leo Morgan

    And of course when businesses choose China instead, Chinese factories emit 4 times more CO2. So for their $21 billion dollars, they are purchasing increased amounts of CO2 in the air.
    This was all obvious ahead of time. I confess I do not follow their reasoning.

    350

    • #
      Bulldust

      I thank the Chinese for feeding the green things of the world and providing a buffer against glaciation.

      Happy New Year (soon, albeit a bit later on in China).

      431

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        New Zealand gets the new year earlier than anybody else. It is fresh and new and clean when it arrives.

        We have three hours to remove its gloss, and tatty it up a bit, before we pass it on to Australia. It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

        Have a wonderful “New” Year, my friends.

        420

      • #
        Len

        Is it not the same time as in WA?

        20

        • #
          Just-A-Guy

          Len,

          The Chinese have their own calender. They celebrate 2016 on February 8th.

          O/T Type (or just copy and paste) these words into the google search box . . .

          when is the chinese new year

          Notice that google now answers your question right at the top of the search results. They still provide you with a list of web-sites that are relevant to your question. This is a new feature that they have only recently added and the dictionary definitions of words are also provided in the same way.

          Thia may at first seem really useful but I think it could easily become a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

          Abe

          60

        • #
          Ceetee

          Nah, when you get it it’s like a cast-off. You people are so last year.

          10

      • #
        Paul in Sweden

        Yup! For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million). Most crops show that for any given level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient CO2 levels.
        http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

        100

    • #
      me@home

      Jo speaking of China and CO2, what happenned to the 30/12 piece? I had been hoping to return to it. Happy New Year

      10

    • #
      Brian H

      They correctly assume CO2 to be valuable?

      00

  • #
    cohenite

    To which cost we can include Australia’s great wind power experiment, South Australia, which is a basket case.

    In fact South Australia demonstrates that basic point about renewables like wind and solar which is they cannot make themselves:

    South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis called a crisis meeting of energy users and suppliers today to deal with sharp rises and falls in wholesale electricity prices that threaten the redevelopment of a Port Pirie lead and zinc smelter to make metals for solar panels and mobile phones, even with a $291 million government subsidy.

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    • #

      basic point about renewables like wind and solar which is they cannot make themselves

      Thus a re-definition of the word “sustainable”

      230

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        That is a very good point, Bernd.

        We need to ask the questions:

        1. “How long will this [energy generating device] have to operate, in order to produce the equivalent amount of energy required to make it?”;
        2. “How long will this [energy generating device] have to operate, over and above the requirements of question 1, in order to produce the equivalent amount of energy required to decommission it, and remove all trace that it existed, from the environment?”
        3. “What is the environmental break-even point on the investment, taking infrastructure costs to the environment from tree removal, roading, transportation, maintenance, et al into account?”
        And so on …

        That should make a few heads explode …

        331

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Don’t know; I don’t think the average person lives that long. The EROI on lithium batteries is 10, 5 times that of lead batteries.

          40

        • #
          Paul in Sweden

          Remove Govt. offices, Universities, theaters, TV & Radio stations and Newspapers from the public electric grid and onto 100 percent solar, wind and other Green energy solutions and the damage from Global Warming Policies will be mitigated.

          10

    • #
      StefanL

      “South Australia, which is a basket case”

      What do you mean ‘a basket case’.

      There are some days when the wind power output is 50% of name plate capacity, and there are some days when wind is supplying 20% of SA’s electricity.

      Of course that’s only _some_ days. (do I need to add the /sarc ?)

      For an interesting real-time view, keep an eye on these two sites:
      — electricity generation around Australia
      — wind power generation (note carefully the colour coding: green means 0-30%)

      110

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Yes, only some of the time. And what happens when the Port Augusta (coal) stations close in March and the scheduled moth balling of CCGT plants goes ahead? With the inter-connectors to Victoria’s (brown coal fired) stations only capable of supplying one quarter to one fifth of peak demand and not much else, then the wind has to blow on hot days and nights.
        Of course there is solar panels on houses, but any blackout shuts them down, and contrary to what the State Government seems to think, the sun doesn’t shine at night.

        By the way, the mention of the Port Pirie smelter up-grade is due to a meeting before Christmas between 3 of the State’s largest industrial employers telling the Premier that they were paying too much for electricity (and worried about continuity of supply) to continue operating in S.A. With the highest unemployment rate (and electricity prices) in Australia the State Cabinet has decided to do something – calling a meeting and hoping the public forget about the issue soon.

        Of course SA can rely on wind; it doesn’t get lots of hot days sarc off/

        160

      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        I’m very happy to see QLD has 0 wind generation. The landscape is yet beautiful and unspoiled.

        90

        • #
          Robk

          You’ll be pleased to know the Qld government owned power corp Stanhope built a windfarm in the coastal mid west of Western Australia instead. The mind boggles.

          30

          • #
            Greg Cavanagh

            LOL, you guys must have been asking for it, and you’re paying the QLD government for the pleasure.

            I am sorry, truly.

            20

      • #

        StefanL, have a look at your second link – some wind plant at CNUNDORF has produced ~19 MW continuously since about midday yesterday (31st Dec). You can’t see it with all the farms’ sphagetti lines – untick all the states except SA, then start unticking wind plants and CNUNDORF will stand out as having flat-line production. Must be remarkably steady wind there.

        50

        • #
          StefanL

          FijiDave, Thanks for that — well spotted. There’s another flatline in there: STARHLWF (Starfish Hill), 100 km away.

          If you google ” AusGrid” you can see more typical behaviour.

          30

          • #
            StefanL

            Whoops.
            Meant to say:

            If you google “name_of_windfarm” plus AusGrid

            e.g “STARHLWF AusGrid”

            21

      • #
        Russell

        Stefan, is there a similar site/graph to the wind power one showing solar? Also, breaking down the various other energy sources in current use in Australia would, I think, be quite educational.

