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America Could Go Fully Electric Right Now

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Additionally I read some other comments I missed before posting mine. Some comments like "oil is un refined - further costs" ... any idea on the cost to replace all oil burning vehicles? Or beef up the electricity sector to withstand another 30% of energy through the lines? What happens to all the trees where the solar would be? Burnt? Rot and turn to methane? Some for lumber shure  but how much carbon removal is removed? 100% solar is clearly not the answer.

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4 hours ago, Rob Kramer said:

So if your quoting the panels alone please post installed taxed costs with financing and royalties ect .

The 60 cents per watt was the installed cost in a functioning solar farm. I'm presuming the land is government owned, or owned outright by the solar farm, so there are no third party royalties. More than likely, taxes are paid by the retail power consumers to the utility delivering the power to their house.

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4 hours ago, Rob Kramer said:

Additionally I read some other comments I missed before posting mine. Some comments like "oil is un refined - further costs" ... any idea on the cost to replace all oil burning vehicles? Or beef up the electricity sector to withstand another 30% of energy through the lines? What happens to all the trees where the solar would be? Burnt? Rot and turn to methane? Some for lumber shure  but how much carbon removal is removed? 100% solar is clearly not the answer.

Generally this discussion is deteriorating into sarcasm. The original point of this post is that continually declining costs and consumer habits will replace 'fossil' fuel use with renewable by 2030. There are a whole raft of ifs, ands, and buts. I'll see you at the video store where we can rent some VHS tapes.

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(edited)

15 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Generally this discussion is deteriorating into sarcasm. The original point of this post is that continually declining costs and consumer habits will replace 'fossil' fuel use with renewable by 2030. There are a whole raft of ifs, ands, and buts. I'll see you at the video store where we can rent some VHS tapes.

My apologies.  I didnt realize I was getting sarcastic.  I do get your point that prices are coming down . My argument is when unrealistic comparisons are made. If you choose to imaging a world that never had fossil fuels . Now you have only existing and aged tech. And expensive and declining costs to current costs. Power would be what 50c a kwh? Being that the average panel would be 12.5years old so whatever the average panel put out and cost back then and batteries would be the same. Plus theres mobs of people saying we need to leave solar behind because batteries that shorted mid flight killing hundreds.  Ships lost at sea. Inconsistent power that's expensive (when you add the 1.80$/kwh (60c x30% efficiency fossil fuels) road tax . The battery waste sites , and strip mined 3rd world countries crying out for justice. Then along comes fracking and it starts at 80$ a barrel break even but it gets tax credits because it adds energy regularity,  and vehicles are looked at as amazing because a tiney fuel tank can fill up in seconds to minutes and with cheap add on tanks in trucks can go over 1000miles . And the road tax is applied to electricity meaning fuel is 50c/L so it's cheaper to fill. And its creating tons of jobs and locals are benefiting huge ... and every year the costs come down they promis below 30$ a barrel!  

I'm just painting a picture of what taxes and public opinion are doing to fossil fuels because of their scale and profit and therefore taxation. My opinion is tax and royalties should be the same . We know the government needs the tax money so we cant remove taxed items without replacing the tax. The entire wake up call to Canada behind wexit theory. 

Canada we used to take tax money from everyone and give 14k$ off electric cars and 80c a kwh for solar electricity that dropped over the years to 30c even tho rates were 8-12c . Only the rich people could get in on it and further cement the poverty line that put up gasoline and electricity costs on the poor. Cant both sides agree that's a very poor policy?

Edited by Rob Kramer

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20 hours ago, Rob Kramer said:

Additionally I read some other comments I missed before posting mine. Some comments like "oil is un refined - further costs" ... any idea on the cost to replace all oil burning vehicles? Or beef up the electricity sector to withstand another 30% of energy through the lines? What happens to all the trees where the solar would be? Burnt? Rot and turn to methane? Some for lumber shure  but how much carbon removal is removed? 100% solar is clearly not the answer.

The assumption is that EV's progressively replace ICE vehicles as ICE vehicles come to the end of their lives. 

