U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Colorado
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-17-2018, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,798 posts, read 4,901,271 times
Reputation: 17166

Advertisements

In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-envir...-energy-future

According to Carbon Tracker, based on these bids, new wind+storage energy in Colorado is cheaper than energy from the state’s existing coal plants; solar+storage energy is cheaper than 75 percent of the state’s coal energy. This is worth repeating, because it’s a significant milestone: In Colorado, getting energy from new renewable energy projects with storage is cheaper than getting it from existing coal plants. Coal is dead.

The cheapest previously known solar+storage price in the US was $45/MWh, in a PPA signed by Tucson Electric last year. The median Xcel bid for solar+storage beats that by $9.

For the Tucson project, storage added about $15/MWh to the cost of the solar. Compare that to the $3 to $7 added by storage in the Xcel bids. Storage prices are plunging, and as they do, renewables become more competitive.


When technologies change, the driving force is a solution that provides the lowest cost.

I'm looking forward to a future powered by renewable energy. We have so much free sunshine, about 1 kilowatt per square meter, and the technology to harvest that energy is getting cheaper every day.

I remember when digital cameras first came out. Everybody said they were no good. They would never become a replacement for high quality film. They were wrong.

Our future is bright!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-17-2018, 06:33 AM
 
13,294 posts, read 25,470,882 times
Reputation: 20392
That is great news, thanks for posting.
I am not having solar on my exposed south side of my new house but will see how utilities go, and might get solar added at some point. A shame to waste that sunny south side!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,051 posts, read 2,081,073 times
Reputation: 3539
Along with this will come advances in transferring that sunlight into usable energy as well. Current rates are around 10-20%. Advances in hetero-junction technology are being explored to step those rates up to 50% and beyond.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 08:43 AM
 
3,806 posts, read 3,993,771 times
Reputation: 2566
I'm not sure what to make of this article. The text and table seem to me (at this point) to be telling different stories. The technologies above the line in table are multiple times cheaper (on bid price) than the solar and wind technology below the line. The technology above the line is labeled in such a way that I am not sure if it is natural gas fed turbines or coal. I don't know what the blacked out or blank cells (to my view) are for 2 technologies. Battery storage alone (presumably energy produced conventionally and not immediately needed) is way way cheaper than solar or wind GENERATION.


I'm going to need to see other articles to make sense of and verify this article. My best guess of how to make sense of the text and table right now is that renewable bids are below current operating tech rates (or maybe just the worst current ones?) but that conventional tech bids for NEW supply are still far far cheaper than the solar & wind bids.


That does seem like good consumer news compared to present. Monopoly or near monopoly delivery can gouge and may still gouge. This is what the utility might pay, not what consumers ultimately pay. The utilities are likely to try to maintain current rates as high as they can and capture the change in generation prices for themselves as profit for "good business investments".


Still to be decided is whether to use technologies above the table line or pay multiple times as much for the techs below the line. Plus the utility transmission costs which might vary between technologies if the renewable generation is spread to more sites and / or further from where it is used. Whatever the generation technology, if it is sited "out of immediate sight by users" 50-200 miles away there will be large transmission inefficiencies / costs.


There are pluses and minus to local and central energy. Small scale storage batteries and wind / solar (and maybe other tech) should also be evaluated. In the end I'd want to see all the costs, including environment (air, land used, toxins in generation and in the generation technology itself and end of tech life. Solar tech to date is not "clean" to make or dispose of to my knowledge. How many thousands or tens of thousands of acres or in long run tens or hundreds of square miles to devote to wind turbines and solar panel farms?


On generation costs alone it may be use wind & solar and save money vs. past or use other new bid, non solar or wind technology and potentially save a lot more, if the public utility regulation system works for users more than the utility. If the utilities get paid costs plus profits on those costs, they may favor the more expensive generation options... and make more profits, with a smiley, green marketing campaign to keep the profits flowing, potentially as high or higher than ever before or maybe just higher (in gross terms) than they'd be with the cheaper generation price technologies. Companies tend to like bigger gross profits. They can buy more stuff, be bigger and more powerful, whatever tech, nameplate and marketing is needed to do that.