        I’m in Tasmania where most of our electricity comes from hydro, with backup via the Basslink cable coming from Victoria, normally when it is relatively cheap. The same cable is used to export power, when the market price is high, because hydro can be brought on line to meet peak demand (at premium prices) very quickly.

        At present the Basslink cable is out of action, so our stored water power stations are having to be used for local supply base load instead of having the water available for peak time generation for export.

        For domestic power here we are currently paying just over 25 cents a kWh plus a “fixed charge” of just under one dollar a day which, in my case, amounts to about another 3 cents per kWh.

        30

        • #
          StefanL

          Russell,
          The first link I gave shows the various energy sources in use around Australia (aggregated by state).
          If you look at the notes below the histogram, there is a link to a Solar map

          20

      • #
        Ceetee

        The only thing these buggers understand about a modern energy driven economy is how much they can suck off of it, they know they’ll disappear into the woodwork if ever anything goes wrong. In fact, that’s their point of difference. It’s a communal thing.

        10

        • #
          Ceetee

          A later article here proves my point exactly. Who told all those people to install at great cost, solar cells. Where are they now.

          00

      • #
        Paul in Sweden

        Waiting for the right time to Crowd Source a project to recycle all the useless windmills around the world into Giant Ferris wheels. I am getting impatient, does anyone have a guess as to how long I should wait?

        00

    • #
      James Murphy

      Koutsantonis is yet another Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association plant, and somehow has multiple ministries under his purview (Treasurer, Minister for Finance, Minister for State Development, Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy and Minister for Small Business), yet I wouldn’t trust him to be able to run a successful chook raffle – he can’t even manage to obey basic road rules, resulting in his having something like $10k in fines.

      i love the green-wash applied to the smelters at Port Pirie. First they were continuously described as an environmental nightmare by the ABC and others, with locals having lead levels high enough to be of major concern (and knowing people who grew up there, it is/was a legitimate, but not surprising problem) , but now it’s all ok because someone has realised that silver/lead/zinc might be used in the almighty world-saving “solar panel”. Of course those panels wouldn’t ever be manufactured in SA, much better to send the raw materials overseas instead… sorry, rant over.

      170

      • #
        Peter Miller

        No reason to apologise, it was a good rant.

        Anything to do with mining and smelters is guaranteed to get the greenie establishment into a frenzied froth.

        In addition to facts and unhomogenised data, another thing greenies are incapable of understanding is the great truth of what we use in our civilisation: “If it can’t be mined,it has gotta be mined.”

        60

        • #
          Peter Miller

          Rats!

          “If it can’t be grown, it has gotta be mined.”

          60

        • #
          Greg Cavanagh

          I thought the first “If it can’t be mined,it has gotta be mined” was rather profound, as in; “If it can’t be mined here, it’ll be mined there.”

          The thing greenies can’t understand is that pulling materials out of the ground to fuel societies needs doesn’t mean it disappears and is used up. They rant about renewables, but look at cars, they’ve been reusing the same steel for decades turning holdens into thin steeled fords. One day we’ll mine old rubbish tips for rare metals. Very little is actually lost, it’s just transformed into something more useful to our needs at the time.

          70

  • #
    GerardB

    Queensland had its “white shoe brigade”.

    Europe and the world have the “green shoe brigade” – for what benefit?

    80

  • #
    TdeF

    There is a caution in these numbers, that as the world’s largest single market everything is far cheaper in the US, partly as average wages are much lower and electricity is a commodity after all. Average monthly salaries in Denmark are 3000 Euro and in the US 2300 Euro, so a 30% increase in average salary. Consider petrol is 1.45 Euro a litre and in the US 0.51, a factor of three, no windmills involved. I have found the same thing with a lot of commodities like French champagne where the price is set to the local market, a simple balance between affordability and volume.

    What is perverse about the windmills and solar in rich European countries is that they do not need them. So they are just investing in their own survival and environment and assuaging their own fears and sustainability of their lifestyles. It is nothing to do with saving the planet and reducing world CO2, the alleged motivation. The same in Australia where no Greens really believes that if Australia stopped producing CO2 entirely, anything would change as 98% of CO2 comes from overseas anyway. It seems the Greens believe CO2 should be produced in China like everything else.

    241

    • #
      The Backslider

      98% of CO2 comes from overseas anyway.

      Let’s just clarify this a little. 97% of CO2 comes from the biosphere. The human contribution is within the range of natural variation.

      70

    • #
      Michael Collard

      Good point about the prices being affected by cost of living and supply and demand.
      Here in the US, prices vary from as low as 7c (here in Texas where I live) to as high as 17c in the northeast.
      All statistics should be viewed with caution.

      10

  • #

    What about the poor sleep deprived people who live near the wind turbines?

    200

    • #

      There are major physiological consequences of living too close to industrial wind turbines. Recently published peer reviewed comprehensive information prepared by medical doctors, pathologists and engineers about the effects of living near wind turbines have been classified into two categories according to two different phenomena associated with wind turbine noise. One is Wind Turbine Syndrome. This produces several symptoms related to the vestibular system’s (balance) organs:  disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), and sense of quivering or vibration, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, difficulty with concentration, memory loss, irritability and anger. 
      Another is Vibroacoustic Disease. This causes direct tissue or organ damage. Wind Turbine Syndrome symptoms discontinue when the person moves away from the wind turbine location. Vibroacoustic Disease symptoms continue long after the source of infrasound is removed. Both these conditions can be very harmful and debilitating and possibly deadly.
      Check the following reference on Wind Turbine Syndrome. Dr. Nina Pierpont, Santa Fe, NM: K-Selected Books, 2009 and Vibroacoustic Disease is referenced by Mariana Alves-Pereira and Nuno A A. Castelo Branco, “ Biological effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise explained by mechanotransduction cellular signaling,” Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Volume 93, Issues 1-3, January-April 2007, Pages 256-279.

      242

      • #

        btw, have a happy and prosperous New Year everyone!

