Can Solar Become "Unamerican"?

The U.S. is betting big on gas. China is betting big on solar. This story pains a picture of a new axis: pro-gas, pro-U.S. and pro-solar, pro-China at the opposing ends. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me but it's an interesting perspective nevertheless. Humankind likes to divide.

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Lets not forget the betting big on solar energy of countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, etc.  These are countries undoubtedly with full potential in this field. 

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The divide between  solar China and US gas is not so clear.

China is the leader in solar panels production but is also replacing many coal power plants with gas power plants.

The US is leading the shale gas revolution but is also increasing wind and solar energy : 

"Wind and solar accounted for more than 98% of all new U.S. electrical generation placed into service in the first two months of this year, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data just released  by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions (FERC) "

http://www.electricenergyonline.com/article/energy/category/solar/142/696278/sun-day-campaignwind-solar-provide-98-of-new-u-s-generating-capacity-in-january-february.html

 

But it's true that countries phasing out coal will have to choose between gas and renewables to replace the coal power plants.

For years gas has been heralded as the bridge energy between coal and oil on one side and renewables on the other side. But the price of renewable energy has been falling quickly than expected in recent years. So for many countries the question will be : should we replace the coal powered plants with gas powered plants or can we leapfrog directly to renewables ?

 

 

 

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Not sure the leapfrogging will work. There is still the issue of energy storage for renewable installations, though it is being addressed, true. 

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(edited)

Gas and solar actually compliment each other pretty well. Solar helps with afternoon peak usage, gas a good baseline. Combined Cycle Gas Turbine is very cost effective, as is solar in it's niche. Try and make solar cover everything, now it gets expensive. Coal plants are in some cases being changed to gas. For economics more than emissions. I suspect China would embrace gas more if they had more gas. They went for coal early because they had it.

Edited by John Foote
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Let's see what happens with gas in the near future. It's been ridiculously cheap for a many years now, and Big Gas is building LNG export terminals all over the place. Australia followed a similar plan and their domestic market ended up getting shorted and prices spiked. 

Meanwhile renewables continue to drop in price, and home solar is finally starting to take off in the US. If prices spike on Natural Gas, solar will benefit greatly. If we get a cold winter this year, we could see such a spike in gas prices, as gas in storage is at 5 year lows, and any sudden demand will send prices soaring.

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13 hours ago, Refman said:

Let's see what happens with gas in the near future. It's been ridiculously cheap for a many years now, and Big Gas is building LNG export terminals all over the place. Australia followed a similar plan and their domestic market ended up getting shorted and prices spiked. 

Meanwhile renewables continue to drop in price, and home solar is finally starting to take off in the US. If prices spike on Natural Gas, solar will benefit greatly. If we get a cold winter this year, we could see such a spike in gas prices, as gas in storage is at 5 year lows, and any sudden demand will send prices soaring.

Primarily 'stranded' Gas  in the US. See what happens to those prices as the US LNG ports go live. 

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18 hours ago, John Foote said:

Gas and solar actually compliment each other pretty well. Solar helps with afternoon peak usage, gas a good baseline. Combined Cycle Gas Turbine is very cost effective, as is solar in it's niche. Try and make solar cover everything, now it gets expensive. Coal plants are in some cases being changed to gas. For economics more than emissions. I suspect China would embrace gas more if they had more gas. They went for coal early because they had it.

In the Middle East (I looked at Saudi as I used to work there) you pretty much have solid sunshine 365 days (minus the odd day for a storm of rain/ sand)a year from about 8am through to about 4pm. Longer if you orientate some panels on easterly and westerly directions. Output throughout the year is pretty uniform too. 

This is good website for calaculations

http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php

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On 5/8/2018 at 8:54 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

Not sure the leapfrogging will work. There is still the issue of energy storage for renewable installations, though it is being addressed, true. 

Assume you are not going down the 100% renewable route then there is little or no need for storage in locations like the middle east. You pretty much rely on solar in the day time with gas filling in the variations in demand then switch to gas overnight. The easiest way to do some storage if needed is utilise surplus PV to produce Hydrogen and blend this into the NG network. 

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On 5/4/2018 at 11:57 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

The U.S. is betting big on gas. China is betting big on solar. This story pains a picture of a new axis: pro-gas, pro-U.S. and pro-solar, pro-China at the opposing ends. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me but it's an interesting perspective nevertheless. Humankind likes to divide.

Is this going to be the next step in Trumps sanctions against anyone for any spurious reason that is defined as 'unamerican'?

The Headlines

Caribbean Island in the Windward Isles installs wind turbines (and some solar) to reduce dependence on diesel / gas imports. Trump imposes sanctions because actions are 'unamerican'. 

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On 5/4/2018 at 6:57 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

Humankind likes to divide.

^We sure do, the article demonstrates this.

The article is also complete fluff, nothing substantial what so ever.  What was the point of the author?  I don't think he had one. Honestly, I think it was just a submission for a pay check. Nothing get's attention like pointing the finger at someone and declaring' "they're different!!  Lookout,  Aahh!" 

I do like the topic for conversation, and I say this, "none of us are just one thing."  We are predominately oriented in a specific direction, but we all have our likes and dis-likes, and assuming life's choices are always presented as "either / or" scenarios is mis-guided.  I am pro-solar, and that does not mean I'm not pro fossil fuel.  

Societies will reflect its individuals, and be, (or want to be) multi-faceted.  Our Governments then provide platforms that encourage and/or discourage.

Don't be a one trick pony.  You need to have diversification in your life and energy economics.  My experience as an American citizen, is that a capitalist government provides a platform where innovative ideas are encouraged and brought to fruition.  I can not claim to have experienced life in China, providing the day to day details that allow for better analysis.  However,  based upon my education(and it's limited), a communist government won't allow the perceived inefficiencies of  exploring different ideas.  An agenda has been established for the society and the government will discourage the diversification that adds to a healthy economy. 

The U.S. is naturally not a one trick pony because the framework of our society encourages innovation, and it is base upon the individual, and their  individual desires.  A socialist framework fails every time because it is based upon the group.  It assumes the individual will set aside their desires for the country as a whole, and they will for a while, but eventually it gets to be too much sacrifice.  Every single time. 

Further, individuals always have a touch of greed, and when the power is centralized there is nothing to prevent leadership from starting to steal.  Just a little at first, but then it grows out of control, every single time . But if the power(purse strings) are divided, and we have policies such as term limits, etc. the greed is "caught" or kept in check.

No, solar will not become un-American.

 

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