Forests are generally not chopped down to accommodate solar. Plenty of space on roof spaces, waste ground, pasture land, desert, reservoirs and lakes. 

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1 hour ago, Rob Kramer said:

My apologies.  I didnt realize I was getting sarcastic.  I do get your point that prices are coming down . My argument is when unrealistic comparisons are made. If you choose to imaging a world that never had fossil fuels . Now you have only existing and aged tech. And expensive and declining costs to current costs. Power would be what 50c a kwh? Being that the average panel would be 12.5years old so whatever the average panel put out and cost back then and batteries would be the same. Plus theres mobs of people saying we need to leave solar behind because batteries that shorted mid flight killing hundreds.  Ships lost at sea. Inconsistent power that's expensive (when you add the 1.80$/kwh (60c x30% efficiency fossil fuels) road tax . The battery waste sites , and strip mined 3rd world countries crying out for justice. Then along comes fracking and it starts at 80$ a barrel break even but it gets tax credits because it adds energy regularity,  and vehicles are looked at as amazing because a tiney fuel tank can fill up in seconds to minutes and with cheap add on tanks in trucks can go over 1000miles . And the road tax is applied to electricity meaning fuel is 50c/L so it's cheaper to fill. And its creating tons of jobs and locals are benefiting huge ... and every year the costs come down they promis below 30$ a barrel!  

I'm just painting a picture of what taxes and public opinion are doing to fossil fuels because of their scale and profit and therefore taxation. My opinion is tax and royalties should be the same . We know the government needs the tax money so we cant remove taxed items without replacing the tax. The entire wake up call to Canada behind wexit theory. 

Canada we used to take tax money from everyone and give 14k$ off electric cars and 80c a kwh for solar electricity that dropped over the years to 30c even tho rates were 8-12c . Only the rich people could get in on it and further cement the poverty line that put up gasoline and electricity costs on the poor. Cant both sides agree that's a very poor policy?

Sounds like you're trying to pound square pegs into round holes. Comparisons between RE and hydrocarbons are difficult because 'extraction', 'refining', 'transmission', and 'end use' are so different.

I was touring the Shetland Islands, and our guide drove us around in a diesel VW. Since the Shetlands is a microscopic market, fuel costs are very expensive. We saw a 1.5Mw turbine installed on the island. An electric car on the Shetlands will be expensive. It's recharging costs will be negligible in comparison to the cost of shipping diesel to the island. Same goes for Iceland, Hawaii, the Philippines, Indonesia, some areas of Japan, many parts of Africa, and even to some extent Australia. Wind and solar are 'everywhere'. Economically extractable hydrocarbons are only situated in certain areas. Those areas are not consistently situated near islands or thinly populated landmasses.

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(edited)

3 hours ago, NickW said:

The assumption is that EV's progressively replace ICE vehicles as ICE vehicles come to the end of their lives. 

Forests are generally not chopped down to accommodate solar. Plenty of space on roof spaces, waste ground, pasture land, desert, reservoirs and lakes. 

That's not how it's being compared.  I agree in a real life approach this is most likely to happen but in the cost comparison what we have today current built assets  are  not built to jive with solar. 

Theres plenty of space for solar yes but when 900MW or whatever the government pushes out next as in the compair article at however many cents a kwh that's not going onto rooftops. Again personally acquired panels placed on a house owners roof without subsidies that dont put up prices on the poor are fine but that's not what's happened.  Also theres many places that dont have the roof space light hours or direction of the sun on their side.

Edited by Rob Kramer

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2 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Wind and solar are 'everywhere'. Economically extractable hydrocarbons are only situated in certain areas. Those areas are not consistently situated near islands or thinly populated landmasses.

