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Author: waterfell Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 18415  
Subject: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 12:47 AM
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The California state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued a report on what it will take to provide 33% of the state's electricity with renewable energy by the year 2020. The current mandate is supposed to be 20% by 2010, but it is probably going to be 2013 or later to make the 20% goal.

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/A7691A23-1B7E-4B02-8858-...

From the report (page 4 of the pdf):
According to the scenario described in the chart above, a 33% RPS [Renewables Portfolio Standard] would require about 40,000 GWh of additional renewable energy beyond what is required for the current 20% goal.

From page 8 of the pdf:
Construction costs are increasing for both renewable and conventional generation, and the RPS program has seen a rise in bid and contract prices since the program began in 2002 (see our July 2008 Report for more discussion). Reaching a 33% target will require procurement of more expensive renewables -- preliminary analysis indicates that such a target may require a state investment of about $60 billion in generation and transmission from 2010 to 2020.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

$60 billion for 40,000 GWh (per year) of generation. (I'm pretty sure this generation is on a yearly basis. No other time frame makes sense.)

I calculate this at around $13,000 per kilowatt. This is very high. Most of the new nuclear plant construction costs I have seen are between $2000 and $5000 per kilowatt. The $60 billion in the renewables cost does include for new transmission lines, but this is still awfully expensive.

- Pete
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Author: sykesix Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15851 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 1:54 AM
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$60 billion for 40,000 GWh (per year) of generation. (I'm pretty sure this generation is on a yearly basis. No other time frame makes sense.)

I calculate this at around $13,000 per kilowatt. This is very high. Most of the new nuclear plant construction costs I have seen are between $2000 and $5000 per kilowatt. The $60 billion in the renewables cost does include for new transmission lines, but this is still awfully expensive.

- Pete


I am a huge proponent of renewables, but I believe in the gadarene rush towards renewable energy there has been a loss of focus on the goal.

If we take a step backwards and look at the whole picture, the goal is really to use fewer fossil fuels, yet maintain the same lifestyle.

Renewables can help do that, but right now the most cost effective approach is conservation. It is not as sexy, but it would save a ton of money until the renewable technology catches up.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15852 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 12:26 PM
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"the most cost effective approach is conservation."

This has been true ever since electric power rates began to rise. We are told that until the Arab Oil Embargo of the '70s, electric power companies had been able to steadily decrease the cost of power production--usually by building larger, more efficient plants.

Businesses routinely make the calculation. If they install this piece of more efficient equipment, how long will the power saving take to return the additional investment.

But individuals are far more resistant to change. Insulating your home has been wise since the first energy crisis. But how many have done that? Compact fluorescents have be more economical than incandenscents (due to longer service life) from day one, yet many resist them.

Energy saving appliances like low flow toilets and low energy washing machines seem to be resisted by the public.

Requiring suppliers to change their ways seems to be the only way to make it happen. But that takes years. New insulation building codes, requiring solar panels on rooftops, energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning all help, but acceptance takes forever. 20 years to make a measurable dent in demand is typical.

And then there is the issue of gas mileage of cars and electric vehicles, etc. Very controversial. No one wants to be first. Again years to make a dent in demand. Ethanol has perhaps been the most successful recent venture.

How can we do conservation better faster?

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15853 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 1:08 PM
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Paul,

You get the rec for the overall truth in what you say but a few things I question.

Compact fluorescents have be more economical than incandenscents (due to longer service life) from day one, yet many resist them.

I quickly went around replacing perfectly good incandenscent bulbs with CFLs feeling I was doing a great thing, only to discover that CFLs in locations where you need lighting for a very short time have a very short life. I live in a condo where windows are limited to living areas and the bathroom and storage area CFLs lasted only a matter of weeks due to the one and two minute on times. Perhaps this will or has been fixed but I have put the old bulbs back in these locations.


Ethanol has perhaps been the most successful recent venture.


