Between Wind and Water

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Between wind and water: (Nautical) In that part of a ship’s side or bottom which is frequently brought above water by the rolling of the ship, or fluctuation of the water’s surface. Hence, colloquially, (as an injury to that part of a vessel, in an engagement, is particularly dangerous) the vulnerable part or point of anything.”

Forcing people to buy expensive renewable energy seems like a really bad plan to me. But that’s what California is doing. It used to be capped at 20%, but the new law is that we’ll have to get 33% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020. But that’s not bad enough. Here’s the goofy part, the part that makes it uniquely Californian, that marks it as being from the famous “Granola State”, home of nuts and flakes …

Because of the regulations requiring California to use renewable energy, it won’t be able to use all its renewable energy, and will have to throw part of the energy away.

I must confess to a great fondness for the law of unintended consequences. It involves us in situations of delicious irony all the time. You see, here in California, in order to be “renewable”, it’s not enough that power be hydroelectric. This is California, and we require better green credentials than the fact that hydroelectric is renewable to declare it “renewable”. You might think I’m kidding. Unfortunately, I’m not. Here is the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) report for the energy mix on Monday the 11th of April 2011:

Figure 1. Where California gets its electricity. Note that the top section, “Hydro[electric]”, is not counted with the “Renewables”.

Under the law requiring 33% renewables, any large-scale hydroelectric plant is not considered “renewable”. What the law calls “renewables” were about 15% of the total in 2009, and hydroelectricity was about 20%. So in fact, in California we are already getting 33% of our power from renewable sources … but that’s not good enough for the nuts and flakes, who could have guessed? Under the goofball definition in the law, most of our renewable energy doesn’t count as renewable energy. Figure 2 shows what’s included in the California so-called “Renewables” mix:

Figure 2. Renewable energy generation in California, 11 April 2011

So from the bottom up we have geothermal, biomass, biogas, small hydroelectric, wind, and solar … but no regular old, boring, and definitely renewable hydroelectric power.

Here’s one of the problems with this nonsense, from the Seattle Times  :

Wind-power producers fight possible shutdown of turbines

PORTLAND — Pacific Northwest wind-power producers are battling a proposal that could force them to periodically shut down their plants in the months ahead, potentially costing them millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) officials say that limiting wind production could be required to free up space in the regional transmission system to handle hydropower generated from the melt-off of a huge mountain snowpack this year.

“We’re looking at doing everything we can to avoid the shutdowns but you have to be able to do something when your back is against the wall,” said Doug Johnson, a BPA spokesman.

… The BPA manages the regional power-supply system by balancing, minute by minute, the flow of electricity surging through the system with demand.

As the wind industry expands, the BPA has found it more difficult to transmit all that power and still meet other responsibilities, which include selling hydro power outside the region and spilling water over dams to aid the passage of migrating salmon.

Last June, the BPA balancing effort turned into a high-wire act as a late snow melt unleashed a gusher of water down the Columbia River at the same time that winds whipped up the power turbines.

BPA officials said that they couldn’t divert all the water around the hydroelectric turbines without putting too much dissolved gas into the river and placing salmon at risk. So they ended up running more water through the dam turbines and giving away their surplus power to utilities all over the West.

That spurred the agency to develop a new proposal to periodically shut down wind-power farms to help balance loads. The plan was embraced by public utilities across the region.

Why does this matter to consumers in California like myself? Because like idiots, we’re contracted to use the windpower despite the high costs of both production and transmission (emphasis mine) …

The dispute reflects major strains on the regional power system, which has been reshaped by a dramatic expansion of wind power in Washington and Oregon. Most of that power is exported to California and other markets outside the Northwest.

Of course, since regional planners all bought into the “we’ll never ever see winter again” mantra sold by the AGW alarmists, nobody was planning for a winter like this one. There was 61 feet of snow at some points in the Sierras, the reservoirs are full and over, we’re going to have more than enough water to generate plenty of power.

But none of that waterpower, not a drop, counts towards the California 33% renewables quota. So despite having already reached the 2020 goal of 33% renewables, here we are “between wind and water”. The utilities will all have to buy expensive wind power in preference to cheap water power … and then we can’t just release the water because it’s low in oxygen and will harm the fish, so then we’ll have to generate the power anyway and give the power away … that’s hell of a resource-management and conservation plan there, guys. Gotta love California.

w.

References:

Anthony’s previous post on this subject

Overview of Senate Bill 23 

Text of Senate Bill 23

CAISO Historical Daily Data (1 year)

Latest California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Report

CA Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) 

Advertisements

149 thoughts on “Between Wind and Water

  1. I’m imagining a future where the Greens begin lawsuit proceedings against mother nature for ruining their green energy plans.

  2. This is a breakdown in education. If you had an education that provided critical thinking, some of this would be obvious.

  3. As long as the rest of us are not forced to bail CA out, I say go for it — what a valuable lesson in hubris and overreach it will provide for everyone else.

  4. The WA state RES counts efficiency improvements at large hydro as renewable energy. I tried to get the utility I worked for to look at superconductor based generators instead of building wind farms. After all a 5% increase of output from a 1GW hydro plants is about the same annual energy output as a 200MW wind farm.
    The NW to California transmission constraint has long been known and is what is causing the need to turn off wind plants during wet years. It is a stability problem and will be solved by running another HVDC t-line down to California – someday.

  5. No problem here.
    California sells some of the non-renewable hydro to a neighbouring State, and buys some of the proper green renewable energy back from the same State.
    (There is no actual exchange of electricity, of course, it’s just a paper exercise.)
    Then everyone will be happy and the paper pushers will recruit several new employees to do the clerking.
    Seems a win-win to me.

  6. Here is Northern Michigan this RES idea has bastardized the market place.
    We have in my home town a hydroplant that once was owned by Union Carbide. The plant made acetylene. When that ended the hydro part was turned into a commercial electricity plant listed on the NYSE. It was later bought by Wisconsin Edison to shore up there RES. Then after Michigan passed their RES the local rural elecrical coop that had only diesel generators had to find something renewable so they could comply with the law. So they purchased from Wisconsin El the hydro plant they didn’t want years before at a very nice profit for Wisconsin and a large rate increase for me.

  7. Now that is what I call innovation …. don’t you guys also have a bunch of oil rigs with capped wells siting offshore ? Looks like you are leading the way to reducing our dependence on domestic oil …

  8. Just a question about that 2nd graph..
    If hour 1 comes after hour 24….. then what happens to all that wind? it just stops at midnight?
    And whats up with more solar energy at 8pm than 12?

  9. You folks do not appreciate the seriousness of hydroelectric power. After all it is powered by having at least one stage as water vapor. As we all know, water vapor is a much more serious greenhouse gas than CO2 is. To encourage more hydroelectric power would be to encourage more water vapor which would lead to a runaway greenhouse effect. Please, the good people of CA are correct in trying to discourage evaporation. Besides, excessive amounts of liquid dihydrogen monoxide have been known to cause mudslides in the hills in CA.

  10. The general concept of the California law is in line with federal laws on the division of hydro power. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) only goes to “qualified hydroelectric”, which basically means natural river hydro, not artificial lake hydro.
    I agree that the “renewable” label is not synonymous with the “green” label, but it looks like the law is essentially making them equivalent. Artificial lake hydro is just as renewable (by common definition) as natural river hydro, but it is not as green. The creation of the artificial lake results in a significant tonnage of underwater detritus which results in a methane producing ecosystem. The methane is released to the atmosphere when the water passes through the turbines of the dam, and methane is considered to be a stronger GHG than CO2… so not green.
    I wonder how much of the voting population of California understands this. If the labels were changed from “renewable” to “green”, would they realize that they are voting for a different concept?

  11. Good post Willis. Only thing I would change is California should read Commiefornia.
    I used to live in Davis back in the 90s and it could be seen then in the terrible policies being implemented by the progressive left in that state. I am glad I moved back to Texas.

  12. For an added insight, add a line to the graph showing the hourly DEMAND for electricity. Uh-oh.
    The public is starting to realize what the utility industry has known and has been warning about…the laws of physics. I know that doesn’t hold back the political/regulatory framework, but hey…it’s CALIFORNIA. It’s different and answers not to reality.

  13. This whole California power fiasco reminds me of the way liberals raise their children… & often want to influence us conservatives to give our kids a “break.”
    To wit: Instead to doing the next right thing, like letting nature or competition take it’s course, no, the liberals have to satisfy EVERYONE, all at once & both deed & title. Hydro power is split between small & the big bad large. Government handouts for two “bio”-whacha-ma-callits: mass & gas. We end up with a confused child, uh, citizenry, that throws up it’s hands & says… “will you make up your mind, what do you want me to do?”

  14. If California wants to go 33% renewable by 2020, then Jerry Brown needs to talk to Southern Calif. Edison, and tell them to stop canceling their purchasing agreements with alternative energy providers.
    The Calico Solar Project (owned by Tessera Energy) was approved last November after years of planning and litigation. Out of the blue, Edison canceled the purchase agreement, leaving the project in shambles. Edison gave no reason, other than they would be violating non-disclosure agreements.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-23/edison-cancels-power-contract-at-tessera-california-solar-plant.html

  15. In Greece we have the same – large hydro is not considered renewable. The reason is obvious: if it were considered renewable, there would be no point in installing wind turbines, solars, and small hydro, because large hydro is much more efficient. The lobby of the “renewables” wouldn’t be able to take our money if large hydro was not excluded.

  16. Perhaps they need to clean the turbine inlets at the hydro plants. it seems that they might be running to efficiently. The renewable just couldn’t be running that well. Here in the east we have lots of places where we could have small hydro plants but the big producers and greens fight them tooth and nail. Greens because it might hurt the ecosystem and the big producers because they would be forced to buy the surplus. Not to mention that someone should explain that the study of economics is more than just money, oops that would mean that some would have to not make as much money so I guess they are studying economics. How to remove nomics from our pockets to theirs. Considering their nomics only is about money. Might be that the joining of the words Eco to nomics is the problem. The Eco nuts and the nomics nuts have gotten together and this is what we end up with. We will all be back to burning wood in another year or two at the rate costs are increasing. This will just add to it. We will have to catch the fish to save them from the water and use the wood to cook them for consumption.
    Don’t ya just love it when a plan comes to fruition.
    Bill Derryberry

  17. Okay once again the sane folks in California need to do something simple. Not easy but simple.
    Small hydro is counted as renewable so …..
    Get “small hydro” redefined as everything that is smaller than the 3 gorges damn!
    Rig the numbers back to reality one way or another and get these loonies out or expose them as the fools they are.

  18. Willis,
    I don’t want anyone to think that Washington state is somehow ‘smarter’ than California. In WA, we also do not count ‘hydroelectric’ energy generation as ‘renewable’. Man made dams are ‘bad’, therefore the electricity generated from falling water can not be counted as ‘renewable’ or ‘green’. Our ‘green agenda’ democrat controlled legislatures’ solution to excess generation capacity, when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, is to GIVE AWAY the excess hydro capacity to other states. Does this generosity in anyway provide for energy cost reductions to the WA consumer? Nooooooooooo….
    Consider that, if Washington state gave its surplus electrical capacity to California at ‘no charge’, the Wizards Of Green (WOGs) would require California to throw that ‘free’ electricity away also, while continuing to generate and sell the extremely expensive but unreliable ‘green’ energy to it’s beleaguered customers.
    It goes beyond ‘dumb and dumber’ It is criminally insane…. and the mental disease is spreading.

  19. I wouldn’t trust anything published in the Seattle Times. The greenies hate Hydro and will go to any length to make it look bad. Even if some of the events alluded to in the story are factual, the propagandist most likely go so much wrong that it bears very little relationship to reality. I can almost here them now, “Its soooo unfair that those greedy Hydro exploiters are producing electricity more reliably and cheaper then the conscientious Wind developers.”

  20. Sully says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    California is sure a good neighbor.
    Unfortunatly not true. Oregon politicians not only import whacky enviro ideas from CA but try and one up them.

  21. According to our local paper, The Austin American Statesman, California sent a fact finding delegation to Austin Texas yesterday to try and understand why businesses are fleeing from California to Texas. I’m assuming they all piled into a Prius and spent six days riving down here in an eco-friendly fashion, but couldn’t they get the answer by simply sitting at home and reading WUWT? Of course, you do need electricity to use the internet.
    I mean seriously, they don’t know what the problem is?

