Clean Power Natural gas fracking industry bubble is busting.

Published on February 18th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


Do Methane Leaks Wipe Out The Climate Benefits Of Fracked Gas?

February 18th, 2016 by  

Natural gas fracking industry bubble is busting.

Fracking is not good for the climate. Or, to put it a tad more scientifically, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined,” as I wrote two years ago.

New satellite data and surface observations analyzed by Harvard researchers confirm previous data and observations: U.S. methane emissions are considerably higher than the official numbers from the EPA. Significantly, the EPA numbers are mostly based on industry-provided estimates, not actual measurements.

While this new study doesn’t attribute a specific source to the remarkable 30 percent increase in U.S. methane emissions from 2002–2014, many other studies have identified the source of those emissions as leakage of methane from the natural gas production and delivery system.

That’s the intro of a new article on Think Progress. Check out the full piece here: “Methane Leaks Erase Climate Benefit Of Fracked Gas, Countless Studies Find.”

Image by Tim Evanson (some rights reserved)

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the 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 and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. 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. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Bob_Wallace

    1. Where are the methane originating?

    From wells being drilled/fracked? From wells under operation? From distribution systems? As a byproduct of oil drilling? From coal mines? From breakdown of organic matter? From cow burps?

    The source matters.

    2. Once identified the next question is whether those sources can be eliminated or at least minimized.

    We’ve got at least one study which shows that well-related methane can be controlled. Leaks in distribution pipes can be closed. Cow burps can be minimized with changes in diet.

    How about we treat this problem with a bit of analysis and thought?

    • Brooks Bridges

      One source is shoddy concrete around well heads. They’re supposed to last 40 years but many start leaking almost immediately – totally avoidable by doing concrete correctly. Gas companies just don’t care.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Monitoring and fines can make them care.

        • neroden

          Yes, and I strongly advocate that. But the fact is? If they do the job properly? Fracking for gas isn’t profitable.

          The fracking companies are mostly in the business of land-flipping, not actual gas production. I looked into this a few years ago; it’s very shady. They announce very high first-year production numbers and then sell the fields as fast as possible to the oil majors. The majors then discover that the fields decline and run out extremely quickly. Since the frackers are fly-by-night operations, they are *always* irresponsible and sloppy with their work; if you threaten to regulate them carefully, they just leave.

          So by all means, we should constantly oversee them very carefully.

  • Tom G.

    It’s interesting to read some of the comments where people seem to believe that burning something is necessary to obtain power generation. Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Tidal, Wave and Hydro are all currently used methods of producing electrical power. With the exception of Combined Cycle Natural Gas generation which can be up to about 50-60% efficient; every other form of energy production is a huge waste of our resources. And that waste my dear friends ends up in our environment as waste heat. Just one nuclear power unit [one reactor] of 1000 MW of electrical output puts about 2,000 MWt of heat energy into our air, oceans, streams and lakes.

    Electrical power from coal, nuclear, natural gas peakers, and other plants are only about 30-35% efficient. To make an analogy, that is like going to the grocery store, buying $100 worth of groceries and when you get home you throw away $70 worth in the trash. What we need are entirely NEW methods of producing electrical energy. Solar is good even if it is only about 16% efficient. It basically has no waste heat component in it’s generation cycle. The same goes for Wind even if winds duty cycle is only 25-45%. Same with Hydro, Wave, Tidal.

    Our National Labs; the last time I looked; said the United States is wasting about 65% of every BTU of heat energy we produce. That my friends is an unstainable number as our worldwide population continues to increase. It doesn’t make any difference if you believe in Global Warming or Climate Change or not. Just try to imagine “clean air to breathe and water to drink” for everyone on our planet.

    • vensonata .

      “Just one nuclear power unit [one reactor] of 1000 MW of electrical
      output puts about 2,000 MWt of heat energy into our air, oceans, streams
      and lakes.” That is interesting, and if true adds to my own basic objection to nuclear… that it is too expensive, and occasionally dangerous. I would like to hear from others about this heat issue. Is it serious? What are the responses from the Nuke fans about this?

      • Tom G.

        Thank you for your comment vensonata. Just type “waste heat and effects on cities” into Google and you should get about 10-20 hits.

        Here is a link to use as a start and why I became interested in the topic years ago.