Ethanol from corn has turned into an unmitigated disaster with massive amounts of investor money lost in companies that got crushed by higher corn prices and huge hedging losses. This makes no mention of what happened to food and fertilizer prices as well as corn exports. I really feel the whole thing turned into an ill thought out farm subsidy program.

It would have been better if they could have finished the research into non-food ethanol but even there what works well in a lab does not seem to scale up very well.

Meanwhile we are stuck with a bunch of new laws, expensive cars designed to use the stuff and subsidies that governments can ill affort.

JMNSHO

Tim

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15854 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 2:12 PM
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Tim, the lesson from Who Killed the Electric Car is that powerful forces are at work on every aspect of energy and its interface with public opinion and politics. Part of that is hiring professionals to oppose all other viewpoints. Part of that is funding scientific studies based on hairbrain science to create research papers which though questionable can be blasted at the public from every front to create the illusion of conflicting facts.

That being said all must be sorted out repeatedly.

Yes, CFLs are not perfect. In addition to short life, they do not fit in all fixtures, take a while to warm up and give full light, and some cite the mercury contamination on disposal. (Some also note that incandescents are made in USA, but CFLs will be made in China.) Still this is an easy way to reduce consumer power consumption by big numbers--if fully implemented. And that kind of conservation could reduce the number of coal fired power plants we need.

The success of ethanol is controversial, but its market penetration is remarkable compared to almost any other conservation program you can name. It has reduced our dependence on foreign oil. Blaming ethanol for food shortages is simply wrong. Blaming ethanol for high grain prices is debatable. Ethanol is only one of three factors. To put this in perspective, at 200 bu/acre corn it takes 142 sq mi to support a 50MM gal ethanol plant. That is a plant every 12 mi. In Missouri we have 3 ethanol plants as far as I know. Not even close to saturation. The arguement is grossly exaggerated by the opposition.

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Author: jck101 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15858 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 6:50 PM
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Thats okay, California is flush with cash.

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Author: sykesix Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15859 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 8:13 PM
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But individuals are far more resistant to change. Insulating your home has been wise since the first energy crisis. But how many have done that? Compact fluorescents have be more economical than incandenscents (due to longer service life) from day one, yet many resist them.

Energy saving appliances like low flow toilets and low energy washing machines seem to be resisted by the public.

Requiring suppliers to change their ways seems to be the only way to make it happen. But that takes years. New insulation building codes, requiring solar panels on rooftops, energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning all help, but acceptance takes forever. 20 years to make a measurable dent in demand is typical.

And then there is the issue of gas mileage of cars and electric vehicles, etc. Very controversial. No one wants to be first. Again years to make a dent in demand. Ethanol has perhaps been the most successful recent venture.

How can we do conservation better faster?


Good points and excellent question. One problem with conservation is there is usually an upfront cost, which then ideally yields savings over a period of time. But people are reluctant to pay the upfront cost.

Another problem that I think is bigger in some ways is that home owners don't understand how their houses use energy and then spending money in the wrong places. For example, window replacement is almost never cost effective, very expensive, yet fairly popular.

Duct sealing is fairly cheap, usually yeilds big savings, but is fairly rare. Same with air sealing. New refrigerators use vastly energy (like 70% less) than older refrigerators (say 15 years old and older). We have fairly cheap electricity around about $0.08/Kwh. Replace an old fridge with a new one will pay for itself in about five years.

You mentioned building codes. Advanced framing techniques

http://www.buildingenergyinfo.org/wiki/index.php?title=Resid...

use less wood, less labor, and allow for a much higher R-value. It should be code everywhere. It isn't.

So where does the money come from to do all this? Waterfell noted that utilities are paying big bucks to bring renewable energy online as part of a government mandate. Then their customers pay higher rates forever.

But what if there was a conservation mandate? It would still have a cost, but customers would pay less in utility bills, and those savings would continue on for the life of the structure.

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Author: jck101 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15861 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 8:33 PM
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So where does the money come from to do all this? Waterfell noted that utilities are paying big bucks to bring renewable energy online as part of a government mandate. Then their customers pay higher rates forever.