  22. Duke C. says: April 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm
    “The Calico Solar Project (owned by Tessera Energy) was approved last November after years of planning and litigation. Out of the blue, Edison canceled the purchase agreement, leaving the project in shambles. Edison gave no reason, other than they would be violating non-disclosure agreements.”
    Duke:
    Here’s a press release from Tessera that partially explains it:
    http://www.tesserasolar.com/north-america/press.htm
    It’s a .pdf, so I can’t cut and paste pieces of it, but go to the Dec 16 release. It says that a Federal Judge granted an injunction because a local Indian community was “insufficiently consulted”
    This is particularly disappointing because Tessera’s technology is the only solar thermal process that doesn’t use much water. All the other big solar projects, like Google’s well funded BrightSource, use lots of water in the desert where water is scarce.

  23. Of course, since regional planners all bought into the “we’ll never ever see winter again” mantra sold by the AGW alarmists, nobody was planning for a winter like this one.

    Similar to Queensland and its desalination plants which were to prepare for prolonged droughts caused by global warming. Then reality hit! Dams were also full to overflowing. Perhaps governments are preparing for the wrong things (UK lack of salting grit.)

  24. Eschenbach wrote: “…. It used to be capped at 20%, but the new law is that we’ll have to get 33% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. ” when he should have written ‘…of our electricity…,’ as there is a greater consumtion of oil and non electric NG than electricity:
    http://www.energyalmanac.ca.gov/overview/energy_flow.html
    That reminds me of other misuses of the word ‘energy’ when folks say ‘energy tax’ when they should say ‘carbon tax.’
    The bill also states “..(C) The electrical corporation will shall
    first meet its unmet resource needs through all available
    energy efficiency and demand reduction resources that are cost
    effective, reliable, and feasible….”
    http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sb_23_bill_20101206_introduced.html
    and there is plenty of untapped efficiency, which reduces the need for part of the 33% renewables like windpower etc.
    He disparages wind power but neglects solar electric generation.

  25. They are assuming that because of global warming there will no longer be any water left to run the hydro /sarcasm…i think

  26. oatley says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm
    For an added insight, add a line to the graph showing the hourly DEMAND for electricity. Uh-oh.
    =============================
    Exactly. The graphs are meaningless until they’re matched to demand. Figure one tells me that they’re already dumping electricity. The production curve should match the demand curve. It doesn’t. But then, if you rely on the “renewable” energy, it will never. Even though figure 2 comes a lot closer to a typical demand curve than figure 1.

  27. Barry L. says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Just a question about that 2nd graph..
    If hour 1 comes after hour 24….. then what happens to all that wind? it just stops at midnight?

    It’s not a continuous record, Barry. It’s 24 on-the-hour readings.

    And whats up with more solar energy at 8pm than 12?

    It’s different every day, depending on the weather, and the choices made by the people running the grid. Remember that this is actual hour-by-hour feed-in to the grid, not theoretical availability.
    Hope that clears it up,
    w.

  28. Bob Maginnis says:
    April 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Eschenbach wrote: “…. It used to be capped at 20%, but the new law is that we’ll have to get 33% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. ” when he should have written ‘…of our electricity…,’ as there is a greater consumtion of oil and non electric NG than electricity:

    Thanks, Bob, I’ll fix that. My intention was clear … to me, but my words, not so much.
    w.

  29. Under the law requiring 33% renewables, any large-scale hydroelectric plant is not considered “renewable”.
    Yup – energy from the Sun propels water molecules into the atmosphere and, as we know, what goes up must come down (all the way back to Sea level) . Some might believe that the process is sustainable … but then again nobody scams much out of that particular system now do they?
    When trying to decipher “sustainability” you must read Agenda 21. The object is not to replace “dirty” energy by “clean” energy… it is to reduce all energy consumption full stop, from whatever source. That is to say that the worst nightmare of the “sustainability” activist is that (apart from taxes drying up) Fusion reactors (or any other cheap energy source) might actually come to pass.
    If we imagine that some bright spark comes up with a “clean” and limitless (hence cheap) energy source in the morning, it will kill the “sustainability” agenda dead in its tracks. Little green books will be hidden away and life will move on.
    Willis… if you want to see what your “sustainability” global communist has in mind then take a quick tour of the UK. For a $30,000 per year drone, here is his week…
    Monday – 20% (PAYE) income tax (Monday gone)
    Tuesday – 20% VAT given that I spend most of what I earn.(Tuesday gone)
    Wednesday – Council(local taxes) Tax added to (essentials tax) Water, Gas, Electricity blah.. blah…(Wednesday gone)
    Thursday – National insurance , car taxes (including fuel), Cigarettes, Alcohol …..
    Licences and all the other bullshit. (Thursday gone)
    And …. (drum roll) … Friday … Carbon Dioxide taxes to save mother nature (Friday gone)
    So for the five days I worked …. The “sustainable” Communist Anthill
    that is “Europe ” takes about 90% of my life for itself (think CalTrans) . You may well detest Californian Bullshit but please spare a thought those who need large calibre weapons shipping out here whenever the US is willing to take a stand on the matter.
    I have no idea who the current “EU President” is and that should tell you Americans all you need to know about “sustainable” Europe. Free speech is fine but please send us guns and ammunition.

  30. Duke C.
    See comment by oldseadog above. He is dead on and this is why this mandate is essentially an non-issue.
    California utilities have made billions working around these regulatory handicaps for decades and have always been a few chess moves ahead of the politicians. As vboring also notes, all that is needed here is a transmission line or two to pull electricity from the Northern grids. It doesn’t matter if the majority of electricity on those grids is produced by “non-renewable” hydro. As long as our utilities pay the appropriate indulgences to the wind farm operators on the grids, the regulatory obligations are met.
    SoCal Edison doesn’t need to stick their neck out subsidizing in California speculative solar plants.

  31. Hydro – reliable – therefore “non Renewable”.
    Obvious in retrospect.
    I can just enjoy the schadenfreude at having 33% of CA power being wierd unreliable power and the effect that will have on your Grid and power costs. Never mind the environmental effects of Hydro plants being the on-demand stand-by – make up sources- their logical use in this scenario, that suddenly have to open the gates wide or shut them tight to generate/stop generating power and your “green” power fluctuates.
    I can see the pulses of water down stream killing fish, people and generally wreaking havoc.
    I so hate stupidity.

  32. I thought it was “fruits and nuts,” or is that too provocative?
    It could also be “dopers and dopes.” Or “jerks and shirks, but no works.”
    All of these apply.

  33. DesertYote says:
    April 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm
    I wouldn’t trust anything published in the Seattle Times.
    BPA gave away for free 73,000 MWh and ended up spilling another 745,000 MWh.
    In addition Columbia Generating Station was throttled back. All the while, California Tax Payers were paying to subsidize windmills when they could have had 745,000 MWh of electricity for ‘free’. In the meantime, California Utilities have added another 1,000 MW of subsidized windmills in Oregon and Washington.
    http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/AgencyTopics/ColumbiaRiverHighWaterMgmnt/Draft%20ROD%20ERNP.pdf

  34. Steve says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    The general concept of the California law is in line with federal laws on the division of hydro power. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) only goes to “qualified hydroelectric”, which basically means natural river hydro, not artificial lake hydro.
    I agree that the “renewable” label is not synonymous with the “green” label, but it looks like the law is essentially making them equivalent. Artificial lake hydro is just as renewable (by common definition) as natural river hydro, but it is not as green. The creation of the artificial lake results in a significant tonnage of underwater detritus which results in a methane producing ecosystem. The methane is released to the atmosphere when the water passes through the turbines of the dam, and methane is considered to be a stronger GHG than CO2… so not green.

    Thanks, Steve. I have yet to see figures that a dam built to best practice (clear out and sell the trees/brush before the dam is built) in the temperate zones will significantly increase methane production. Yes, dams in the tropics do produce methane. But in the temperate zone I haven’t found any evidence of that being a problem.
    A study here gives emission rates for CO2 and CH4 (methane) for some northern lakes. When I apply those figures to Lake Shasta in northern California (10,000 hectares, a very large lake) I get the following emissions per year:
    Methane: 307 kg (674 pounds)
    Carbon Dioxide: 35 tonnes
    Now, it’s about ten kg of CO2 for every gallon of diesel burned. Thirty five tonnes of CO2 is about the amount released from burning 3,500 gallons of diesel … and for that plus less than a thousand pounds of methane released per year, we’re going to stop building dams that produce megawatts of clean, renewable power??? Stoooopid …
    (The dams are already a joke, see here for how dam opponents are funding dam construction.)

    I wonder how much of the voting population of California understands this. If the labels were changed from “renewable” to “green”, would they realize that they are voting for a different concept?

    I’m doing my best to educate them …
    w.

  35. James Sexton says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    oatley says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    For an added insight, add a line to the graph showing the hourly DEMAND for electricity. Uh-oh.

    =============================
    Exactly. The graphs are meaningless until they’re matched to demand. Figure one tells me that they’re already dumping electricity. The production curve should match the demand curve. It doesn’t. But then, if you rely on the “renewable” energy, it will never. Even though figure 2 comes a lot closer to a typical demand curve than figure 1.

    Look, I gave you the CAISO website. The graphs are theirs, not mine. All of that information you are asking for and more is on the website. Stop busting me for not spoon-feeding you, and go out foraging for yourselves. I’ve done my part, now you do yours.
    w.

  36. jeez says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Duke C.
    See comment by oldseadog above. He is dead on and this is why this mandate is essentially an non-issue.
    California utilities have made billions working around these regulatory handicaps for decades and have always been a few chess moves ahead of the politicians. As vboring also notes, all that is needed here is a transmission line or two to pull electricity from the Northern grids.

    A “transmission line or two”? Dude, that is hilarious. You little realize what a hornets nest that is out here. Consider that you have to condemn an easement across someone’s private property for every mile of line to be built, and that under the well-known California “Two-for-One” rule, for every one mile of transmission line there will be at least two nutjobs that will sue to stop the project. Then you’ll have further lawsuits from everyone from Greenpeace to the Organic Tinfoil Hat Brigade because of the dreaded electromagnetic fields that will be produced by the electricity, and in any case when you’re almost done the Legislature will make the project illegal in order to protect the endangered Pants Fly … haha, “CWA” as we say around here, “California Wins Again”, it’s the land where nothing can ever be built in anyone’s backyard.
    w.
    PS – While the utilities may “work around these regulatory handicaps” as you say, the result is ever-increasing prices for my electricity. That’s not really a workaround on my planet …

  37. Hi Willis, my comment is only indirectly related to the subject of this article, in that it does involve wind and water, but not as a renewable energy source but as a governor of global climates. I’m referring to your “Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis” presented at The Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change last year.
    I have placed a comment about your presentation on Judith Curry’s “Physics of the Atmospheric? Greenhouse Effect” thread (http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/#comment-61567) and wonder if you’ll be popping back there to respond.
    Best regards, Pete Ridley
    [Done, see my reply there – w.]

  38. Someone mentioned above that California might be a nice place to visit. I believe it was the first comment. From the sounds of things, one had better do it quickly, because there might not be anything worth visiting at the present rate of wackiness-change, which, it appears, is much worse than originally thought. Makes one pine for the Governator.

  39. What California needs is a crash investment program in artificial intelligence. We are severely lacking in the natural sort.

  40. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    James Sexton says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    oatley says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm
    “Exactly. The graphs are meaningless until they’re matched to demand……..”
    ——————————————————————
    “Look, I gave you the CAISO website. ………Stop busting me for not spoon-feeding you, and go out foraging for yourselves.”
    ====================================================
    Willis, because you live in a state full of nutjobs, I understand it would tend to make a person a bit hypersensitive. While I can’t speak for “oatly”, I can say my comment wasn’t intended as a criticism but rather an observation and to give others another view to consider. You can think of it as a compliment to your post, if you wish. While I fully intend to seek such information, alas, time doesn’t allow for it, at this moment. I’ve a more pressing research project that I’m involved with. It is the study of the calculus and trigonometry of spheres on a plane that has reflective properties on its borders and the effects humans can have on such with various ETOH levels. I’ve a few theories I intend to test shortly.
    Again, sorry if your feelings were hurt. It wasn’t intended. Maybe I’ll send you guys information I found for a follow-up.
    Cheers,
    James

  41. Hydro is the key to balancing load when mixing inconsistent renewable wind and solar power with minimalised reliable nuclear and thermal baseload. Hydro can be instantaneously ramped up and down at will whereas wind/solar isn’t always there and thermal/nuclear cant easily be switched off.
    However…”run of the river” hydro isn’t like that where there is abundant water involved. You cant easily turn it off for long since inevitably the dams are full and the water must flow down the river and if its spilled, then the oxygenated water kills the salmon. That effect has happened here in Tasmania too in the past.
    Ideally you’d cut down on thermal but then you need to run the hydro harder and you lose whatever little flexibility you had to increase and decrease the hydro to even out the load.
    Although this situation appears ludicrous, its not entirely unexpected. Exporting power becomes the answer (as stated in the article) and at some point people have to accept that if we’re going to have a higher proportion of unreliable renewables then we’re going to need much higher total generating capacity in order to account for the unreliability and consequently we’re inevitably going to have times where some of that generating capacity is wasted when all the generating ducks line up.

