New Video: Big Utilities Pivot to Renewables

December 6, 2019

15 Responses to “New Video: Big Utilities Pivot to Renewables”

  1. redskylite Says:

    Very encouraging video – but speed is of the essence required at this moment in history: No time to plod, dither or falter.

    Global carbon emissions boosted by soaring natural gas use are set to hit record levels in 2019 despite a decline in coal consumption and a string of countries declaring a climate emergency, researchers said Wednesday.

  2. redskylite Says:

    And meanwhile for an eventual backup to renewables (with fission), this looks slightly more possible than a quick implementation of fusion.

    “How to Get Solar Power on a Rainy Day? Beam It From Space

    Since the idea for space solar power first cropped up in Isaac Asimov’s science fiction in the early 1940s, scientists and engineers have floated dozens of proposals to bring the concept to life, including inflatable solar arrays and robotic self-assembly. But the basic idea is always the same: A giant satellite in orbit harvests energy from the sun and converts it to microwaves or lasers for transmission to Earth, where it is converted into electricity. The sun never sets in space, so a space solar power system could supply renewable power to anywhere on the planet, day or night, rain or shine.”

    • greenman3610 Says:

      sounds like a potential super-weapon as well.
      however Space-x makes it seem more possible than it did to me 10 years ago.

      • jfon Says:

        You’d think Elon Musk, who’s right into space and solar power, would back it too, but he’s very down on it. Kirk Sorensen, who started off in NASA but has been pushing molten salt nuclear since, claims that he researched space solar for a year, and even when you set launch costs to zero, it was still impossibly expensive.

      • redskylite Says:

        Shhh – that would make development even faster

        What happened to Gustav Graves, the patent holder

  3. mboli Says:

    Meanwhile Consumers Energy (serving 2/3 of Michigan’s population) is forcing the Palisades nuclear generating station to close.

    The nuclear energy is a little more expensive, to be sure.

    But shouldn’t there be an added value to producing electricity free of greenhouse gasses?

    I feel that if carbon were properly priced, this might not be happening.

    • mboli Says:

      Patricia Poppe, the featured speaker in that video — the one with the electricity production curve and the flowery rhetoric about the opportunity of a lifetime — is the CEO of the Consumers Energy holding company.

      She is shutting down 800MW of clean energy right there in western Michigan, while at the same time burbling about clean energy.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    “Wires can carry both clean and dirty energy; their impact on emissions depends on local circumstances. Their primary purpose is not to reduce emissions, though, but to make the grid run more smoothly. They’re a grid tech, not a decarbonization tech. The same applies to batteries.””

    Wow, this is misleading.

    The whole reason we still have “dirty energy” flowing through our transmission lines and into our storage batteries is because people think our goal is to *reduce* emissions. But that is a fool’s errand. Yes – I said it.

    Our goal is to *eliminate* fossil fuel emissions. That is a VERY different thing. Our goal is to make fossil fuels obsolete, no longer needed, and no longer acceptable. And there is only one way to do that:

    We have to build and deploy the renewable energy tech to replace all those machines that burn fossil fuels.

    Any money spent on anything else is a complete waste of funds that could otherwise be much better invested toward accomplishing our real goal. Any money spent to subsidize, retrofit, modernize, or improve the efficiency of any machine that burns fossil fuels is, essentially, not money well spent. Not when we could build our new RE system in a decade if we really wanted to. And we could.

    So, transmission lines are a perfect way to spend money for decarbonization. Because we will need them to move a whole lot of RE electricity around. And if you think that is wrong – that rooftop or “distributed” energy is more important – you have not done the math, and you haven’t thought about RE enough.

    The very nature of RE is that it is intermittent. And a lot of it is going to depend on the sun and the sun moves from East to West. Our ability to intelligently and easily move massive amounts of carbon-free electricity long distances is absolutely crucial. Therefore, a new smart grid with a whole lot more HVDC transmission lines is crucial.

    Look at what China and India are doing. The very first thing both countries are doing (or have done) to go RE is building new HVDC transmission lines to carry the juice from massive solar and wind farms that have not been built yet.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      transmission has severe NIMBY problems in the US.
      there is some work going on to underground at least portions
      of some line plans, which may help.

    • jfon Says:

      ‘.. the sun moves from East to West. Our ability to intelligently and easily move massive amounts of carbon-free electricity long distances is absolutely crucial.’
      The sun keeps moving west, and the grid keeps needing power. Cut the juice, and refrigerated food starts to spoil, aluminum smelters turn into piles of junk, hospital patients die. Unless you can pipe power across the Pacific from China, you’re going to need a lot more than solar.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “you’re going to need a lot more than solar.”

        There’s renewable energy that’s not solar? Alert the press!

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