Economically extracted to me means royalties, tax, high wages to large numbers of workers, ect ect ect. Your comparing a overtaxed (reg tax , plus royalties, plus carbon tax) industry to a tax credited industry. Once the overtaxed industry that made all the income for both the population and government is gone wheres the money come from ? So in my opinion the square peg is gonna be tax revenue and the round hole is solar and we will find out why square pegs in round holes doesnt work. As you referenced the shipping of fuel the dock workers the island fuel pump stations theres rig workers pipe workers geological work ect ect ect. If I buy a 30k$ system and 60k$ car and 30k$ battery and  go off grid ... do I pay tax on it? And if it has a 20 year life where did all the other jobs go? I no longer need fuel station or utility,  shipping the fuel , refining,  pipelines,  all the way back . The ammount of hotels and lodging effected by that and the food delivery and preparation,  moble work lodging and the trickle down will be massive. I just dont see it as "helping" . This was long but probably my final word on it. 

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1 hour ago, Rob Kramer said:

That's not how it's being compared.  I agree in a real life approach this is most likely to happen but in the cost comparison what we have today current built assets  are  not built to jive with solar. 

Theres plenty of space for solar yes but when 900MW or whatever the government pushes out next as in the compair article at however many cents a kwh that's not going onto rooftops. Again personally acquired panels placed on a house owners roof without subsidies that dont put up prices on the poor are fine but that's not what's happened.  Also theres many places that dont have the roof space light hours or direction of the sun on their side.

I put 1470W of panels on my roof this summer DIY. No subsidies - straight forward decision based on economics. 15-17% annual return on the panels or <1% on my savings in the bank. 

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1 hour ago, Rob Kramer said:

Economically extracted to me means royalties, tax, high wages to large numbers of workers, ect ect ect. Your comparing a overtaxed (reg tax , plus royalties, plus carbon tax) industry to a tax credited industry. Once the overtaxed industry that made all the income for both the population and government is gone wheres the money come from ? So in my opinion the square peg is gonna be tax revenue and the round hole is solar and we will find out why square pegs in round holes doesnt work. As you referenced the shipping of fuel the dock workers the island fuel pump stations theres rig workers pipe workers geological work ect ect ect. If I buy a 30k$ system and 60k$ car and 30k$ battery and  go off grid ... do I pay tax on it? And if it has a 20 year life where did all the other jobs go? I no longer need fuel station or utility,  shipping the fuel , refining,  pipelines,  all the way back . The ammount of hotels and lodging effected by that and the food delivery and preparation,  moble work lodging and the trickle down will be massive. I just dont see it as "helping" . This was long but probably my final word on it. 

Oil fields will turn into abandoned extraction sites just like the abandoned mines in California, Nevada, Spain, Brazil, etc. The world is full of ghost towns. Associated with this is laid off workers, collapsing tax revenues, and environmental degradation. Scheiße happens.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all 'need' high oil prices to balance their budgets. Wall Street ate their lunch. C'est la vie. There are lots of other ways to make a living, and people eventually adapt. Or they just retire and give up.

Every time energy gets cheaper, it gets easier to desalinate or otherwise purify water, or pump it uphill. Water is increasingly precious. A lot of oil field workers are being recruited to work on wind turbines. A lot more will be needed for 'other kinds of plumbing', such as water transmission, desalination plants, 'bio-fuel refineries', etc. How many oil field workers could just as easily be rebuilding our 'crumbling infrastructure'? There's no shortage of things that need to be done.

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10 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

Every time energy gets cheaper, it gets easier to desalinate or otherwise purify water, or pump it uphill. Water is increasingly precious.

Indeed, water is life.

 

There are 3 things a nation needs to be healthy and happy: Fresh water, Food, and Energy.  Basically if you have large amount of any 2, the 3rd is easily available.

Have energy, you can make fresh water.

Have energy and fresh water, you can easily make food (irrigation, fertilization).

Have a lot of food and water, you can make energy (biofuels, hydro).

Combined systems that address all three issues are great.  Fresh water storage is energy storage.

 

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5 hours ago, NickW said:

I put 1470W of panels on my roof this summer DIY. No subsidies - straight forward decision based on economics. 15-17% annual return on the panels or <1% on my savings in the bank. 

Do you mind posting costs? And I get DIY but most cant nor is it legal for non electricians to install in many places so estimate a quote for install. If you dont mind. I cant remember if I asked before. In my area (40 mins away) theres guys with old nat gas wells . I'm not gonna make up a return on them but I'm sure it was years ago or they wouldnt work then over when needed. 

