Clean Power

Published on January 12th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar Dropping Wholesale Electricity Prices Like A Bad Habit (Charts)

January 12th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Solar Love.

A reader recently shared some great Fraunhofer reports on renewable energy in Germany with me. One of them I had already written a pretty long article about back in November, but the second I don’t think I’d seen. It’s an extensive look at electricity prices and production data in 2013. It’s got more charts on electricity prices than I care to count. However, a few of these I thought I’d share just to make a point I haven’t made in a while.

The point is that solar PV production comes at times we need it most. When the sun is shining, we also tend to be using a lot of electricity. Historically, due to a limited amount of power capacity on the grid, that increase in demand meant an increase in the wholesale price of electricity bid on the spot market. However, when solar PV penetration really starts to get up there (as it has in Germany), that boost in midday production results in a drop in wholesale power prices — solar bids everyone down.

In the first chart below, you can see how electricity prices trend up with electricity production/demand in the middle of the day (when not much electricity is being produced from solar energy).

germany electricity prices winter

In the next three charts, you can see how solar PV production results in electricity price drops similar to those seen in the middle of the night when electricity demand is really low.

electricity prices solar

solar pv production electricity costs

solar reduces cost of electricity

For more details and analysis on this matter and others related to electricity prices in Germany, check out the full Fraunhofer report.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • CaptD

    Wall Street Firms Step Up Warnings About Distributed Energy’s Threat to Utilities


    In the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis, there were very few people on Wall Street who predicted the near-collapse of the U.S. financial system.

    But there’s another coming threat to U.S. companies that nearly everyone on Wall Street seems eager to warn about: the decline of the traditional utility.

    In recent months, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and UBS have issued economic analyses or downgrade warnings for the power sector, calling distributed generation an existential threat to electricity providers. These don’t even include the series of reports from Wall Street projecting the coal industry’s decline.

    The latest comes from analysts at Barclays, who wrote last week they expect corporate bonds in the utility sector to underperform against the market. Barclays targeted the combination of solar and storage as the primary disrupter.

    “Based on our analysis, the cost of solar plus storage for residential consumers of electricity is already competitive with the price of utility grid power in Hawaii. Of the other major markets, California could follow in 2017, New York and Arizona in 2018, and many other states soon after,” wrote the credit analysts.

  • JBecerril

    It is an interesting effect that renewables have in the utility prices. I did a graph about the current electricity prices in Mexico (in, looking forward how they may change with renewables in the next years, following the patterns of Germany and some USA states.

  • Senlac

    0.05327 Distribution
    0.00986 Transition
    0.01434 Transmission
    0.00051 Renewable Energy
    0.00252 Energy Conservation
    0.07724 Generation
    0.15774 Total

    Question: above is the break down for my NSTAR bill. The two largest are Distribution .05327 and Generation .07724 = .13051 What kind of offset would solar array be credited for, one or both or all the charges. And then there is the peek verse off peek generation charge. Since solar is saving at peek, how does that get credited or valued? Peek wholesale can 4x great than off peek. Would it be 4 x .07724 (or is this price an average). Or is .07724 an average rate, of which peek might be in the teens at less than 4x.

    Last, since they are charging me for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, how does that fit in.

    A lot to consider.

    • Bob_Wallace

      (Peak, not peek)

      Looking at what has happened in Germany and what seems to be happening in California is that prior to solar there was a large midday peak demand and supplying that peak was often very expensive for utilities.

      End-user solar was a great gift to the web. They could offset expensive peak purchases and pay it back with much cheaper off-peak power.

      But once enough solar came on line the peak was destroyed and wholesale prices fell to late night levels. At that point utilities would be taking in low value power at noon and having to pay it back with expensive power at 8 am and 7 pm.

      • Senlac

        Nevertheless, the peak or midday solar supply has dropped prices and would appear to have benefited the Utility Industry. One would hope this would also reduce over all average costs, or conversely increase profits for the Utilities. The morning demand looks higher, are they complaining about that?

        • Matt

          I think the utilities are upset that the total demand is down, they lost their mid-day peak when coal/nuclear made it’s money in the past.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, if utilities have money invested in coal and nuclear plants that are no longer needed or locked into long term purchase agreements for power they no longer need then one can understand why they would be upset.

            The utility business is getting turned on its ear. Some companies and investors are going to lose money from stranded assets. Expect utilities to try to minimize their loses and hang on to profits.

            It will probably take a few years to get past this phase in the transition off fossil fuels and come up with a cost/payment plan that is fair to all.

