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Clean Energy Presents "Perfect Storm" For Utilities

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Nick Cunningham via,

A new report from UBS finds that renewable energy and energy storage are together presenting a “perfect storm” for big utilities. The declining cost of solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle technologies threaten to upend centralized electricity generation, putting the utility business model in jeopardy. Grid parity has already been achieved in certain parts of the world where conventional electricity rates are high and renewable resources are plentiful.

Renewable energy is beginning to cut into the bottom line for U.S. utilities. The average price for solar PV modules declined by 80% between 2008 and 2012. Net metering policies and innovative financing schemes like SolarCity’s leasing model are making distributed generation – where consumers generate power on-site – much more financially viable. This leads to a utility “death spiral,” in which utilities begin to lose customers, forcing them to jack up rates to cover lost revenue, which in turn pushes more people away. As of 2011, about three-quarters of U.S. utilities had a BBB credit rating or worse, indicating a striking lack of confidence in their financial future. In 2000, less than 40% of utilities earned such an abysmal grade.

This concept is not new, but UBS’ report suggests the trend is picking up steam, particularly in developed markets with flat electricity demand including parts of the United States, Europe, and Australia. Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that electricity sales have declined in four of the last five years in the U.S. While some of the drop off is attributable to the financial crisis and subsequent recession, energy efficiency and distributed generation are playing a key role. According to the EIA, “[g]rowing installed capacity of behind-the-meter sources of generation (largely from rooftop solar) is displacing some electricity sales that would otherwise occur.”

The latest UBS report finds that not only is solar PV eating into the utilities’ customer base, but it is also shaving off peak demand. Solar generates the most output during mid-afternoons, when demand is at its highest. With variable costs for renewables essentially nil, they beat out more expensive fossil fuel units. The result is leading to curtailed generation from big power plants along with lower peak electricity prices – a nightmare for utilities.

The unfolding transition to cleaner energy will force utilities to respond in a few ways. Some are fighting incentives that promote clean energy, as seen in the brutal fight in Arizona over its net metering policy. Another approach is for utilities to get into the clean energy game, which many have been doing for some time. The latest example came on December 16 when Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy placed a $1 billion order for wind turbines in Iowa, as “a hedge for our customers going forward in an era of reduced coal generation,” according to MidAmerican’s CEO Bill Fehrman.

Yet another approach is to scale back generation and embrace the bold new world of distributed generation. In Germany, several utilities have announced power plant closures and are considering transitioning into a model where they offer energy “services,” such as trading and advice to customers, according to The Economist. Germany may be a harbinger of the future – in June 2013 prices actually went negative because of so much green power on the grid at one time. Germany’s two biggest utilities, E.On and RWE, have both seen their net income drop by one-third since 2010.

Earlier this year NRG CEO David Crane warned about the looming decline of the Big Utility, arguing that distributed generation poses a “mortal threat to the existing utility system.” More telling was a January 2013 report from the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group for utilities, which concluded that distributed generation presents a “game changer” – strong words from an organization with an interest in preserving the confidence of investors. Add to the pile the latest UBS report, which concludes that utilities will not be able to survive in their current form.


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Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:21 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

It isn't solar energy and electric cars that are hurting utilities it is the long suffering Middle Class which is getting ass raped by Wall Street.

Jesus, you people get paid for this?

We are getting FUCKED by .gov, by employers, by local and state governments - bled to fucking death - nicle and dimed from here to Perdition.

Really, don't you get it yet?  The U.S.S.A. is the New Rome in terminal decline.

DECLINE (yes, I'm shouting).

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:28 | Link to Comment A L I E N
A L I E N's picture


I think utilities will focus more on grid managment than generation in the future..

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:33 | Link to Comment bunzbunzbunz
bunzbunzbunz's picture

Writer is long FSLR. Buy, buy, buy.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:28 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

Recheck the writer, he's from the oil price which means there is some monkey business going on some where. He's probably trying to push his bad investment onto another sucker, but wev'e done run out of suckers and chairs so I don't know what he's doing here.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:10 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Prices will necessarily rise.......according to the Choom Wagon marxist.


Well wudda ya know......look at that!