        160

      • #

        Wind turbine wildlife kill statistics are wildly underestimated!
        Windfarm operators who control surveys of birds like eagles etc killed by wind turbines, are surveying under only voluntary guidelines and commissioning studies that search much-too-small areas around the turbines. Also the surveys are carried out far too infrequently at usually only once every 30-90 days or so.
        This ensures that wild scavengers remove most of the bird carcasses killed by turbines first, so that the evidence of killed eagles and bats is reduced. Wildlife expert Jim Wiegand has documented how areas searched under wind turbines are still confined by authorities to only 200-foot radiuses from the turbines, even though the latest larger turbines catapult 90% of bird and bat carcasses much further than this.
        Using the higher but still underestimated level of mortality published by Smallwood in 2013, wind turbines would be killing over 3 million birds and 5 million bats annually in the USA alone. If renewable energy targets become reality, by 2030 and if the figures were not underestimated by vested interests doing stunts like the above, these mortality figures could be 10 times higher!
 And unfortunately this figure would be conservative.

        201

        • #

          Greenies don’t care about millions of eagles killed by wind turbines but they sure do worry about a few yakka skinks and the ornamental snakes when it comes to trying to stop the big Adani coal mine in Queensland. How opportune this seems to be!

          142

          • #

            There is simply nothing good about wind turbines.
            What negligible power they produce is more than offset by the grid power that is used to manufacture them and to boot them after they stop.
            They make people who live within kilometres of them very sick.
            They kill millions of birds world wide.
            They frequently catch alight spontaneously, causing grass fires and in turn, possibly bush fires.
            They are a blot on the landscape seen from kilometres around them as they are taller than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
            As they don’t produce viable power in any way, no one will invest in them as a financial proposition, so they drain billions from public finance and borrowings worldwide.
            They put power costs to the costumer through the roof.
            In a nutshell they are a nightmare and will contribute greatly to a temporary reverse or correction in the evolutionary advance forward of cultural human advancement. An essentially truly bad idea.

            110

        • #
          James Murphy

          As the SA premier seemed to want to make a big fuss over the Hornsdale wind farm and the handful of transient employment opportunities it is providing, I thought I’d look at who owns it, so I started with their website.

          The FAQs make for some very frustrating reading, particularly with regards to bird deaths. I also note the subtle dig at gas generation capacity factors in the ‘how do wind turbines work’ section. I assume that this is the very start of the campaign to get rid of ‘evil’ gas, now that SA is already committed to shutting down its coal-fired stations in 2016. Yet again, the “renewable energy” sector will use the ignorance and gullibility of the Greens and their ilk to remove fossil fuelled competition.

          http://hornsdalewindfarm.com.au/faqs/

          50

          • #
            Greg Cavanagh

            Much of it is driven by market share power struggles. Soros gives money to 350org, they in turn stir up media and stage some protests, Soros makes money when the government capitulate to “the public’s demands”. It’s not being driven by the public at all.

            BP at first, wanted a tax on fuel. Why? Because it ups the cost of their product, and when the price jumps up they add a bit more for themselves to hide their own profit and the blame goes to the government for the price hike.

            60

      • #
        James Murphy

        I should probably look it up, and it has probably come up before (sorry about that, if it has), but as people here are smart, and knowledgeable, I though I’d ask anyway – when wind farms talk about acceptable noise levels, are they expected to meet requirements only within the standard (human) audible frequency range? (I’ll go hunting for a wind turbine frequency spectrum after this… though I imagine a whole collection of turbines will have a slightly different mix, given the potential for harmonics)

        Again, referring to the Hornsdale wind farm FAQ I mentioned elsewhere, it mentions noise level criteria “…(35dB in rural areas, compared to background noises that generally range from 40 to 45dB)…”, but this is a very vague statement – there is a big difference between a signal to noise ratio of ~5-10dB, vs 35dB, and they make no mention of minimum distances either. (no, I never expected them to be straightforward and verbose on the matter)

        Finally, if the ‘climate’ is changing so much, and so rapidly, and no one wants to commit to just what those changes will mean (hotter here, colder there, more rain here, less there…etc etc) then how do the wind-farm planners know that there will be lots of wind for their money-spinners (hah!) in the future… assuming (temporary naivety) that the companies do more than the bare minimum of research required to get their hands on government cash?

        71

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          James;
          for years in the UK wind farm noise was measured according to a written standard developed for industrial equipment. The relative point was that the meters had a rapid reduction in sensitivity below 40 hertz, whereas most turbines generate a lot of output below that (blades passing tower approx. 7-13 times a minute base, with extra at 3 times that frequency) so noise was always stated as low.
          A meter for low frequency sounds may turn out to be rather expensive, suggest you see if you can rent one if you need it.

          10

  • #

    I am paying 23.336c per unit in Broome, would that be the same in kWh, the bill doesn’t say so? Our power is natural gas, trucked here from the Pilbara.

    60

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      A “unit” is literally defined as the smallest amount of something, that is measured or counted. Thus it can mean anything, and a price per unit can be changed at will, just by changing what is meant by “unit”. A lot of groceries are sold in “units” – the package remains the same size, but the contents can vary.

      The question to ask is, “How many kWh in a unit?”. Followed by the question, “Who sets that value, and how often is it reviewed? The answers you get to those questions, if you get any answers at all, may amaze you.

      It is just one more example of how post-modern society functions. Those who know the system can game it. Those who do not, end up paying for those who do.

      121

    • #
      Robk

      Generally the meters that measure your electricity do so in kilowatt hours (kWh) and this would be the “unit” being charged.

      51

    • #

      FYI my electricity costs have averaged 21.9 cents per kWh over the last 30 days here near Nelson, New Zealand. Pole & Line and levy costs = $1.46 per day.

      The question is, and the answer is not on the power bill, is how much per kWh am I paying for the ETS rort?

      50

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      That’s about 20% cheaper than in South Australia.
      Wind power is cheap!? Sarc off/

      40

    • #
      James

      Last month I paid 10 cents per KWH in Northern NY. I am glad I left South Australia! Gas and nuclear power is cheap, plus some is hydro power.