I think it is already in place in CA, here is my local utility energy efficiency rebates:

Duct sealing: $300
Central Air: Up to $1100
Clothes Washer: $100 - $200
Cool Roof: $0.20/sft
Dishwasher: $25-$75
Heat Pump: $400-$500
Pool Pump: $100
Fridge: $40-70
Room AC: $50
Solar water heater: $1500
Whole house fan: $100

http://www.smud.org/en/rebates/Pages/index.aspx

Really, what more can you add to that?

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15862 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 8:51 PM
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A little geothermal company I've been following and owned (off and on) for four years originally were going to sell their output to California. Three of the projects were in Nevada and one was in Oregon but all were going to be built for the California market (or so the plan was).

It was on their website, part of the business plan and one of those "understood" things. The drilling on one of the projects was going well and suddenly their was a 20 year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with Nevada Power Company. I wonder how much of this "poaching" is going on?

The first project is drilled up, funded, and is supposed to "TURN ON THE POWER! 4th quarter of 2009".

http://www.nevadageothermal.com/s/BlueMountain.asp

The stock price got hammered really hard because there was a rumour that they would not be able to fund the plant but the company has assured us the funding is in place and the construction has already begun.

http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080930/0439009.html

"In the current credit environment, NGP finances are not affected and we are pleased to have secured US$180 million from TCW Asset Management to complete the construction of the Faulkner 1 geothermal power plant. The next phase of development is well underway for the Blue Mountain 'Faulkner 1' power plant and we are looking forward to keeping you informed as the project moves towards production at the end of 2009," stated Brian Fairbank, President & CEO.

Tim

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15863 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/8/2008 9:20 PM
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A little geothermal company I've been following and owned (off and on) for four years originally were going to sell their output to California. Three of the projects were in Nevada and one was in Oregon but all were going to be built for the California market (or so the plan was).

It was on their website, part of the business plan and one of those "understood" things. The drilling on one of the projects was going well and suddenly their was a 20 year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with Nevada Power Company. I wonder how much of this "poaching" is going on?

The first project is drilled up, funded, and is supposed to "TURN ON THE POWER! 4th quarter of 2009".


Note: I've been following the drilling and now the construction on Google earth, totally kool.

If your interested do a search for Winnemucca, NV, then use the ruler function to look 21 miles due west. From that location look 1.9 miles north and you will see the main pad with a half dozen other drilling pads nearby. There is a rock hill just to the east of the pads which shows up on the website pictures.

While there is obviously a time lag, it still adds some interest.

Tim

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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15866 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 2:31 PM
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""the most cost effective approach is conservation."

True..some conservation is easy to do....others have long payback periods - and folks aren't willing to invest for 10 year payback when the average American family moves once every five years!

"Businesses routinely make the calculation. If they install this piece of more efficient equipment, how long will the power saving take to return the additional investment."

Yes, and the business I was in, telecom, had an 18 month payback requirement. Otherwise , it wasn't funded, unless they got a state or federal subsidy to bring it down to that level!

"But individuals are far more resistant to change. "

True.....individuals might not have the upfront cash to save down the road. So? Or the payback is too long.

"Insulating your home has been wise since the first energy crisis."

Depends upon payback. If you are planning on moving in 5 years and it is ten year payback, you might not get your money back.

"Compact fluorescents have be more economical than incandenscents (due to longer service life) from day one, yet many resist them."

I had CFLs ten years ago. One of them smoked itself - I was away. Came home to house full of stench of burning something. Quickly traced it to panasonic ring type CFL.

I have some 150W can type flourescents in Kitchen.....had 120W miser bulbs in them. The CFL replacements are horrible. Take 3-5 min to come up to full brightness..dim to start - get brigher. I've gone through replacing them all several times. They are getting better, but still don't last as long as incandescents and cost 3-5 times as much! No 'savings' cost wise - a penalty. They are 23-30W replacements.

Most of other lights in house not on more than 15-20 min a day at most, and some on/off frequently. The one front room light is CFL and it takes a special timer to run it...mechanical timer not recommended - has to be electronic.