Last edited by NW Crow; 01-17-2018 at 09:47 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 10:44 AM
 
918 posts, read 984,154 times
Reputation: 1072
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
I'm not sure what to make of this article. The text and table seem to me (at this point) to be telling different stories. The technologies above the line in table are multiple times cheaper (on bid price) than the solar and wind technology below the line. The technology above the line is labeled in such a way that I am not sure if it is natural gas fed turbines or coal. I don't know what the blacked out or blank cells (to my view) are for 2 technologies. Battery storage alone (presumably energy produced conventionally and not immediately needed) is way way cheaper than solar or wind GENERATION.
Dispatchable generation sources are displayed in $/Kw-month and non-dispatchable sources are displayed in $/MW-hours. To convert use $4.166/MW-hour ≈ $3/kW-month.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
3,143 posts, read 1,933,065 times
Reputation: 3266
Certainly renewables have made a lot of good progress, and I'm hopeful for the future.

With that said, the article is pretty confusing. An apples-to-apples number is the so-called "levelized cost of energy" (LCOE). The article mentions a Lazard study from 2017 which gives an LCOE cost of $82/MHh for solar plus ten hours of battery storage. That's quite high compared to conventional sources. The Xcel table lists $36/MWh, but that apparently takes into account tax credits, and there's no mention of how much storage is supplied.

We'll have to still be a bit patient I think. Again, I'm hopeful for the future of these technologies, but I don't see that we're there yet.

Last edited by hikernut; 01-17-2018 at 11:19 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 11:38 AM
 
3,806 posts, read 3,993,771 times
Reputation: 2566
Thanks for mentioning the pricing unit difference and conversion rate. I should have noticed. Even put on same pricing unit, the difference in cost above and below table line remains huge, if I am understanding correctly. Will try to read some or all of the hyperlinks later.


One more nuance I think is worth mentioning is that the comparison to current coal plants is that the coal being used now might have been bought on long-term deals negotiated awhile or long ago. I'd need to hear / see more about coal future prices but if coal is cheaper now than when the coal being delivered and used now was priced then future operation of existing coal plants could be, probably is cheaper than current coal. It would seem so given how cheap the new conventional tech generation proposals are priced (be it coal or natural gas, they compete with each other on price). A future comparison should be fairly future price vs future price, not present to future. Excel says they are going to do that and this energy plan will be contingent on that comparison.


The tax credits for renewables and overall tax treatment of All energy sources are a somewhat detached / hidden part of the energy cost equation. Some squawking about renewable tax credits may not have minded tax breaks for other energy sources. Any tax credit will eventually have to covered by taxpayers generally and individuals pay about 90% of federal taxes. A full and fair comparison of total costs to consumers would include consideration of tax revenues losses that will have to be made up in taxes from individuals.


Also, while proposals are sorta "what you got", companies could find reasons not to sign on the dotted line at the end or original investors could stick much of cost over-runs on later investors. Or they could default somewhere along the line. This is true of any group but should not be forgotten for any.

Last edited by NW Crow; 01-17-2018 at 12:22 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
3,143 posts, read 1,933,065 times
Reputation: 3266
The inclusion of the table doesn't add much useful information in my opinion, and probably creates a lot of confusion. It seems to be just the amortized cost of building the generation facility(?), which isn't useful in comparing such disparate types of power generation.

We are simply left to trust that the analysis done by Carbon Tracker is reasonable, as even the linked article is extremely sparse on detail.

Again, we'll have to wait and see...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,798 posts, read 4,901,271 times
Reputation: 17166
For more information about the future of energy watch this

https://www.wimp.com/ramez-naam-on-t...ure-of-energy/

The future is so bright you're going to need shades!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2018, 10:23 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,403 posts, read 39,732,014 times
Reputation: 23426
Colorado's 'Bright' alternative energy future was very much toted in the 1960's and 1970's... then the Gov came along and offered 'rebates / credits' and the sharks began circling and draining the potential. (over priced the equipment, by 2-3x the new 'rebates'...)

Yesterday the front range was very stinkn' BROWN from COS to FoCo...

Not impressive from the ground or the air.

and the steam plume from St Vrain's silly NG reminded me of a day when there were more 'excellent' non-carbon options.

Poof, GONE is the potential for that.

Alternative energy will likely stay sub-20%, probably about 7% of power,
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Colorado
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 AM.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top