      70

    • #
      Greg Cavanagh

      QLD is all black coal according to StefanL’s post up top.

      I’m paying 22.238 c/kWh peak, 18.872 c/kWh off peak.
      But I’m also paying 116.398 c/Day for Supply Charge. I assume this a connection to the grid charge (no product, just the connection). Very generous of me.

      60

      • #
        Peter C

        One good thing about the supply charge ( connection fee) is that every one pays it, including homes with solar cells on the roof. And so they should.

        I do not know of anyone who has installed solar cells and then disconnected from the grid because they did not need it any more.

        40

  • #
    pat

    jo – your link to Jude Clemente’s excellent 2-page article in Forbes –
    Europe’s Energy and Electricity Policies are a Bad Model – goes to the WaPo article. it should be:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2015/12/27/europes-energy-and-electricity-policies-are-a-bad-model/

    a question for TonyfromOz or anyone else who knows the answer. I saved this from a few days ago:

    27 Dec: AFR: Residents battle to return to fire-ravaged Vic towns
    Fallen ***domestic solar power lines*** remain a threat, while many trees are still burning and on the verge of falling over…
    http://www.afr.com/news/residents-battle-to-return-to-fireravaged-vic-towns-20151227-glvdg1

    plus from a China Daily article I posted in jo’s previous “Paris” thread, was this bit re wind/solar in China:

    - The problem with new-energy consumption is that it’s not easy to integrate it into the conventional power grid.
    For that reason, a lot of wind and solar energy capacity has been suspended.

    QUESTION: does solar to the grid require separate DOMESTIC SOLAR POWER LINES?

    70

    • #
      Robk

      QUESTION: does solar to the grid require separate DOMESTIC SOLAR POWER LINES?
      No. If the solar is grid connected the DC power is generally converted to AC as close as possible to the panels and fed to the metering panel as AC. In some off-grid installations there might be some variance.

      50

      • #
        pat

        Robk-

        thanks for the reply.
        but I still don’t understand why AFR mentions “Fallen ***domestic solar power lines*** remain a threat”.
        could it be that there were solar to the grid systems in that area but no regular power lines?

        30

        • #
          Robk

          Pat,
          Unless they have something very irregular, my suspicion is the reporter is mistaken. The inverters that feed into the grid have a feature that requires that the live grid has to be sensed for the inverter to have an output. The idea is that if the grid fails, the output of the inverter shuts down so that there is no problem with downed lines provided the grid supply is turned off. Downed powerlines that aren’t turned off are a hazard regardless of whether there is a solar feed or not.

          30

          • #
            Robk

            The only area that comes to mind where a solar array would be a hazard is if water is played on damaged DC lines between the array and the inverter. Mostly these lines would normally be in a house’s roof space. During daylight there would be a danger of high voltages.

            30

        • #
          Greg Cavanagh

          It “could” be as stated. Domestic being privately owned on private property. Many people put the solar array on a large shed on the property instead of the house.

          I remember when all this started; the fire brigade refused to enter a house with solar panels on the roof because they can’t be switched off. Live electricity feed while you’re spraying water all over the place.

          40

  • #
    David Maddison

    And they keep telling us wind power is or will become so cheap it will put coal out of business.

    120

  • #
    pat

    heard talk show host on 4BC, Alan Pearsall, say this week that he would be having someone on his show next week from a Victorian town going 100% renewable. he says he believes in CAGW.
    presumably he was talking about either Newstead or Yackandandah, which Giles Parkinson touted over a year ago:

    Nov 2014: RenewEconomy: Giles Parkinson: Victoria Labor plans 100% renewable town, review solar rules
    The Victorian Labor Party has sought to underline its renewable energy credentials by vowing to help the town of Newstead, near Bendigo, to become 100 per cent renewable energy by 2017, and become the state’s first “solar town”.
    The commitment comes a few days after party led by Daniel Andrews said that a Labor Government would reverse the wind farm restrictions imposed by the Coalition state government, and seek to unlock billions of dollars in stalled investment.
    The focus on Newstead, a town of just over 500 people on the Loddon River about 55kms from Bendigo, and 120kms north west of Melbourne, is interesting because Labor says it will focus primarily on solar power and battery storage to become 100 per cent renewable…
    Newstead is not the only town seeking to go 100 per cent renewable. Yackandandah is also seeking to go entirely renewable by 2022, and its Totally Renewable Yackandandah campaign will be officially launched next week…
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/victoria-labor-plans-100-renewable-energy-town-near-bendigo-86213

    SMH touted it too:

    Nov 2014: SMH: Renewable energy: power to the people
    Across the nation, volunteers are planning energy systems that will be owned by their communities, on a scale from single rooftops to entire towns. Michael Green reports on a quiet revolution
    “The buzz phrase is that solar power is democratising the energy market,” says ***Tosh Szatow, the founder of the People’s Solar, as well as a consultancy called Energy for the People. “But the democracy we’ve got isn’t serving our interests. This is something more – it’s energy owned by people, serving interests defined by those communities themselves.”
    Around Castlemaine and districts, in particular, the solar citizens are rallying…
    The region is becoming a hotspot for grid-connected solar households…
    The residents of Newstead, 12 kilometres south of Maldon, want something different. For four years, volunteers have been working on a plan to become completely powered by renewable energy…
    Szatow is advising Renewable Newstead on its plan…
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/renewable-energy-power-to-the-people-20141103-11fymi.html

    I have found nothing online to suggest any of the above has been achieved to date.

    People’s Solar/Energy for the People Szatow worked for CSIRO:

    ***LinkedIn: Anthony Tosh Szatow, Director, Co-Founder at Energy for the People
    Director, Co-founder, The People’s Solar
    The People’s Solar is a crowd-funding platform for solar projects, with energy bill savings reinvested to build social and economic resilience in communities across Australia.
    The People’s Solar is scaling up nationally, engaging businesses, schools, and community organisations in clean energy projects, while building lasting social and economic connections…
    Previou: Project leader, Intelligent Grid
    CSIRO
    July 2008 – July 2011…

    50

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      “energy bill savings reinvested to build social and economic resilience in communities across Australia” ????