Good thing we've got crack community organizers running our energy polices.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 14:22 | Link to Comment N2OJoe
N2OJoe's picture

Not just rise, I believe "skyrocket" is the actual word that was used.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 16:48 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

We gotta crack mayor in Toronto, and he doesn't seem to be helpin' much.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 20:45 | Link to Comment oldschool
oldschool's picture

Leo K. lives!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:03 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

I call BS on this article.  What I hear is that wind turbines are being shut down and not being repaired because not cost effective.  The only efficient thing about solar farms is the large numbers of birds and animals they kill.   I could be wrong though.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:03 | Link to Comment samcontrol
samcontrol's picture

I don't want you to be confused.
You are wrong.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:30 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

Had a big piece of that solar did ya? Yea I lost my shorts 7 years ago too and had to start all over again, clean like.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:01 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Don't worry too much what Ronaldawg has to say.  He's one of those confirmed fucktards who still believes in the whole Socialist/Capitalist paradigm.

Just let him babble to himself.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:29 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

I see your BS and go all in.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 09:16 | Link to Comment gatorengineer
gatorengineer's picture

I am in the Electric Industry and you are partially correct.  Old model turbines are comming off.  There is partial replacement with new larger models.


Big issue is one of subsidies.   Without HEAVY Obama bucks (and to a somewhat lesser extent Bush bucks before that)  there would be no solar or no wind.  PERIOD.


New Jersey is the leading state in the country for solar.... Look it up its a fact.  More than Cali.  Christie has been shovelling out money as fast as Barry can print it.  


Latest scam is that if you buy a whole house Natural Gas Generator, and you use a solar panel to keep the battery which provides the start controls charged, you can write the whole thing off as a solar project.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 09:57 | Link to Comment MetalFillBoy
MetalFillBoy's picture

So, looking through this article, and through all the comments below, no one has mentioned the problem of STORAGE!  The amount of wind and solar is a small percentage of the total capacity (5.2% and 0.6%).  From memory, when solar and wind get to be about 20% or so of total capacity, you will have to store it to due to both being unreliable.  You have to have backup/storage to these unreliable source if you want them to be reliable.



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 13:59 | Link to Comment Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Germany does it.  It requires a variety of ways, but seems they are able to store the electricity as heat, if memory serves.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 14:13 | Link to Comment orez65
orez65's picture

Germany "doesn't do it".
There is NO practical way to store large enough amounts of electricity for grid use.
Germany buys the electricity that they lack from French and Polish NUCLEAR PLANTS.
German's 1.5 MILLION electric solar installations produced ZERO electrical power during last year's winter. BECAUSE of overcast skies.
Get over it, wind and solar power plants are scams used to buy votes from dumb shits like you.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 16:33 | Link to Comment layman_please
layman_please's picture

actually one of the ways to store large amount of energy is to pump water up to higher grounds. i have no idea about the efficiency, but some states at the baltic sea use norwegian hydro power stations and dams to accumulate (renewable) energy to adjust to their periodic needs.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:14 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Can't downvote you, since what you say is true, no matter how how impractical on a large scale.


Back up hydro for a WEEK or two in winter? Yes, that is nonsense .. yet required IF 100% so-called ecotard 'renewables' were to be used ...  

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:17 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

See: A Nation-Sized Battery  Instead of battery storage, currently wind of significant capacity on the grid must have MW for MW diesel or heavy fuel oil gensets with instantaneous startup for grid stability (or there must be a coal plant or natural gas plant or nuke plant on the same grid with responsive capability).  Diesel with wind.  Only the most expensive back up possible for the most unreliable generation possible, which uses thousand year old technology to boot, and at several times the cost per kWh of a large baseload plant.  Solar works to about 29% of advertised capacity and is useful for peak generation (if ambient conditions are right), distributed generation and power pumped hydro (which is indeed a type of storage but likely without net energy gains given that peak power would be used to store energy for use as peak power plus there is the cost of the hydro turbine sets).  You wouldn't run a hospital on any of this stuff if you have any sense.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:58 | Link to Comment Overfed
Overfed's picture

Large scale generation that depends on favorable weather conditions in order to work can't be cost effective, and is doomed to failure.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 15:32 | Link to Comment AGuy
AGuy's picture

LENR & Plasma = Scam/no future. Rossi is a convicted con-artist. For some reason people think that he become an honest super-genius phycist, but runs his experiments like a con-artist.

ITER is just a hole in the ground that gov'ts pour money into. It will never be a viable replacement for fossil fuel energy. Even if a major breakthough in Fusion happened today. Its too late. We have 100+ of infrastructure designed for fossil fuels. You can't turn electricity into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel (not cost effectively).


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:18 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture



Stupid poster AGuy is spreading FUD and disinfo .. 



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:35 | Link to Comment AGuy
AGuy's picture

I presume your being sarcastic, if not:

 In 1974, Rossi registered a patent for an incineration system. In 1978, he wrote The Incineration of Waste and River Purification, published in Milan by Tecniche Nuove. He then founded Petroldragon, a company for developing oil from waste, which collapsed in the 1990s amidst allegations of dumping toxic waste,[10] and accusations of tax fraud. Its assets were seized, together with Rossi's personal assets, and Rossi was arrested pending trial. Rossi spent four years in prison working on his legal defense in 56 trials, 5 of which ended in convictions related to tax fraud.