          • squint9

            I’m glad to see you’re getting it here … that utilities can be expected to hang on to their profits. But don’t think for a moment that the CEO is going to write a check to cover decommissioned resources stranded by market manipulation via deregulation. Nope. Those costs will be passed along to the customers one way or another. Virtually by definition, deregulated companies operate on a defined benefit basis: profits are essentially fixed (like an overhead cost) and will be accrued by any means necessary (raising rates, cutting maintenance, ignoring future replacement plans, whatever).

            You may be thinking that utilities cannot recover stranded costs. In fact, this scholarly 1998 article ( ) proclaims it … but then at the very end we see the tool used by utilities to cover their costs: the Market Transition Charge. Tucked in just as innocent as you please. LOL Gotta love those bean counters, eh!

          • CaptD

            Bob – Those Utilities with older NPP will simply decide to decommission them and thereby gain access to tall the decommissioning money set aside for that purpose, in fact decommissioning may actually be a big money maker for the Utility since decommissioning can take many decades.

            Southern California Edison is doing this now having caused a multibillion dollar replacement steam generator debacle that they now want the ratepayers to pay for…

            More here:

            Is California’s Public Utilities Commission Complicit In A Cover-up?

      • squint9

        One should be careful about touting the wonderful example that is Germany … get some figures on their actual cost of living and you will find that even New Yorkers are happy to be on this side of the Atlantic.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Consumer Prices in Germany are 12.43% higher than in United States

          Consumer Prices Including Rent in Germany are 3.26% higher than in United States

          Rent Prices in Germany are 16.99% lower than in United States

          Restaurant Prices in Germany are 14.32% higher than in United States

          Groceries Prices in Germany are 7.58% lower than in United States

          Local Purchasing Power in Germany is 15.98% lower than in United States

          Now, that’s for all of the US. I’d bet that Germans are doing better than New Yorkers.

    • Matt

      Your bill likely has fixed portions and per kwh portions. You will still pay all the fixed portions. Your solar panels will drive down the number of kwhs, so those portions drop. If I look at my electric bill from late summer I see (2307 kwh usage, wife can Not stand the heat)
      a) Distribution-Customer charge – $6.00
      Delivery Charges
      b) Distr charge/kwh (0.25342) – 58.46
      c) Delivery riders – 37.88
      d) Generation Riders – 19.67
      Dominion Energy
      e) Supplier charge (0.0678/kwh) – 156.41

      So (a) right to be connected, (c) Flat “wires” fee, (d) is Duke charge me right to has some generate power for me. (b) is the fee to distribute the power I used, and (e) the fee from generator for power I used. Now if you live in Az then you now (or soon will have) a extra fixed fee if you add PV. Ever area bills differently. In Ohio there is not yet time of day pricing for individuals. Where you live they may or may not.

      So even I switch off my main on the power box (used no power) I would pay the first (a,c,d) $66.55. As the fixed fees raise and storage cost drop, at some point down the line going off grid starts to sound like a good idea.

    • squint9

      You’re not going to get any credit for saving energy (and added surcharges to support “renewable energy sources” will continue to increase) … in the deregulated world there is no reason not to pay über-deluxe CEO / CTO / CFO / CxO salaries; and that money has to come from somewhere. Companies which do not actually produce anything have to obstruct something else valuable (essentially holding it hostage). Your local utilities do not manufacture anything; they merely serve as conduits for something valuable (gas, electricity, whatever) and thus are essentially 100% service jobs (aka, overhead). If executive pay was still at reasonable levels (as little as 7X to 25X in recent decades) the costs “at the meter” would probably be pretty reasonable with plenty left over for R&D and future thinking. But with executive pay approaching the 500X mark in the past couple years, there is no money for infrastructure maintenance, R&D, future thinking, or much of anything else for that matter. Wait until a major powerline needs replacement. Will they dig into the maintenance fund ALL companies are supposed to have for such purposes? Nope. They will whine that they have no money (while the CEO is slapping down another $12MUS for a second yacht) and demand that the users — the least able to afford it — foot the bill via huge loans from the government, etc., etc., etc.. Isn’t our descent into a feudal society going to be fun?!?!

      • Bob_Wallace

        ” (and added surcharges to support “renewable energy sources” will continue to increase)”

        Oops, fact failure.

        Actual facts.

        1) The cost of wind and solar are rapidly dropping.
        2) We pay a tremendous amount of money to support the fossil fuel industry. Those costs will fall as we move off fossil fuels and to renewables.

        • squint9

          You must live in an apartment where the rent includes utilities. Get your hands on actual utility statements from around the country and you will see that in nearly every area where “alternative energy” is expanding, the local utilities are adding surcharges to support it, or (like NYSEG in New York) begging customers to fork over extra money to support it.