  42. So there you have it . It’s all about the money It has nothing to do with the environment.
    And Crude Oil is a renewable energy source. Why do you think BP was drilling so deep? Why Russia has so much Crude Oil and Natural gas?
    Ushering in Solutions for the Gulf Coast
    http://itsrainmakingtime.com/2010/chrislandau/
    min 6.00

  43. ” Pacific Northwest wind-power producers are battling a proposal that could force them to periodically shut down their plants in the months ahead, potentially costing them millions of dollars in lost revenue.”
    ========
    This should be interesting.
    A full financial accounting of their wind-power assets.

  44. I’m going to do my best NOT to type a bunch of foul words describing the mentally retarded Bozos we have in Sacramento running the state. The part the I find so frustrating is that people keep voting these #$%^#$%^ $%^$^& back into office!!!!
    California is #3 when it comes to unemployment, 21%, roughly 1 in 5 small businesses are NOT going to be around in 3 years. Some will fail and many will leave this STUPID over-regulated state and go to a state where business does not cost as much.
    http://jan.ocregister.com/2011/03/08/are-calif-businesses-closing-or-leaving/55995/
    Here’s a clever idea, our energy is around 50% higher than average, let’s make it EVEN HIGHER!!! Who knows, maybe we can drive even more businesses out of state or out of business!
    http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_17829150?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com
    Just when you think they can’t do anything more stupid, they do:
    [snipped – apologies, Bob, but way off topic. – w.]
    If you live in California, please stop voting for liberal Democrats!!!

  45. suyts says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm (Edit)

    Willis, because you live in a state full of nutjobs, I understand it would tend to make a person a bit hypersensitive. While I can’t speak for “oatly”, I can say my comment wasn’t intended as a criticism but rather an observation and to give others another view to consider. You can think of it as a compliment to your post, if you wish. While I fully intend to seek such information, alas, time doesn’t allow for it, at this moment. I’ve a more pressing research project that I’m involved with. It is the study of the calculus and trigonometry of spheres on a plane that has reflective properties on its borders and the effects humans can have on such with various ETOH levels. I’ve a few theories I intend to test shortly.
    Again, sorry if your feelings were hurt. It wasn’t intended. Maybe I’ll send you guys information I found for a follow-up.
    Cheers,
    James

    James, my sincere apologies for my misunderstanding and my correspondingly inappropriate response.
    w.

  46. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014756586_windpower13m.html>, begins with the following statements,
    “Pacific Northwest wind-power producers are battling a proposal that could force them to periodically shut down their plants in the months ahead, potentially costing them millions of dollars in lost revenue.
    Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) officials say that limiting wind production could be required to free up space in the regional transmission system to handle hydropower generated from the melt-off of a huge mountain snowpack this year.
    “We’re looking at doing everything we can to avoid the shutdowns but you have to be able to do something when your back is against the wall,” said Doug Johnson, a BPA spokesman.
    But turbine owners bristle at the BPA proposal, which they say would result in a big financial hit during the blustery spring and early summer months, peak season for wind generation.
    “There has been a strong united [wind industry] voice saying ‘this is not reasonable,’ ” says Roby Roberts, a vice president of Horizon Wind Energy, which has built wind farms in Oregon and the Kittitas Valley in Washington.
    The dispute reflects major strains on the regional power system, which has been reshaped by a dramatic expansion of wind power in Washington and Oregon. Most of that power is exported to California and other markets outside the Northwest.”

  47. Oh, Willis! You have only seen the tip of the politically correct ice burg. I spent 20 years developing various “renewable energy” power plants. At one time, I had 14 small hydro plants under development. Only 3 of them ever saw the light of day and I walked away from a couple $ million in sunk cost on the others. The “forces for environmental good” will fight any power plant that has any chance of an honest profit (without outrageous government subsidies), but they have long held “hydro” in particular disdain.
    During all those years, I avoided wind and solar for the simple reason that the inherently limited energy density of those two technologies makes them, even theoretically, ruinously expensive and not candidates for “economy of scale”. Add to that the “randomness” of those technologies’ output and you have a utility nightmare.
    Unfortunately for us rate payers, in the world of regulated electric utilities you and I must pay the freight for regulatory folly. Utilities are literally being thrown into “Bre’ Rabbits Brier Patch” when California tells them they must invest in the two most capital intensive technologies known to man. Regulated electric utilities do not make a profit on fuel or other operating costs. They make an “authorized return” on their capital investments, which means that they get to charge rate payers whatever it takes to cover those capital costs plus their authorized rate of return. When they buy that power from an independent developer, the cost is likewise passed through to the consumer. So, who is left in the game on the supply side to resist Moonbeam’s folly?
    Look to Spain and Portugal (now bankrupt) for a primer on how all this political correctness turns out for both rate payers and the state.

  48. I have often wondered how geothermal gets to be included as renewable. Can anyone explain it to me?
    @oldseadog: I keep hearing about all the “green jobs” that will be created with the carbon tax in Australia… no one has been able to explain them to me – you have answered the question – thanks :-).

  49. A minor point, but most folks here are too young to remember that the primary reason that the Shasta and Oroville dams were built wasn’t to generate electricity. It was to moderate the floods and periodic droughts that affected the Sacramento River watershed prior to their construction. Since the water and hydro plants are there and there is zero chance that either dam is going to be removed, it’d be kind of dumb not to use the electricity.

  50. TimTheToolMan says:
    April 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    Ideally you’d cut down on thermal but then you need to run the hydro harder and you lose whatever little flexibility you had to increase and decrease the hydro to even out the load
    Washington State gets 85% of it’s electricity from nuclear or hydro.
    British Columbia get 90% of it’s electricity from hydro.
    Idaho gets 85% of it’s electricity from hydro.
    Oregon gets 70% of it’s electricity from hydro.
    There isn’t much thermal to ‘cut down on’ in the spring.
    Who loses when the amount of hydro + renewable electricity being produced exceeds 100% of demand of every neighboring area?
    The Pacific DC Intertie only has a 3 GW capacity.
    We were already approaching minimum river run + nuclear + windmill > greater then off peak demand when we only had 2 GW of windmills. We have 4 GW of windmills in the Pacific Northwest now.
    Just a note, Grand Coulee has a 125 sq mile reservoir.

  51. Claude Harvey says:
    April 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm (Edit)

    Oh, Willis! You have only seen the tip of the politically correct ice burg. I spent 20 years developing various “renewable energy” power plants. At one time, I had 14 small hydro plants under development. Only 3 of them ever saw the light of day and I walked away from a couple $ million in sunk cost on the others. The “forces for environmental good” will fight any power plant that has any chance of an honest profit (without outrageous government subsidies), but they have long held “hydro” in particular disdain.

    Indeed. Me, I’m a fan of ethical dams. Kicking a whole bunch of people off their land for a lake? Sketchy. Power dams up in the hills? Sure.
    What kind of “small hydro” were you doing? (I’ve seen various size estimates of “small-“, “micro-“, and “mini-” hydro? I grew up on a cattle ranch with our 10 kilowatt Pelton wheel hydroelectric plant. I’d call that “microhydro”.)

    During all those years, I avoided wind and solar for the simple reason that the inherently limited energy density of those two technologies makes them, even theoretically, ruinously expensive and not candidates for “economy of scale”. Add to that the “randomness” of those technologies’ output and you have a utility nightmare.

    Both of those have their place, but it is only where they make economic sense. Subsidizing them is madness.

    Unfortunately for us rate payers, in the world of regulated electric utilities you and I must pay the freight for regulatory folly. Utilities are literally being thrown into “Bre’ Rabbits Brier Patch” when California tells them they must invest in the two most capital intensive technologies known to man. Regulated electric utilities do not make a profit on fuel or other operating costs. They make an “authorized return” on their capital investments, which means that they get to charge rate payers whatever it takes to cover those capital costs plus their authorized rate of return. When they buy that power from an independent developer, the cost is likewise passed through to the consumer. So, who is left in the game on the supply side to resist Moonbeam’s folly?
    Look to Spain and Portugal (now bankrupt) for a primer on how all this political correctness turns out for both rate payers and the state.

    Sigh …
    w.

  52. From the story; “…BPA officials said that they couldn’t divert all the water around the hydroelectric turbines without putting too much dissolved gas into the river and placing salmon at risk. So they ended up running more water through the dam turbines and giving away their surplus power to utilities all over the West.”
    Sorry, but you really have to be kidding me. Too much foam & bubbles in the water just down stream of the dam spillway will hurt fish?? How in the world do the salmon survive in the shallows going over rapids and waterfalls with all those bubbles & dissolved gases in the water? I don’t buy it & I think it is just another enviro-wacky regulation to handicap the dam operations…but that is just my humble opinion.
    Jeff

  53. This is crazy simple. Washington does not consider hydro to be renewable even though nobody can foresee any reason it would not always be available. We get a lot of rain. Period. But so does BC, Canada which is where the Columbia head waters are. It is more like the world’s longest lake than a river, in fact.
    So if Cali keeps hydro on the plate as renewable, we can sell alla y’all hydro and in return we get nothing because none o’y’all has anything anymore. That makes our inner greenies happy and teary because we’re giving until our guilt is matched. Our power availability goes down, BO gets his brownouts not only in Cali but here in Washington, Oregon gets paid for hosting the Pacific Intertie from the feds who borrow it from the Chinese who sell the debt to the Venezuelans, and we don’t need more wind power here. Win, win, win.
    It’s perfect! Gasoline is headed over $5.00/gal so fixed income types will have to stay home and freeze in the dark, power will not be used to heat the urbs, so UHI goes away, all industrial/manufacturing will get the hint and leave the country, and we’ll all become quaint little green hamlets communicating by placing notes on logs and sending them down river and lighting our homes with dung lamps. People will be colder all the time so will die younger, populations will fall, nobody can afford pets so PETA is happy, Gaia is going to be one happy camper because there’s not reason to drill drill drill. After a couple generations of living like Australopithecus people will forget and even reject going back to the bad old days. It worked in Russia.

  54. Re salmon, the commercial says “It’s the fish John West rejects, that make John West the best.”
    That’s BTW. I have a problem also with Fig 2. How come the hiatus between hour 24 and the next day’s hour 1? And where does the solar come from after the sun sets? What is the treatment of credits when fossil electricity is used to pump water uphill to hydro dams? Is this in the category of small hydro? What is the treatment of windmill power used to charge standby batteries at fossil plants or nuclear plants?
    I’m confused, hence abundant question marks, but consoled by the bigger confusion in Californian logic.
    Again BTW, it’s a pity that the abbreviation CA can be California or Climate Audit. Causes some double takes.

  55. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm
    What kind of “small hydro” were you doing?
    Of the three I eventually managed to build, none created a new impoundment. One was a rehab of an 80-year-old, crib-dam project in Maine (low-head, using variable pitch Kaplan turbines) and two were “run of river” projects in Washington State. One of the Washington projects was my favorite because it had such incredible energy density (high-head, using a two-nozzle, pelton wheel turbine). The plant was only about the size of a four-car garage and turned 14Mw (think hundreds of acres of solar cells). The dominant feature was over a mile of penstock (pipe) to divert a glacier fed stream well above the “fish line” down to that compact little plant at lower altitude where it discharged back into the original stream. We simply side-tracked a portion of the flow from a stream that supported no fish and then put the water back into that same stream at lower altitude. The thing was about as environmentally benign as one can get, but forget about obtaining permits to do that today. That one is where I fought an absurd battle over “endangered grass”.