According to the mayor of Lacchiarella, Luigi Acerbi, "In the years when [Rossi] was working here, he didn't produce a single drop of oil, as far as we know."[

In the US Rossi started the consulting firm Leonardo Technologies, Inc. (LTI). He secured a defense contract to evaluate the potential of generating electricity from waste heat by using thermoelectric generators. Rossi sent 27 thermoelectric devices for evaluation to the Engineer Research and Development Center; 19 of these did not produce any electricity at all. The remaining units produced less than 1 watt each, instead of the expected 800–1000 watts.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 20:59 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture



Only ONE side of the story, dim bulb  ...


Are you aware of what they tried to do to Nikola Tesla?


You're so 'into the matrix' with the establishment story there is NO hope for you.



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 22:14 | Link to Comment AGuy
AGuy's picture

LOL! You must be smok'n some wacky weed there bro!

 "Only ONE side of the story"

Please Enlighten me on your all powerful wisedom? Let me guess, Only you know the true story right? Or cuz you read something on the Interweb you know the real truth!  I can't wait until you start explaining. I'll grab some popcorn to  really enjoy this! Throw in a good HHO Story with some UFOs too please!


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:31 | Link to Comment bunzbunzbunz
bunzbunzbunz's picture

tired meme.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:02 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

I hear the truth is a tired meme.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:56 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture really can't be independent without producing your own power.

Otherwise.....your horsebacking to work and its reading a book after a woodfire dinner by candlelight.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:07 | Link to Comment Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

And the Amish still seem to get by doing that today.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:05 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Amish is the future for a lot us in the next 20-50 years

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:39 | Link to Comment AGuy
AGuy's picture

"Amish is the future for a lot us in the next 20-50 years"

The Mad Max society is the most probable.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:19 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture





The Amish model last 'scaled well' in ... what? 1850?



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:10 | Link to Comment CoonT
CoonT's picture

Not to mention manufacturing going "Bye-bye." With your choice of wording, I had you pinned for living in Ontario. You want to see some laughably screwed up energy policy; the P.S. Union-infused ,gov we got goin' on up truly yours to discover.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 16:33 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Yep, Ontario's a mess. As an EE living here, I'm appalled that Hydro - for all that it was once a bloated and poorly managed company - could be made so much worse by these know-nothing 'greenies', who don't know the first thing about power, baseline loads, etc. I also notice that if anyone wants to put up a natural gas plant in a Liberal riding, it gets scrapped, but if they want to put up useless and ugly windmills in Tory ridings, up they go, no matter how much local opposition there is.

And kathy loser.. er, Wynne, is too busy munching carpet to see what's been swept under the rug.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:24 | Link to Comment FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

The grid in the US is a mess.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:33 | Link to Comment Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"Flintstones, meet the Flintstones...."

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:33 | Link to Comment FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Yabba dabba doooooo!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:32 | Link to Comment FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:02 | Link to Comment Freddie
Freddie's picture

I bought the wife a Tesla S for Christmas this year and parked it under the tree.  ***king tree caught on fire.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:11 | Link to Comment stant
stant's picture

well cars and trees dont mix as have noticed in my life. and if i wanted a coal burner it wouldnt be a tesla

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:23 | Link to Comment kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

"Government always accomplishes the opposite of the stated goal. Always."

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:54 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

I would agree up to the point of the moon landing.

Just add ALMOST before always.....

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:04 | Link to Comment merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

I sure would like the Chinese moon rover to beam back some current pictures of that old flag, providing they can find it..

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:04 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Yeah.....might make some of us stand up and take notice that right after it took those photos that it ran the flag over on live video.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:38 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

Didn't the flag get blown over due to being too close to the launch site? I guess they must have planted another one at one of the other sites on a the later visit.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 20:23 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

The Chinese wouldn't be above running over flag when its down.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:26 | Link to Comment A L I E N
A L I E N's picture


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:46 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Either you just posted a period, or you're using a really small font.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:29 | Link to Comment aphlaque_duck
aphlaque_duck's picture

I look at the infrastructure of a rural place and it's obvious to me that if they will have electricity at all in twenty years, it will come from solar.

Power poles rot and have to be replaced every 15 years. Trees must be kept clear. Lines fall in a storm. Expensive transformers fail sometimes. Crews to maintain all that, burning gas everywhere they go. 