      • Eric Lukac-Kuruc

        One little secret of nuclear energy is related to that heat waste. The sticker power is the raw value (including the heat that will be lost). So that a GW of nuclear seems a lot … before the waste is accounted.
        According to this site:
        , it is even worse than what Tom G. reports. The electricity produced is only one third of the primary heat energy produced.

        • Ulenspiegel

          As the accounting for REs on one hand and the fossil power plants and NPPS on the other is quite different and not consistent, using primary energy is useless exercise.

          Start with final energy and CO2, then we get better discussion.

          • Eric Lukac-Kuruc

            My point was that announced Gigawatts were far from being equivalent depending on the source type. The CO2 aspect is unrelated to what I brought forward.

            Bragging about primary energy is useful for the promoters of the less efficient way 🙂
            “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water” said Albert Einstein.

            On the other hand, you’re right that looking at the energy finally delivered and at which CO2 burden is a right way to judge the whole system.

        • Brooks Bridges

          And France and US have had to idle nuclear plants during periods of drought which decreased their flow of cooling water.

      • GCO

        To keep thing in perspective: having 1 GW of PV modules baking in the sun would release some 4~5 GW of heat.
        Not having the PV there wouldn’t help much unless you painted that same area bright reflective white, though. Snow works ok too.

        In both cases, direct heat emissions are utterly insignificant compared to sunlight heating up everything else around, especially the oceans and atmosphere… which is where infrared-trapping greenhouse gases come into play.

    • jeffhre

      An analogy that I like is to be a hunter gatherer of rancid, buried, fossil energy, instead of farming clean energy. Then you throw away 60% of it with inefficiency, burn the rest for energy and start again the next day.

  • Armchair Hydrogeologist

    It remains to be seen how much is lost due to fracking asstudies with stereo lidar over gas haven’t detected large amounts on the few that have been monitored that way. But this study seems to show that the top down estimate and the bottom up estimate don’t match. I know that a lot of methane is leaking out of our residential distribution system as it ages. The reality of clay heave and 45PSI water pipes is showing leaks start to approach the hockey stick of the Weibull curve as they age to be 40,50,60 years old across the US. Aging pipes pressurized with 8PSI of a small molecule like CH4 gas aren’t going to fare much better.

    We need to start to rethink using CH4 for heating and domestic hot water. Unfortunately, progressive states like California have chosen well-intentioned utility rate-making policies that have made this harder to economically get away from. Californian could use electric heat pumps economically compared to CH4 if it weren’t for the steep incremental block electricity pricing tiers. A electric utility pricing system that has a large fixed fee for the hookup to pay for the wires/T&D and the VA capacity (i.e. demand charge) and a small premium over the real-time marginal LMP pricing would be closer aligned to the real costs. Unfortunately this same pricing policy that would get us off of CH4 would KILL rooftop solar.

    I’ve been working on some special contraptions that I think would be ideal for getting CA off of CH4 for residences and business in the special mediterreanean climate here. It’s an alternative to battery storage but much cheaper (assuming battery prices don’t fall like a rock, which we don’t 100% know that they will or can). But the current pricing that the IOUs are getting stuck to do by well-intentioned motives (and some solar leasing companies) are going to make this nearly impossible.

    Any ideas on how to fix rate making so I can get my contraptions to make financial sense for consumers (I think they make financial sense if real pricing is used, but not this oddball IOU pricing that California has come up with)?

    • jeffhre

      “A electric utility pricing system that has a large fixed fee for the hookup to pay for the wires/T&D and the VA capacity (i.e. demand charge) and a small premium over the real-time marginal LMP pricing would be closer aligned to the real costs. Unfortunately this same pricing policy that would get us off of CH4 would KILL rooftop solar.”

      Or it may expand solar with storage.

    • neroden

      Unfortunately I’m very fond of gas cooking. Maybe the psi can be lowered to reduce leakage?

      • GCO

        Just curious, have you tried induction?
        I used to like the output and responsiveness of gas ranges; they now feel just as clunky as gas (petrol) cars after having tried a modern EV.
        Good induction cooktops can instantly unleash just as scorching an inferno, but dial accurately all the way down to super-gentle not-even-simmering…
        For cooking just as much as for driving, no way I’m going back to gas.