"Energy saving appliances like low flow toilets and low energy washing machines seem to be resisted by the public."

Yep.....most of the slightly older ones you need to flush twice to get stuff down them. Getting better, but my 3 toilets, which get flushed 2 or 3 times a day, aren't going to save me any money, especially when I add 300 gal a week to the swimming pool, and 1000 gallons a week or more to water the grass. Literally a drop in the bucket.

" New insulation building codes, requiring solar panels on rooftops, energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning all help, but acceptance takes forever. "


Yes, and it runs up the cost of buying the home in the first place, and if you live in Portland, forget solar power......And most a/c units and heating now reasonably efficient.....you can build a near zero net energy house...it just costs about 20% more...and most folks would rather have granite counter tops, and extra room, or other upgrades first.....or a less expensive house.



"And then there is the issue of gas mileage of cars and electric vehicles, etc. Very controversial. No one wants to be first."

For good reason. You buy a lemon, you get stuck with it. Ever hear of YUGO? cheap transportation. Folks want cars with a proven track record.

Where's your Tesla? Still not out there......or your fuel cell car? Or they hydrogen economy?

When it is 30 below in Minneapolis, just how do you heat up your car and defrost the windows in your all electric car?



"Ethanol has perhaps been the most successful recent venture."

Ethanol has sucked up 50 billion in subsidies and has done nothing but convert one form of energy (coal, and natural gas, plus billions of gallons of water) into a poor substitute for gasoline at tremendous environmental impact (emits more CO2). it is a gigantic boondoggle that makes lots o farmers, agri business and politicians happy. Nothing else. It has run up food prices world wide, including eggs and poultry.


"How can we do conservation better faster?"

Stimulate research to provide cost effective solutions with immediate benefits. Don't throw money down ethanol ratholes.

t.

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15867 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 2:55 PM
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The CFL replacements are horrible. Take 3-5 min to come up to full brightness..dim to start - get brigher. I've gone through replacing them all several times. They are getting better, but still don't last as long as incandescents and cost 3-5 times as much! No 'savings' cost wise - a penalty. They are 23-30W replacements.

...

Ethanol has sucked up 50 billion in subsidies and has done nothing but convert one form of energy (coal, and natural gas, plus billions of gallons of water) into a poor substitute for gasoline at tremendous environmental impact (emits more CO2). it is a gigantic boondoggle that makes lots o farmers, agri business and politicians happy. Nothing else. It has run up food prices world wide, including eggs and poultry.


"How can we do conservation better faster?"

Stimulate research to provide cost effective solutions with immediate benefits. Don't throw money down ethanol ratholes.

t.


Scheesch T, that's pretty much what I said, but you get the rec anyway.

Paul seems to have got religion and is doing some preaching but might want to step back and look a bit closer.

More research before selling the goods would probably have been a good investment, especially with the ethanol boondoggle.

Unfortunately throwing the massive subsidies at those things makes everyone a bit more careful/cynical when the real thing finally makes it here.

JMNSHO

Tim

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15869 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 4:20 PM
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"But what if there was a conservation mandate?"

We had one of those after the Energy Crisis of the '70s. Utilities had crews that would come through your home search for energy losers and advise you what to do.

Usually they told you to add insulation.

And I know some people did add insulation when heatings costs went up.

But I suspect most of the US did nothing.

We need the enthusiasm of the scrap metal drives of World War II to make this work. Otherwise, people yawn and nothing happens.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15870 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 4:42 PM
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"Paul seems to have got religion and is doing some preaching."

No, we have some people on this board who are biased and misinformed when it comes to ethanol.

Ethanol has done quite well doing what it was supposed to do. Provide an alternative fuel extender for our gas tanks.

And by subsidizing it in the '70s, it was possible to get plants built, work out the details to improve efficiency, so that investors were willing to take a chance. That gave us signficant capacity when we needed it--but after a 20 year delay.