I compare to my ground-mounted rack which will require no maintenance for the rest of my life, and it produces all the electricity I need. If I have to go fully off-grid in the future I just need to add a few more lead-acids to tide me over on cloudy days. Yes it was a sizeable capital outlay, but it pays a 6% after-tax yield. My neighbors spent more on their bimmers.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:07 | Link to Comment Freddie
Freddie's picture

I get 6% after-tax yields on super safe municipal bonds in Chicago, Puerto Rico, Atlantic City and NYC.  I sleep like a baby.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 16:23 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

down arrows are more evidence that sarcasm is wasted on the web.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:52 | Link to Comment drdolittle
drdolittle's picture

Short lifespan expected? No maintenance for solar for a lifetime? I must admit 6% has me intrigued. Tell me a little more about your setup, I have some cash I'd like to spend before it gets bailed in.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:22 | Link to Comment aphlaque_duck
aphlaque_duck's picture

Ground rack systems last a long time because they're built on galvanized steel pipe, not limited by an underlying roofing system. The panels have a 25-yr warranty. An occasional rain to wash off the pollen is all the maintenance they need.

I have Outback Radian inverters. Lets me buy and sell from the grid, but also run off-grid as needed. 

$30K out of pocket (after tax credits) generates $1800/yr of electricity. I had a contractor bulid the array but I did the electrical myself to save money and see that it was done right.

Your ROI could be more or less depending on local climate and electric rates. Any installer will do the calcs for you for free.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:05 | Link to Comment Overfed
Overfed's picture

Which FEMA region do you live in? A good portion of FEMA region X, where I live, is a virtual rainforest. Solar would only be viable here during the summer, when it is least needed.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 17:25 | Link to Comment AGuy
AGuy's picture

"I compare to my ground-mounted rack which will require no maintenance for the rest of my life, and it produces all the electricity I need. If I have to go fully off-grid in the future I just need to add a few more lead-acids to tide me over on cloudy days."

Nyet! Lead batteries will not last for the rest of your life, unless you expect to die in the next 3 to 10 years. Like all chemical batteries they degrade and fail. They have a limited number of cycles. The more you cycle them the shorter their lifespan. The only batteries that can last very long periods and large number of cycles are Nickel-Hydrogen and Nickel-Iron Batteries. Nickel-Hydrogen batteries are used on Satillites since they can be cycled nearly forever but they are extremely expensive. Nickel-Iron batteries last extremely long, but have a recharge loss ratio of about 30% (It consumes ~30% more power to recharge than it provides during discharge), and have a high self-discharge rate of about 20% per month. Also the electrolyte in NiFe Batteries needs periodic replacement caused by absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere

FYI: PV panels are subject to weather and can be destroy. Ideally you can protect them by disconnecting the panels and storing them inside before weather arrives. Not all PV panels will last a lifetime, only Mono-crystalline PVs last. The newer, low cost panels degrade and lose 50% or more of their output in 20 years or less.

"I look at the infrastructure of a rural place and it's obvious to me that if they will have electricity at all in twenty years, it will come from solar."

In the event of long term power loss, Wood-Gas generators, Steam powered generators and hydro-electric systems are also viable and probably would be more practical than solar. Biomass fueled systems can operate on cloudy days and at night. The problem with Solar/Battery systems is dependence on electronic consumables which will be difficult to replace. Sooner or later your inverter or charger is going to suffer a component failure. Best to have a backup option.

Any long term Grid down situation would unleash meltdowns at all of the existing nuclear power plants as they need constant cooling for the spent fuel pools.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:31 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

Get your back-up diesel generator set and get ready to pay much more for everything.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:43 | Link to Comment booboo
booboo's picture

don't worry about the utility franchise, Obama will make sure they bill you for the carbon tax and scarce coal fire plants will offset any losses through energy conservation. As for individual energy independence they government thugs just condemned some ladies home because........she had the gall to be off the grid.




Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:45 | Link to Comment A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

It's ultimately about consolidation and control. Want power? Move to the fucking FEMA Camp dummy.........

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:54 | Link to Comment kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

The following link/article celebrates the shutting down of the 150th. coal fueled power plant since 2010.

I wonder how celebratory this author's audience is going to be as they waddle themselves into a FEMA camp to work themselves "free" or take a "shower?"


"Is it time for the guillotines yet?!"

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 15:20 | Link to Comment Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

Kchrisc- Thanks for the link.

Although I'm in Louisiana now, I was raised in Somerset, MA. When I left in the mid-'60's the Brayton Point plant was just getting started. There was another power plant in town- Montaup Electric- where my father was a Stationary Engineer (the plant was AF of L/CIO). The pay was good and he raised our family of 4 kids on it OK and ended with a good retirement (whatever that is!).