      Solar PV’s real cost is around $160-170 per MWh v Victoria’s coal fired supply at $30 (wholesale). The delivery to the individual house is much more expensive because of little things like power lines, transformers, meters etc. The only way solar can “save” money is by using this infrastructure without paying for it, and by a lot of unpaid labour by the inhabitants.

      Add in the cost of battery storage and the cost will skyrocket. You can add about 10.5cents per kWh just for the cost of the lithium batteries (assuming they last the full 10 years – do check the small print).

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      John F. Hultquist

      “Yackandandah is trying to do something about this. The community has committed to powering themselves entirely by renewable energy by 2022.”

      http://joannenova.com.au/2015/12/no-yackendandah-wind-farms-will-not-stop-bush-fires/

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    pat

    nearly a year after Parkinson/SMH pieces, we have this:

    Oct 2015: FifthEstate: To connect or not connect to the grid? That is the question developers face
    by Alex Houlston, Energy for the People
    Energy for the People is also working with two regional towns – Tyalgum in NSW and Newstead in Victoria – on plans to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. In Tyalgum, simple paybacks of 6-7 years are possible today for behind the meter solar plus battery storage, while going off the grid completely appears just as compelling by 2020. In Newstead, the focus is on first developing a collaborative partnership with local network business, Powercor, before working through a more detailed feasibility…
    The Tyalgum project, alongside Renewable Newstead, and the “ZNET Blueprint” (to be released shortly by Starfish Ventures and co), are likely to provide the demonstrations required for the implementation of community-scale, clean energy projects. However, that blueprint will inevitably evolve, so what does the “ideal” solution look like (assuming there is such a thing)?…
    100 per cent renewable communities are already emerging…
    http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/spinifex/to-connect-or-not-to-connect-to-the-grid-that-is-the-question-developers-face/77727

    Houlston also has a CSIRO connection:

    LinkedIn: Alex Houlston, Social entrepreneur, Director & Co-founder at Energy for the People
    Prior to Energy for the People and The People’s Solar, Alex managed the environmentally sustainable design aspects of the world-leading $AU250m Carlton public/private housing redevelopment, the establishment of an energy services company for 800 low-income households, a major Zero Carbon refurbishment project, instigation of a Zero Emission House retrofit project in partnership with the CSIRO, and a world-first fuel cells demonstration project…
    Senior Project Manager – Major Developments & Environmental Sustainability
    Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria
    July 2008 – June 2013…
    Additionally, Alex co-managed the development of the business case for ESD initiatives across the $18bn portfolio and instigated the Australian Zero Emission House (AusZEH) retrofit project, in partnership with ***CSIRO.
    Lastly, Alex sponsored the development of an innovative business case to install solar photovoltaics on thousands of public housing properties…
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhoulston

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      Robk

      Interesting experiments but who pays? The problems, whilst not insurmountable will center around who pays while these technologies are sub economic. What happens when the local grid is over subscribed or under subscribed. Incremental changes will have a different economy to the main installation. I think it will be quite a while before this scheme is a desirable one either from an economic or practical point of view. I say this as a person who has (still do) run a business off-grid for some thirty five years, out of necessity rather than choice.

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    ScotsmaninUtah

    One often hears or sees propronents of renewables declaring that solar and wind power is “free or “cheap”, and they always appear utterly sincere in their convictions.

    It is a very dangerous form of dellusion.

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      Robk

      The problems really start when you want to run commercial loads like pumping water, materials handling, heat pumping etc. It’s all doable but at a cost. A diesel Genset soon looks attractive and that doesn’t make the rest of the efforts very sensible.

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        Ken Stewart

        And don’t even think about industrial usage, like an aluminium smelter! Boyne Island consumes 7000GWh a year.

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    Joanne queries this in the text of her main Thread: (my bolding here)

    Wind and solar power supplies 28% of electricity in Germany (is it really that high?)

    The total for ALL renewable power in Germany is that figure of 28%.

    Germany has the highest generation of electricity from Biomass in Europe, and it also has a Hydro component as well.

    The total for just Wind and Solar is just a tick under 13%.

    Tony.

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      John F. Hultquist

      Here in the Great State of Washington, Hydro has been a big part of the energy equation. Thus, for local purposes of saving the planet, this renewable source is on the sideline. This allows a renewables goal to still encourage wind and solar. Otherwise there would be no need to have subsidy programs to further enrich the rich. And we wouldn’t get to view the graceful dancing of the tall white fairies across the ridge tops.

      On a related issue, it is just past 7:30 PM here so 2016 is coming into view, but not here yet. The neighbors are out either with fireworks or rifles letting “2016″ know they welcome its arrival. And who doesn’t?

      Current temperature is -16° C. (4° F.) and headed for about -20° C.
      We have High Pressure, an air pollution alert, and no wind. You can see what that does for wind power here:
      http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/wind/baltwg.aspx

      Note the pie-chart in the upper right corner. Wind = 14.9% installed capacity.
      During recent days the output has been indistinguishable from zero.

      Happy New Year!