          BTW, the cost of wind and solar isn’t actually dropping as much as it is being subsidized with tax-payer money — where did you think the government gets it — subsidizing all this grandiose build-up of part-time energy generation. Since you didn’t write an extra check to “Big Wind Farm, Inc.” you think it got cheaper. It didn’t. They just got more money from the government.

          And all this talk of off-line storage — because the green people are starting to admit that their dream children cannot operate 24x7x365 like conventional power plants do — who do you think is going to pay for that? Yep. The taxpayers again. First with re-directed taxes (ala rebates, trade differentials, etc., etc., etc.) and then with higher utility rates — _someone_ has to pay for it ’cause all these new technologies just bring more and more overhead costs to the table — and who pays them? Yep. Everyone has to pay so folks like yourself can have bragging rights on how much sun / hot air they converted to high-cost energy.

          Solar is great IMHO. Not so thrilled about wind. But neither of these can support modern civilization growth. We have tons and tons of radioactive waste lying about the country.

          The solar / wind conglomerates have gained enough players to safely see them through for a while.

          We need to begin concentrating on the future. And the future is in safe nukes that “eat” radioactive waste. Yes, the designs exist. What is needed is to turn them into buildable plans.

          Think of energy as a pseudo-biosphere where every source plays it’s part in sync.

          • Senlac

            I live in an apartment, my heat is included, Electric and gas are about $40 and $12, I use about 200 kWh per month.

            We agree on one thing, nukes that eat radioactive waste are a good direction if they can be made to work. But I think you underestimate Solar and Wind, they are just getting off the ground, costs will continue to drop, efficiencies will continue to rise, and most important, as this happens we will use them in many more ways and places. Materials development will play and important role, especially with Solar. Solar will become as ubiquitous as semiconductors have over the last 40 years. Just wait and see, I can’t wait.


            Transatomic Power

          • Bob_Wallace

            “BTW, the cost of wind and solar isn’t actually dropping as much as it is being subsidized with tax-payer money”

            Sorry, that’s incorrect. The price of both solar and wind have dropped dramatically over the last few years. The amount of subsidy per kWh has remained constant.

            Perhaps you don’t realize that we built 21 GW of pump-up hydro and CAES in order to incorporate nuclear onto our grids? Since nuclear can’t be shut down and restarted quickly it was necessary to build ~150 pump-up storage facilities in order to time-shift nuclear output from low demand to high demand hours.

            Wind and solar along with storage to make them 24/365 is cheaper than new nuclear.

            We could reduce the amount of nuclear fuel waste, not eliminate it. But the cost of building reactors is too high. Were that not so we would have already built a solution to nuclear waste.

        • squint9

          P.S. Wholesale prices may fluctuate as solar / wind wax and wane but little of that filters down to the actual user … most of it will end up in bonuses and remuneration packages. With deregulation came big business and big business pay packages. You think that a few pennies represents big savings. The CEO finds that amusing as he spends his 8-figure bonus on new vacation homes and fast cars.

          • A Real Libertarian

            You think that a few pennies represents big savings.

            That’s because $70 Billion is big savings.

      • agelbert

        FUD is a tired propaganda technique. Give it up, Squinty. [img][/img]

    • squint9

      “Last, since they are charging me for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, how does that fit in.”

      You didn’t think management or the board of directors was going to foot the bill for “renewable sources” out of their cut did you?! LOL

  • heinbloed
  • John Clinton

    The world has to take notice,we sustain the energy needed,from the SUN….

    • heinbloed

      Tell that Robert Murdoch 🙂

    • squint9

      The world has noticed … China is building nukes like they’re going out of style and just signed a long term agreement to get gas, et al, from Russia. Wonder who they both don’t like too much …

      • Bob_Wallace

        Might want to take a look at China’s wind and solar programs.

        China took over the lead for wind installed very quickly. In 2013 they installed more solar than the US has cumulatively.

  • Dave R

    Got any data on California wholesale prices? There’s enough solar on the California grid (~3GW utility scale, ~2GW distributed) that we should be seeing a similar effect there as well.

    • agelbert

      I would be interested in that too. California has double whammy going on in favor of solar and wind because the new surcharge on dirty energy is raising the cost of fossil fuels as the renewable energy cost goes down. Good!

      • Bob_Wallace

        Here’s one site that looked at the data.

        “During the midday hours from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., it was true that solar power was producing from 6.77 to 8.15 percent of demand,”

        The really interesting thing about the paper is that they focus on the fact that solar doesn’t reduce demand once the Sun goes down.

        “The problem is that, in California, the peak demand for electricity comes late in the day, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., especially on cold winter nights such as Dec. 11. During those hours, solar energy only contributed 5.07 percent at 6:30 pm, 1.48 percent at 7:30 pm, and zero percent from 8:30 pm onward, as shown below.”