  56. Who loses when the amount of hydro + renewable electricity being produced exceeds 100% of demand of every neighboring area?
    I can see an industry for Energy Storage emerging as a result of increasing our reliance on unreliable renewables. We do it already to some extent and Australia has the Snowy Mountains scheme for example but I predict it will be a growth industry.

  57. If a rain event hits the Sierra snowpack, with the reservoirs now sporting very little flood capacity, they will have to release a lot of water. Not only that, they will have precious little time to release a lot of water.
    They claim they cannot do this because of the fish?
    Before they had the dams for flood control, a lot of water went down anyway, and the fish did just fine. The fish evovled to survive exactly what the greenies say they cannot tolerate. It’s the roads/bridges/towns/cities that got wiped out, not the fish.
    So what is California really up to?
    By the looks of it, a most dangerous game.

  58. We in BC already pay $5 per gallon of reg gas and nobody complains at all.
    Since the value of US $ is falling against the Can $, folks in the US are going to pay dearly for BC Hydro juice!

  59. I don’t understand why everyone feels that this system is incorrect. The goal is not to reach the number 33%, the goal is to increase the states generation of electricity from renewable sources. Because large-scale hydro is more or less at maximum capacity (there aren’t many places to build large new dams to generate electricity) it makes sense to exclude large-scale hydro from the renewable generation targets. Where there is potential to increase hydro generation (small hydro) it is included.

  60. As of 2008 wind power generaton was a total of 5385 KMW hours. Looking at the new RPS schedule just released to acheieve 33% by 2020 we see some interesting estimates.
    http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/62B4B596-1CE1-47C9-AB53-2DEF1BF52770/0/Q12011RPSReporttotheLegislatureFINAL.pdf
    Six different ‘trajectories’ are charted based on different estimates of time contraints (ie economy transmission problems etc.). They estimate adding 18,000 to 35,000 KMW hours of wind generation. Solar thermal is at best 8000 KMW hours.
    Then they hope to add 5000 to 8000 KMW hours of geothermal.
    All the good bird killing locations are gone. Geothermal is declining and fears of causing earthquakes have curtailed new development.
    Willis is right that they plan no new large hydro but they do include the existing big hydro in their calculation of the 33%. In 2008 it accounted for 11.2% of the renewable power generated but it fluculates greatly as result of the snow pack. They are having a couple of good big hydro years that make the RPS look better than in the drought years.

  61. Mike says:
    April 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I don’t understand why everyone feels that this system is incorrect. The goal is not to reach the number 33%, the goal is to increase the states generation of electricity from renewable sources. Because large-scale hydro is more or less at maximum capacity (there aren’t many places to build large new dams to generate electricity) it makes sense to exclude large-scale hydro from the renewable generation targets. Where there is potential to increase hydro generation (small hydro) it is included.

    Since we already get a third of our energy from renewables, I don’t see why we should “increase the state’s generation of electricity from renewable sources”. And even if we should, why is the state in the business of mandating that? Particularly when such a high percentage already comes from renewables, who are you or the state to claim it should be even more yet?
    w.

  62. richcar that 1225 says:
    April 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    …Willis is right that they plan no new large hydro but they do include the existing big hydro in their calculation of the 33%. In 2008 it accounted for 11.2% of the renewable power generated but it fluculates greatly as result of the snow pack. They are having a couple of good big hydro years that make the RPS look better than in the drought years.

    No, that’s the problem, Richard. They don’t include the existing big hydro in their calculation of the 33%. If they did we’d be there already.
    w.

  63. Mike says:
    April 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm
    “I don’t understand why everyone feels that this system is incorrect. The goal is not to reach the number 33%, the goal is to increase the states generation of electricity from renewable sources.”
    Let me give you the bottom line that Europe has demonstrated and where the true costs are not hidden by “back door” subsidies which the consumer pays, one way or the other:
    1) Current wholesale price of the current mix of U.S. electric power generation is under 4.5 (U.S.) cents per Kwh
    2) European cost of on-shore wind is 12 (U.S.) cents per Kwh at the plant fence.
    3) European cost of off-shore wind is 20 (U.S.) cents per Kwh (and getting few takers at that price).
    4) European cost of large-scale, photovoltaic solar is 50 (U.S.) cents per Kwh (and they’ve paid as much as 58.5 (U.S.) cents per Kwh. When Spain, “the solar capital of the world” and now technically bankrupt, abrogated some of those solar contracts and unilaterally dropped the paid price to 4o (U.S.) cents per Kwh, solar plant owners could not service their financing agreements and went into default with their bankers. Now there is a bankers class action suit underway against the government of Spain. Note also that Portugal, which had challenged Spain’s self-proclaimed solar title with its own solar program, is also not just technically but officially bankrupt.
    This is the legacy Governor Moonbeam and his gang of Sacramento “politico correctos” are fostering on The Golden State.

  64. Willis,
    Sorry, been working away from computer.
    I understand how difficult it is to build new transmission lines, but I would think it would be easier than defying the laws of physics to make wind power work.
    However, I will admit I wasn’t thinking clearly. Under our current system it appears that who you pay the money to is all that matters. Supermarkets in my neighborhood brag of being 100% wind powered, yet they are on the same grid as I am.
    So… all California needs to do is have our utilities pay green producers elsewhere “for” our electricity, while some of the out of state utilities pay our coal, hydro, and natural gas plants “for” their electricity. In reality the grids don’t even have to be connected except financially. No reason to stop at 33%, let’s go for 50%.
    And yes, this will raise costs for consumers, and profits for PG&E and SoCal Edison.

  65. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    James Sexton says:
    April 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    oatley says:
    April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm
    “Exactly. The graphs are meaningless until they’re matched to demand……..”
    ——————————————————————
    “Look, I gave you the CAISO website. ………Stop busting me for not spoon-feeding you, and go out foraging for yourselves.”
    ====================================================
    Willis, because you live in a state full of nutjobs, I understand it would tend to make a person a bit hypersensitive. While I can’t speak for “oatly”, I can say my comment wasn’t intended as a criticism but rather an observation and to give others another view to consider. You can think of it as a compliment to your post, if you wish. While I fully intend to seek such information, alas, time doesn’t allow for it, at this moment. I’ve a more pressing research project that I’m involved with. It is the study of the calculus and trigonometry of spheres on a plane that has reflective properties on its borders and the effects humans can have on such with various ETOH levels. I’ve a few theories I intend to test shortly.
    Again, sorry if your feelings were hurt. It wasn’t intended. Maybe I’ll send you guys information I found for a follow-up.
    Cheers,
    James
    =================================
    Willis:
    Appears my comments were misunderstood as well. My intent was to highlight a point which I thought would improve your argument. But hey, I’m used to it…I’ve been married for 30+ years and have find myself misunderstood most of the time!!
    Keep up the fine work.
    O

  66. Just imagine all of the dams you’ll have to blow to bits in order to make it to 100% renewables.

  67. I wanted to point out to you all that on my recent visit to LA, I did not see many houses with solar geysers.
    I think that is really stupid/
    I mean I know that my carbon footprint is good for earth but you could save up to 40% of your energy bill if you let the sun do the heating of the water for you.
    It works a bit like the inverse of a radiator in your car. The sun’s light is magnified onto the coils inside the solar panel
    The government run electricity co here (in South Africa) actually gives you a rebate on installation costs – wouldn’t that be a good way for Cal. to stimulate “green”?

  68. harrywr2
    April 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm
    ###
    That was not my point. Using select “facts” to create propaganda is SOP. The Seattle Times is on a campaign to make Hydro look bad and Wind look good. Their solution is to get rid of cheap reliable Hydro so that it will not “unfairly” undercut the market for idiotic Wind. The tone of the Seattle Times article was designed to support this. That was my point.

  69. Just to add to my post here
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/14/between-wind-and-water/#comment-642519
    I know there are those of you who say: what about when the sun don’t shine?
    True,
    therefore, the solar geyser is also supported with electrical power. You set the geyser at a certain temp. and when the sun does not shine the electrical power comes on.
    I have taken it a step further and built in a timer switch. If you know when you will always need warm water, you set the timer switch in such a way that it will always come on a few hours before you need it. In this way you always have warm water when you want it, whether the sun shines or not.
    how’s that?

  70. So only ‘big hydro’ is not renewable, while ‘small hydro’ (see figure 2) is?
    Even for the Kafkaesque California environment, this is an absurdity.

  71. It is really nice of Californians to fully embrace the Green Vision of Energy for the future. They have volunteered to be the experimental rats. All the rest of us have to do is sit back and wait for the results. I am betting that no matter what happens the Greens will double down. In our lifetimes, California will achieve a kind of Primitivism that is a synthesis of genuine primitivism, a Dionysian artistic primitivism, and Stalinism, a modern, robust, statist primitivism.

  72. richcar that 1225 says:
    April 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm
    Willis,

    This the latest EIA (2008)estimate of the renewable contribution;
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/state_profiles/california.html
    The renewable generation with big hydro is 23.5% of the total. Big hydro is 11.5% and wind and solae are only 2.9%.
    To get to 33% without geothermal they will need to increase wind and solar from 2.9% to 12.4% which is my opinion impossible.

    My quoted numbers above were for 2010, not 2008, and are from the California CPUC (who keeps score on this very question). I agree that getting to 33% will be very difficult, and more to the point, very expensive for the consumer.
    w.

  73. oatley says:
    April 15, 2011 at 3:23 am

    … Appears my comments were misunderstood as well. My intent was to highlight a point which I thought would improve your argument. But hey, I’m used to it…I’ve been married for 30+ years and have find myself misunderstood most of the time!!
    Keep up the fine work.
    O

    My apologies to you as well, Oatley. Yeah, sometimes I get kinda hair-trigger, I’ve been bitten so much that sometimes I hallucinate teeth, my bad.
    On a different note, as a 30+ years married man myself I’ve been wondering about a philosophical marriage question, maybe you can help me. Here’s the question:

    If a husband speaks in the middle of the forest and his wife is not there to hear him … is he still wrong?

    w.

  74. Is this California plan in line with the communist Van Jones’ plan for creating a bazillion “Green Jobs?”

  75. Willis,
    I do not know where you are geting your info. I could only find info for 2009 on the CPUC site.
    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html
    These numbers are the same as the 2008 EIA and show the wind and solar contribution as 2.9% and the large hydroelectric at 9.2%. Geothermal is at 4.6% and small hydro is at 1.7%. Without large hydroelectric there is only 8.7% renewable total for wind, solar, geothermal and small hydro.
    Its worst than we thought.

  76. This is a long comment about a small and temporary problem. All great accomplishments are accompanied by setbacks, and as setbacks go this is, to repeat, a small one. Eventually the transmission lines to carry more power will be built where they are required, and anyway the great surplus of water that is to be experienced this year happens less than one in ten years, on average. I find much fault with my fellow Californians, but not about this: right now in California electricity from solar power is cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines, for peak generation, and the costs of solar power are declining. California can meet its 33% renewable standard by 2020.
    ps. “Septic Matthew” is the name I started using when posting at Real Climate.

  77. Septic Matthew says:
    “…right now in California electricity from solar power is cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines…”
    Only if the heavy subsidies are ignored. And what is the problem with natural gas power, anyway? It is available any time, while unreliable solar is only available in the daytime and when the sky isn’t cloudy.
    Solar power is to natural gas power as a horse and buggy is to a diesel train.

  78. Willis wrote this: “Look, I gave you the CAISO website. ………Stop busting me for not spoon-feeding you, and go out foraging for yourselves.”
    The CAISO website is reliable as far as it goes, but it excludes the cities of Los Angeles and Sacramento, except insofar as they may from time to time export electricity to the grid. CAISO maintains the grid, and it measures the power generated to the grid and taken up from the grid. However, California has about 3,000 MW of roof mounted solar panels, and the electricity from these is mostly not measured by the grid; such electricity shows up only as reduced demand in the neighborhoods where they are generating their electricity, because then CAISO is required to deliver that much less electricity to those neighborhoods. Peak summertime demand on CAISO is about 50,000 MW, so roof-mounted solar panels now generate approximately 6% of summertime peak demand. By simultaneously installing roof-mounted solar panels (that reduce demand on CAISO), and building large generating facilities (as those in the Mojave Desert), California should have no trouble meeting its renewable energy standard in 10 years. Extrapolating trends of the last few years over the next 10, it’s not unreasonable to think that California will be getting 2/3 of its electricity from renewable sources, even with its narrow definition of “renewable”.
    Willis writes lots of good stuff, but this one isn’t very good.
    I’ll grant you that all of this electricity from renewable sources is expensive in the short run, but so were the roads, the California Water Project, the Airports, and everything else. California’s big problems have been underinvestment in infrastructure simultaneous with increased tax rates — but those are topics for another day.