Most of the other stuff posted against ethanol has a grain of fact in it but is grossly exaggerated.

Energy requirements in the US are so huge that almost any alternative one suggests must go through the same learning curve as ethanol and is 20 years behind it in implementation.

And yes, oil shale, electric vehicles, solar and dozens of ideas were around in the '70s. Ethanol is the only one to have achieved reasonable implementation.

The road to innovation is rarely smoothe and direct. Someone has to take risks. And it does take years. Replacing all the coal fired power plants in the US will take years too--even if we had decided already what to replace them with.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15871 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 5:43 PM
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"Ethanol has perhaps been the most successful recent venture."

Ethanol has sucked up 50 billion in subsidies and has done nothing but convert one form of energy (coal, and natural gas, plus billions of gallons of water) into a poor substitute for gasoline at tremendous environmental impact (emits more CO2). it is a gigantic boondoggle that makes lots o farmers, agri business and politicians happy. Nothing else. It has run up food prices world wide, including eggs and poultry.

---------Telegraph

Lets take those one at a time.

"Ethanol has sucked up 50 billion in subsidies." Most use of ethanol is optional. A few states have requirements, but the feds merely require oxygenates. Oil companies elected to replace MTBE with ethanol. It was not required. MTBE may have been banned in a few states.

In the early days the subsidies on gasohol took the form of reduced federal gas taxes. The reduction in gas taxes has been scaled back by Congress.

"convert one form of energy (coal, and natural gas, plus billions of gallons of water) into a poor substitute for gasoline"

Yes, and that is exactly what ethanol is supposed to do. It is a form of energy that goes into your existing vehicle with no modification to your vehicle. And the coal or natural gas is a resource we have. Hence, it does reduce our requirement for imported oil. The water requirement is exaggerated. Most of it comes from rain. And is still around.

"It has run up food prices world wide, including eggs and poultry." That is debatable. The dollar has been weak. All commodity prices have been high. World demand has been high. All grain prices have been up. Most food companies spend more on packaging than they do on grain product. They spend more on advertizing than they do on grain product. Grain is a small part of what you pay for food. Far more goes to labor, transportation, and other costs. Rising grain prices is an excuse to raise prices. If it wasn't grain, it would have been blamed on something else. Corn prices are now down to $3.40 or so/bu from a high of $5.50 or so, and a previous of $2.00. Do you now expect food prices to fall?

On poultry, it takes 1.5 lb of grain to raise a lb of poultry. At 3.40/bu, that is $0.059/lb of corn, or $0.089/lb of chicken at most. Not very much compared to the $1 or more per lb most pay in the grocery store. Most of the increase went to cover other costs.

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15872 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 6:40 PM
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And yes, oil shale, electric vehicles, solar and dozens of ideas were around in the '70s. Ethanol is the only one to have achieved reasonable implementation.

The reason corn based ethanol has achieved wide implementation has nothing to do with it being a better solution than other alternative energy sources. In fact, it's the worst of the lot. The only reason it has been adopted is that it has the backing of a very powerful farm lobby.

Elan

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Author: DDHv Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15873 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 6:44 PM
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New refrigerators use vastly energy (like 70% less) than older refrigerators (say 15 years old and older).

We replaced our 20 year old refrigerator about three years back, after carefully shopping for a high efficiency model (it cost almost the same as the lower efficiency ones). It chopped our electric bill by about 50%. The bill has gone up a little since, we've added some high efficiency florescent lights for early plant starting.

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Author: DDHv Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15874 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/9/2008 6:57 PM
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More research before selling the goods would probably have been a good investment, especially with the ethanol boondoggle.

Unfortunately throwing the massive subsidies at those things makes everyone a bit more careful/cynical when the real thing finally makes it here.


Note that individuals have the same advantage in small renewable energy projects that they do in small caps. The return on investment for research in these is too poor for the large investors. For the individual - I could afford over 200 hours (average) to save 10% on average $20,000 projects! :-)

I look for places where I can replace money with labor, sort them out according to expected % return, then work on the best available. In both small caps and small projects.

