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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-14-11 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. .
Its actually nothing crazy, he says. I have a hard time seeing this creating a global undersupply well have 50 GW of module manufacturing capacity by the end of this year. The goal is doable.

Energy Information for Beginners to Address Myths About Wind and Solar
Previous post by K

In this discussion what is important to know about a watt?

If you have a 100 watt light, it uses 100 watts of electricity, right? But what is the "kilowatthour" or "kwh" on your electric bill?

This is a discussion in its own right. One of the best sites I've found for a quick introduction to basic electric terms every consumer needs can be found here. If you aren't cler on the difference between a watt and a watthour, then go here first:
How much electricity costs, and how they charge you

What the heck is a kilowatt hour?

Before we see how much electricity costs, we have to understand how it's measured. When you buy gas they charge you by the gallon. When you buy electricity they charge you by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). When you use 1000 watts for 1 hour, that's a kilowatt-hour...

When we talk about electricity at the national level, the units are larger:

1 GigaWatt (GW) = 1,000 MegaWatts (MW) = 1,000,000 KiloWatts (KW) = 1,000,000,000 Watts.

If a generator or solar array produces 1000 watts, that means at that instant there are "1000 watts" of electricity coming out of the unit (remember this "instant" term). If that rate continues for 1 hour, it has produced "1000 watt hours" or "1 kwh" of electricity, which is how the power companies sell their product. The unit on your residential bill will be the "kilowatt hour" (kwh). (see Micheal Bluejays site above if this isnt clear)

A solar factory (or solar manufacturing facility) or wind turbine manufacturing plant can produce a maximum number of solar panels or wind turbines each year. Let's say one factory can produce enough turbines or panels to produce a total of 1 GW of "instant" power when they are all online, then that factory has a capacity of 1GW/year. Each GW of turbines or panels it produces is added to all previously installed generators to boost the "installed capacity" that is feeding into the grid.

A factory can produce at its capacity for as long as it makes economic sense for it to continue to operate, and each of the wind turbines or solar panels they make will, once installed, produce electricity for 20+ years for wind turbines and 30+ years for solar panels.

If a factory produces 1 GW for 20 years it will produce 20GW of installed capacity, if the factory produces for 40 years it will produce 40GW of installed capacity.

This is different than a conventional coal, nuclear or natural gas plant where it takes between 2 years (natgas) 12+ years (nuclear) to construct each facility for generating electricity. The amount of time devoted to constructing a thermal generating plant is rewarded with the ability to produce electricity any time, day or night no matter the weather. This characteristic of dispatchability is the core of how our electric system has developed over time, and is often referred to inappropriately as baseload power when critics of renewables point to the variability inherent to the most prominent renewable energy sources

Renewable energy myths promoted daily by the coal/nuclear industry

Wind Power Myths Debunked
november/december 2009 EEE Power and Energy Magazine Master Serie

Questions addressed:
Can Grid Operators Deal with the Continually Changing Output of Wind Generation?
Does Wind Have Capacity Credit?
How Often Does the Wind Stop Blowing Everywhere at the Same Time?
Isnt It Very Difficult to Predict Wind Power?
Isnt It Very Expensive to Integrate Wind?
Doesnt Wind Power Need New Transmission, and Wont That Make Wind Expensive?
Doesnt Wind Power Need Backup Generation? Isnt More Fossil Fuel Burned with Wind Than Without, Due to Backup Requirements?
Does Wind Need Storage?
Isnt All the Existing Flexibility Already Used Up?
Is Wind Power as Good as Coal or Nuclear Even Though the Capacity Factor of Wind Power Is So Much Less?
Isnt There a Limit to How Much Wind Can Be Accommodated by the Grid?

Wind Power Myths Debunked
Common Questions and Misconceptions

THE RAPID GROWTH OF WIND POWER IN THE UNITED STATES AND worldwide has resulted in increasing media attention to and public awareness of wind generation technology. Several misunderstandings and myths have arisen due to the characteristics of wind generation, particularly because wind-energy generation only occurs when the wind is blowing. Wind power is therefore not dispatchable like conventional energy sources and delivers a variable level of power depending on the wind speed. Wind is primarily an energy resource and not a capacity resource. Its primary value is to offset fuel consumption and the resulting emissions, including carbon. Only a relatively small fraction of wind energy is typically delivered during peak and high-risk time periods; therefore, wind generators have limited capacity value. This leads to concerns about the impacts of wind power on maintaining reliability and the balance between load and generation.