        And they criticize solar for producing only 1.6% of total electricity on a day in December.

        “During the entire 24-hour day of Dec. 11, solar energy contributed only 1.6 percent to the state power grid.”
        This article deserves the Golden Raspberry. But it does tell us that solar is starting to impact California’s grid.

        • Dave R

          Yeah, in the winter, solar without storage is not much help for the evening peak.

          But keep in mind that California’s peak demand happens in the summer – usually between 3-4 PM and solar is still going strong then.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I dropped CaISO a note inquiring if they had any data showing solar cutting the use of gas peakers and/or cutting wholesale prices.

            With the loss of SONGS the input of solar might be disguised by the need to replace those two reactors.

        • agelbert

          Thank you.

        • Kyle Field

          Solar + EVs has me excited. I like that EVs can be made into smart grid batteries and effectively store up the sun’s (GREEN) energy then feed it back to the grid over the peak hours of the day. Seems like such a great way to maximize the benefits of solar and EVs…especially in cali. I love two-fers 🙂

          • Bob_Wallace

            Give wind and EVs some love as well.

            Since most EVs are going to get charged at night while parked and since EVs, on average, will need to be charged in about three hours (using a 240 vac outlet) EVs become a great dispatchable load.

            With smart charging EVs can soak up supply peaks and stop charging when supply is strained. And EVs will create a new market for late night wind production.

            This will bring a lot more wind generation to the grid and help lower peak hour electricity prices.

      • squint9

        Doesn’t it bother anyone that the only way for solar, et al, to compete is to artificially raise the cost of other (coal, gas, nuke) energy sources? Shouldn’t we be thinking about cost-effectivity? Especially when a properly designed nuke kicks all other source’s butts? Not everyone has a little trust fund to tide them over when the utility bills are doubling and tripling so the local environmentalists can secure bragging rights over how much “green” energy they’ve got going in their state / palatine / whatever.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m most bothered by your lack of information.

          New solar is being sold in the US SW for 5c/kWh. Add back in the subsidy and solar is less than 7c/kWh.

          New nuke would be more than 11c/kWh. Plus significant subsidies.

          New coal would be even more expensive. Plus very significant external costs.

          New gas is about the same price as solar. And the price of gas will increase while the price of sunshine will remain zero.

          • agelbert

            I agree with Bob!

            As to Squinty’s imagination, I think he is into magical thinking on top of an impaired brain circuitry.

            It’s an old, and rather tired, trick to ask a question that defies logic as if it were an obvious statement. Cost Effectivesness is precisely why solar and wind are destroying demand for fossil fuels!

            Squint9 deliberately ignores over 100 years of massive, war producing, climate destroying, people impoverishing subsides for fossil fuels!

            And then he has the brass to “ask: if anyone is “bothered” by subsidies for solar? Is this a joke?

            The puny “subsidies” for solar and wind are less than 10% of the gargantuan daily fleecing we-the-people get at the hands of fossil fuel funded (with profit over planet dirty money) coercive subsidy laws.

            Fossil fuels have never been cost effective! It is absurd to claim they ever were when the realityof biosphere damage, resource wars and the greedball mentality destroying society the fossil fuelers have fostered is accounted for.

            Squint9 doesn’t do reality.

            FossilFuel Industry’s Secret Motto

            How Ronald Reagan turned the lights out on solar power

          • squint9

            I’m amused that you think the same people “fleecing” us now over gas / coal / etc. won’t be standing right there waiting to “fleece” us similarly with solar / wind / etc.. Even Jesus knew the poor — aka the serfs, the lower middle class, the working folk, etc., etc., etc. — would always be with us. The “fleecers” of this world pretty much rely on that given.

            As for fossil fuels not being cost effective … well, just saying that in print makes it clear your background isn’t in anything remotely technical. But that’s okay. It takes many people from all backgrounds to make this little biosphere we like to call Earth work properly.


          • CaptD

            Your cost of nuclear is a “biased” chart because it does not take into consideration total cost associated with using Nuclear Reactors leaving out long term storage and or completely decommissioning old NPP or what the effect on cost would be if nuclear goes BAD like it did Fukushima…

          • A Real Libertarian

            Not to mention the cost of building the damn things.

          • CaptD

            Over runs are part of the sales pitch by the nuclear industries plan as they allow low balling of the NPP cost, which then only goes up in price after it has been allowed to be built, justified by using phony low numbers that are not factual!

            In the future, all ratepayers should demand fixed contracts for cost certain electric prices for so many decades then watch the Nuclear industry cry foul as they refuse to sign on the bottom line…

          • agelbert

            Well said.

