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Comment: Re:Real problem (Score 1) 356

by aaarrrgggh (#49130779) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

While that is the only cost for solar, wind power does have other issues given the high peak/average generation values in most locations. There is also the complexity of dealing with unpredictable power flow directions and magnitudes, but that should ultimately be improved by better per-customer SCADA information.

Comment: Re:Net metering is unstustainable (Score 1) 356

by aaarrrgggh (#49130735) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

This is completely lost though once your two neighbors also put solar panels on their roofs. Moreover, it is lost when you try to generate 100% of the energy you use a year in a 4-hour average period, but your demand peaks after the sun goes down and lasts throughout the night.

Generally speaking the "customer charges" (at least for California utilities) are really billing and administrative, not infrastructure-based.

Comment: Re:Net metering is unstustainable (Score 1) 356

by aaarrrgggh (#49130689) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

There are a couple other important sub-components to generation and distribution: Energy and Demand.

Generation systems are impacted by peak demand as well as time-of-day demand, while distribution is primarily impacted by peak demand. (Technically traditionally peak 8-hour average demand values.)

Comment: Re:Realistic (Score 0) 356

by aaarrrgggh (#49130649) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Exactly. It is a problem created by physics.

Right now, today, even with net metering on generation if you have a "large" commercial service with a substantial PV array the inevitable one-day of overcast haze where temperatures spike screws your demand charges up for the whole year.

Residential rates are traditionally not time-of-day based, just pure energy without any look at timing and demand factors. Of course Residential makes the most sense with net-metering to the customer!

You can pick how you want to be screwed; nobody is fighting that:

  • Real Time Pricing: Pay 5x on a hot day and 10x when something else goes wrong. End up paying double if you can't just shut down when the outside temperature is over 80F.
  • Time-of-Use: Pay through your nose on a hot overcast day.
  • Net Energy with a Tie-In Surcharge: Pay a big tie-in surcharge to achieve the same as the other two above.
  • Off-Grid: Pay for batteries to provide your off-hours backup, and have a small generator to cover the overcast winter week.

From the LCCAs I have done for work, they all come out in a similar place based on an 8760-hour analysis of BIN data. The only people who can actually save are the ones that can shut down any time without any substantial cost impact to their operations.

Ultimately, the best solution is to have a mix of the following (in order): demand-side management tools, on-site generation with planned net-energy objectives around 50% of anticipated peak demand, time-shifting options in the form of thermal storage, batteries capable of sustaining 50-80% of demand for up to 1 hour, time-shifting options including batteries to move generation to peak at 4-6PM.

If you pull off all of that, your electricity costs can be as low as practical with current energy mix in place. It can improve slightly with more hydro-electric power, but that isn't "environmentally friendly."

Comment: The case: Simple Economics (Score 1) 251

E-books should cost 20% of what the current charges are.

Was going to buy an electronic copy of a book I own (after seeing it mentioned on /.) for easier access, but $50 for a hardcover is absurd when there is a copy somewhere in one of my boxes somewhere, and no electronic versions were available.

My wife has no objections to re-buying some titles, but it is absurd.

Comment: Re:It is not about technology (Score 1) 182

by aaarrrgggh (#49103061) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

I am begrudgingly an NFPA member. What they offer now is a huge step forward from where they were 5 years ago; at least the information is there. I have purchased dozens of different standards for the office.

One of my favorite possessions though (well, maybe not really) is my pirated PDF copy of the handbook. I strongly suggest anyone with an interest get it. I understand the need to protect the publishing revenue, but for non commercial use, or if you own a copy, go for it!

Comment: Re: They're pedaling as fast as they can... (Score 1) 257

by aaarrrgggh (#49063287) Attached to: Tesla Factory Racing To Retool For New Models

True, but there are a couple substantial differences: Ford has thin gross profit margins and lacks the vertical integration between manufacturing, sales, and service. It also has substantial legacy costs which limit its flexibility.

Long term, Tesla's P/E should be closer to 15, not the 20 that Musk seems to think. They have a future, but there is plenty of risk.

Comment: Re: They're pedaling as fast as they can... (Score 1) 257

by aaarrrgggh (#49063265) Attached to: Tesla Factory Racing To Retool For New Models

Tesla has some self-driving attributes, and is likely capable of switching to full autonomy well before Ford could produce 50k cars per year with the technology. What Tesla can't do is handle things that would require 5-10 different models to be in parallel development. They don't do "platforms" that let you cheat that development and just make a new body and interior for each version.

Tesla has not seen saturation levels yet for their $100k automobile; their very real challenge is in sustaining that production while rolling out the Model X and ramping up production there. Frankly, I am significantly more worried about the longshoremen and ports impacting Tesla than Ford, Apple, Google, or Microsoft.

Comment: Generalists, Fast Learners, and Con Men (Score 1) 323

Speaking as a generalist and fast learner, it is not an attribute that is easy to interview for, just something that builds success over time. I have been mis-led by plenty of people I have hired over the years that are clearly smart, grounded, and can pick up and apply an abstract concept in the course of an interview. I have decided they (we) are all con men; I usually have to fire them after 6 months.

It is the actual, concrete skills that tell an employer how quickly you can come up to speed, which is generally why they are more highly valued in an interview phase. If you have that foundation, the other skills are what make you stand out and succeed.

My advice is to be able to speak to the specifics, but also explain how deeper skills apply them; that highlights the best of both.

Comment: Re:Garbage.. (Score 1) 65

by aaarrrgggh (#49056737) Attached to: California Floats Conditional Approval For Comcast/TWC Merger

In areas where there is already a gap, it gives a huge leg up. In areas with both telephone and cable high speed options it is less of an issue at the moment. But, if you wanted to build a gigabit municipal or coop network, this would give you some reprieve.

Yes, I would wish that there was a longer period of lock-out, but it does at least price in the costs for the deal.

Comment: Re: 8 - Isn't going to happen even if it happens. (Score 1) 65

by aaarrrgggh (#49056719) Attached to: California Floats Conditional Approval For Comcast/TWC Merger

Exactly. It makes it quite easy, at least in relative terms, to start a competing local carrier. The five years gives you time to build business and fund your own backbone over time.

Right now, today, if you have an area in California without FIOS or Uverse this makes it possible to secure pockets of interest, build things out at a small scale, and develop a long term business.

While I don't think all the consolidations are in consumer interests, at least ensuring that new competitors aren't locked out of the market is a huge start.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux

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