No $20K projects yet. The most expensive was around $5K, and would have been less but for a goof that required some rebuilding. Just finished paying for itself, and should be good for longer than I'm likely to live.

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15883 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/10/2008 12:56 PM
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I'll agree that the farm lobby played a role in ethanol development. But I doubt they could have crammed a truely bad program down our throats. Ethanol does have merit. But yes, it is only one step in the transition to other energy sources.

But take a look at the other technologies mentioned.

oil shale: the industry does not lack for lobbyists. Their technology has not proved to be cost effective.

electric vehicles: may still get there, but Who Killed the Electric Car makes it clear the lobbyists mostly worked against the EV-1. Some say the technology of the day was primitive.

solar: weak lobbys seem to be a problem here. The technology is still too costly for widespread implementation without major subsidies.

The picture that emerges is that we have ethanol because the economics were favorable. The technology worked out and solutions were found to the problems that prevented its use.

I certainly think we should be working on other technologies too. But are they ready and being blocked by powerful intests? Or can govt do things to kickstart them as it did with ethanol?

Windfarms seem to be the next technology ready to make a run at the market. The need for now is the electric grid to get power from where there is wind to market.

Some think coal to liquids will get going soon if oil prices bottom at over $40/bbl. (Not very environmental though.)

POETs, second largest ethanol producer after ADM, just posted a message saying cost of cellulosic ethanol in their labs looks like $2.50/gal with best available technology. That is about double what is needed to be profitable. So cellulosic looks like it could be 10 years away.

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15884 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/10/2008 2:18 PM
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But I doubt they could have crammed a truely bad program down our throats.

I don't.

oil shale: the industry does not lack for lobbyists. Their technology has not proved to be cost effective.

electric vehicles: may still get there, but Who Killed the Electric Car makes it clear the lobbyists mostly worked against the EV-1. Some say the technology of the day was primitive.

solar: weak lobbys seem to be a problem here. The technology is still too costly for widespread implementation without major subsidies.


None of these have an established population whose livelihood depends on the technology the way hundreds of thousands of people (the farmers and all the small town residents in the corn belt) depend on corn.

The picture that emerges is that we have ethanol because the economics were favorable.

The economics of corn ethanol production became favorable only after the government forced ethanol down our throat as a gasoline oxygenate. It is still not favorable as a gasoline substitute. Never will be.

Elan

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Author: BenSolar Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15891 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/10/2008 11:41 PM
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Where's your Tesla? Still not out there.

The Tesla Roadster is in commercial production.

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=62

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/convertibles/112_0810_20...

105 mpg gasoline equivalent, Motor Trend says, along with scorching performance.

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Author: FoolOfStuff Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15898 of 18415
Subject: Re: Renewable energy cost - California Date: 11/11/2008 5:13 PM
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Don't throw money down ethanol ratholes.

The economics of corn ethanol production became favorable only after the government forced ethanol down our throat as a gasoline oxygenate. It is still not favorable as a gasoline substitute. Never will be.

None of these have an established population whose livelihood depends on the technology the way hundreds of thousands of people (the farmers and all the small town residents in the corn belt) depend on corn.


Tell you what, I'd much prefer to put my money into the pockets of that established populations' rathole than some radical theocracy's. Just give me the choice. You can buy gasoline and I'll buy a blend until the price of the Volts of the world come down to some R.O.I. we can live with.

The grand boondogle of ethanol subsidies is what percentage of the money we spend on the Iraq war? Does it even cover two months? How many extra aircraft carriers does it take to guarantee free-flowing oil? Have you known anyone K.I.A. while trying to keep the lid on the Middle East? How much do we spend defending Iowa? Or Brazil?

Corn ethanol isn't the answer but it's a start. And it's now.

Mandate that all gasoline powered vehicles that are purchased in the U.S. be able to handle standard blends of eth/methanol. Make it part of the car industry bailout.

Give me the choice of what fuel to use. Break the oil monopoly. Let the consumer pick the winners.

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