            The Pro-Nuclear power zealots (who always leave out fossil fuel energy costs to mine, refine, mill and produce fuel rod Uranium poison pills, never mind the Navajo Cancers…) in our government tried to make a small, “self cooling”, nuclear reactor like the “new and improved” verison of a SMR (small modular reactor) to provide “cheap” power to ALL our military bases 50 years ago. It didn’t work out too well…

            In 1961 we had a mini-Fukushima in the USA. It was COVERED UP. All the lessons learned were flipped on their heads and the way was paved for present disasters due to nuclear hubris! video
            Nuclear power plants have never been, and never will be, carbon neutral. They are giant carbon emitters, when all the energy costs are figured from start to finish (storage of used fuel rods just adds to the huge lack of cost effectiveness of this Pandora Poison they call Pandora’s Promise!).

          • CaptD

            Since the USA will have to deal with aging NPP for the next 50 to 100+ years, we will be very lucky not to have at least one Fukushima of our own, especially since the Nuclear Industry forever lobbies for less not more safety.

          • agelbert

            Thank you CaptD.
            Also, as to the aging NPPs out there, I’m afraid you are right. During the beginning of the Fukushima meltdown, I read a comment from a former NPP pipe inspector that had moved to Hawaii shortly after the turn of the century to get away from the mainland USA because, according to him, every nuclear power plant in the USA has severe pipe embrittlement (from tritium) which has caused them to leak cancer causing radionuclldes into the surrounding land and aquifers. The pipe inspector was chagrinned to realize that even in Hawaii he could not get away from radionuclide contamination.

            Feel free to pass on any and all posts in my forum with or without attribution. We need to get the word out in order to prevent people from being fooled again.

            Also, I’d be honored if you registered in my forum. :>)

            Your fellow American in the Service of Future Generations,

            Anthony G. Gelbert

            Vermont, USA
            [img width=100 hight=60][/img]


          • CaptD

            RE: “I’d be honored if you registered in my forum”
            Where is the forum link listed?

          • agelbert

            This is the main entrance link.


            There are ten boards by general subject areas with related topics inside each board. I welcome posts on many subject areas having to do with our culture, our future and work towards a viable biosphere.

            Express yourself!


          • agelbert

            Squinty, your tired FUD propaganda technique shows, not just an abysmal lack of historical knowledge of the industrial revolution, but the clarity of your “position”.

            We’ve got your number, pal.

            Squint9 =

            [img width=160 height=095][/img]

            [img width=40 height=40][/img] [img width=40 height=40][/img]

          • squint9

            11c/kwh for nukes? LOL

            Gee whiz, Bob. Who is has been hanging out in Colorado too long now, eh.

            Even when one plays games with discount rates, nukes beat gas / coal most of the time; and wind all of the time.





            Here’s a scholarly piece. You have to wade by all the global warming / climate change stuff to find Figure 26. Then scan down a few paragraphs. Anyone with an open mind would start chanting “More AP1000’s now!” And these aren’t even the waste-eating designs I think we should be building!


            Like solar / wind, nukes emit virtually no greenhouse gases (GHG). Unlike solar / wind, nukes are critical to the stability of the U.S. electrical grid because they can operate 24x7x365 indefinitely thus producing the uninterrupted flow of energy required to produce a necessary level of baseload electricity for the national grid to operate properly.


          • A Real Libertarian

            Production costs are not the only costs that matter, there’s capital and financial costs too.

            Your sources are obsolete, wind is much cheaper then predicted, $40/MWh:


            And you’re citing the Oregon Petition?

            When you bring out that debunked propaganda, you lose the debate instantly.

          • squint9

            “… the lowest-cost region, with average project costs of ~$1,760/kW.”

            Uh, is that a problem? Let’s do the math. According to your article, the avg windmill in 2012 ran about $1,760 / kw. With the avg windmill in 2012 developing 1.94 MWe, that puts the cost of the windmill somewhere around $3.4 MILLION. That doesn’t sound so bad compared to nukes does it?

            Hmm… until one runs the math. Let’s take a currently available, über-safe nuke like GE-Hitachi’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) [ ].

            It’s core damage frequency (CDF) rating is one accident involving core damage, i.e., a serious accident, about every 60 MILLION years. Windmills should be so happy.

            It also puts out 1,530 MWe by design.

            That equates to about 789 windmills! Whoa!

            That means the cost for a wind farm equivalent to a single nuke of current design — by your data — will be about $2.7 BILLION! Gee, the numbers aren’t so kind to wind after all.