When I left the area back then Somerset had the lowest property taxes in all of New England because of these two plants. Now it is among the highest with the shutdown of these two plants. I seems like only those who worked at these plants knew the benefits to the town (and to the politicians). Well, the busybodies and carpetbaggers from Boston and the District of Criminals have killed the Golden Goose and only now, after the fact, are the pols trying to find a substitute although they knew it would happen years ago. It serves them right!

Guillotines aren't a weapon of war- they are the solution!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 00:59 | Link to Comment HUGE_Gamma
HUGE_Gamma's picture

plug on SCTY

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:00 | Link to Comment sangell
sangell's picture

Right bankrupt solar manufacturers dependent on government subsidies and mandated power purchases are the future. Utilities aren't going to just let you cherry pick when you want to buy power from the grid. You are either going to have to be their customer or rely on your system 100% of the time.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 14:59 | Link to Comment shiftless
shiftless's picture

That's not a problem, bud. I told the local power company to go F--- themselves earlier this year.

I got a shut off notice unexpectedly, which was a surprise because I was on a payment plan, or so I thought. These stupid asses have a billing system from the 1970s I'm guessing which is sort of half ass grafted onto a pile of shit web site which is damn near impossible to use or find anything on. Something must have screwed up and one of the bills didn't go out, so next thing I know there's a shutoff notice in the mail.

I went down to the local Wal Mart to call them up and the woman on the phone wouldn't cut me any kind of break. Wanted me to pay a huge amount right then or it would be shut off. I asked for a supervisor and got one who was a rude bitch that started lecturing me and likewise wouldn't work with me. So I ended up getting pissed off and loudly cussed out the cunt, said I was going to generate my own power, and hung up. Felt bad about it and apologized to the nearby employees who seemed completely sympathetic, like they'd probably been through the same shit themselves.

So I ended up dropping about $4,500 on a single cylinder (Lister CS type) diesel engine installed in my garage with a big 4 pole generator head, which now supplies power to my house and shop 24/7. It's an old beast with heavy flywheels that thumps along at a slow speed and will start the heaviest of loads without breaking a sweat. I built an insulated cabinet and elaborate exhaust system to keep it nice and quiet.

It's more expensive than buying from the power company, but not ridiculously so, and this level of self-sufficiency is absolutely irreplaceable. These engines are super cheap to work on dead reliable. I can easily stockpile enough parts to rebuild it several times over it needed. I can stockpile enough fuel to keep it running for years even if the nation's fuel supply is completely disrupted in a total SHTF scenario. Right now I'm burning standard diesel fuel, but the sky is the limit as far as alternative fuels go (including making my own from sunflower, canola, etc), and there are countless possible improvements to increase its efficiency and usefulness. Best of all, if and when we get hit with a massive EMP, this old lump of iron will be completely unharmed.

So yeah, fuck the power company.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:05 | Link to Comment goldinpenguin
goldinpenguin's picture

All or nothing...if you keep the local ute as backup you'll pay thru the nose and it won't just be the local delivery fee per KWH it will be a rapidly escalating monthly service fee. Fish or cut bait.

The utes will fight net metering hammers and tongs, they want to buy at wholesale and sell (to the same customer) at retail, thats a pricing model they love!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:31 | Link to Comment Rukeysers Ghost
Rukeysers Ghost's picture

With the environmental cases and Progressives regulating the country backwards, we won't need the utility companies much longer. Who needs electric when you are cooking your Spam or Soylent Green over a small trash can fire in your Soviet style apartment building.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:19 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



The people that junked you never use electricity......cause that crap is pure evil.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:34 | Link to Comment GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

Some folks just can't shake that cold war mentality, can you? I know it's comfortable there for folks who still can't move on to the new reality, but the world is moving on without you. But don't worry, there's still Rush and the rest of the reich-wing mouthpieces to demonize anything and everyone who doesn't think like you. That way you can can stay deep in your backward thinking comfort zone as the world moves forward.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:40 | Link to Comment Foul Harold
Foul Harold's picture

"Progress" means the same thing to people like you that the word "peace" did to the Soviets.  Namely, the elimnation of any opposition. There's no such thing as a "new reality".  There's only reality and those who refuse to learn the lessons of reality past are doomed to repeat them.


