Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Research from Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance group (BNEF) shows that solar power is becoming cheap enough to push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. Solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S., and the same will happen in quick-growing markets such as China and India by 2021. With green energy taking root quicker than experts anticipated, some believe that global carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels may actually decline after 2026. This is opposite of the International Energy Agency’s central forecast, which sees emissions rising steadily for decades to come.

    BNEF’s conclusions about renewables and their impact on fossil fuels are most dramatic. Electricity from photovoltaic panels costs almost a quarter of what it did in 2009 and is likely to fall another 66 percent by 2040. Onshore wind, which has dropped 30 percent in price in the past eight years, will fall another 47 percent by the end of BNEF’s forecast horizon. That means even in places like China and India, which are rapidly installing coal plants, solar will start providing cheaper electricity as soon as the early 2020s. “These tipping points are all happening earlier and we just can’t deny that this technology is getting cheaper than we previously thought,” said Henbest.
     
  2. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Sounds good.

    Remove all government subsidies for solar power since they don't need it.

    The big thing that these guys (I think intentionally) overlook is that they say, "see, unsubsized solar power costs only 11-30 cents per KWH over the life of the product"! What they forget is that last time I checked, the sun isn't out all day, peak usage is at sundown when people get back home from work, and some days get far less sun than others, not to mention the effect the seasons have on solar energy the further you are from the equator. So you have to factor in the cost over the life of the product of batteries to store the excess capacity for when its needed, and the environmental cost of mining those materials and recycling them to come to a real world true market price.

    I think solar is a no-brainer in remote and/or desert environments near the equator, and its great as a supplement to the grid, but these "fossil fuels are going to go out of business" nonsense is just that.
     
  3. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    I guess the way I see it, have you ever seen coal ash? In my home state of NC Duke Energy has stepped into with coal ash with the Dan River disaster. The idea that we need to burn more coal to be a be economically competitive is stupid at best, an environmental disaster at worst. Outside of WV I really don't see too many people in the US who want to burn more coal for power. Duke is trying to run away from it as fast as they can.
     
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  4. livfree

    livfree [H]ard|Gawd

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    Fuck coal,

    Fuck every single person in the state of WV that keeps fighting every single energy source except coal. There's a huge group of people about 40 mins south of where I go to college that is trying to fight fucking natural gas extension even because 'it puts miners out of work!'

    Yeah, and it puts your kids out of having healthy lungs. Hicks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  5. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    This.

    Yes, it's getting cheaper, but without the subsidies it still much more expensive. Eliminate ALL the special subsidies and let them ALL complete on an even table.

    There's also the expense of building/maintaining fossil fuel power plants to pick up the slack when the sun isn't shinning.
    So you not only have the expense of the solar panels and also have to pay for a natural gas plant for raining days/night.
     
  6. naib

    naib Gawd

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    King Coal: Those pesky solar panels! they are killing the demand for coal as a sources of power! what are we to do
    Minion Coal: We could just wait until nighttime
     
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  7. Commander Shepard

    Commander Shepard [H]ard|Gawd

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    Better get your dick lubed up, because you'll have to fuck every single person in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, Wyoming, Illinois, Montana, and Indiana, too. Coal ain't limited to WV.
     
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  8. STR

    STR Gawd

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    I can get behind a level playing field so long as it's actually level. So how about we remove the subsides we gave to fossil fuel as well? See, all the waste generated by wind, solar and nuclear is solid (and mostly created during construction), so by law the plant builders have to pay to dispose of it.

    Fossil fuels, however, mostly emit gaseous and airborne particulate waste, and through current law get to blow it out into the atmosphere. The costs of the waste are thus "externalized" (econ term) on the rest of us via climate change and healthcare costs due to the particulates and ozone.

    So let's charge the plants for carbon and other wastes and see what the market settles on. Unless you're going to justify why gaseous waste should be treated differently from solid waste.
     
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  9. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    And the funny thing is that the power industries were the ones that bought up this point.
     
  10. MikeTrike

    MikeTrike [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah! Oh...

    upload_2017-6-17_14-4-23.png
     
  11. Liver

    Liver 2[H]4U

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    Technically the sun is out all day. Just saying.
     
  12. Mohonri

    Mohonri [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ok, a few things need clarifying here:

    1) the "subsidies" all the anti-fossil-fuel folks reference are deductions allowed to *any* business for capital and R&D investments. They aren't some special carveout for fossil fuels. So it's a bit dishonest to claim that fossil fuels are getting an unfair advantage here.
    2) the amount of money "spent" on these deductions is huge because the industry is huge. In terms of dollars per kilowatt-hour of capacity, it's tiny compared to the actual subsidies (rebates, incentives) plowed into renewables. Fossil fuels get a measly six hundredths of a cent per kwh. Solar get almost a dollar.