This article presents answers to commonly asked questions concerning wind power.
It begins by addressing the variability of wind and then discusses whether wind has capacity credit. The article addresses whether wind can stop blowing everywhere at once, the uncertainty of predicting wind generation, whether it is expensive to integrate wind power, the need for new transmission, and whether wind generation requires backup generation or dedicated energy storage. Finally, we discuss whether there is sufficient system flexibility to incorporate wind generation, whether coal is better than wind because coal has greater capacity factors, and whether there is a limit to how much wind power can be incorporated into the grid...

The natural variability of wind power makes it different from other generating technologies, which can give rise to questions about how wind power can be integrated into the grid successfully. This article aims to answer several important questions that can be raised with regard to wind power. Although wind is a variable resource, grid operators have experience with managing variability that comes from handling the variability of load. As a result, in many instances the power system is equipped to handle variability. Wind power is not expensive to integrate, nor does it require dedicated backup generation or storage. Developments in tools such as wind forecasting also aid in integrating wind power. Integrating wind can be aided by enlarging balancing areas and moving to subhourly sched- uling, which enable grid operators to access a deeper stack of generating resources and take advantage of the smooth- ing of wind output due to geographic diversity. Continued improvements in new conventional-generation technolo- gies and the emergence of demand response, smart grids, and new technologies such as plug-in hybrids will also help with wind integration.

Download this open access article free (normally this journal's articles are priced at $26 each) :

This source of information is as credible as can be found on these frequently misrepresented issues related to wind power.

List of authors:
Michael Milligan is a principal analyst with NREL, in Golden, Colorado.
Kevin Porter is a senior analyst with Exeter Associates Inc., in Columbia, Maryland.
Edgar DeMeo is president of Renewable Energy Consulting Services, in Palo Alto, California.
Paul Denholm is a senior energy analyst with NREL, in Golden, Colorado. Hannele Holttinen is a senior research scientist with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Brendan Kirby is a consultant for NREL, in Golden, Colorado.
Nicholas Miller is a director at General Electric, in Schenectady, New York.
Andrew Mills is a senior research associate with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California.
Mark OMalley is a professor, School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering of University College Dublin, in Ireland.
Matthew Schuerger is a principal consultant with Energy Systems Consulting Services LLC, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Lennart Soder is a professor of electric power systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Again, you can download the entire open access report here:

What about solar?

**In 2003, when the DOE solar pamphlet below was written, the US was the leader in PV - now we are 5th. Myth #2 identifies a target of 3.2 GWp of US manufacturing capacity as being needed to meet a US goal of 10% of electricity from solar by 2030. The /p/ in GWp refers to manufacturing production capacity.

However since the Republicans have successfully obstructed every policy that would have helped the industry grow here, global solar manufacturing capacity is now the number to look at. Global mfg capacity will reach about 45GWp this year with China's manufacturing capacity alone expected to hit 35GWp, even though they didn't start building solar panel factories until 2007.

To put that in perspective, if China's factories manufacture 35GWp of solar panels each year those panels will produce the equivalent electricity of about 7 or 8 large nuclear power plants. So in 12 years, the amount of now existing factory capacity (in China alone) will manufacture enough panels to equal the output of between 84 - 96 nuclear power plants. And the buildup of manufacturing is just getting started. Within ten years it is hoped/expected/thought that global solar manufacturing capacity will hit 1000GWp/year

(see the slideshow at this solar company website for a graph showing how increased manufacturing directly impacts the price of the electricity produced /

And before you say it can't be done, consider that in 2007, China wasn't involved in solar manufacturing and now, 4 years later they have 35GWp. After Fukushima, what do you think they are going to do?

Dept of Energy presents "Myths about Solar Electricity" Jan 2003

Myths about Solar Electricity

The area required for PV systems to supply the United States with its electricity is available now from parking lots, rooftops, and vacant land.

Solar electric systems are an important part of the whole-building approach to constructing a better home or commercial building. Although these systems have delivered clean, reliable power for more than a decade, several myths have evolved that confuse the real issues of using solar electricity effectively.