If you want renewable energy, that's fine. But it's expensive, unreliable, and a big time job killer. But by all means, continue lemming-like right on down that path you're on. You'll just have to forgive those such as myself who refuse to march lockstep with the Barrack Obama's and Al Gore's of the world.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Indian_Goldsmith
Indian_Goldsmith's picture

" big time job killer" Time, and innovation , are actually job killers, so do you oppose time and innovation too?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:04 | Link to Comment Foul Harold
Foul Harold's picture

Holy non-sequiturs, Batman!


1. Wars, malaria, heart attacks, and cancer kill people. Broad scale government malinvestment and interference in markets kills jobs. Time itself doesn't kill anything.


2. Innovations usually provide a positive marginal utility which is not presently the case with renewables and without massive subsidies they would not survive. When renewable energies can consistently provide a steady, profitable base load at the same or less cost as existing sources without substantially disrupting employment, the case can then be made for widespread adoption. Until then, you guys are just writing checks on the backs of the average American taxpayer which you can't cash.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:23 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Nothing about renewable energy kills jobs.

There's simply some formats that are less easily renewed. Biogas is an easy one, biodiesel & solar-thermal.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 01:41 | Link to Comment Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

In California the utilities are retaliating by paying the state government to pass punitive taxes, license fees, regulations, and impediments to alternative energy.  It costs a bloody fortune to install solar PV in a home here because of it.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 02:07 | Link to Comment dunce
dunce's picture

Utter nonsense and BS. This guy must be using the global warming computer model. He is skating with the hockey stick in his butt.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 02:42 | Link to Comment Joe A
Joe A's picture

Just wait until solar power technology gets so advanced that you can paint anything with it. Your whole house or car can be one big solar panel. It is the way forward (not wind turbines). But bad news for centralised utilities and leaders that want us on the central grid.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:17 | Link to Comment Catullus
Catullus's picture

That would be awesome.

I want translucent solar panels that replace windows. Have entire downtown skyscraper area double as a gigantic power plant for solar.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:31 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

just think of the stimulus if we break them!!!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:16 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

now, now, stop banging your lady against the window pane. Ouch! The stimulus has spiked! 

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:51 | Link to Comment tmosley
tmosley's picture

The results would be quite shocking, I think.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 13:48 | Link to Comment Joe A
Joe A's picture

Brilliant idea.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:20 | Link to Comment eddiebe
eddiebe's picture

And you think the big energy companies are going to allow that?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 13:49 | Link to Comment Joe A
Joe A's picture

Lame reply: "if you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you are right".

Innovation will always face political, commercial and/or criminal opposition. But eventually innovation will win, especially if there is a profit to be made. If not, there would not have been an industrial revolution.

I arrowed you up though.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:23 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

WIKKID. I can charge my MP3 player for an entire hour's worth of use just by painting the side of a house and letting it charge from it.
Good thing I have nothing else to do with my day but wait, and nothing better to do with power but listen to my mp3 player for an hour.
Sheer genius.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 02:40 | Link to Comment I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Um, won't the utilities be happy to give up peak loads?  They charge up the wazoo for that because it costs to have it.  If growing solar cuts utility growth rates a little, so be it.

Maybe the real problem is the municipalites and monopolies that like to load up your electric bill with surcharges, kind of hard to add on twenty dollar bogus charges when the whole bill is five cents.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:03 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

Mein gott!  I had this trouble when an apartment I was living in a few years ago had a gas stove insted of electric.  Never used more than $1.50 worth of gas, but delivery was $8 for the "privilige" of having a natural gas stove.  The fuck?  Never again.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:06 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

One word for ya: Propane.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:23 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

good luck with that ! Bang bang if your valve leaks.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 15:30 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Every freakin' cottage on our street - that's over 40 small homes - has a propane stove/oven. You can see the gas tanks sitting on the back porch, outside, where they are exposed to harsh Quebec winters.

50 years I've been going down there, and there have been no - zero, zilch, NADA - fires due to propane leaks or tanks. Careless bonfire on the beach? Yes. Careless BBQ fires? Yes. Careless waste incineration (pretty standard back in the 60's/70's)? yes. Propane tanks? Never.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:21 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

same with gas.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 02:42 | Link to Comment Catullus
Catullus's picture

I work in this industry and have for my entire career.

The problem that the utilities have is that they have a government guaranteed return on capital or equity. And the main way those guarantees are made to the utilities are through the rate setting process. Keep this in mind when someone claims that these distributed generation projects or products are said to have cost parity.

On the generation side and in places where there is a market price discovery method for wholesale and retail power, the distributed generation can barely hold up against the large generators without major state-level subsidies. BUT, layer in the regulated wires and polls utility costs and distributed gen does compete and quite well. So does energy efficiency and load management. I'd say the last two have mostly adopted by the large C&I customers especially in retail choice states. It's beginning to matriculate into smaller load classes as time goes on.

