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Mon Sep 23, 2013, 04:45 PM

Wind power now competitive with conventional sources

Source: Boston Globe

The state’s biggest utilities, in a milestone for New England’s wind power industry, have signed long-term contracts to buy wind-generated electricity at prices below the costs of most conventional sources, such as coal and nuclear plants.

The contracts, filed jointly Friday with the Department of Public Utilities, represent the largest renewable energy purchase to be considered by state regulators at one time. If approved, the contracts would eventually save customers between 75 cents and $1 a month, utilities estimated.

<snip>

The projects, in various stages of permitting or development, are expected to begin operations between 2014 and 2016.

John Howat, senior energy analyst at the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center, said he needed to review the details before he could provide a thorough assessment of the contracts. But his initial reaction to the price — on average, less than 8 cents per kilowatt hour? “Wow.”

<snip>

Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/09/22/suddenly-wind-competitive-with-conventional-power-sources/g3RBhfV440kJwC6UyVCjhI/story.html



Via Bill Moyers:
https://twitter.com/BillMoyersHQ/status/382180161099423744

BillMoyers.com @BillMoyersHQ

The bottom line –> Suddenly, Massachusetts finds that wind power is cheaper than fossil fuels. http://b.globe.com/1gSZ4D9

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Wind power now competitive with conventional sources (Original post)
bananas Sep 2013 OP
Bill USA Sep 2013 #1
pediatricmedic Sep 2013 #5
last1standing Sep 2013 #13
pediatricmedic Sep 2013 #17
last1standing Sep 2013 #18
pediatricmedic Sep 2013 #20
last1standing Sep 2013 #23
kentauros Sep 2013 #29
ConcernedCanuk Sep 2013 #16
progressoid Sep 2013 #6
Kolesar Sep 2013 #11
SunSeeker Sep 2013 #15
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #2
avaistheone1 Sep 2013 #3
Hydra Sep 2013 #4
Nuclear Unicorn Sep 2013 #7
Squinch Sep 2013 #8
jpak Sep 2013 #9
Kolesar Sep 2013 #10
diane in sf Sep 2013 #24
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #12
Heathen57 Sep 2013 #14
Pterodactyl Sep 2013 #19
The Wizard Sep 2013 #21
adirondacker Sep 2013 #22
farmbo Sep 2013 #25
Kolesar Sep 2013 #27
Southerner Sep 2013 #26
Kolesar Sep 2013 #28

Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 05:14 PM

1. Now there are NO MORE EXCUSES!!


recommended!

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:13 PM

5. Except wind doesn't provide continuous power 24/7, conventional plants are still needed

Not to mention a dated power distribution system that really needs modernization. This really needs to be a high priority infrastructure project.

Research money and funding needs to go into storage sources next. The molten salts used with some solar plants is a good example of what is needed for continuous power. Without a storage source, we have run the conventional plants at full standby power for when the wind dies down or the sun sets.

The wind and solar pieces of the puzzle are coming into place, now we need to focus on the other pieces. Once we have everything, we need to go really big on renewables.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 07:31 PM

13. Google Ludington Pumped Storage Facility

That is one answer for core energy using renewables. Right now, Ludington is being served by a coal powered plant and so its major benefit is to provide power during peak times at a lower cost for the energy company. However, if the facility were served by offshore wind turbines it could service the area with core energy for nothing more than the cost of initial construction and maintenance. Consumer's Energy and DTE have even proposed this plan but the state of Michigan refuses to give them the go-ahead.

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Response to last1standing (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:29 PM

17. Really good idea for areas that can do this

I am guessing we could find 15 or 20 sites in the US that would be perfect for this.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:48 PM

18. I've done research on this and we could do it in many locations.

The Great Lakes have the potential of providing over 700 Gigawatts of energy using current offshore wind power technology alone. When one considers that the entire US uses just over one terabyte, that's pretty major. Much of this energy could be sent to pumped storage and therefore converted into core energy. That doesn't even begin to consider the nation's coasts or other lakes (which bring the total offshore capacity to over four terabytes) that could use the same type of pumped storage.

Of course, since not all energy needs to be core, not all of this potential needs to be harnessed in order to greatly remove us from coal and nuclear. Even when considering the lost energy from transmission over distances, there is still far more possible energy than our requirements and this doesn't even touch on other renewables.

Yes, we have the ability to almost eliminate coal/nuclear from our country. The only thing stopping us is the fact that most energy companies make their greatest profits from building new plants - not from generating electricity. The cost of a new coal/gas plant or nuclear facility is far greater than wind farms and the maintenance of those farms is less as well.

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Response to last1standing (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:35 PM

20. I like the idea of going big with this, but not sure we could on your scale

You need a mesa about 50 to 100 meters above the main body of water with a stable hydrology. It needs to be large and flat enough that a reservoir can be dug and not have any cracks or crevices. Then you need to bring the power lines to this as well. These areas are not as plentiful as you may think.