  79. Smokey wrote: Only if the heavy subsidies are ignored. And what is the problem with natural gas power, anyway? It is available any time, while unreliable solar is only available in the daytime and when the sky isn’t cloudy.
    In California, peak demand occurs in the daytime, and peaks most when the sky isn’t cloudy; consequently, peak generation from solar power matches peak demand for air conditioning. All costs considered, solar now is cheaper for meeting peak demand than gas-fired turbines. It’s true that the turbines could be run at night, but they aren’t because electricity demand is much lower at night — that contributes to their cost because the electricity is only purchased a few hours per day.
    California is not going to replace its entire electricity generating capacity in one year. First there is solar for peak generation, and solar is cost-competitive now. Solar is getting cheaper, whereas everything else is getting more expensive.

  80. richcar that 1225 says:
    April 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Willis,
    I do not know where you are geting your info. I could only find info for 2009 on the CPUC site.

    The 2010 numbers are here (PDF).
    w.

  81. RE: Septic Matthew, April 15, 2011 at 11:23 am;
    Yes, I am certain you are right that the People’s Republic of Kalifornia will be able to meet their 33% renewable goal by 2020.
    All five of the remaining residents of the state will be hippies who haven’t yet figured out where everyone else went.
    They won’t require any electricity as their VW bus will be powered by butterfly farts and wishful thinking. Further; they will use said VW bus to exit the state, once they realize their are no wealthy taxpayers or evil corporations left to pay for all of the services hippies demand for free.
    Hopefully Oregon, Nevada and Arizona will have erected barricades by that point in time. Nevadan’s aren’t that numerous; they’ll be overwhelmed by the impending exodus before anybody realizes what’s going on.

  82. Septic Matthew says:
    “…right now in California electricity from solar power is cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines…”
    Solar powered electricity whether from PV or thermal plants relies on feed in tarrifs to compete. This is what New South Wales did for PV. The result was that electricity rates skyrocketed and the Labor government had their biggest loss ever in recent elections.
    Although the result of feed in tarrifs is higher electricity rates it still does not contribute any significant amount of electricity generation.
    The higher electricity rates in California will continue to encourage industry to leave.

  83. Septic Matthew says:
    April 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

    This is a long comment about a small and temporary problem. All great accomplishments are accompanied by setbacks, and as setbacks go this is, to repeat, a small one. Eventually the transmission lines to carry more power will be built where they are required, and anyway the great surplus of water that is to be experienced this year happens less than one in ten years, on average. I find much fault with my fellow Californians, but not about this: right now in California electricity from solar power is cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines, for peak generation, and the costs of solar power are declining.

    Septic, you are right. If we throw large amounts of money at it, this “small problem” will go away, and then everyone will be paying more for their electricity. Lather, rinse, and repeat, throw money at each “small problem” as it comes up, all it takes is more and more of my money to make it all work perfectly … what’s wrong with this picture?
    Somehow, to me that seems like a non-solution to a non-problem.
    Also, the idea that solar is “cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines, for peak generation” screams for a citation. At this point, I don’t believe it one bit. If that were true, everyone would be switching to solar, and they’re not. I’m putting it in the “dream on” file until you come up with some data to back it up. I suspect you are conflating “fuel cost” or “marginal generation cost” with “total running cost”.
    w.
    PS – You say:

    California can meet its 33% renewable standard by 2020.

    You did note that, despite a heap of boasting just like yours, California was unable to meet its 20% renewable standard? That’s why they’re replacing it with the new goal … because they couldn’t meet the old one. In your shoes, I’d cut down on the boasting for a while. The new standard will be harder to meet than the old one, and much of the low-hanging fruit has already been plucked. Just sayin’ …

  84. Here is the CAISO home page: http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html
    today is a cool day, and peak system demand is only about half what it will be in the summer. As solar takes over more and more of the burden of meeting daytime demand, the facilities that provide base load will be called upon less and less to contribute to daytime capacity; they’ll require less maintenance and last much longer. California will continue to have a surplus of base generating capacity, and solar for peak demand will thus contribute to base capacity for a long time into the future.

  85. Is not every watt of electricity generated fungible? How can wind or solar produced watts be segregated from all of the non-renewable sourced coal and natural gas produced watts once they reach the transmission lines? I know, the wind and solar watts cost more.
    The entire concept of renewable energy quotas is a fiction with ruinous consequences. Electricity already costs 50% more in CA than the average cost for all other states.

  86. Thanks for the updated numbers Willis.
    It looks like non large hydro renewables are up to 17.9% in 2010 from 13% in 2008.
    Note the deficcit of 6492 GWH that they are running from the expected target. They defintely have a steep hill to climb if they do not plan to use large hydro in their accounting to reach 33%. But maybe they can make it. It will be expensive.

  87. Willis wrote this: Also, the idea that solar is “cost competitive with electricity from gas turbines, for peak generation” screams for a citation. At this point, I don’t believe it one bit. If that were true, everyone would be switching to solar, and they’re not. I’m putting it in the “dream on” file until you come up with some data to back it up. I suspect you are conflating “fuel cost” or “marginal generation cost” with “total running cost”.
    I’ll get you a citation. It was a recent contract let by the City of Los Angeles to purchase power from a solar source instead of a new turbine facility. “Everybody” is not doing it because “everybody” does not have the insolation that Los Angeles has. And it is for peak power, which makes it more expensive to amortize the cost of the gas turbines. This is something to continue to follow in the future, as it will be happening more and more often as the price of solar continues to decline.
    You wrote of the transmission bottleneck in the Bonneville Power Authority. You are of course aware that there are bottlenecks in the transmission of natural gas and liquid fuel; in cold weather, the pressure in the natural gas pipelines falls, so homes and power plants receive reduced allotments; oil thickens and pumps freeze up. There are coal train derailments as well. These shortcomings are solved over time by costly investments. Besides building new transmission facilities for electricity, California has had to build new pipelines for gas. After building the pipelines for the gas, it then has to pay for the gas. But gas will continue to get more expensive (especially if it has to come from West Virginia), but solar will continue to decline in price.

  88. Septic says:
    “All costs considered, solar now is cheaper for meeting peak demand than gas-fired turbines.”
    Are you saying that unsubsidized solar power is cheaper than unsubsidized natural gas power, taking into accout the huge amount of land space required for solar? If so, please provide a citation with a breakdown for all associated costs.
    And that still doesn’t get around the fact that solar is unreliable. It may help with air conditioning costs during the daytime in summer, but it is useless for helping with evening/nighttime heating and lighting costs. Natural gas provides power 24/7/365.
    All in all, solar is a weak sister to high energy density, reliable fossil fuels. Without heavy taxpayer subsidies, solar would have only limited use in areas where there is no alternative.
    Finally, “everything else is getting more expensive” because of government policies, such as an almost complete drilling ban. There is enough fossil fuel available to drastically reduce the cost of energy. But the government is controlled by anti-American eco-zealots intent on barring the extraction of any fossil fuels – while China drills for oil 30 miles off our coast.

  89. Paddy wrote: Is not every watt of electricity generated fungible? How can wind or solar produced watts be segregated from all of the non-renewable sourced coal and natural gas produced watts once they reach the transmission lines? I know, the wind and solar watts cost more.
    First question, the answer is “no” — read Willis’ comment about the competition of wind and hydro for transmission. It’s only fungible once it gets into the grid, and even then there are transmission losses if electricity actually is transmitted long distances.
    Second question: the electricity comes into the grid on large trunk lines that are metered, and that originate at the power plants; the electricity goes out to the electricity retailers on large trunk lines that are metered. But CAISO has no metering that can measure the generation from rooftop solar panels or home-based wind turbines (not that there are many of these.)

  90. Septic Matthew says:
    April 15, 2011 at 11:40 am
    California should have no trouble meeting its renewable energy standard in 10 years.
    Does that mean Californian’s will come and collect up the 4 GW of Californian Owned windmills in Washington and Oregon that have destroyed our most scenic vistas?

  91. Smokey says: And that still doesn’t get around the fact that solar is unreliable. It may help with air conditioning costs during the daytime, but it’s useless for helping with evening/nighttime heating and lighting costs.
    at the risk of repeating myself, let me remind you that we are writing now of California, and peak demand matches peak insolation. Air conditioning alone uses up 15% of summertime peak electricity, which is the most expensive electricity. Like solar panels, the gas turbines that are used to produce peak electricity are idle at night. Their extra “reliability” entails an extra cost that is of no value to electricity consumers, yet must be paid for.
    Smokey also wrote: taking into accout the huge amount of land space required for solar?
    This won’t matter until all the roofs, water ways, roads, and parking lots have been covered, along with the land between the trees in orchards. Only a tiny fraction of California land is required to supply all of California’s electricity, and much of that is desert. Per MW of power, solar consumes less land than hydropower.

  92. Septic tries to counter Willis’ point by saying, “in cold weather, the pressure in the natural gas pipelines falls, so homes and power plants receive reduced allotments; oil thickens and pumps freeze up. There are coal train derailments as well.”
    Arguments like that probably get the heads nodding at realclimate, but they fail here at the Best Science site. It’s not even worth wasting the pixels to correct Septic’s misunderstanding of science and economics.
    In its own good time solar would probably have become viable. The objection is over requiring asinine alternative power sources while regulating out of existence efficient new sources of power, including fossil fuel plants, refieries, and nuclear power.
    Free market econ in one lesson:

    1. Government is force

    2. Good ideas do not have to be forced on others

    3. Bad ideas should not be forced on others
    
4. Liberty is necessary for the difference between good ideas and bad ideas to be revealed

    You’re welcome.

  93. Harrywr2 says: Does that mean Californian’s will come and collect up the 4 GW of Californian Owned windmills in Washington and Oregon that have destroyed our most scenic vistas?
    No. It means that California will pay for the electricity. Washington State and Oregon State probably have the legal authority to tear down the windmills should the citizens vote to do so. They have a good case, should they so decide: the turbines are only there because Californians object to erecting them in California.
    It is an irony not yet touched upon that Californians object to building the facilities to enable California electricity retailers to meet the renewable energy standard. Check out http://www.basinandrangewatch.org for one of the organization that is opposed to the Mojave Desert projects.

  94. Smokey says: “Arguments like that probably get the heads nodding at realclimate, but they fail here at the Best Science site. It’s not even worth wasting the pixels to correct Septic’s misunderstanding of science and economics.”
    Every power source is subsidized one way or another. Many of the railroad rights of way were obtained by federal land grants. The regulations of coal-fired power plants are attempts to bill users for the external costs (deaths and illness due to pollution) of coal. Patent protection, which is a blatant restraint on the free market, is written into the Constitution, etc. (N.B., this is not a criticism of patent protection, but the world’s fastest growing nearly free market economy, China, does not recognize patent protection.) No free market has ever existed.
    In case you are wondering, a “septic” is a “skeptic” on climate change who asks the same questions or makes the same anti-AGW points over and over. I generally write disagreeable posts at Real Climate.

  95. The UK admits that solar is uneconomical. Without subsidies, solar dies on the vine.
    With sufficient government subsidies, we could hire folks to pedal bicycles hooked to generators to provide alternative energy. The key to whether it’s a good or a bad idea is whether it requires subsidies to stay in business. Solar requires taxpayer subsidies. Fossil fuels do not; they are viable with or without subsidies.

  96. Here is the news item that I promised to Willis a while ago:
    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/02/01/sce-buys-20-years-of-solar-power-for-less-than-natural-gas/
    It was Southern California Edison, not the City of Los Angeles (which has its own program of roof-top and parking lot solar installations, and operates its own power supply independent of CAISO — well, they are interconnected so LA generally sells power to CAISO, which CAISO accounts as “imports”), and it was only a 250 MW installation.
    That web site is run by AGW fanatics, but most of their sources are “reliable”, though no source is perfect. The source for that is an SCE announcement of a contract award. When all the books are opened in 3 years, it may turn out that there was a problem. There are other sources for the claim that solar electricity is now cheaper than gas electricity in high insolation areas. Since gas is getting more expensive in places where it has to be delivered, and since solar is getting cheaper, we should see lots more of these.

