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Comment Re:just like a smart drug dealer (Score 2) 164

That's not really true, solar panel and wind power are both seeing annual double digit growth, and around 10% of the power generated in Europe now comes from wind. Indeed, already worldwide more than 50% of all new electricity installations, both capacity and delivered energy are now renewable. That means as the existing equipment wears out it's being replaced with much 'greener' equipment. And that can only accelerate. That's not 'token' gestures it's because wind in particular is actually competitive and solar is becoming ever more so. Even in America, which is moving slowly, the same economic forces are playing out and coal mines are closing.

The cost of electric car batteries are dropping at a similar rate.

A lot of people think that there's a difference between primary energy and electricity, but actually electricity has low entropy; watt for watt electricity is much more valuable than primary energy. So even though electricity is greening up, it's tending to replace primary energy; you need a lot less energy to drive an electric car than a fossil car, and electric cars are almost completely nicer to drive.

Comment Re: Most people need something better (Score 1) 373

Sure, but it still chews up range pretty badly. Don't forget that the energy storage capacity of the battery is so very much less than that of a fuel tank. Also things like air conditioning/heating use a lot of range at slow speeds/stop-start; they're a bigger fraction of the energy and there's almost no waste heat from the engine available. The bottom line is that stop/start really seriously affects range.

Comment Re: energy storage (Score 1) 324

Well, the real problem is too much fossil baseload, not too much solar. That baseload is polluting California and the planet. California's current grid generation mix is no longer what its grid needs; it needs more flexible fossil power and less baseload generation. There's no technical requirement at all that baseload be provided by baseload power plant.

That's the real story here; the solar is not generating anything like as much as California's demand even when it's running at peak output.

Comment Re:They're still going to want more money (Score 1) 494

I think you're making an extremely common mistake here.

The real world costs of electricity supplied by the power companies are likely to go down with more renewables. If you can generate cheap electricity with solar panels, so can the power company, in fact they can do it cheaper still. And they have access to wind power that works at night as well as back up generators; and they can have their own storage; and their storage will be cheaper than yours as well, for several reasons:

1) economies of scale
2) they can have multiple sources of electricity, hence they statistically average out to a reasonable degree, much better than solar panels alone ever can.
3) their storage can (terrain permitting) include pumped storage which is far cheaper than batteries.

So I don't think grids are going away any time soon. What are going away are fossil fuel plants particularly coal ones, and they're mostly being replaced with cheaper renewables as they wear out. More than 50% of all new energy supplies are already renewable, worldwide.

Comment Re:Misleading Headlines Again... (Score 1) 217

So you're saying that the coal gas plants deliberately dropped the ball and failed to deliver electricity? And that this was the fault of the wind power suppliers? Yeah, no. And don't forget they would get paid more for supplying electricity when it's in high demand.

I'm sorry, but I'm in the UK, we have lots of wind power here and nothing remotely like that has ever happened. It's never happened in Texas, and it's never happened in Denmark.

It's the job of the GRID operators to model things, and set equipment up, pay incentives etc. so that this doesn't EVER happen. I mean, you're talking about a grid with enough generating capacity connected, and those people aren't starting it up in time?

Comment Re:Misleading Headlines Again... (Score 1) 217

Uh, no, they just change the pitch of the blades. They can shut them down completely that way which they do when the wind is too high. They only run away if the control system fails; which has happened, but it's pretty rare. Spectacular when it happens though, one or more of the blades fall off and then the lack of balance snaps the tower!

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 383

> Encouraging people to shift demand from the peaks to the valleys, and enticing them with pricing discounts, will result in a slight flattening of the demand curve because only certain demands can actually be shifted.

Yes, that's the point of it; under ideal conditions the curve would become completely flat.

>The flattened curve will then cause the variable pricing to adjust, resulting in less incentive to shift demand.

Yes, less flattening, but not no flattening. And if the producers cancel out the pricing too much then the flattening goes away. The producers want a flatter demand curve because it means they need less expensive peaking generation, which helps them stay competitive.

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