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    J PAK

    It’s reasonable to pay Mt Piper NSW 4¢/kWhr to generate electricity and 4¢ to the power pole company to deliver to my property. I’m happy to contribute 2¢ towards the next coal fired station to be built and it might be smart to put up 2¢ to sponsor bright students in the power R&D field.
    12¢ a unit seems okay to me but I’m actually paying 24¢.
    We’re all mug punters stuck with a bent system.
    I fight back by running a fridge and freezer out in the garage on the 7¢/ unit off-peak circuit.
    When genuine deep cycle batteries like Lithium Iron Phosphate come down in price (NOT those Tesla wall thingys), and replace inefficient lead-acid deep-cycles ones we could all charge batteries by night at only 7¢/kWhr. This would enable the power stations to sell the power that is otherwise not used at night. Mt Piper cannot turn the furnace off because a return to service takes 72 hours and costs a small fortune in diesel and thermal damage to the unit so they just leave it running 24/7.
    The green dream schemes don’t add up and all along we’ve had massive wastage of night time coal when we could have been using it for pump storage in the Snowy Mtn Hydro Scheme. Whingers say pump storage is inefficient due to frictional losses etc but Wylfa Head (UK nuclear) pumps water up to storage in the Dinorwig Scheme. By day when there is a sudden demand peak they can generate full power in 3 minutes and they get a high price for that power. It works. It is financially viable. Wind and solar PV are not.

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      James Murphy

      I’d like to make some reference to paying Mount Piper for coal-fired power, compared to paying Point Piper for an ETS… but it is too late in the year to make a decent joke out of it (still 2015 here…).

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    Caligula Jones

    Pikers.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2015/12/02/ontario-consumers-likely-paying-billions-extra-for-hydro-one-decisions-auditor-general.html

    (And note the Toronto Star is known as being the “house organ” of the Ontario Liberal Party).

    For the unbiased auditor’s view (and she was a former official of another province’s hydro company, in comparison to the minister, who was a former mayor…):

    http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en11/303en11.pdf

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    ScotsmaninUtah

    becalmed and in the dark

    https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/renewable-energy-data/electricity-production-data/daten-zu-erneuerbaren-energien-daten-zur-stromproduktion

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-11-30/wind-and-solar-are-gaining-ground-in-germany

    when one reads the link from bloomberg it appears that all is well for Germany and it’s plan to move to wind and solar energie production .
    But in the very same article, little admissions of the sporadic nature of wind and solar and the actual small overall levels of contribution are treated with an astonishing convenient ignorance as if the lack of both quantity and continuous supply is of no concern.

    In addition a reference us made to energy storage as was eluded to in a previous post by TonyfromOZ.

    In reality on a poor day when the wind stops blowing and sun is asleep one could hardly expect a steel works to be powered by battteries no matter how many you connected together.

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      James Murphy

      What better way to be ‘renewable’ than to use human or animal labour to generate electricity (perhaps using convicts, or ‘climate change deniers’ as the labour) – maybe this is what is meant when politicians and activists talk of the masses of ‘green industry jobs” which will be available…?

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      James Murphy

      or perhaps, just as ‘community gardens’ are being promoted as wonderful things, we could have community medieval bloomeries… after all, if its OK to have wood-chip power stations, then surely charcoal is ok for basic iron smelting?

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    Robert O

    Really there is the fundamental problem that our politicians are ex-lawyers, unionists etc., not engineers, and seriously do not understand the nature of green energy. Already they have succumbed to the persuasive advice of the former Climate Commissioners and built hugely expensive de-salination plants, now mothballed, without the petro dollars that the Gulf states have and use to keep their golf courses green. And you have them quoting fictional figures for outputs of new solar and wind farms given to them by the spruikers. And there is any never mention of the back-up required to provide 24/7 power which is 75-80% of the time.

    Reality will only set in as the coal plants are closed down and black-outs become order of the day (and night); then they will have retired by then leaving a legacy for others to ponder about.

    If you don’t want coal/gas power stations then nuclear is the only viable option in the forseeable future.

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    el gordo

    ‘Thanks in large part to wind and solar energy, not only have German electricity prices paid by consumers skyrocketed over the past years, thus casting a large number of homes into home fuel poverty, but also the supply itself is rapidly becoming precarious and unreliable.

    ‘One problem is the stabilization of the power grid in the face of wildly fluctuating wind and solar energy feed-in. The other problem is the mechanical integrity associated the wind turbines themselves.’

    - See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2015/12/31/catastrophic-turbine-failures-targeted-blackouts-plague-german-power-as-wind-solar-energy-increase/#sthash.B0Tea6Oy.dpuf

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    Robber

    It’s hard to find electricity price trends in Australia. AEMC reports that in 2014 wholesale prices made up 39% of your bill, networks 53%, and environmental policies 8%.
    AEMO reports annual generator prices in $/MWh but as I understand it this excludes solar and wind. Hard to explain the big variations year by year.
    Year NSW QLD SA SNOWY TAS VIC
    1998-1999 33.13 51.65 156.02 32.34 36.33
    1999-2000 28.27 44.11 59.27 27.96 26.35
    2000-2001 37.69 41.33 56.39 37.06 44.57
    2001-2002 34.76 35.34 31.61 31.59 30.97
    2002-2003 32.91 37.79 30.11 29.83 27.56
    2003-2004 32.37 28.18 34.86 30.80 25.38
    2004-2005 39.33 28.96 36.07 34.05 190.38 27.62
    2005-2006 37.24 28.12 37.76 31.09 56.76 32.47
    2006-2007 58.72 52.14 51.61 55.19 49.56 54.80
    2007-2008 41.66 52.34 73.50 45.49 54.68 46.79
    2008-2009 38.85 34.00 50.98 58.48 41.82
    2009-2010 44.19 33.30 55.31 29.37 36.28
    2010-2011 36.74 30.97 32.58 29.45 27.09
    2011-2012 29.67 29.07 30.28 32.58 27.28
    2012-2013 55.10 67.02 69.75 48.30 57.44
    2013-2014 52.26 58.42 61.71 41.98 51.49
    2014-2015 35.17 52.52 39.29 37.16 30.35
    2015-2016 43.43 42.74 58.39 58.58 38.81

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes residential electricity price trends as an index.
    1980 1990 2000 2010 2011 2014 2015
    Sydney 13.6 35.5 42.3 86.9 100 123.5 109.3
    Note the decline after the removal of the ETS.