  97. Smokey says: The UK admits that solar is uneconomical.
    That’s interesting, but today we have been discussing California.
    A question about the meaning of “subsidies”. People die and are made sick from the combustion of coal, and the U.S. military guards the international shipping lanes for petroleum. Some people count these as subsidies and some people do not. If their costs are included in the costs of coal and petroleum, coal and petroleum lose much of their otherwise competitive advantage.
    But I think that we have begun to repeat ourselves.
    We shall have to revisit this discussion in 5 years.

  98. Septic says:
    “Since gas is getting more expensive in places where it has to be delivered, and since solar is getting cheaper…”
    I don’t think natural gas is getting more expensive, because there is a huge amount coming to the market due to the newer frakking technologies.
    And I don’t think the current subsidies for solar are sustainable. Spending bills originate in the House of Representatives, which is unlikely to propose nearly as much eco-spending as the last Congress.

  99. Septic Matthew is what I call a Marxist Tarbaby. Every response to him increases his power.

  100. I continue to see “quotes” and “studies” showing unsubsidized solar to be be somehow even remotely competitive with combined-cycle-natural-gas generation (or any other form of power generation known to man). Such claims are utterly ludicrous. Anyone interested in the facts should get out their financial calculator and walk through the following exercise:
    Here is reality:
    1) The turn-key capital cost of a combined-cycle, natural gas fired, gas turbine plant is $550/kw of capacity: go to http://www.cogeneration.net/combined_cycle_power_plants.htm
    2) The conservative capacity factor of the turbine plant is 92% (they actually do better than that in my experience, but I’ll accept 92%).
    3) The capital cost per kw of USEABLE capacity for the turbine plant is $600 ($550/0.92)
    4) The turn-key capital cost of a large-scale photovoltaic solar is plant is $6,000 per kw of capacity (I’ve previously provided tons on that subject).
    5) The “best case” capacity factor of solar is 25% (ditto info note above – also note the latest Mojave Desert plant claims 24%)
    6) The capital cost per USEABLE kw for the solar plant is $24,000 ($6,000/0.25)
    For this simple exercise, I am going to ignore O&M expenses, land costs and a host of other factors that favor the gas turbine over solar and focus on only two items: 1) The cost per kwh to service a project loan and 2) Fuel cost
    I will assume a 100% leveraged loan with a term of 15-years at an interest rate of 5% compounded annually (lots of luck getting either that term or that rate for solar without government guarantees – most of our P.E. alternate energy loans were for a term of 10-years). I will assume a current natural gas price of $5.00 per mmbtu (even though it is not that high).
    Capital Cost Per kwh for Solar (get out your HP financial calculator)
    PV = $24,000, i = 5%, n = 15
    Therefore: Annual loan payment = $2,202 for each useable kw of capacity
    Capital cost per kwh = $2,202 per kw/year / (365 days/year x 24 hrs/day) = 25.14 cents/kwh
    Capital Plus Fuel Cost Per kwh for CCGT (at $5.00/mmbtu natural gas)
    PV = $600, i=5%, n = 15
    Therefore: Annual loan payment = $55.05 for each useable kw of capacity
    Capital cost per kwh = $55.05 per kw/year / (365 days/year x 24 hrs/day) = 0.63 cents/kwh
    Fuel cost per kwh = 5,690 btu/kwh x $5.00/ mm btu = 2.85 cents/kwh
    Total capital and fuel cost = 2.85 cents + 0.63 cents = 3.48 cents per kwh
    Lets look at the 15 year end point for these two plants and assume gas prices have escalated at a rate of 5% per year
    Solar capital (sunk) cost per kwh is still the same at 25.14 cents per year
    CCGT capital (sunk) cost remains the same at 0.63 cents/kwh
    Natural gas price has now escalated to $5.00/mmbtu x (1.05 raised to the 15th power) = $5 x 2.08 = $10.40
    Fuel cost per kwh = 5,690 btu/kwh x $10.40 /mmbtu = 5.9 cents
    Total capital and fuel cost = 5.9 cents + 0.63 cents = 6.53 cents per kwh.
    Any who think that solar plant is “free power” once the project loan is repaid are smoking their own dope. A plant utilizing that much electronics (solar panels, positioning and tracking circuitry, dc to ac conversion circuitry, power flow conditioning circuitry, etc.) will be completely used up in 15 years. Try and think of any computer, video, or automotive electronic system that lasted that long.
    Even if the solar plant lasted 30 years, the discounted cash flow stream would be dwarfed by the “front-end” cash flow advantage of the CCGT plant.
    The U.S. experience has, without any ambiguity, demonstrated that at current natural gas prices CCGT plants can be built and operated in the range of 4 cents per kwh.
    The German and Spanish experience has demonstrated, without any ambiguity, that photovoltaic solar plants cannot be built and operated for anything less than 40 cents per kwh and there is considerable evidence that the figure is more in the range of 50 cents.
    DO THE MATH!
    CH

  101. Theo Goodwin says: Septic Matthew is what I call a Marxist Tarbaby. Every response to him increases his power.
    Would it were so.

  102. Septic Matthew says:
    April 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Here is the news item that I promised to Willis a while ago:
    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/02/01/sce-buys-20-years-of-solar-power-for-less-than-natural-gas/

    Many thanks, Matthew. I took a look and I see that solar is not actually cheaper than other fuel sources as you had implied. What it is is cheaper than is the “Market Price Referent”. This is not an actual price for which someone is supplying electricity to a power company. It is a totally theoretical number. And this being California bureaucrats, I don’t trust it a bit.
    As you point out, it is about $0.11 per kilowatt.
    Per the EIA (Excel spreadsheet), in 2010 the nationwide average retail price per kilowatt-hour (KWh) for electricity was
    Residential: $0.11
    Commercial: $0.10
    Industrial: $0.07
    This means that on average, the people who are selling the power for those retail prices are buying it for something on the order of $0.04 or $0.05 per kilowatt-hour for their baseline power, and perhaps $0.07 or $0.08 for their peaking power. Otherwise they couldn’t sell it for $0.07 per KWh to industrial customers and $0.11 to residential customers.
    So I say the Market Reference Price is nonsense cooked up by California bureaucrats. They claim it’s the breakeven price for new CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) power … but if that were true, electric power would be a whole lot more expensive. CCGT is either equal to or slightly cheaper than coal fired plants. I don’t believe the California numbers, if they were true the nationwide average retail price for industrial power couldn’t $0.07 per KWh.
    Which in turn means I’m still not impressed with solar. Matthew, the only reason that San Diego is buying that solar power is BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO under , not because it is cost competitive. Otherwise, they’d buy power for half the price or so and not worry about the headaches that come with solar. All they’ve done is beat the MRP, that doesn’t make them cost competitive.
    w.

  103. Note that only about half, often less, of the average residential electric bill is for “energy”. Current spot and day-ahead electric energy in the U.S. is in the range of 4 cents per Kwh (see NYMEX). The remainder of that bill is for transmission, distribution and other utility fixed costs. The numbers I calculated in the CCGT versus solar cost exercise were “energy costs at the plant fence” and did not include all the other components that go into the typical electric utility bill.
    The California Energy Commission is notorious for cranking out numbers designed to please the politicos on Sacramento. One of their recurring stunts is to compare technologies SOMEWHERE OUT IN THE IMAGINED FUTURE. Since that future is theirs to imagine, they place unrealistic escalators on the disfavored technology (natural gas price, for example) and unrealistic assumed future cost reductions for favored technology (solar capital costs, for example). The end result APPEARS very rigorous and scientific, but as we’ve all learned from the AGW example, “garbage in gets you garbage out”. This country is awash in natural gas thanks to the newly developed horizontal drilling techniques.

  104. Willis wrote the following: So I say the Market Reference Price is nonsense cooked up by California bureaucrats. They claim it’s the breakeven price for new CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) power … but if that were true, electric power would be a whole lot more expensive. CCGT is either equal to or slightly cheaper than coal fired plants. I don’t believe the California numbers, if they were true the nationwide average retail price for industrial power couldn’t $0.07 per KWh.
    You have missed an important point, one that most other people here have missed as well. The SCE contract (NOT incidentally, SCE is an investor-owned retail utility; Sacramento and Los Angeles have city-owned electrical power supplies) is for power for peak demand in summer, and the price is inflated (compared to national and California averages) by the fact that the electricity will only be sold for 8 hours per day or so, and hardly any will be sold in the fall, winter and spring.
    I don’t know how often I have to repeat this: solar power is cost-competitive in California for meeting peak demand; however, 15% of peak demand is for air conditioning, and for that use the solar production curve matches the demand curve.
    Looking forward, solar power is getting cheaper, whereas fossil fuels are getting more expensive.
    Now that you know about CAISO, follow the daily consumption/production curves all summer long. Peak daytime demand increases far more than nighttime demand. Most electrical generating capacity in California is idle or at low output most of the time.
    And a final word about external costs: electricity rate payers do not pay indemnities or medical bills for the deaths, dismemberments and diseases that result from the mining of fossil fuels and from their burning. That does not mean the costs are not there. Rate payers also do not pay the costs of deploying the military to the Middle East. That does not mean that those costs are negligible or unrelated to oil.

  105. Septic Matthew says:
    April 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

    … You have missed an important point, one that most other people here have missed as well. The SCE contract (NOT incidentally, SCE is an investor-owned retail utility; Sacramento and Los Angeles have city-owned electrical power supplies) is for power for peak demand in summer, and the price is inflated (compared to national and California averages) by the fact that the electricity will only be sold for 8 hours per day or so, and hardly any will be sold in the fall, winter and spring.
    I don’t know how often I have to repeat this: solar power is cost-competitive in California for meeting peak demand; however, 15% of peak demand is for air conditioning, and for that use the solar production curve matches the demand curve.

    I don’t know how often I have to repeat this. Making claims without citations is useless. You have claimed that solar is cost-competitive in California for meeting peak demand. You have not demonstrated that. You have not given us the price for peaking power, just claimed that solar is cheaper.
    Both Claude and I have shown that power is available, from a variety of sources (both baseline and peaking), for much less than the numbers you are claiming. I see nothing in your citations that says that the solar you are discussing can beat peaking prices, just the bogus Market Price Referent. You seem to be very impressed that the utility can buy solar power at 11 cents a kilowatt-hour … when all over the county they are buying fossil power for under half of that. Wake up and smell the price structure, my friend.
    Merely repeating your claims doesn’t help. So when you say “I don’t know how often I have to repeat this”, you’ve missed the point. Repeating an unsubstantiated claim a thousand times won’t help, we’re not into “proof by repeated claim” around here.
    w.
    PS – Just found the EIA sheet showing wholesale prices (Excel spreadsheet). According to the EIA, the most recent California wholesale day-ahead price for peak power is just under four cents per kilowatt hour … so I’m sorry, Matthew, but your solar at $0.11 per KWh still doesn’t impress, and your claim that it is cheaper than the cost of peak power is rudely contradicted by the facts.
    PPS – Due to ecoloonies insisting that California use solar and other inefficient technologies, the price of electricity in California (retail average 13.6¢/KWh) is more than twice that of Utah or Washington or other surrounding states. While this seems not to be a problem for ecoloonies, it is for me, and it definitely is for businesses in California.

  106. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 16, 2011 at 10:47 am
    According to the EIA, the most recent California wholesale day-ahead price for peak power is just under four cents per kilowatt hour
    Willis, peak prices don’t occur in April they occur in August.
    At the moment load on the Bonneville Power Grid is between 6 and 8 GW. The Hydrodams are pushing out between 10 and 12 GW. We have about 1 GW of thermal running. The net effect is we are exporting about 4GW to somewhere.
    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx
    BPA is required by law to sell power at cost. So as long as the PNW has power to spare California ‘peak load’ wholesale rates are reasonable.
    Come August BPA will have no power to spare. So your California ‘peak load’ providers will have an opportunity to make their annual budget in one month.
    California summer ‘peak load’ is around 50 GW where your daily load fluctuation in the spring is between 20-25 GW. Maintaining 25GW of natural gas fired plants that only run one or two months a year is pricey.

  107. Harrywr2 says:
    “Maintaining 25GW of natural gas fired plants that only run one or two months a year is pricey.”
    Well then, the obvious answer is to run them 24/7/365, and forget all the inefficient, feel-good, expensive Mickey Mouse alternative energy schemes.