    Fair enough. But first you have to build a model that accurately predicts both the environmental impact of that waste and the subsequent economic impact. Scientists have consistently failed at the first, and everyone has consistently failed at the second.

    This is a very important point that a lot of people often miss. No matter how much solar and wind capacity you have, you still have to maintain standby capacity (coal, natural gas, whatever), because sun and wind are themselves unreliable. If we had a cheap, efficient way of storing enormous amounts of energy, we could do with less reserve capacity, but that problem has not been solved yet.

    All that said, I'm excited to see alternative energy get cheaper and more accessible. I'd love to put a bunch of solar panels on my roof and never pay an electric bill again. But it doesn't make sense financially yet, even with all the rebates.
     
  13. aaronspink

    aaronspink Limp Gawd

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    Sure and while we are at it, lets remove all the subsidies that NG, coal, and oil get too!

    Power companies have been power shifting for decades. Most power companies are already planning lots more power shifting as well. The various power shifting solutions drastically lower overall power generation cost by requiring significantly less idling plants.
     
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  14. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot Gawd

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    Toss out the subsides/tax breaks/favorable trade agreements for ALL other energy sources and let markets and consumers figure it out.

    IF, and it is a big IF, this report is anywhere near correct, seems that Paris agreement was mostly useless after all.
     
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  15. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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  16. dgz

    dgz 2[H]4U

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    You're not even an oil tycoon, just grunt in big oil. Are you really this shortsighted?

    Coal needs to die yesterday. Anything is better than this toxic mix.
     
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  17. aaronspink

    aaronspink Limp Gawd

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    Appalachian coal is literally the most uneconomical energy source out there. It cost 40x per ton of coal compared to the mountain west reserves because it is both deeper and thinner. The mountain west coal fields literally remove 50ish feet of top soil and have a 200-400ft coal seam while Appalachian coal is much deeper and mostly 50-100ft thick. Mountain west coal operations basically look like normal Quarry operations and is basically fully mechanized.
     
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  18. MikeTrike

    MikeTrike [H]ardness Supreme

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    My solar array was subsidized, but I've paid in way more to the feds over the years than I'll ever get back from this one subsidy, or even all subsidies I ever collect over a lifetime of being a U.S. citizen...

    I'll also argue that most people claiming said subsidies in the solar or electric car arena are likely people with decent jobs paying their fair share of taxes to begin with... So basically they're just getting some of their OWN money back...

    What's dishonest is people pretending they know what's best for everyone else... #TaxationIsTheft
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  19. aaronspink

    aaronspink Limp Gawd

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    These days economical coal is pretty much limited to Wyoming/Montana fields. Everything else is far to costly to extract (literally 40x+ more costly per ton of coal).
     
  20. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris Wii was a Novelty

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    While we're worried about bringing back coal jobs instead of adding more high tech renewable energy jobs, we should also be looking to getting Blockbuster VHS business back to get back those lost jobs. How about milk men and window knockers too?
     
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  21. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Why not the same for oil and nuclear power?

    The simple fact is that coal is the only industrial-scale energy source that has been profitably exploited without government subsidization, but coal comes with a number of problems including public health and environmental damage and mining-related injuries and deaths.

    Energy can be stored in a variety of ways, like using excess capacity to pump water up behind a dam.

    You could use solar/wind power to maintain reserves of hydrogen or ammonia for vehicles. I don't understand why ammonia has been ignored as an alternative to gas and electric vehicles in modern times. It's safer than propane, can be generated cleanly or as a byproduct of oil extraction, can be transported by pipelines, and works in regular ICEs with a few modifications. You'd have to fill up twice as often but we could have a clean and locally generated fuel reserve with a low, stable price.
     
  22. Probleminfected

    Probleminfected [H]ard|Gawd

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    Fuck coal miners, what about the whale oil fisherman? They need their industry deregulated and fast tracked back into the domianate fuel source.

    Coal is dead, much like whale oil...
     
  23. EODetroit

    EODetroit [H]ard|Gawd

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    Dude, look in the mirror. He attacked people who think coal is good, you attacked him personally. Get a life, and welcome to my ignore list.
     
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  24. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    Coal, natural gas, or nuclear power would still be needed as a backup. And with the newest clean coal plants having a stack opacity of only 2-5% (versus ~40% for traditional coal plants), I have a feeling coal power will be around for quite some time.
     
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  25. raz-0

    raz-0 2[H]4U

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    One of the biggest problems with solar left out of these things isn't just the obvious subsidies. It's eminent domain and property tax breaks. Solar plants can't return enough profit to cover property taxes. Which means you are limited to installations on existing premises. In population dense areas, the spaces to support significant generation are limited.