    The Parliament of Australia published a report in 2012 titled Electricity Prices in Australia: An International Comparison.
    It stated: It is commonly considered that Australia’s electricity prices are low in comparison to those in other developed countries. However, household electricity prices in Australia have risen by more than 40% since 2007, and are projected to rise by another 30% by 2013/14. This report was commissioned to assess how contemporary Australian electricity prices compare internationally.
    Electricity prices in other developed economies have been stable or have risen (and in some cases declined) very gradually over the last decade. The sharp increase in Australian electricity prices combined with changes in exchange rates has meant that average electricity prices to households in Australia are now higher than those in Japan, the EU, U.S. and Canada. The gap may widen after taking account of further expected price rises in Australia.

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      Robk

      The situation in Australia has been complicated somewhat by other unintended consequences of government regulation; the tax incentives and price fixing incentives for energy distributors to “gold plate” the network, meaning the projected demand didn’t account for the economic downturn but the infrastructure is inplace because the distributors are guaranteed a fixed return.

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    dp

    The Germans and Danes businesses are passing that extra expense on to their customers, so reward their foolish and punitive policies by boycotting their products. Buy Chinese wind turbines.

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    pat

    31 Dec: Orange County Register, California: Sunset unfair solar subsidies
    ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL
    A big part of why California recently became the first state to obtain 5 percent of its electricity from solar energy is its promotion of the technology through tax breaks and subsidies. The problem comes when
    nonsolar ratepayers have to pick up the slack in paying for the state electricity grid that everyone uses, including solar customers when the sun doesn’t shine.
    As we have noted, such Net Energy Metering subsidies soon could cost nonsolar customers an extra $360 a year on average. Last week the California Public Utilties Commission acknowledged the problem and made some changes…
    Changes include a one-time solar interconnection fee of $75 to $150 and requiring solar users to pay the charges everybody else does for subsidies for low-income electricity users. This seems a good start to us, but doesn’t go far enough.
    In particular, it only partly addresses the problem of “energy poverty,” as a Manhattan Institute study called it, in which 1 million California households pay more than 10 percent of their incomes for home energy. “There’s no doubt that solar energy is growing rapidly,” Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Robert Bryce told us. “Unfortunately, the people who are benefiting most from the solar subsidies are the rich.”…
    Another recent study, by UC Berkeley’s Severin Borenstein and Lucas Davis, found that since 2006 the $18-plus billion in federal income tax credits for solar and other energy-saving actions “have gone
    predominantly to higher-income Americans.”
    No wonder California suffers the nation’s highest income-adjusted poverty rate and its middle class increasingly is pressured…
    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/solar-697992-energy-cpuc.html

    the UC Berkeley study tho, unsurprisingly, it is arguing for a carbon tax instead:

    PDF: 41 pages: July 2015: UC Berkeley: The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits
    by Severin Borenstein and Lucas Davis
    Since 2006, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other \clean
    energy” investments. We use tax return data to examine the socioeconomic characteristics of program recipients.
    We find that these tax expenditures have gone predominantly to higher-income Americans. The bottom three income quintiles have received about 10% of all credits, while the top quintile has received about 60%…
    http://ei.haas.berkeley.edu/research/papers/WP262.pdf

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    pat

    there was very little MSM coverage of the Berkeley study.
    SacBee did cover it:

    5 Sept: Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: California shows class bias in green subsidies
    That’s not just a hunch. It’s revealed in research from the University of California’s prestigious Haas School of Business Energy Institute, whose new report on the “distributional effects of U.S. clean energy
    tax credits” is co-authored by Severin Borenstein, the state’s leading energy authority.
    The research was confined to federal subsidies, but would apply to those offered by the state as well.
    It found that since 2006, more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits has been given to American households for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles “and other clean energy investments.”…
    Earlier this year, state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, proposed to eliminate state tax credits for cars costing more than $40,000, saying, “It’s hard for the average Californian to understand why someone buying a $100,000 car should get a rebate.”
    ***Gaines’ proposal went nowhere, ignored by the Legislature’s majority Democrats, who often rail about the state’s growing income disparities.
    The class differential on the benefit side of the “decarbonization” campaign is mirrored on the cost side, inadvertently or otherwise…
    Anti-carbon decrees have already pushed Californians’ electric power rates higher, with a disproportionate impact on those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder, particularly in interior regions where air conditioning is a must.
    Increasing electric power from “renewable” sources such as wind and solar to 50 percent by 2030, the current goal of Gov. Jerry Brown and other political figures, will doubtless push those rates even higher.
    There will be consumer costs, too, of reducing oil-based auto fuel by half, perhaps by making that fuel more expensive.
    Tesla-driving residents of affluent coastal communities can easily absorb such burdens – perhaps by applying their generous tax credits.
    But what about those not in the “top quintile,” including the 23.4 percent of Californians who the Census Bureau says are poor now, largely due to the state’s ultra-high cost of living?
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/dan-walters/article34213470.html