  108. harrywr2 says:
    April 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:April 16, 2011 at 10:47 am

    According to the EIA, the most recent California wholesale day-ahead price for peak power is just under four cents per kilowatt hour

    Willis, peak prices don’t occur in April they occur in August.

    Citations beat claims hands down. From the EIA site you can find the wholesale price of electricity in California, day by day, for the past ten years. This is the price that the utilities are buying power from each other for. You can do this stuff yourself, guys, back up your claims with facts.

    As you can see, while there are spikes in August, they are not that large (a penny or two increase per KWh), and they do not significantly alter the annual pricing. So your claim, while generally true, makes no difference.
    How come I have to do this graph, and it’s your claim?

    At the moment load on the Bonneville Power Grid is between 6 and 8 GW. The Hydrodams are pushing out between 10 and 12 GW. We have about 1 GW of thermal running. The net effect is we are exporting about 4GW to somewhere.
    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx
    BPA is required by law to sell power at cost. So as long as the PNW has power to spare California ‘peak load’ wholesale rates are reasonable.
    Come August BPA will have no power to spare. So your California ‘peak load’ providers will have an opportunity to make their annual budget in one month.
    California summer ‘peak load’ is around 50 GW where your daily load fluctuation in the spring is between 20-25 GW. Maintaining 25GW of natural gas fired plants that only run one or two months a year is pricey.

    As the wholesale price chart shows, reasonably priced power is available for purchase year-round. The reason San Diego is not availing itself of that power is that it is not ideologically pure power … heck, even you guys’ hydropower from Bonneville is not considered ideologically pure, harry. I know that you think that “So as long as the PNW has power to spare California ‘peak load’ wholesale rates are reasonable”, but it’s not true, because in far too many cases California won’t be able to purchase Bonneville power regardless of the price. The mandated 33% renewables, remember, doesn’t include nasty old hydropower …
    w.

  109. Willis wrote: Making claims without citations is useless. You have claimed that solar is cost-competitive in California for meeting peak demand. You have not demonstrated that. You have not given us the price for peaking power, just claimed that solar is cheaper.
    You’ll have to take that up with SCE. They claimed that they got a better deal for electricity from solar than for electricity from gas. Unless you have evidence that they are lying, I’ll accept their word for the time being; their goal is to earn money for their shareholders. I think that we might better drop this for a while and pick it up again in July.
    Just to clarify one point: You are not claiming, are you, that peak electricity does not cost more than baseline electricity?

  110. Septic Matthew says:
    April 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Willis wrote:

    Making claims without citations is useless. You have claimed that solar is cost-competitive in California for meeting peak demand. You have not demonstrated that. You have not given us the price for peaking power, just claimed that solar is cheaper.

    You’ll have to take that up with SCE. They claimed that they got a better deal for electricity from solar than for electricity from gas. Unless you have evidence that they are lying, I’ll accept their word for the time being; their goal is to earn money for their shareholders. I think that we might better drop this for a while and pick it up again in July.

    Just to clarify, you’re refusing to provide a citation, giving up on the claim that you made, and sending me to talk to someone else? Is that correct? Because they certainly haven’t made the claim that you are making, that solar is cost-competitive. If there were no requirement to purchase solar, do you truly think San Diego wouldn’t purchase something … mmm … well, “reliable”?

    Just to clarify one point: You are not claiming, are you, that peak electricity does not cost more than baseline electricity?

    I assume you can read the chart I just posted. Why are you asking me about the price, I’m the one that is posting citations and graphs? What I am saying is that you claimed that solar was cheaper than gas or coal. It’s only cheaper than the bogus MPR.
    w.

  111. Willis wrote: From the EIA site you can find the wholesale price of electricity in California, day by day, for the past ten years.
    On Sept 24, 2010, 173,000 MWH of electricity was traded by 24 companies in 163 separate trades. that’s a lot of work, but the average power over the 24 hours was 7233 MW, less than half the minimum (19,000 MW) reported by CAISO for April 17. Put differently, that’s only about a third of the total for April 16, 2011, which was 565,859MWH — on a cool day. That’s more missing data than the amount of missing data in the Nature paper on changes in rainfall extremes in the U.S.
    What we need are: (1) all the price data; and (2) the prices charged to SoCal Edison. Until then, we have no reason to question SoCal Edison’s claim that they got a better price deal from solar than from gas.
    Willis wrote: I know that you think that “So as long as the PNW has power to spare California ‘peak load’ wholesale rates are reasonable”, but it’s not true, because in far too many cases California won’t be able to purchase Bonneville power regardless of the price. The mandated 33% renewables, remember, doesn’t include nasty old hydropower …
    That’s a silly exaggeration; if priced right, the Bonneville power will be bought as part of the other 67% — and the 33% mandate doesn’t take effect for 9 more years anyway. The surplus power supply that prompted this thread only occurs every 10-20 years. In other years, such as the years of the “electricity crisis”, there are severe shortages of hydropower due to droughts, and in those years the new wind farms will be a welcome addition to the supply.
    I mentioned that California has in the last few years installed 3,000MW of rooftop solar electrical power (that was reported on the CleanTechnica blog.) That is almost 6% of peak demand. Had it been available 10 years ago, there would have been no “electricity crisis”, because the “crisis” consisted of a 3% or less shortfall in peak supply — but that’s a story for another time.

  112. Willis wrote: Just to clarify, you’re refusing to provide a citation, giving up on the claim that you made, and sending me to talk to someone else? Is that correct? Because they certainly haven’t made the claim that you are making, that solar is cost-competitive. If there were no requirement to purchase solar, do you truly think San Diego wouldn’t purchase something … mmm … well, “reliable”?
    It was an announcement to the press by SoCal Edison. That announcement to the press was what was cited by Clean Technica. To clarify another point, San Diego is served by San Diego Gas and Electric; Socal Edison serves a large region of Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County. In San Diego County, few things are more “reliable” than sunshine.

  113. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Willis wrote:

    Just to clarify, you’re refusing to provide a citation, giving up on the claim that you made, and sending me to talk to someone else? Is that correct? Because they certainly haven’t made the claim that you are making, that solar is cost-competitive. If there were no requirement to purchase solar, do you truly think San Diego wouldn’t purchase something … mmm … well, “reliable”?

    It was an announcement to the press by SoCal Edison. That announcement to the press was what was cited by Clean Technica. To clarify another point, San Diego is served by San Diego Gas and Electric; Socal Edison serves a large region of Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County. In San Diego County, few things are more “reliable” than sunshine.

    I know who said it, Matthew. But unless I missed it, all they said was that the Solar was cheaper than 11¢ per KWh.
    Perhaps that impresses you. All it means to me is that they are buying expensive power. I asked you for a citation that they are buying solar for less than competitive fossil power … you come back to tell me where your citation is from.
    I knew that already, Matthew. I read the citation. The problem seems to be that you didn’t, you only read the headline that says “SCE Buys 20 Years of Solar Power for Less than Natural Gas”, and you believed it.
    I looked deeper, and found that it was not cheaper than natural gas. That was just some headline writer’s fantasy. All it was cheaper than was some imaginary number ginned up by the good bureaucrats of California. I know that you are impressed that they can beat an imaginary number which, as I have shown, is twice the average cost of electricity in California.
    Me, I’m not impressed by meeting fantasy targets that are twice the cost of the competition. Not one bit.
    w.

  114. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Willis wrote: From the EIA site you can find the wholesale price of electricity in California, day by day, for the past ten years.
    On Sept 24, 2010, 173,000 MWH of electricity was traded by 24 companies in 163 separate trades. that’s a lot of work, but the average power over the 24 hours was 7233 MW, less than half the minimum (19,000 MW) reported by CAISO for April 17. Put differently, that’s only about a third of the total for April 16, 2011, which was 565,859MWH — on a cool day. That’s more missing data than the amount of missing data in the Nature paper on changes in rainfall extremes in the U.S.
    What we need are: (1) all the price data; and (2) the prices charged to SoCal Edison. Until then, we have no reason to question SoCal Edison’s claim that they got a better price deal from solar than from gas.

    SoCal Edison is free to buy from (or sell to) CAISO at three to five cents per Kwh year-round … so WE HAVE THE PRICE CHARGED TO SOCAL EDISON. What is so hard to get your head around in that?
    PS – Your claim of “missing data” is nonsense. Yes, the traded power is less than the generated power. Think about it for a while, and you’ll realize why that doesn’t mean “missing data”.

    Willis wrote:

    I know that you think that “So as long as the PNW has power to spare California ‘peak load’ wholesale rates are reasonable”, but it’s not true, because in far too many cases California won’t be able to purchase Bonneville power regardless of the price. The mandated 33% renewables, remember, doesn’t include nasty old hydropower …

    That’s a silly exaggeration; if priced right, the Bonneville power will be bought as part of the other 67% — and the 33% mandate doesn’t take effect for 9 more years anyway. The surplus power supply that prompted this thread only occurs every 10-20 years. In other years, such as the years of the “electricity crisis”, there are severe shortages of hydropower due to droughts, and in those years the new wind farms will be a welcome addition to the supply.
    I mentioned that California has in the last few years installed 3,000MW of rooftop solar electrical power (that was reported on the CleanTechnica blog.) That is almost 6% of peak demand. Had it been available 10 years ago, there would have been no “electricity crisis”, because the “crisis” consisted of a 3% or less shortfall in peak supply — but that’s a story for another time.

    Well, I’m going to ignore your fantasy that 3,000 MW of rooftop solar will actually provide 3,000 MW of power when it is most needed. The level of nonsense is way too deep on that. If you take a look at the chart of renewables at the top you’ll see that the total of all renewable generation was about 3,000 MW … and remember, that included your latest 3,000 MW of installed solar.
    Regarding whether California can always buy power (baseline or otherwise) from Bonneville, as you point out in California we have our own hydropower plants … and we sometimes can’t buy from them. However, as long as Bonneville is selling power at cost, it will be the first power bought. Why? Because it’s the cheapest, they’re a not-for-profit generation utility.
    But all that does is push the problem elsewhere, however, because the cap (whether 20% or 33%) comes into play. And surely, you don’t think the utilities are buying solar because they want to? You might have noticed that San Diego was not interested in fossil fuel at all at any cost. Their RFP was for solar and solar alone, no proposals from fossil fuel generation were even entertained …
    Matthew, here’s the bottom line. If solar were cheaper than fossil, it would be adopted all over the world. It’s not, and as a result, it hasn’t been adopted anywhere except for places where it is subsidized … you do understand that, yes?
    Someday it may be that cheap. Until then, you seem to think that I should pay extra for your granola-fueled preference through subsidies and renewable standards.
    I, on the other hand, will thank you kindly to keep your damn hands out of my pockets and if you want solar, PAY FOR IT YOURSELF!!.
    w.

  115. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm
    “Someday it may be that cheap.”
    You have my sympathy, Willis, in dealing with the “solar true believers”, but I would not concede them even that much hope for the future economics of that particular technology. As I demonstrated in my simple analysis, photovoltaic solar is a minimum of 7 times as expensive as CCGT over any reasonable plant life at current natural gas prices. The European experience would indicate the true multiple is 12.5 times as expensive.
    According to an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers report on photovoltaic solar, the solar cells themselves represent only 50% of the plant cost. Taking an economic analysis to the ultimate “best case” ditch of “zero cost” for the solar cells themselves would still yield multiples of 3.5 times the cost of solar versus CCGT in my example and 6.25 times the cost in the European experience.
    The problem with solar and, to a less acute extent with wind, is the pitiful “energy density” of the technologies. That limitation precludes the kind of “economy of scale” that brought conventional and nuclear power into the realm of economic reasonableness. Our grandchildren will marvel at our madness.

  116. Wills wrote: I know who said it, Matthew. But unless I missed it, all they said was that the Solar was cheaper than 11¢ per KWh.
    You missed it: they said that it was cheaper than the alternative bid from a gas-powered supply.
    The 3,000 MW of roof-mounted solar power I wrote of is not measured by CAISO because it is distributed, and not fed into their system through a measured trunk. If I install a 2 kw system on my roof ( which I won’t because my monthly electricity bill remains always below $35), CAISO will never know.
    Willis, everybody is wrong sometimes. On this thread, you are wrong. After making a couple little errors, you have been chasing your tail and cracking wise.