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4 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Oil fields will turn into abandoned extraction sites just like the abandoned mines in California, Nevada, Spain, Brazil, etc. The world is full of ghost towns. Associated with this is laid off workers, collapsing tax revenues, and environmental degradation. Scheiße happens.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all 'need' high oil prices to balance their budgets. Wall Street ate their lunch. C'est la vie. There are lots of other ways to make a living, and people eventually adapt. Or they just retire and give up.

Every time energy gets cheaper, it gets easier to desalinate or otherwise purify water, or pump it uphill. Water is increasingly precious. A lot of oil field workers are being recruited to work on wind turbines. A lot more will be needed for 'other kinds of plumbing', such as water transmission, desalination plants, 'bio-fuel refineries', etc. How many oil field workers could just as easily be rebuilding our 'crumbling infrastructure'? There's no shortage of things that need to be done.

So when energy gets more expensive what then?

I dont think spending taxes to fix stuff is a profitable business. Doubt the awarded contractors tax would cover the bill. Now if you had a fuel to tax that could cover that bill. Now considering ice is 30% efficient? And idles at a stop and down a hill what is the rate of taxation on charging to keep incoming tax even?

But theres actually not many ways to employ people. Everything is automated and using 1/4 of the people (except the carbon intense jobs) . Now theres 4x the stores employing 1/4 of the employees they were hanging on by a thread. It's more beneficial to have many meaningful high paying jobs than mostly low paying jobs. But we clearly see this opposite.  I see low cost energy turning high cost. You say high cost energy is going low cost. Only difference is the most renewable places has the most expensive energy and that is an undisputed fact. 

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1 hour ago, Rob Kramer said:

I see low cost energy turning high cost. You say high cost energy is going low cost. Only difference is the most renewable places has the most expensive energy and that is an undisputed fact. 

Depends on what you're including in the 'cost'. It also depends on the time scale. My idea of 'expensive' energy is collecting firewood for heating one's home. What is the BTU yield per work-hour for that?

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A bit of fun for a Saturday morning (Thai time).

Ford's electric Mustang dragster covers a quarter-mile in 8.27 seconds - The Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 will make its first public runs this weekend at the US Nationals.

Just the other day we saw Lucid Motors put its EV on the drag strip, and now Ford has released video of its purpose-built electric Mustang. It claims that the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype raced down the quarter-mile in just 8.27 seconds at 168 miles per hour. The company plans to run the car in public this weekend at the U.S. Nationals, going head to head in a demo against a gas-powered Mustang Cobra Jet.

According to Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook, “Since revealing the car, we’ve continued to fine-tune it and now know we're just scratching the surface of what we may be able to achieve with this much electric horsepower in a drag racing setting.” In a statement, the team claimed this Mustang hit a peak 1,502HP at the wheels during private testing.

That’s all well and good of course, but once they get a few runs under their built, it’s time to create a proper spec so cars like this and the eCOPO Camaro can put on some real races.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Rob Kramer said:

Do you mind posting costs? And I get DIY but most cant nor is it legal for non electricians to install in many places so estimate a quote for install. If you dont mind. I cant remember if I asked before. In my area (40 mins away) theres guys with old nat gas wells . I'm not gonna make up a return on them but I'm sure it was years ago or they wouldnt work then over when needed. 

This was in the UK. Half the equipment was a reinstall of stuff I bought in 2008 but if I base it on the prices I paid for the other half in June 2020.

6 x 270w panels (new) £600

2 x 600w Mastervolt Soladin grid tie inverters (2nd hand) £160

1 x Solic 200 (diverter to immersion) £150 (new)

Cabling (panels and cabling to PV immersion unit  £30

Frame - I used gable end restraint straps bolted together  £30

Nuts and Bolts £10

Labour to help with lift (odd job guy) £40

 

 

 

 

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(edited)

On 8/26/2020 at 9:57 AM, Dan Warnick said:

Is it even a powerplant?  It's just a mine, isn't it?

