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Sunday, October 2, 2016

More clean energy news



Here's another chart showing the rapid price drop in clean energy sources. If you haven't checked out prices of clean energy within the last six months, your information is out of date. Things are changing that fast.

The Achilles heal of alternative energy has always been storage. My own house system still uses old style lead acid batteries, a technology basically unchanged in over 100 years. Now there are battery options that make sense for balancing grid power -something many thought would never happen.

Few people realize how fast the energy landscape is changing. In five years it will be a different world. That does not bode well for coal and oil production. Coal especially is in trouble as it's used extensively to generate electricity. Liquid fuels still have a huge role to play in transportation, but even that market is under threat.

That's not to say the coal and oil markets will completely disappear. If nothing else they are important sources for a variety of chemicals. Some will argue that those chemicals are too important to waste burning them for fuel. At any rate, the demand for coal and oil will go down significantly.

If you live in coal or oil country you might want to consider alternatives. It's going to be tough for a lot of workers. Believe me, having grown up in a dying mill town I know how that feels.

On a personal level, I've been playing with alternative energy for over 20 years. Today I volunteered to help install a grid tied solar electric system. It's a good way for me to learn what today's technology looks like. The system is going on a large warming hut for a local cross country ski club. Grid tied makes sense in this case. While the hut is only used in the winter, it will generate power all year long. The summer energy credits can be used in the winter when it's needed for heat. Should be interesting.

There are going to be plenty of winners and losers. Some industries, like coal, have already lost. Why would someone invest in a coal burning plant when something like a wind or solar plant can harvest free power?

I'm going to have to stop calling it “alternative energy.” It's already mainstream in some areas and those areas will continue to expand.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. Eventually, solar will NOT be free. The big corporations and the government will see to that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There have been roadblocks put in place, but the cat is out of the bag.

      Delete
  2. energy storage options

    compressed air
    water tower
    Edison batteries
    gas or liquid homemade fuels

    litium is damn expensive

    Wildflower

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lithium is getting cheaper by the day. However, like you pointed out, there are alternatives.

      Delete
  3. And while coal may be losing, we will need large baseline generation for many years to come.

    Germany and Scotland have recently discovered that Wind and solar, by themselves, don't work well.

    In the future, that may change. But you can boil water for steam at any time, no matter what the weather. Not so with wind and solar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are in a transition period, but the writing is on the wall. Long term investors have taken notice.

      Delete
  4. If I were younger, I would definitely place my investments in solar. I was lucky to place mine in Coca Cola thirty years ago, which enables us to pay our bills. lol

    I DO remember seeing all these "wind turbines" along the highways many years ago and was amazed at the innovative operation.

    100 years from now, the world will be either amazing or missing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope we choose the good package but we will probably go with the big gun instead.

      Delete
  5. I agree with your general point, but I wonder about electric heat for a ski warming hut? Seems like a woodstove would be nicer.

    Are they using radiant electric?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have both. The electric heat is keep the place from getting too cold when nobody is there. Should have pointed that out.

      Delete
  6. There are sure some interesting options. My question or hesitation is that solar and wind are considered more earth-friendly when they still require the batteries. The damage made by making the batteries doesn't look so earth-friendly to me. Do you know if there is a direct current method (I need to do more research, I know)? We live next to a river & I always thought it would be great to power our freezers which are really the only necessity on power, but don't want to rely on batteries. (So much yet to learn)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Battery technology is improving and also getting more earth friendly. Still a long way to go, but progress is in the right direction.

      Delete