  • Brian

    Biogas from landfills, animal waste, and sewage treatment plants, along with wind, solar, and geothermal are acceptable alternatives. However natural gas with it’s fracking process that threatens our water supply with contamination from toxic chemicals, and causes earthquakes, is unacceptable. Electric busses from Proterra, and BYD are already running on electricity, so companies can convert to electric instead of polluting natural gas. Big Rig trucks could replace dirty diesel with renewable biogas. Natural gas should be banned, as it is to dangerous for our water supply.

  • Kyle Field

    When looking at natural gas for vehicle fuel, the leaks offset any gains in emission reductions. Nevertheless, companies around the world are rushing to convert their fleets to NG. Procter and Gamble is pushing aggressively in this direction which is frustrating…

    Biogas seems like a better alternative, being sourced from above ground carbon vs in-ground carbon.

    On the leaks front…at least they plugged the MASSIVE NG leak in southern california…after four months of leaking…at 110,000 tons per hour…uhh…yeah, that should wipe out and savings for the next few decades. Sheesh.

    • jeffhre

      “at 110,000 tons per hour…uhh…yeah, that should wipe out and savings for the next few decades. Sheesh.”

      It certainly would, if the savings were not already lost to the notoriously leaky distribution system.

    • FruityPimpernel

      There is no alternative to diesel for heavy trucks apart from natural gas. Perhaps when battery chemistries change that reality will change. It is surely a decade or more away. I will take the zero particulate emissions from NG powered trucks that save lives right now. As you say, at least some of that can be biogas.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Unless my math is badly flawed we could run fully loaded 18-wheelers with batteries for about 200 miles and swap out the batteries in less than five minutes.

        • FruityPimpernel

          I would love to see that Bob. I have not, however, heard of any such trials and it does not seem to be on the horizon. I suspect there is great scope for electrifying and hybridising lighter trucks though. It is odd that the freight sector seems to be doing so little so slowly for urban/suburban work given the fantastic progress municipal and city bus fleets seem to be making in electrification.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are 37.87 kWh in a gallon #2 diesel (Wiki)

            An efficient loaded 18 wheeler can get 8 MPG (RMI), thus is using 4.7 kWh worth of diesel per mile.

            The 18 wheeler is about 45% efficient. Out of the 4.7 kWh used about 2.1 kWh is turned into kinetic energy, the rest into waste heat.

            Running on a 85 kWh Tesla ModS battery pack the 18 wheeler could travel 39.9 miles.

            In order to travel 200 miles the 18 wheeler would need a about 5.5 packs to allow for the 10% inefficiency of the electric motor/drivetrain. Round up to 6 packs per 200 miles.

            Actually this is overkill in terms of batteries. It doesn’t account for the energy recovered by regenerative braking. But let’s stick with 6 packs to be overly safe.

            One claim has been that batteries would be too heavy. The ModS pack weighs 1,200 pounds, so 6 packs would weigh 7,200 pounds.

            An 18 wheeler can carry up to 300 gallons of diesel. At 7 pounds per gallon that’s 2,100 pounds. The dry weight of a Detroit Diesel engine is 2,763 lbs. So at least 4,863 pounds for the ICE version. Add in cooling and exhaust system and you’d be well over 5,000 pounds.

            An extra 1,200 pounds and a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. 97,000 pounds in the EU.

            As far as I know no one has yet to build an 18-wheeler with swappable battery packs.

            Buses are easier to move to batteries because they run routes and return to the garage where they can be recharged. Same for the battery powered delivery trucks now in use.

            Long distance freight would require specially built trucks along with a system of battery swap stations. I suspect we’re more likely to see something like this once batteries increase capacity a bit more. Tesla is talking about 400 kWh in the not distant future.

          • Martin

            Are not hybrid or EV garbage truck, perfect with their stop and go traffic, same goes for delivery trucks, stop and go.

            As for regen braking on large trucks, the heavy weight should be quite effctive. Trucks right now use magnectic brakes on the last axle on long downhills.

          • neroden

            Not sure why they haven’t worked at electrifying the 18-wheelers. I’m expecting the bus market to go all-electric first since it is *such a no-brainer*. 18-wheelers are about the same size.

  • vensonata .

    Well, the obvious answer is to fix the leaks, and guess what, that will raise the price of Natural gas! And that is fine…it is way too cheap. People are wasteful in their space and water heating which is dominated by NG. At the same time coal prices have to be raised for its environmental sided effects. Now what are we left with. Wind and solar as the cheapest form of energy, clean energy, by far. Natural gas will then be an expensive but still necessary transition fuel, like it was always supposed to be.