An alternative might be large concrete tanks the size of stadiums built on hills with tanks below. A little more costly, but could provide long term use and be located almost anywhere except flatlands. The long term benefits should be obvious.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #20)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 10:35 PM

23. Of course not every site is ideal but alternatives such as you mentioned could suffice.

Also, it's important to remember that only a certain percentage of energy created must be core. Generally, the number that opponents to renewables use is inflated but the real amount is likely to be only about 30% or so, especially if the grid is reformed to reduce waste.

Imagine a network in which most of the energy generated during the day came from solar while wind turbines filled up these pumped storage facilities for use at night with backup reserves for cloudy days and days without wind (a rarity on the Great Lakes). Of course we could keep the old plants on standby should some natural "perfect storm" arise where we have clouds/rain yet no wind for an extended period but those plants can be turned on remarkably quickly so there would be no need to run them unless a multi-day, no wind, rain storm swept the nation.

The technology is here and will only get better. The question is how long will it take to break the stranglehold of the coal and natural gas interests.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #20)

Wed Sep 25, 2013, 03:47 PM

29. Convert former mountaintop removal sites to pumped-hydro.

There's your "stadium-sized tanks" without having to do much more than clay-line the scooped-out hole the coal companies left behind.

Power lines are quick and easy to build and only require about a 100' wide R.O.W., straight, and line of sight. Look at any aerial image and you can pick out all the ROWs for power and pipelines without much trouble.

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Response to pediatricmedic (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:25 PM

16. Wind will be here forever.

 

.
.
.

oil gas,coal etc. will run out sooner or later.

What we need to improve on is STORAGE for wind and solar.

I read about a system where two huge reservoirs - one at a higher level than the other. When there is more power created than being used, they use the "spare" hydro to pump the water from the lower to the upper.

When demand increases beyond the supply, they they let the reservoirs fill in the gap.

Storage batteries of some improved design would be necessary to get away from the need of nuclear or petroleum power.

That would be nice.

CC

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:14 PM

6. They're ugly!!

Seriously, that's what a RWer told me.




But this is beautiful:

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Response to progressoid (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:52 PM

11. From the beach of L. Michigan in Milwaukee, I can see the brown cloud over Chicago

I can see a cloud like that over Cleveland from an escarpment east of town. I have to breathe that.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 07:36 PM

15. LOL. Reminds me of the pig farmer who loved the smell of pig manure...

He said it smelled like money to him.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 05:23 PM

2. About frigging time! nt

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 05:27 PM

3. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

k&r

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:00 PM

4. Tipping point

Maybe we can start moving toward sanity...or something will happen to destroy all of this progress again.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:30 PM

7. Good news. n/t

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:47 PM

8. Kick

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:48 PM

9. Haters take note

One more lie put to rest.

yup

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:50 PM

10. The Globe say gas is about one cent cheaper

I know that gas fuel costs are going to go up once this current glut of gas gets played out. I don't know if there is enough pipelines to bring gas to New England to generate electricity at a cheaper price than wind. I don't know!

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 01:28 AM

24. And this calculation does account for all the secondary costs of dirty power, mining, radiation,

air and water pollution, health care costs, etc.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:55 PM

12. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, bananas.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 07:35 PM

14. Another Wingnut lie

put in the dumpster by facts.

Remember when the idjuts in the Right's conspiracy bubble kept claiming that wind power would drive up the cost of energy, almost doubling it?

That's the one.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:21 PM

19. Other than the excuse that Kennedys and other rich people don't want them.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:39 PM

21. This ought to get

oil oligarchy money flooding into certain Cayman Islands accounts.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:55 PM

22. Hopefully NY will follow, although I'm not sure how much Cuomo is indebted to the Koch's. nt

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 04:56 PM

25. I Just signed up for wind power at .67 cents kW/hr

...from American Electric Power in Ohio... Which is cheaper than AEP's coal- fired power.

Take that Bob Murray (coal titan)!

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Response to farmbo (Reply #25)

Wed Sep 25, 2013, 02:43 PM

27. 6.7 cents/kW*hr?

In any case, well done!

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 05:14 PM

26. This is possible due to federal subsidies apparently

Somebody posted this in the comments section of the article but not sure if this applies directly to this case:

http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=US13F

If this does apply, then it looks like the power companies will get a big tax credit from the feds for every kwh they generate under these contracts. So, all U.S. taxpayers are making up the difference. Not sure we can celebrate just yet.

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Response to Southerner (Reply #26)

Wed Sep 25, 2013, 02:45 PM

28. The locks and dams on the Ohio River are financed by the taxpayer, too

So, the coal industry only pays about 10% of the transportation cost. So, I am fine with the tax credit.

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