    They can claim whatever they like. Where I work we built a solar co-gen field that is nothing but solar on underdeveloped property we owned. We built another over a LARGE parking lot it's great for keeping your car cooler in summer. However, the subsidies have run out for us, and now we are building another NG co-gen plant. Solar isn't cheaper. Also the waste heat from NG allows us to capture it for heating the common hot water loop for heating in winter.

    Having looked up published numbers. The only things with the facility density (term I made up, dunno what might be the real term) to survive in places running NG or coal are nuclear and tidal. Everything else has a MUCH larger footprint per megawatt.
     
  26. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If that was when peak usage was, my electricity wouldn't be free at night. And whether Oil and Gas go away is unknown. I think they'll be around for a while, but I suspect that for heating, AC and cars/trucks, they'll largely go away in my lifetime.
    Coal, IMO, is a dead end product that will go away sooner rather than later. It's more expensive than LNG and it's significantly dirtier and the reality is that younger people want it to die and they are the largest generation.
     
  27. RMCO

    RMCO n00bie

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    Renewable energy is no where near replacing fossil generation. For renewables to replace fossil generation significant advances in energy storage and transmission need to be made.
     
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  28. aaronspink

    aaronspink Limp Gawd

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    Coal simply isn't competitive with NG in on demand applications and increasingly not competitive for continuous operation either. NG is simply cheaper and significantly more modular than coal. And in peaker applications, its online speed is significantly faster.
     
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  29. Cyraxx

    Cyraxx [H]ardness Supreme

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    What's that you say? Capitalism is working? Something must be wrong, in order for us to go solar we have to go full on socialism. It's what Bernie sanders told me.
     
  30. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    He's right. Without the billions in taxpayer funded subsidies being paid to energy companies to manufacture, transport, buy/seize land, construct, maintain, and offset the higher price per kW, the current expanded state of wind and solar would have never occurred.
     
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  31. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    I'll agree with you there. I was commenting about coal since there still seems to be an unfounded fear of it, likely driven by irresponsible/exaggerated media reporting and political propaganda, based on many of the comments here.
     
  32. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    hahaha...he "attacks" millions of people and your ok with that...(just looking for the logic...hmm...ok...no , ummm...)...nope , none there...

    dang ignore lists...always keeping people down...nice
     
  33. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim [H]ard|Gawd

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    You won't miss a thing from the looks of it. I'll pm ya if he ever post's anything above a 6th grade level.
     
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  34. tbonepat11

    tbonepat11 Limp Gawd

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    http://sciencing.com/toxic-chemicals-solar-panels-18393.html

    Don't forget that solar panels are incredibly toxic as are batteries. Disposal is a disaster. Batteries are just as bad. Lots of very hazardous and cancer causing chemicals.

    Nuclear power is and has been the future of e energy for decades now. Coal is still dominant because of the environmental whack jobs attack on nuclear power.
     
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  35. Drakensoul

    Drakensoul Limp Gawd

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    He posted his opinion about coal. Whether or not you took it personally is your own problem. Personally trolling and flaming someone (especially with third-grade name calling) like you did is against the forum rules. Because it's trash behavior.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  36. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You fell for that gimmick? https://comparepower.com/txu-free-weekends-free-nights-unplugged-avoid-a-720-dollar-mistake/

    Peak electricity demand is when people get off from work and return home, and ramps off when people go to sleep: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=830

    The later in the day, the more atmosphere the sun rays penetrate, and the greater the angle of the sun the more dispersed the sun energy is over a wider area. So the peak demand as seen is waaaaay out of the range of peak power output for solar panels even if its not quite dropped to zero yet depending on the season (this concept is why summer is hotter than winter, its all about angles).
     
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  37. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Bloomberg? OK, doesn't that strike anyone else as being no more trustworthy than research paid for by Exxon?
     
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  38. Cyraxx

    Cyraxx [H]ardness Supreme

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    If by that you're referring to small personal income tax deductions, you're incredibly high.

    It's simply the consumers making the decision that they would prefer solar power - partially due to the media attention to global warming.
     
  39. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    And yet my electric bill has fallen 30%. I also don't use TXU...didn't even know they were still around. You go with what works for you. I'm going to keep my place at 68 (or lower) at night and let it warm up to 78 during the day (which means the AC never runs till 8PM, even when it's 100+ out)
     
  40. GlowingGhoul

    GlowingGhoul Whines about Whiners

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    "Solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S., and the same will happen in quick-growing markets such as China and India by 2021."

    If not exactly fake, it's certainly deceptive news.

    The "cost of new coal power plants" is only more expensive in the US and Germany because both countries impose crushing costs on those plants to prevent them from being built. They only reason they'll supposedly become more expensive in China and India in 2021 is, again, because of commitments, likely to be broken, by both countries to impose their own crushing costs to prevent them from being built.
     
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