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    pat

    17 Aug: MIT Technology Review: Paying for Solar Power
    SolarCity’s massive new manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York, reflects a booming demand for solar power. Is it sustainable?
    by David Rotman
    SolarCity is still unprofitable, but its revenue doubled from 2012 to 2014 as its leasing program proved attractive for homeowners — especially in locations with high electricity rates and lots of sunshine, such as California. The company expects to install enough panels this year to produce a gigawatt of power…
    Fears about what will happen when the tax breaks decrease are fueled by an unfortunate reality: in most locations and under most conditions, unsubsidized solar power is still far too expensive to compete with other sources of electricity. And rooftop solar is especially expensive. Subsidies and other government incentives are the reason the solar market is booming. If technologies were chosen purely on the basis of what it costs to produce power, “there isn’t a market for residential solar,” says Severin Borenstein, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on electricity economics. Without government incentives for clean energy like solar, he says, “natural gas wipes everything else away.”….
    Much has been made of the fact that solar power is nearing grid parity—the point at which it is just as cheap as electricity from natural gas or coal. Most recently, a reportby Deutsche Bank calculated that solar power is already at grid parity in 14 U.S. states and that nearly all the others will be there by next year. But that doesn’t mean it is just as cheap to produce solar power as it is to generate electricity with natural gas. The Deutsche Bank report compares today’s cost of solar power with the retail price of electricity, which includes various charges, including fees for upgrading and maintaining the grid. That’s a sensible comparison for consumers deciding whether to install solar power. But it isn’t a true comparison of the costs to actually produce electricity. And that is the comparison that matters in determining the most cost-effective way to introduce more clean power and lower our carbon emissions.
    The cost of the photovoltaic module—the chunk of silicon or other semiconductors that convert sunlight to electricity—has dropped impressively over the years…
    But it has been more difficult to cut the other expenses—the so-called balance of system (BOS) costs, which include hardware like the inverters that are necessary to connect the panels to the grid and, most crucially, the labor to install the equipment. Installing heavy solar panels on the roofs of houses is particularly expensive. In such installations the BOS costs account for roughly 85 percent of the total expense of the system, according to a lengthy MIT report called “The Future of Solar Energy,” released in May. Or as Robert C. Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative and one of the authors of the report, puts it: “Even if you give away the [photovoltaic] materials for free, you still couldn’t produce electricity as cheaply as with coal or natural gas.”…
    As one of the cloudiest cities in the United States, Buffalo is not a particularly attractive area for solar power. Rather, SolarCity is making its manufacturing debut there because of the state’s generous
    incentives and the city’s industrial infrastructure and experience…
    http://www.technologyreview.com/review/540226/paying-for-solar-power/

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    “Notice that google now answers your question right at the top of the search results.”

    Abe

    You can remove this feature by going into the Google Settings area of the Google Chrome and disabling the feature. Google has to be controlled.

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    The Backslider

    Looks like you screwed up the second link Jo, it’s the same as the first.

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    The Backslider

    Elon Musk recently told us all that all of the USA’s electricity could be supplied by covering a small part of Utah with solar.

    Of course, he didn’t tell us how he was going to distribute that electricity, since there is no way that power lines could ever carry it into the far corners of the USA.

    There is a question for TonyfromOz – just how far can electricity be distributed through power lines?

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    • #

      just how far can electricity be distributed through power lines?

      You can transmit it around the globe. But it’s expensive.

      HVDC is the bees’ knees. Wonkypedia

      The longest HVDC link in the world is the Rio Madeira link in Brazil, which consists of two bipoles of ±600 kV, 3150 MW each, connecting Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia to the São Paulo area. The length of the DC line is 2,375 km (1,476 mi).

      Conversion technology isn’t cheap or simply. And given the USA’s propensity to use lots of electrical power, you’d need about 100 of transmission lines like that.

      Musk obviously wants to sell lots of batteries because the sun doesn’t shine all the time in Utah. There are indeed winters when it snows heavily and there are blizzards where people take shelter in cellars, etc. Solar could be snowed under for weeks.

      I’ll leave the arithmetic as an exercise for the student to work out the storage capacity of batteries required to supply the USA for 2 weeks.

      I’m sure Elon Musk already knows the number and may well be banking on it.

      Utah is far from a good place for solar. Salt Lake City (UT) gets about as much winter sunshine as Washington, DC. (Comparison made for the benefit of US federal politicians.)

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    Chris Schoneveld

    I would be helpful if the “cost of electricity” is expressed in terms of generating costs rather than what the consumer has to pay. The consumer price is strongly influenced by how much the government adds as taxes and levies. See for instance this: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=18851 Although the generating cost are not the same as the “base rate” that is quoted, but it does show how greatly taxes differ per country. Besides there is also a big difference between household and industry prices. Generating cost per kWh per country is difficult to find because of the different mixes of technologies used and cross border trade of electricity.

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    ralph ellis

    This paper says that Denmark has never used any of its wind power. It is too variable and too large for such a small electrical grid, and so the Danes sell their wind power (at a loss) to Scandinavia. And the Scans can dovetail this infuriatingly intermittent (and cheap) wind power power into their large hydro power system (which can be turned on and off in an instant).

    This paper is now ten years old, but as relevant now as when it was written:

    http://incoteco.com/upload/CIEN.158.2.66.pdf

    Ralph

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    Ceetee

    I think I said this before years ago, wind farms are a form of religious iconography. They are like crosses on the landscape representing a new and tangible religion. The great and righteous worship without a skerrick of understanding of the danger they represent to our progress,Their futility of purpose is disguised by romantic notions of saving ‘ the planet’ (man I despise that, as if speaking about earth in the third person somehow elevates your purpose). I hope the wind blows like buggery and rips them all up, to be replaced by weeds.

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    Amber

    EU citizens need to ask their governments why they have been sold out through grossly
    inflated utility rates .
    Why do Germans , Spanish and other EU countries pay electric rates that are over 200% higher than those of India or China ?

    Why should the same countries tax their citizens even more to funnel money through the UN to countries happy to eat their
    economic lunch ? What would the response be if Germany ,Spain and other EU countries sent tanks, missiles and ships to
    the “HAVE NOT COUNTRIES ” instead of UN laundered green guilt taxes. This massive scam is being promoted by the highest officials
    in government and the RC Church . WHY ?

    What would Spain’s youth unemployment look like if they had viable competitive businesses instead of policies that are nothing but a self induced rip off
    of it’s citizens and businesses .

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    AndyG55

    BassLink is down (and could be for several weeks), and Tasmania is running short of water for hydro power.

    Restarting the Tamar Valley fossil fuel powered power station the shut down last year.

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    It all began in the US with ENERGY STAR and the invention of government energy efficiency,which gave birth to a multi-billion dollar industry founded on Pay To Play politics and Rules for Radicals science.
    Consider the following “Currently there is no national standard to measure energy savings from energy efficiency programs” per NRDC (R: 12-11-A)
    http://www.n4mation.org/news/energy-star-origins-of-the-pay-to-play-scam

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