            And let’s not forget the space requirements. The rule-of-thumb in wind turbines is 50 acres / MWe. Using the same information, those 789 1.94 MWe windmills will need about 76,500 acres (119.5 sq mi or 309.6 km²). So all we have to do is re-locate 1/10 of Rhode Island and we’re good to go for wind power. o.O

            Moving to a GE-Hitachi Prism nuke ( ) gets one marginally higher output BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY one gets a power plant that can recycle used nuclear material! Voilá! No more need to store used nuke material, just feed it to the Prism.

            The similar Westinghouse offering, AP1000 ( ) is available now – four are going up in a Southern state as we speak — with a more conservative rating of “only” 1,134 MWe.

            And nuke plants are designed to run at least 30 years and most are on track to run at least twice that long. Try to get your windmill guy to warranty his product for 30-60 years without a major rebuild or replacement. Call me first. I want to see the look on his face when you present that demand. 😉

            Data is a b**** ain’t it? Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of solar … and windmills are making their fair share of millionaires … but when the rubber hits the road and you need steady, reliable power, nukes are the way to go.

            I can hardly wait for Mr. Fusion. We should be concentrating on that, eh! 🙂

          • A Real Libertarian

            Let’s see:


            Not approved, company has been fined millions for faking safety tests.


            Has never been built anywhere.


            All American reactors are behind schedule and over budget.

            As for the area argument, the average wind turbine needs 0.25 acres for sitting and support, the rest?


            And that doesn’t include the area for the uranium mines for your nukes.

            Now it’s obvious that wind is cheaper because no nuclear plant can be built for $40/MWh.

            P.S. Don’t bother with your “O&M + Fuel Cost” chart.

            If you’re going to exclude the Capital and Financial costs then wind is under $10/MWh.

          • agelbert

            And now this new wind turbine technology using a Fibonacci/Archimedes design (a major breakthrough!) is much more efficient at generating power than the present wind turbines because it performs far better than the reynolds number math for turbulent and laminar flow math predicts. It’s a mayor breakthrough in wind turbine technology. Check it out!

            The Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine – can generate 80 percent of the maximum possible energy yield, a big jump from the typical 25 to 50 percent.


          • Bob_Wallace

            Where’s the performance data?

          • agelbert

            Click on the link. It has video of the development and testing along with an article.

            Here are the Liam’s specs:

            The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household.

            The Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine

            I realize 1,500 KWh is a more like what what the average American household uses a month but the F1 is small. You put up more than one and, at that kind of efficiency, you’ve got yourself a major boost to battery stored power for when the sun isn’t shining!

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s not meaningful.

            What’s needed is a power curve generated by an independent testing lab.

          • agelbert

            Of course the independent testing will get done. Did you watch the video? These people are very serious about marketing this product. Sales start very soon.

            I think what you mean by “not meaningful”, is that you do not believe it.

            Okay. I recommend you write the Rocky Mountain Institute chief scientist Amory Lovins so he can explain to you the massive increases in efficiency that are obtained when engineers discard the wrong reynolds number data on turbulent and laminar flow liquids and gasses in the textbooks since 1921. Amory found the flaw in the math by empirical testing (he uses a lot of precision instruments). He doesn’t believe something just because a textbook says its true in regard to thermodynamics.

            Triple efficiencies are quite feasible. Our pumps are designed all wrong because of this huge oversight in our knowledge of thermodynamic friction losses in fluid movements. Short curved elbow piping needs to be eliminated.

            It’s a long story, Bob. But what our mechanical and aeronautical engineers have used for basic design principles for “efficiency” is actually increasing friction losses at every level of fluid and air movement from the mistake of the scientist who documented turbulent and laminar flow characteristics in 1921.

            This is a very big deal. The Fibonacci/Archimedes design is already in use in new pumps that are three to four time more efficient (300% to 400%!) than the poorly designed 20th century junk we have used when energy was not given sufficient consideration (or empirical analysis) by engineers.

            Here’s a long, boring video with the cold ,hard, impersonal scientific data from Amory Lovins with real world examples of factory refits and redesigns by the Rocky Mountain Institute. It’s part of a video conference on energy efficiency.


            Energy efficiency 2 Amory Lovins


            The summary for impatient people of how massive efficiencies are obtained without resorting to “rocket science”.

            You are wrong, Bob.This is very meaningful. It’s a real breakthrough. Amory Lovins is convinced that once this new understanding of fluid and gas fllow friction characteristics is incorporated into all our machines, we can produce the same amount of TWh output of energy we use in the world for one tenth the present energy input. That’s right, Bob. We needlessly waste 90% and not just on heat.

            Watch the video. You will be pleasantly surprised. I’ve got five more on energy topics from Amory Lovins if you are interested. his guy is a walking, can do, continuous source of demand destruction (Negawatts was coined by him) of fossil fuels.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s]”

            Is not meaningful.