Georgia Power

Yates coal-fired generating plant.

It’s a pile, not a hole, judging by shadows, and old, based on greenery on it.

Mostly (completely?) shut down in 2015

Edited by Rufus
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Based on the EIA website that shows that new wind power projects installed in 2019 are delivering power at less than 2 cents per Kwh....

A 'standard' barrel of oil represents 5,800,000 BTUs of energy

A BTU is equivalent to 0.293071 watt-hours, so a barrel of oil is equivalent to 1699811.8 watt-hours. This rounds out conveniently to 1.7 Mwh.

2 cents per Kwh = $20 per Mwh. 1.7Mwh (Barrel of oil) * $20 = $34 per barrel, presuming the desired end output is thermal.

However, if burning oil to generate electricity is only 35% efficient, the barrel is only worth $12.

1MM BTU (natural gas) = .293071 megawatt-hours. $20 per MWH (wind) * .293071 = $5.86142. So wind is more than twice as expensive as natural gas for thermal output.

If a combined cycle gas plant is 60% efficient, then $5.86 * .6 = $3.52, so the breakeven between wind power generated electricity and gas generated electricity is $3.52 per MMBtu.

So gas can compete with wind on a fuel cost basis. This doesn't include the cost of building and operating the power plant.

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2 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Based on the EIA website that shows that new wind power projects installed in 2019 are delivering power at less than 2 cents per Kwh....

A 'standard' barrel of oil represents 5,800,000 BTUs of energy

A BTU is equivalent to 0.293071 watt-hours, so a barrel of oil is equivalent to 1699811.8 watt-hours. This rounds out conveniently to 1.7 Mwh.

2 cents per Kwh = $20 per Mwh. 1.7Mwh (Barrel of oil) * $20 = $34 per barrel, presuming the desired end output is thermal.

However, if burning oil to generate electricity is only 35% efficient, the barrel is only worth $12.

1MM BTU (natural gas) = .293071 megawatt-hours. $20 per MWH (wind) * .293071 = $5.86142. So wind is more than twice as expensive as natural gas for thermal output.

If a combined cycle gas plant is 60% efficient, then $5.86 * .6 = $3.52, so the breakeven between wind power generated electricity and gas generated electricity is $3.52 per MMBtu.

So gas can compete with wind on a fuel cost basis. This doesn't include the cost of building and operating the power plant.

As I'm sure you are aware, oil is rarely used to make electricity, so it's better to compare the cost of using oil (i.e., gasoline or diesel) in an ICE with the cost of using electricity in an EV. Rather than going through the elaborate and tedious computation of energy delivered as useful power to the wheels of the car, it's easier to just look at cost per mile driven, including the amortized capital cost of the vehicle. We have done this many times on these forums. The EV wins. This was already true by about 2015 (Nissan Leaf), and EVs have been getting better since then.

NG is cheap ($2.50 MMBtu), but that's an artificial number. The price is held down by the production of "associated gas" produced as a byproduct of oil production. As oil becomes less profitable, less will be produced and the cost of NG will rise.

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7 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

As I'm sure you are aware, oil is rarely used to make electricity, so it's better to compare the cost of using oil (i.e., gasoline or diesel) in an ICE with the cost of using electricity in an EV. Rather than going through the elaborate and tedious computation of energy delivered as useful power to the wheels of the car, it's easier to just look at cost per mile driven, including the amortized capital cost of the vehicle. We have done this many times on these forums. The EV wins. This was already true by about 2015 (Nissan Leaf), and EVs have been getting better since then.

NG is cheap ($2.50 MMBtu), but that's an artificial number. The price is held down by the production of "associated gas" produced as a byproduct of oil production. As oil becomes less profitable, less will be produced and the cost of NG will rise.

In general, I'm in agreement on the 'oil to generate electricity' assertion, with a few exceptions: remote Alaskan villages, diesel-electric locomotives, and ships such as cruise liners where diesel generates a lot of on-board power, as well as driving the ship. While in the bigger scheme of things these are small potatoes, they can still add up.