Myth #1
Solar electricity cannot contribute a significant fraction of the nations electricity needs.

Solar electric panels can meet electricity demand on any scale, from a single home to a large city. There is plenty of energy in the sunlight shining on all parts of our nation to generate the electricity we need. For example, with todays commercial systems, the solar energy resource in a 100-by-100-mile area of Nevada could supply the United States with all of its electricity. If these systems were distributed to the 50 states, the land required from each state would be an area of about 17 by 17 miles. This area is available now from parking lots, rooftops, and vacant land. In fact, 90% of Americas current electricity needs could be supplied with solar electric systems built on the estimated 5 million acres of abandoned industrial sites in our nations cities.

Myth #2 ** (see prequel note above added by K)
Solar electricity can do everythingright now!

Solar electricity will eventually contribute a significant part of our electricity supply, but the industry required to produce these systems must grow more than tenfold over the next 10 years. In 2001, about 400 megawatts of solar electric modules were produced worldwide. According to an industry-planning document, in order to supply just 10% of U.S. generation capacity by 2030, the U.S. solar electricity industry must supply more than 3,200 megawatts per year (3.2GWp). Most experts agree that with continued research, solar electric systems will become more efficient, even more reliable, and less expensive.

Myth #3
Producing solar electric systems creates pollution and uses more energy than the system can produce over its lifetime.
Producing solar electric systems uses energy and produces some unwanted byproducts. However, most solar electric systems pay back the energy used to produce them in about one year. Because the systems generally last 30 years, during the 30 years of a system's life, it is producing free and clean electricity for 29 of those years.

Production of solar electric systems is regulated by rigorous safety and pollution control standards. In addition, during the lifetime of a solar electric system, pollution that would have been emitted by conventional generation of electricity is avoided. For each kilowatt of solar electric generating capacity, the pollution avoided by not using fossil fuels to produce electricity amounts to 9 kilograms of sulfuric oxide, 16 kilograms of nitrous oxide, and between 600 and 2,300 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year. The annual amount of carbon dioxide offset by a 2.5-kW rooftop residential solar electric system is equal to that emitted by a typical family car during that same year.

Myth #4
Solar electric systems make sense in only a few applications.

Solar electric systems make sense nearly anywhere electricity is needed. Homes and businesses that are already using electricity from the utility, such as homes, businesses, and electric-vehicle charging stations, represent nearly 60% of the market for solar electric systems. The number of these grid-connected applications is growing because they make sense economically, environmentally, and aesthetically. Solar electric systems make economic sense because they use free fuel from the sun and require little upkeep because they have no moving parts. Every bit of electricity produced is used in the home or sold back to the electric utility for use by other customers. Solar electric systems also make sense for the environment and can blend seamlessly into the design of a building.

Myth #5
Solar electric systems are unreliable and produce substandard electricity.

Solar electric systems are some of the most reliable products available today. They are silent, have no moving parts, and have been tested to rigorous standards by public and private organizations. Many solar electric products have been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories, just as electrical appliances are. Warranties of 20-25 years are standard for most modules.

Solar electric systems connected to the utility grid generate the same kind of power as that from the power line. Todays systems must meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code, the local utility, and local building codes. Once these systems are installed according to these requirements, the owner of a solar-electric-powered home has electricity of the same quality as any other utility customer.

Myth #6
It is difficult to make solar electric systems aesthetically pleasing and functional for homes and businesses.

The buildings shown here include solar electric systems serving dual functions: building structure and generation of electricity. These photos represent only a small sample of the beautiful, functional, and energy-efficient buildings being designed with solar electric components. (download for photos- link below)

In the future, people will reflect on our current solar electric technology much as we reflect on the technology of the Model T Ford: with admiration for the pioneering visionaries of the day and perhaps amusement at the technology that seems so primitive compared to what we now enjoy. Researchers believe that in the future, new physics and technologies will be developed that will greatly improve solar energy technology. As for the present day, clean, reliable solar electricity is increasingly popular with home and business owners, which helps to dispel the myths surrounding this technology.

Produced for the U.S. Department of Energy by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory
DOE/GO-102003-1671 January 2003

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