            All it tells us is that at 5 m/s (~8 MPH) it will produce 1.7 kW (15,000 / 365 / 24). That would be meaningful if one lived some place where the wind blew 5 m/s 24/365.

            I’ve never heard of a place like that. Have you?

            At what wind speed does this thing kick in? When does it max out?

            If these people are selling these corkscrews before they’ve done proper testing then one should turn and run away very quickly. The wind industry is full of people making outrageous claims about their new turbine ideas.

          • Time will tell. But what is really outrageous, is the ‘business as usual’ massive waste at every stage of our technology that too many people assume is the result of “free market” competition.

            The status quo worshippers always claim some new breakthrough is outrageous until it becomes the norm and then they claim they supported it from the start.

            I think it was the German Renewable Energy Pioneer, Hermann Scheer, that said that.

            I’ll be watching these folks and I’ll let you know when I have some hard data for you to check out.

            [img width=20 height=20][/img]

          • Bob_Wallace

            I like data. Ideas with no supporting data can be interesting, but they are nothing but ideas without data.

            I see a couple of possibilities:

            1) These people don’t know what they are doing and are going to market a product without adequate performance analysis.

            2) These people do know what they are doing and plan to fleece some suckers.

            Over the years we’ve watched many “creative” small wind turbines come along, each promising great breakthroughs. To date none of them have proved out.

            Remember that other saying – ” Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

            Carl Sagan said that….

          • Do you think these are extraordinary claims by Amory Lovins?

            New design mentality

            • Pumps and fans use half of motor energy; motors use 3/5 world electricity

            • Redesigning a standard (supposedly optimized) industrial pumping loop cut its power 95®7.6 hp (–92%), cost less to build, and worked better

            • Just by specifying fat, short, straight pipes—not (as usual) thin, long, crooked pipes!

            • Even better design could have saved ~98% and cost even less to build

            • This example is archetypical…and pumping is the biggest use of motors, which use 3/5 of el.”

            How about these claims by him?

            Cost can be negative even for retrofits of big buildings

            ◊ 200,000-ft2, 20-year-old curtainwall office nearChicago (hot & humid summer, very cold winter)

            ◊ Dark-glass window units’ edge-seals were failing

            ◊ Replace not with similar but with superwindows

            Let in nearly 6´ more light, 0.9´ as much unwanted heat, reduceheat loss and noise by 3–4´, cost 78¢ more per ft2 of glass

            Add deep daylighting, plus very efficient lights (0.3 W/ft2) and office equipment (0.2 W/ft2); peak cooling load drops by 77%

            ◊ Replace big old cooling system with a new one 4´ smaller, 3.8´ more efficient, $0.2 million cheaper

            ◊ That capital saving pays for all the extra costs

            ◊ 75% energy saving—cheaper than usual renovation”

            And remember Bob, Amory is the guy I learned about the Fibonacci spiral water pump wonders now in use at large commercial installations.

            If it works for water and can save a bundle of energy doing it, why won’t it work for air? I think it will.

            I realize you are quite reticent to get excited about “extraordinary claims” but really, this is not “too good to be true” and I do not see why a good product has to make “suckers” out of people who are getting more efficiency than they were getting from old “non-extraordinary claim” technology.

            Amory Lovins knows exactly how to get us to 100% renewable energy. You may believe that is an extraordinary claim, but you peruse this document, you may have cause to consider it is not.

            “Profitable Solutions to Climate, Oil, and Proliferation” by Amory B. Lovins


          • Bob_Wallace

            I will repeat. Unless the people selling the corkscrew turbine produce acceptable supporting data their product should be treated as a scam.

            Do you understand the difference between “I think it will” and “Here’s the data”?

          • Yes I do. Do you understand the reason between reasoned argument and irrational, huffy, rude, knee jerk dismissal of new technology that already has a track record in water pumping devices?
            I don’t tink so. And I don’t give a tinker’s damn what you think of my alleged ,gullibility, stupidity or whatever. Have a nice day, Dr. Frankenstein.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you wish to partake in discussions on this site then stay on topic, drop the name-calling, and don’t post any more annoying gifs.

            (I’m making a special rule in your case. It’s called the “grow up and act like an adult requirement”.)

            Then, you might want to learn why we moved from argumentative philosophy to empiricism and how that brought about the world in which we now live.

          • “Then, you might want to learn why we moved from argumentative philosophy to empiricism and how that brought about the worl d in which we now live.”
            Oh, I think I have. I firmly believe (and by the way, you are the main name caller here, not me), that you accepted certain “business as usual” axioms of the corporate modern world that have brought us to the dismal state of affairs we now find ourselves in. You do not want to go there, hence you parade your alleged objectivity when what you are actually bent out of shape about is my refusal to accept the horrendous flaws in our modern technology as the best of all possible worlds.
            It’s not. We can do better. Science has been corrupted for profit. That is wrong. That is killing us. If you don’t believe that, then that is your problem not mine. You are the one defending a broken status quo, not me.
            Have a nice day.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, at least you can pretend to be grownup.