Keep another thing in mind, these distributed gen or anything that requires significant capex are still primarily justified via 20 year PPAs or leasing programs. I don't need to explain to this crowd what happens to the allocation of resources in a low interest rate environment, just be cognizant of the fact both sides have to push out 20 years to get these projects to make any sense on paper.

All that said, I have solar on my house through a solar leasing program and love it. I was sold on the idea 2 years ago that the utilities are only going to push their costs onto a smaller and smaller rate base. All of their increases in labor and material inflation will eventually be covered against a smaller load, ie your utility bills have no where to go but up (despite however many plants get shut down for lack of power demand). The utilities may find some fee structure to counter eventually, but it will be a tough sell to state regulators. In the meantime, the first adopters win while the credit is cheap.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:10 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Next time in English please?  And put the wienie at the beginning or the end so we can know that you actually made a point.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:24 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



OK.....he said you're getting screwed.....and you're being kinda cocky about it.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 09:52 | Link to Comment Catullus
Catullus's picture

Fair enough

The distributed gen projects require a lot of modeling to make sense WITH the embedded assumption utility cost will increase AND a low interest rate environment. Early adopters win despite the likely improvement of the technology.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:37 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Hey, Dawg, maybe you would enjoy an easier-to-read website ?


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:52 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

Regulators force utilities to connect and supply to some on an uneconomical basis.  The fundamental trade-off is this for a manipulated government-approved price and monopoly territory. 

There's a lot of free-riding on the distributed generation side that goes unmentioned.  We might trust correctly that your refrigerator does not depend solely on solar power to operate?  

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 02:43 | Link to Comment Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Unless panels need gold (to drive up prices), the author will find few friemds here. Especially when they favor the mantra of that Mensa member and picture of dedication, Sarah Palin (Gov., ret.): "Drill, baby, drill!"

Solar panels? Bah, humbug! But an oil rig on every farm? Now you're talkin'!

(Should I have added the Sarc label?)

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:07 | Link to Comment John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

What a total joke of an article.  Solar and wind are INTERMITTANT energy sources and thus unreliable for baseline power.  And energy storage with batteries that cannot be recycled with lifetimes of less than 7 years and enormous upfront capital costs is also a joke.  The problem is you need just as much baseline power as if nobody had PV panels unless the utilities subsidize the PV panel owners to supply extra power during the day (when no one really needs it) as they currently do.  Just let them try build a PV system with enough backup storage for a typical home in the peak evening hours.  Grid free costs would exceed $100K unsubsized to get 10 KW of peak power.  Just buy a 10 KW diesel generator for a couple of thousand (military surplus) for $2K. 

Its all about energy density-batteries suck-fossil fuels rule.  Nuclear power is the ultimate in energy density.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:35 | Link to Comment novictim
novictim's picture

Is that a Fukushima fuel rod sticking out of your butt?


Move to Japan, Douche bag.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 04:35 | Link to Comment defender1be
defender1be's picture

You have a problem with logic?

The biggest problem with the society is the limited technical en scientific knowledge

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:12 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

See Coltrane knows how to make a point.  Bravo.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 18:42 | Link to Comment novictim
novictim's picture

No, the biggest problem is magical thinking.  When you assume that a technical "fix" will happen and so fail to take the expensive conventional steps needed to avert disaster in the here and now then you become the "problem".


Don't count your chickens before they hatch, K?  There is no tooth fairy or god who will be swooping in to save our butts if we gamble and lose this planet.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:48 | Link to Comment Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

Not sure where the down votes come from but it is simple laws of physics. Nothing packs the "punch" of fossil fuels.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:56 | Link to Comment daemon
daemon's picture

"Nothing packs the "punch" of fossil fuels."

Yes, but who told you that you always need high density, particularly in a decentralized system ?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:23 | Link to Comment Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture



You don't but ..... For example a 2012 Nissan Leaf has a battery capacity of 24 kWh, or a GGE [gasoline gallon equivalent] size of 0.72 gallons.

Put 1 gallon of gas in your car, drive it until it runs out, then push it back. That is how much "work" that gallon of gas is worth.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:00 | Link to Comment tmosley
tmosley's picture

I don't really understand why they don't just use metal-air batteries.  Those have the same energy density as hydrocarbon fuel.  Hell, you can install kiosks at gas stations to change them out when they run out.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:40 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Because the metal-air batteries that we have now consume the metal.

You don't recharge them, you reload them.