The general point of these cost comparisons is first to illustrate the significant constraints on higher hydrocarbon prices. On a Kw-Hour basis, it would appear that oil is in big trouble, since few producers can profit at the implicit benchmark. The opportunity space for natural gas is similarly highly constrained - while prices are cheap in the US this doesn't apply to Europe and Asia. In these markets renewables already threaten natural gas.

Second, as is pointed out in the article's title, this is the 'present' economic balance of power. If RE (and power storage) prices continue to trend downwards, as they are likely to do, 'fossil' fuel production will become even more precarious.

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23 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

In general, I'm in agreement on the 'oil to generate electricity' assertion, with a few exceptions: remote Alaskan villages, diesel-electric locomotives, and ships such as cruise liners where diesel generates a lot of on-board power, as well as driving the ship. While in the bigger scheme of things these are small potatoes, they can still add up.

The general point of these cost comparisons is first to illustrate the significant constraints on higher hydrocarbon prices. On a Kw-Hour basis, it would appear that oil is in big trouble, since few producers can profit at the implicit benchmark. The opportunity space for natural gas is similarly highly constrained - while prices are cheap in the US this doesn't apply to Europe and Asia. In these markets renewables already threaten natural gas.

Second, as is pointed out in the article's title, this is the 'present' economic balance of power. If RE (and power storage) prices continue to trend downwards, as they are likely to do, 'fossil' fuel production will become even more precarious.

We are in violent agreement. One exception: LNG is a cost-effective replacement for bunker oil in large ships, especially when the price of LNG is as depressed as it currently is. Before the pandemic killed cruising, many new cruise ships were being built to use LNG. It s also cost-effective for container ships and bulk carriers including (duh!) LNG carriers.  My personal fantasy: use renewable electricity to generate methane to replace NG in certain applications including this one.

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On 9/4/2020 at 7:35 PM, Meredith Poor said:

Depends on what you're including in the 'cost'. It also depends on the time scale. My idea of 'expensive' energy is collecting firewood for heating one's home. What is the BTU yield per work-hour for that?

😀  If you are spending money to go to the Gym, collecting firewood saves you money.  Roughly speaking 1 chord of firewood = 250gallons of propane.  Personally I think it is closer to 300gallons.  Propane is a heck of a lot cheaper/convenient than buying firewood as Propane costs ~$1gallon when you buy in bulk(over 1000 gallons).  If you buy residential you will pay $2/gallon.  1 Chord green firewood, split, delivered is ~$150, dry $300.  Neither the 1000gallon propane tank, propane, firewood storage, chainsaw, work of moving it lighting fire are free.  Firewood can be free though and has to be dealt with anyways.

Or if you are like me, you have 10 acres of woods and a mile of dirt road covered in trees you have to maintain as no one else will; you have to cut prune the trees anyways, so cleaning them up into firewood is a win win and I do not go to the gym.  😀Or, if you are in good shape, you can cut, buck, split, stack a chord of firewood in an hour(haven't been able to do that for decades 🤣).  Moving requires another ~hour.  1 Chord of firewood split, dried, stacked is equivalent to ~2400MBtu on average.  Low grade(cottonwood) can be as low as 1000MBtu.  High grade(Arbutus, rock maple, live oak) can be as high as 4000Mbtu.  Splitting a half chord of firewood generally takes me ~ half an hour.  That is called arms and back day at the gym... Next day is called squat and arms day(lifting/moving firewood and stacking it takes another half hour. 

Biggest savings is a double burning stove(real ones with 2 chambers) as this will double your efficiency to ~90% for heating purposes and do remember ~20% of energy is required to convert water to steam...  So 90% is actually 70% and if you have a single burner or worse yet, open fireplace your efficiency will be 50-->60% which turns into ~30-->40%%. 

PS: YOu can get junk wood delivered to you for free.  That is right: Free.  Might need some final splitting though. 

PPS: If you burn, you better have a hot water tank to store the energy in, otherwise you are just blowing it up the chimney and yes, you would be better off buying propane. 

PPPS: Heat pump is still cheaper yet and its input can be anything from firewood, to solar, to geothermal to the air. 