            Of course you’re still incorrect. There is some problem with corporate money influencing science but it mainly means that “inconvenient” outcomes sometimes end up not reported. A lab can publish erroneous data but that generally will not live long. Others will work off that data and discover the flaw.

          • agelbert

            Cold hard energy use cost accounting Math? From you?


          • CaptD

            Those links to industry sites leave out the costs of Gov’t. and State “gifts” to the nuclear industry which if included would make the cost of using Nuclear so high that it would kill the industry!

            Things like these:

            Long term ☢ storage not included

            Price-Anderson act liability not included

            Health Issues not included

            Returning NPP site back to public use not included

            Rate increase for using the NPP life not included

          • A Real Libertarian

            And building them in the first place.

          • Bob_Wallace

            An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors to cost 11 cents per kWh. That is assuming no further cost/timeline overruns.

            They also stated that reactors build after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity as they would not be able to receive as low financing rates as Vogtle has.


            The announced strike price for the proposed Hinkley Point reactors has been announced as £0.925. This includes UK provided loan guarantees. When the value of these guarantees are included the price rises to £0.10. $0.16/kWh.

            This means that regardless of how cheap other sources of electricity might be the French and Chinese owners of the reactors will be paid 16 cents for the electricity they produce. They are further guaranteed that their electricity will be purchased first meaning that it is likely that cheaper sources will be curtailed.

            This is a guaranteed price for all electricity produced for the next 35 years and the price will increase with inflation.


            Eleven cents for new nuclear is a low ball price. Real world prices, not nuclear industry empty promises.

          • CaptD

            Adding to the price of “new nuke” is the “forever” storage of the ☢ Waste that mankind must deal with.


            Before anyone blogs about it all those pie in the sky ideas about converting all ☢ waste into new fuel; we will believe it when we see in being done in commercial production (ETA waaay down an expensive R&D road….

          • squint9

            ETA never since the “to bed with the sun and rise with the sun” crowd seem to own the political landscape now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You are as clueless as your avatar, aren’t you?

        • agelbert
    • Bob_Wallace

      Not prices, but here’s today’s demand curve.

      Looks to be that we’re getting the same double peak of Germany, just not as extreme. The ‘sunny hour’ peak is destroyed with the big demand after the Sun goes off line.

      eta: Being Sunday the morning peak may be weekend-low – offices and stuff not opening in the morning.

      • Dave R

        Not too long ago the PDFs of previous demand/generation started getting updated with a “Net Load – Wind/Solar” which is pretty interesting.

        Go to under “Renewables Watch” for historical data.

      • Kyle Field

        LoL…”after the sun goes offline” 🙂

  • SecularAnimist

    The utility company alarmism about “integrating solar into the grid” was always a bit of a red herring. That may be a relevant issue if you are talking about integrating utility-scale solar power plants into the grid. But it is mostly irrelevant with regard to distributed end-user solar power, which doesn’t really have to be “integrated” into the grid. As far as the grid is concerned, it just looks like demand reduction. Which, as is becoming apparent, is what the utilities were really worried about all along.

    • Well summarized.

    • RobS

      This is key, To the grid there is ZERO difference between a 2kw solar array going into the shade of clouds and a 2kw Air con unit cycling on. Similarly a PV unit starting to generate as it comes out from under cloud cover looks IDENTICAL to a load like an A/C unit cycling off. Anyone who tells you the grid cant handle both with identical levels of “disruption” is ignorant or lying.

  • Adam Devereaux

    Isn’t it incredible how solar went from a technology that could never generate an appreciable amount of power to a technology that is bad because it steals profits away from utilities and disrupts the standard revenue pattern?

    • Haha, so incredible and cool. (And also from a power source that “couldn’t be integrated into the grid at more than ~5% of the power supply” 😛 Funny how that claim turned out. :D)

      • Matt

        People still try to use the “can’t be integrated” line. Its like living in Oz. But instead of “Ignore the man be hid the curtain” it is “Ignore those countries in Europe”

        • True.

        • Stan Hlegeris

          Here in Australia life is far too much like living in Oz. We have a government which blames solar for increasing electricity prices and has just announced an enquiry into the health effects of wind turbines. If only we could click our heels together.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t clicking your rubies together is the answer.

            Perhaps someone should throw a bucket of water on Tony and see if he melts….

  • Jouni Valkonen

    And soon batteries will eliminate that evening spike and little bit later also morning spike will be eliminated.

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