    • jeffhre

      Fixing the leaks adds to the sunk costs – and to the expectations of returns on investments.

    • Frank

      I’m sold. When can we start?

      • Bob_Wallace

        PG&E has been working on distribution leaks for a while. They were forced into it by the gas explosion that killed some people in the Bay Area, but they are showing that it can be done.

        EPA regs on gas may require all distributors to deal with the leaks. And well owners to stop leaks associated with wells. With the Supreme Court now freed of its conservative majority the EPA regs seem to have a good chance of going forward.

        Probably the most important thing people concerned about climate change should do is to work to keep the White House under Democratic control. Three of the current justices are probably going to age out in the next 4 to 8 years.

        Give control of the Senate to Democrats and over a presidential term or two we could greatly speed the US along the path of lowering GHG emissions. Even if Republicans gained control later on it would be too late to put fossil fuels back into a significant role.

        • neroden

          The leaks from fracking are from the GROUND. Nobody is working on fixing them. Nobody knows of ANY way to fix them.

          That’s the problem with fracturing deep underground formations. The gas which is released does not always head for the well you drilled; it can come out any crack in the earth. And it does.

          Fracking should be outlawed. It’s reckless.

    • Kyle Field

      So essentially a carbon tax that looks at the whole system. 😀 deal!

  • Marion Meads

    Fracked gas has no climate benefits in the first place. Fracking destroys the surface of the earth, the ground underneath and the atmosphere the whole world over!

    • Martin

      How to stop fracking: allow it only on CO’s properties of gas companies.

      And follow Exxon;s advice and put a price of $ 80 CO 2/ton.

      Problems solved!

      • Kyle Field

        I like the idea of carbon tax. Cap and trade seems to be doing well for this in california.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Generating electricity with natural gas lowers the CO2 of coal-generated electricity by 50%. Half.

      If the only tool to lower CO2 emissions we had at hand right now was NG we’d be fools to not use it. (Well and transmission leaks can be largely controlled.)

      Additionally, NG is highly dispatchable. Lacking affordable storage NG gives us a method to fill in when wind and solar inputs are low.

      40% wind + 30% solar + 30% NG would release only 15% as much CO2 as coal.

      Even as storage becomes less expensive there will be a few multiple day strings of low RE input which would be very expensive to fill with storage.

      40% wind + 30% solar + 25% storage + 5% NG would release only 3% as much CO2 as coal.

      Perhaps we can come up with a “3%” solution as time goes along. Biogas to fuel the NG plants for example.

      But right now NG plants allow us to ramp up wind and solar rapidly while assuring that the lights will stay on 24/365.

      • nuvi

        I wonder how much biogas can contribute to the 5% in your second scenario.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I suspect we could do the 5% with some type of biofuel. The important thing, IMO, would be to find a replacement for the NG that did not involve pulling more carbon out of sequestration. Wood/plant pellets burned in old coal plants would be possible. Ethanol is another possible biofuel. Make it from plant waste, not food.

          And it’s not really a second scenario, but one of two points along a continuum where we start out using a significant amount of natural gas and then fade it out to none or, at least, close to none.

          Utilities must keep the light on 24/365. Managers need something they can call on next week if it’s cloudy and the wind doesn’t blow hard. NG plants have low capital costs and install quickly. That makes them relatively cheap as a cheap backup. They can sit idle for months, even years, and then be brought online quickly in a crisis.

        • neroden

          There’s a lot of biogas, including landfill gas. I think that very much should be used for the final 5%.

      • GCO

        The article and @marionmeads:disqus were talking about fracked NG, which is indeed plagued with a whole range of problems that “regular” NG does not share, or to a much lesser extend.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Marion claimed “Fracked gas has no climate benefits in the first place. ” I responded by pointing out the reduction in CO2 emissions when using natural gas.

          Whether fracked natural gas or coal cause the greatest amount of water and air pollution is a different topic. I’ve not seen anyone make that comparison with data.

          I’m pretty sure coal would lose in terms of air pollution.

          I don’t know if fracking or coal mining/waste creates a larger water pollution problem.

          • GCO

            I think you missed the whole point of the article then, which was that methane leaks from fracked NG effectively cancel its perceived climate benefits (vs coal).

            References in the article itself.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The article assumes a 1:1 replacement of coal with natural gas.