 

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7 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

😀  If you are spending money to go to the Gym, collecting firewood saves you money.  Roughly speaking 1 chord of firewood = 250gallons of propane.  Personally I think it is closer to 300gallons.  Propane is a heck of a lot cheaper/convenient than buying firewood as Propane costs ~$1gallon when you buy in bulk(over 1000 gallons).  If you buy residential you will pay $2/gallon.  1 Chord green firewood, split, delivered is ~$150, dry $300.  Neither the 1000gallon propane tank, propane, firewood storage, chainsaw, work of moving it lighting fire are free.  Firewood can be free though and has to be dealt with anyways.

Or if you are like me, you have 10 acres of woods and a mile of dirt road covered in trees you have to maintain as no one else will; you have to cut prune the trees anyways, so cleaning them up into firewood is a win win and I do not go to the gym.  😀Or, if you are in good shape, you can cut, buck, split, stack a chord of firewood in an hour(haven't been able to do that for decades 🤣).  Moving requires another ~hour.  1 Chord of firewood split, dried, stacked is equivalent to ~2400MBtu on average.  Low grade(cottonwood) can be as low as 1000MBtu.  High grade(Arbutus, rock maple, live oak) can be as high as 4000Mbtu.  Splitting a half chord of firewood generally takes me ~ half an hour.  That is called arms and back day at the gym... Next day is called squat and arms day(lifting/moving firewood and stacking it takes another half hour. 

Biggest savings is a double burning stove(real ones with 2 chambers) as this will double your efficiency to ~90% for heating purposes and do remember ~20% of energy is required to convert water to steam...  So 90% is actually 70% and if you have a single burner or worse yet, open fireplace your efficiency will be 50-->60% which turns into ~30-->40%%. 

PS: YOu can get junk wood delivered to you for free.  That is right: Free.  Might need some final splitting though. 

PPS: If you burn, you better have a hot water tank to store the energy in, otherwise you are just blowing it up the chimney and yes, you would be better off buying propane. 

PPPS: Heat pump is still cheaper yet and its input can be anything from firewood, to solar, to geothermal to the air. 

 

I was buying propane when I was living in San Marcos, Texas and the price there ranged from $2.25 to $2.50 per gallon (100 gallon purchases). So we're largely in agreement on that topic.

If one compares the 4000Mbtu for 1.5 hours of work to whatever BTUs is extracted by a coal miner driving a front-end loader, along with the driver hauling coal out of the mine, and the train operator shipping the coal to a power station, etc. it seems like the latter is far more BTUs per work hour. Ultimately 'cost' translates to labor - what one has to spend in work-hours to get energy to the point of consumption.

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8 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

I was buying propane when I was living in San Marcos, Texas and the price there ranged from $2.25 to $2.50 per gallon (100 gallon purchases). So we're largely in agreement on that topic.

If one compares the 4000Mbtu for 1.5 hours of work to whatever BTUs is extracted by a coal miner driving a front-end loader, along with the driver hauling coal out of the mine, and the train operator shipping the coal to a power station, etc. it seems like the latter is far more BTUs per work hour. Ultimately 'cost' translates to labor - what one has to spend in work-hours to get energy to the point of consumption.

Sure.  No one is doing firewood due to economics unless you live rural and obtaining a part time 2nd job is not viable.  One the part time jobs are not just laying about waiting for you to grab them and 2 no one who is NOT living rural has access to cheap firewood, so it is not viable.  Rural people have this thing called TIME on their hands so instead of buying propane, and since they do not have access to NG for heating, but do have time and free wood, cut it, split it, move it, stack it, and burn it as it saves money.  Same reason anyone has a garden/raises chickens.  Long term you save money as other avenues of saving or making money are not available.  Same reason people self insulate their homes instead of hiring it out.  Same reason people work on their own vehicles instead of hiring it out.  Same reason people fix their homes instead of hiring it out.  Ability to make a tidy high hourly wage instead of doing the work yourself, does not exist for most people or they have not put themselves in position to just "work" overtime for the ability to pay someone else to do the scut work.

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