  117. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm
    Wills wrote: I know who said it, Matthew. But unless I missed it, all they said was that the Solar was cheaper than 11¢ per KWh.
    Even if Septic’s statement is true, (which I doubt, because I was getting 13.5 cents per kwh for geothermal power in California under the last of the old SO-4 contracts in year 2,000) look at the analysis I provided. The rate required to support financing of the solar plant is 25.14 cents/kwh. Anything less than that represents tax-payer subsidies in the form of stimulus funds, tax credits and accelerated depreciation for the plant owner. One way or another, the rate payer is footing an exorbitant premium for solar power.
    Solar is a “self-eating water melon”!

  118. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Wills wrote:

    I know who said it, Matthew. But unless I missed it, all they said was that the Solar was cheaper than 11¢ per KWh.

    You missed it: they said that it was cheaper than the alternative bid from a gas-powered supply.

    Citation? Because in their letter to the PUC, they say (emphasis mine):

    Submission of Contracts for Procurement of Renewable Energy Resulting from Renewables Standard Contracts
    Program
    I. INTRODUCTION A. Purpose of the Advice Letter
    Southern California Edison Company (“SCE”) submits this Advice Letter in compliance with Cal. Pub. Util. Code § 399.11 et seq. (the “RPS Legislation”) seeking approval of 20 Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) power purchase agreements (“RSC Contracts”) resulting from SCE’s 2010 Renewables Standard Contracts (“RSC”) Program.

    Note that they are asking for proposals for renewable power under the California definition.
    And the other citation you gave says (emphasis mine):

    This year SCE had put out a request for bids to get 250 MW of just solar power, made up of multiple smaller rooftop arrays.

    So, if you have information about an “alternative bid” for fossil fuels, when the bid request specified renewable energy only, you’d better bring it forth. Because until then, I’m going to believe the citations that you supplied previously …
    w.

  119. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    … The 3,000 MW of roof-mounted solar power I wrote of is not measured by CAISO because it is distributed, and not fed into their system through a measured trunk. If I install a 2 kw system on my roof ( which I won’t because my monthly electricity bill remains always below $35), CAISO will never know.

    If I put a panel on the roof that is not connected to the grid, that is true. Hey, I’m a fan of solar. I’ve lived entirely off the grid, had the panels, a dozen 2 volt batteries, the inverter, the whole thing, did all the maintenance myself. I am not a theoretician in these matters.
    If my rooftop solar panel is connected to the grid as part of adding 250 million watts of generation capability, on the other hand, the local San Diego grid utility operator (and thus CAISO, since San Diego is a part of CAISO) will instantaneously know (and report on) every detail of the generation of the San Diego solar 250 Mw upgrade. San Diego has to know every instant how much power the panels are providing, so that they can balance the load.
    w.

  120. Willis wrote: San Diego has to know every instant how much power the panels are providing, so that they can balance the load.
    No more than CAISO measures whether I run an air conditioner or a freezer in the garage can CAISO know whether I am generating power from solar. All they know is from the lowest level of their measurement network. If homeowners here and there in the SCE service region install rooftop solar systems, CAISO knows nothing more than the load on every trunk line. Consequently, as I wrote, the 3,000 MW of widely distributed roof-mounted solar power does not show up on the CAISO hourly totals. It’s merely a smaller load on the grid than if they hadn’t been installed.
    Willis wrote: If my rooftop solar panel is connected to the grid as part of adding 250 million watts of generation capability, on the other hand, the local San Diego grid utility operator (and thus CAISO, since San Diego is a part of CAISO) will instantaneously know (and report on) every detail of the generation of the San Diego solar 250 Mw upgrade.
    Only if they are all installed simultaneously, and go on and off simultaneously. If a few percent of houses are upgraded nonsimultaneously here and there throughout the service area, CAISO and SDG&E can’t tell the difference between a bunch of new PV panels and a concerted effort to run the air conditioners at higher target temperatures. Or, for that matter, a bunch of unoccupied homes and defunct businesses. All they know are total loads in the metered areas.
    I should mention that this is changing with newer meters: in some places, and eventually everywhere, they know house-by-house consumption on a minute-by-minute basis. Soon Californian’s electric bills will reflect the time of day at which they consumed the most electricity. This information is not now reflected in CAISO statistics, which only reflect energy transferred through the main trunks of the grid. If you are a heavy user of A/C, and if you install a modest PV panel, they won’t be able to distinguish (from your usage statistics) whether you have installed the PV panel or merely changed your A/C setting, or abandoned your house. All they know are the net flows, not the appliances.

  121. We have an enormous untapped potential of renewable power in our prison systems. Just think about all those inmates giving it their best on their personal generators for eight hours per day, seven days a week! That ‘s probably gig upon gigawatt-hours of energy at idle now. All the judges have to do is be a bit sharper on their sentencing. Why think of all the saving when we put jaywalkers in prison for ten years or more. The more I think of it, why there is no reason we can’t strangle the National Debt with this program. Maybe O’Bumma will be first to volunteer. It’s about time we get something out of him!

  122. Septic Matthew says:
    April 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I thought that I would end with two commercial news items, one not so new.
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/first-solar-reaches-grid-parity-milestone-says-report-5389/
    … By summertime, perhaps we can pry out of Sempra and other wholesalers, out of SDG&E and other retailers what the wholesalers actually charge the retailers for peak electricity.

    Well, other than providing some humor regarding what they claim is “grid parity”, that one’s useless. Here’s a quote:

    The plant, located in the Nevada desert near Boulder City, costs $0.075 per kilowatt hour to install without any subsidies, Bachman wrote. Conventional power fed into the grid costs $0.09 per kilowatt hour.

    Do you just post this stuff without reading it, Matthew? Because that paragraph merely shows that the author doesn’t have a clue about the power business …
    First, he quotes installation costs per kilowatt-hour, which is meaningless. Then he claims conventional power fed into the grid costs nine cents per KWh, when I’ve shown various times that it is much less than that. Industrial power in Nevada is selling at six cents per KWh … so if you believe that convention power costs (not sells for but costs) nine cents per KWh and they’re selling it for six cents per KWh, remind me not to buy stock in any of your businesses. What is it with you guys and imaginary numbers?
    And at the end of the day, the report you cite is 100% fantasy. They don’t have a single actual data point in the story, not a word about verifiable power costs. As you point out, perhaps some day we may get the actual data from Sempra … but until then, why are you bothering us with someone’s guesses?
    Matthew, as I said, I’m a big fan of solar … where it works. But posting some mathematically challenged reporter’s gushing about ridiculously exaggerated numbers doesn’t advance the cause of solar, it impedes it.
    w.

  123. FWIW, here are SDG&E rates: http://www.sdge.com/customer/rates/tierCosts.shtml
    Here are a couple of hypothetical bills: http://www.sdge.com/documents/customer/summerrates_2010.pdf
    For SDG&E customers, the target rate for daytime electricity is $.30/kwh, because that is about the tier 3 and 4 price. I am a tier 1 guy myself. But if I wanted to A/C my house and pay $300/month to do it, I’d install a solar system, which for me would cost about $0.15-$0.25/kwh over 30 years (less if I take advantage of the tax rebates.) The system would also drive the heat pump for winter heating, so I would save even more on gas.
    I have a new meter, and I get a weekly report of my electricity consumption by time of day for each day. Eventually the electricity bill will charge the appropriate hourly rate for each hour, after everyone in the SDG&E service area has the new meter, and the system is all tested. I forget when the changeover is scheduled to occur, but by then solar will be cheaper and gas will be more expensive (N.B. America’s vast new gas reserves are a long way from here, and will be bought by utilities converting away from coal, and probably by someone who wants to make liquid fuel [because the price of petroleum will not decline much]).
    We can have this discussion again at that time.

  124. Claude Harvey wrote: The rate required to support financing of the solar plant is 25.14 cents/kwh.
    Check out the tier 3 and 4 pricing for SDG&E that I linked to in response to Willis.

  125. Septic Matthew says:
    April 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Claude Harvey wrote: The rate required to support financing of the solar plant is 25.14 cents/kwh.
    Check out the tier 3 and 4 pricing for SDG&E that I linked to in response to Willis.

    In most of the western states the residential electricity price is on the order of eight to ten cents per kilowatt-hr (KWh).
    Now you are using the San Diego retail price of about 30¢/KWh to justify solar at 25¢/KWh.
    You have the stick by the wrong end. You need to justify why you think anyone should pay thirty cents an hour for electricity ever. Heck, the industrial rate in San Diego is ten cents a KWh … the utility is very lucky that they are a monopoly.
    When I was a kid, Bonneville Dam was seen as a good thing because it would provide cheap power … and now, for some reason, you seem to think that expensive power is a good idea. How does that work? With San Diego industrial power (PDF) at ten cents a KWh (mountain states average 5.4 cents) no wonder industry is fleeing the state.
    w.

  126. Septic Matthew says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:36 am
    That’s a silly exaggeration; if priced right, the Bonneville power will be bought as part of the other 67%
    Nope. There isn’t enough transmission capacity. If the wind is blowing you will get wind power generated in Washington and Oregon that you are paying the generators subsidies for and BPA will just dump water and the Hanford Nuclear Plant will just throttle down.
    http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/pubs/final-report-columbia-river-high-water-operations.pdf
    Last June 745,000 MWh was tossed, not including the output from the throttled down Hanford plant.
    This year there is another 1,000 MW of windmills located in Oregon and Washington subsidized by California rate payers. Snow pack is good…gonna be wasting more hydropower.
    I wouldn’t mind but my rates were kept low by the fact that we could sell some excess power to Californians.

  127. Willis wrote: “In most of the western states the residential electricity price is on the order of eight to ten cents per kilowatt-hr (KWh).
    Now you are using the San Diego retail price of about 30¢/KWh to justify solar at 25¢/KWh. ”
    I was writing about California. And I was writing about peak power. For some reason, you keep ignoring my focus. As solar costs continue to decline, we’ll have to revisit this annually.

  128. Septic Matthew says:
    April 23, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Willis wrote: “In most of the western states the residential electricity price is on the order of eight to ten cents per kilowatt-hr (KWh).
    Now you are using the San Diego retail price of about 30¢/KWh to justify solar at 25¢/KWh. ”
    I was writing about California. And I was writing about peak power. For some reason, you keep ignoring my focus. As solar costs continue to decline, we’ll have to revisit this annually.

    I understand that you would prefer to downplay the fact that power in other states is much cheaper than in California. I understand you’d like to restrict the discussion to just California for that reason. I’m not willing to do that.
    The power price in California has been driven through the roof by people just like you. You have your hands in my pockets stealing my money. Now you don’t want to talk about the dimensions of your theft … gosh, that’s a surprise, Matthew. Crooks like you never want to talk about how big your ripoff is … so I’ll say it again. Day or night, peak or not, use a little or use a lot, people in Idaho pay about eight cents a KWh for their power.
    You claim that buying (not selling but buying) solar power for 25 cents a KWh makes sense because the San Diego power company is a monopoly that can gouge its customers 30 cents a KWh … well, y’know, that’s not a real strong argument for expensive power.
    So no, I’m not ignoring your focus on California peak power, and roses, and sunshine.
    I’m defying your attempts to get people to ignore your theft. I’m refusing to pretend that a 30¢/KWh sale price is reasonable. For a man who claims to be in favor of solar, you sure are reluctant to have the sun shine its disinfecting light on your pricing nonsense …
    w.
    PS – I pointed out above that your claim of a competing fossil fuel bid for the San Diego folks was pure fantasy.

    Willis wrote:

    I know who said it, Matthew. But unless I missed it, all they said was that the Solar was cheaper than 11¢ per KWh.

    You missed it: they said that it was cheaper than the alternative bid from a gas-powered supply.

    I invited you to back up your words. At that point, a gentleman would have either withdrawn the claim or defended it. You did neither.
    You think that ignoring it gains you points, but actually folks notice these kinds of things, and you lose points for not admitting your errors. On the schoolground it’s called “put up or shut up”, and when you do neither, you lose the debate …

  129. Willis wrote: You have your hands in my pockets stealing my money.
    You have no grounds for that assertion. FWIW, I voted to repeal AB32.

  130. Septic Matthew says:
    April 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Willis wrote: You have your hands in my pockets stealing my money.
    You have no grounds for that assertion. FWIW, I voted to repeal AB32.

    OK, I take it back. Now about the actual facts in the case …
    w.

Comments are closed.