          • neroden

            Fracking is worse in the long run for water pollution than ordinary deep coal mining…

            But if you use *mountaintop removal* coal mining (sigh) and dump the waste directly into the streams — this should also be banned outright — then that’s even worse. Oy.

  • Brian

    Natural gas fracking causes earthquakes in Oklahoma, and threatens our water supply. It should be abandoned. We can get our electricity from wind farms, solar power plants, and geothermal plants, if we dramatically scale up. You cannot pump undisclosed toxic poisonous chemicals into the earth, and not expect these chemicals to infiltrate our water supply at some level someday. People who say we can’t build enough solar power plants, and wind farms to replace dirty coal are wrong. With a combination of net metering like Germany is doing, we can dramatically expand home rooftop solar power installations, increase wind farms with the recent 5 year production tax credit, and build many more solar farms. We don’t need dirty natural gas. With the fracking, it is as dirty as dirty coal. We can get all the electricity we need by scaling up rooftop solar, large solar power plants, wind farms, and geothermal plants. It should be a no brainer, but it isn’t because misinformed people think natural gas is worth the environmental damage to help us replace dirty coal, until we can phase it out, but it isn’t. Fracking poisons are water and causes earthquakes, and natural gas is unacceptable.

    • GCO

      Germany is (was?) doing feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which worked beautifully as long as they were very high, much less so nowadays.

      Net metering as implemented in e.g. California — effectively a FiT credit at retail price for self-consumption, but compensation only at “avoided wholesale generation costs” beyond that — is IMHO the way to keep going.

      • Andy

        How is wholesale compensation better than 1:1 true net-metering? Wholesale rates in some areas might be 2 cents while the retail rate is 15 – 25 cents.

        • GCO

          It’s not either/or, it’s both.

          Net metering, sometimes combined with TOU (so more like 1$:1$ than 1kW⋅h:1kW⋅h), is what’s used currently in many parts of the US, and I think should continue.
          It is simple to understand and implement, it works great.

          Now, if people start sizing their PV system to offset more than their own usage, producing net surplus, that part is beyond the scope of net metering.
          Yes, surplus fed to the grid should be compensated, but no I don’t think full retail rate would be fair to other generators nor scalable. Wholesale isn’t ideal but that’s what’s often implemented now.

          • Otis11

            To my knowledge so far, TOU net metering (minus a ~2c/kwh grid usage fee) is the best way to go… this even allows/encourages overgeneration where it’s beneficial to the grid, and fairly compensates providers (if oversupply starts to occur, the TOU rate at that time begins to drop… self correcting for market changes)

            I’m digging into this more for something else… I’ll report back if I find anything else, but so far, that looks like the best way to proceed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me see if I understand your system.

            Let’s say the TOU retail price is 20 cents. With your system the utility would accept a kWh of electricity from an end-user and give them 18 cents credit?

            The later on the end-user could buy back a couple of kWh if the retail price was 9 cents?

            If that’s how it would work there’s no net metering involved. There’s “net billing”.

            I can see a big advantage for the end-user. The utility is furnishing low cost “storage”. There’s a 2 cent per kWh charge on kWh stored.

            Is there any advantage to the utility? Some reason why they would volunteer to do this or would it have to be forced on them?

            There could be a disadvantage for the utility if they own generation or have signed PPAs. In a merit order pricing system the utility makes more money from its owned generation. And if the retail rate is driven down low enough the rate might not cover the PPA price.

          • Otis11

            Ok, fair enough – ‘net billing’ might be a more accurate term.

            And yes, I do believe there is an incentive for the utility to do this – well, some utilities. If implemented with dynamic pricing (or even TOU pricing to a lesser degree) it theoretically allows for lower customer bills and higher utility profits (where allowed – as many utilities have restrictions on returns…) through lowering energy acquisition costs – which can be substantial depending on the bid-stack due to the effects of merit-order pricing.

            This ‘hidden’ loser here is the most generators – and particularly the most expensive generators who operate less frequently. While this is often the utility in many states, in some cases it allows the gains in lower acquisition costs to outway the ‘lost’ generation revenue… but that can depends on regions, etc.

            This effect is actually compound by second and third order effects due to demand response which will naturally occur once (if) dynamic pricing is implemented.

            I’ve actually developed a computer model for research purposes to demonstrate this, and without more refinement and more accurate data (which is outside of the scope of my current project) I cannot say for sure that this will hold, but, my preliminary assessment indicate economic benefit for both parties is likely feasible in many locations.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I suspect we’ll see a lot of utilities move to TOU billing. It’s just such a good system for utilities. It lets them move demand to those times when when supply is more available.

            I’m not sure the big losers will be the peakers, the generators that run only 5% of the time in the US. They may run less often but they probably will charge more. Utilities need them and will pay what it costs to keep them available. Their reimbursement will be even more about ‘capacity’, less about generation.

            The big losers will be the thermal plants that need to run most of the time. As wind and solar lower the price ceilings they will find it harder and harder to cover the hours during which they lose money.

          • Otis11

            Being able to shift load inherently favors the source with the lowest average cost per kWh. Unfortunately paid-off coal is very competitive there. Currently it has it’s price artificially inflated a bit because it loses a lot of efficiency trying to ramp a bit, but if we remove (or at least loosen) that requirement, it’s price will drop slightly.

            Wind is definitely getting there too, and will increasingly become the lowest-cost option, but the thing holding up wind (or artificially increasing prices of it) is transmission. Procuring adequate transmission from prime wind resources to nearby city centers can be a non-negligible portion of the project cost (or restrict where projects can be sited – which also indirectly increases costs). Don’t get me wrong – in the long term it does favor wind – but unless we start accounting for FF externalities, the near term isn’t (necessarily) as rosy as some would like to believe… depends a lot on how little things transpire (even small shifts can drastically change our operating point).

      • Tim

        How about a rate that reflects the real costs! Solar should be sold at retail of the Time of Day metering charge minus what it costs to transport said electricity to where it is used on average, i.e. a couple of miles (practically nothing, 2 cents a kWhr maybe) minus a small charge (15% let’s say) for capacity, billing and administration – let’s call it a restocking fee.

        • TedKidd

          We’ll get there.

        • GCO

          Today’s net metering with TOU is very close to real cost, and is much easier (therefore cheaper) to deploy than any alternative I know of.

          I think we can safely say that transport between meters sometimes only centimeters apart is sufficiently close to zero that it’d cost more to try and measure and bill that.
          This assumption of proximity won’t hold true if distributed generation grows without bounds however, so I consider it reasonable that net metering be limited to systems below a certain capacity and/or offsetting one’s own consumption, for example.

          Capacity, billing etc are fixed costs, so should be, or continue to be, billed as such.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Net metering with TOU” is not net metering.

            Please quit muddying the water.

          • GCO

            Quick, tell the CEC (California energy commission) and the CPUC (public utilities commission), they’ve been doing it all wrong all these years!

            So I take it you’ve not bothered to follow any of the links I posted; here’s again one I have handy:

            Think it through: would you claim “metering with TOU is not
            , maybe on the same faulty premise that meters are
            to keep a single aggregate kW⋅h count only?

            Net metering simply implies that the meter registers the difference between energy consumed and produced, and the bill based on that.
            It say nothing about not keeping separate tallies for different periods of time (days, seasons…), does it?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Net metering means that the meter registers the difference between energy consumed and produced.

            Adding in a price element makes the process something different than net metering.

            Make up a new term for your system. Please do not try to usurp a word that has a very established meaning. That only damages communication.

            Here’s what Wiki has to say on the topic –

            “Net energy metering (NEM or simply net metering) is a service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period.”

            “Time of use (TOU) net metering employs a specialized reversible smart (electric) meter that is programmed to determine electricity usage any time during the day. Time-of-use allows utility rates and charges to be assessed based on when the electricity was used (i.e., day/night and seasonal rates). ”


            It seems to me that you are talking about a TOU metering system.

          • GCO

            So what I was naming “Net metering combined with TOU“, the page you cite as reference calls “Time of use (TOU) net metering“.

            Isn’t it the exact same thing?

            I don’t think that whether “TOU” should be written before or after “net metering” matters one bit, but if it does to you, sorry I caused you so much aggravation. What about simply using whatever variant you prefer?

      • Manfred

        FiTs need not to be “high”. They only have to be on a level, that investors have a real chance of income return. When i was one of the first in Germany in 1998 to realise a PV generator (5 kW peak) i got til today 0,96 EUR for each kWh i feed in. Nowaday it’s the same rent if you get about 0,14 EUR/kWh.

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