That's why I'm excited about EOS/Aurora -- they say they have developed a rechargable zinc/air battery -- and have multiple patents on it.  They appear to be offering them for sale rightnow -- but only as storage batteries for utilities.  i.e. really large.



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:15 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Mother nature.

No high density? No way to store the fuel / energy at all except to use it on the spot, on-demand, meaning no off-grid living since there's no place to live PLUS have the fuel.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:09 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

I must admit, when I started experimenting with this photovoltaic + battery lately, it was kind of hard to spend $400 for a battery that could store 1 kWh.   1 kWh which costs me $0.12 to buy.

But -- for grid-failure scenarios, even 1 kWh can mean a lot.  I have been able, for instance, to run my well pump with that battery, and that means I can pump on the order of 1000 gallons of water with that 1 kWh.  Which means a lot when the power goes out.


Also, I have some new technology to fantasize about.  A company called EOS is now selling large batteries called Aurora.  Right now they are only selling to utilities -- batteries that store 1 MWh or 6 MWh, which is kind of far beyond my pay-grade.  But I can fantasize about myself someday being able to buy a few of the individual building blocks that they make the big batteries out of.  Those store 12 kWh for a cost of $2000 -- or about $170 per kWh.

This would make my cost of storage almost 2.5x cheaper than now.  It's not *quite* enough to change your life -- but the ability to store 60 or 70 kWh does begin to get kind of interesting.


I heat my house with a geothermal system.  (Ground-source closed-loop heat pump.)   70 kWh would power that system for 20 hours -- which would be enough to heat the house for maybe 3 days if you don't mind wearing a sweater like Jimmy Carter.

With the geothermal system's ability to magnify your power input by a factor of 3 .... a photovoltaic system plus 70 (or maybe 100) kWh of storage starts to look kind of really interesting....


Don't write this stuff off too easily.   People have a way of coming up with new technology.  If somebody comes up with battery tech that gets my storage cost down by *another* factor of 2 or so -- boom.




And the best thing about EOS/Aurora is -- expected life of 10,000 charge/discharge cycles!  At least 30 years!  So that lowers the per year cost of the battery storage system by more like a factor of 8!   Now that is kind of a game-changer.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:34 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

Dubious comment.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:56 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

But you don't know WHY, as usual. Rates are negative only when you are the FED or ECB, drowning in panic that was (gasp) bygone hubris gone dry! 

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:20 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

No, and I do know why, i'm just tired of repeting the same ignorance over and over, but once it is over and the people listen, then i'll have to only say it once, and that's the way I like it. 

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:26 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

Oh potent Oracle from Delphi! 

Larry Ellison would be green from envy!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:19 | Link to Comment Overfed
Overfed's picture

Since most 'alternative' energy sources are intermittent, storage is THE major hurdle, no matter the scale. And that's in terms both of capacity and longevity. That EOS thing does give me a little hope of being able to go off grid.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:15 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Why wouldn't you just get methanol fuel cells?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:35 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

electric storage remains something that technology has to solve. Point taken.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:24 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

Or go insane trying to solve as you run out of time.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:35 | Link to Comment daemon
daemon's picture

" And energy storage with batteries..."

Yes but there are people who are thinking of other ways of storing energy.

For example, some time  ago, I watched a TV broadcast about Germans who used  thermically isolated water tanks to store energy. And one way to get that energy back is ....  Stirling engine .


That link could interest you too :

(I don't have any relationship with coolenergyinc)

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:46 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

and watch out for diamonds...  industry is starting to use them in solar and lasers

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 07:57 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

That's very interesting -- but I wish I could find numbers on the overall efficiency of heat collection + low-temp Stirling engine for power generation.   Is it really higher than 10%-or-so efficiency of PV+battery ?

Also, that engine looks expensive.

With my concept of PV+battery+geothermal, I would be using a thousand tons of dirt to store the heat energy from the summer.  And the dirt was free.  ( That part already works -- it is heating my house right now.  The only problem is that I'm using grid power to run the system. )


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:39 | Link to Comment daemon
daemon's picture

"...I wish I could find numbers on the overall efficiency of heat collection + low-temp Stirling engine for power generation. "

I don't know what it is worth, but they have that pdf doc that gives some numbers (page 5):


"Also, that engine looks expensive."

I guess it probably is, for the moment.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 12:06 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Thanks -- and it looks really good.

Holy crap -- with a wood fire as power source I can get 25% efficiency, and generate 3 kW !

So I buy this (after I get rich) - - then design its heat input into my fireplace.  Most of the heat goes to warm the house directly -- but 25% of it goes to generate 3kW as long as I keep the fire burning.


Mon, 12/23/2013 - 15:20 | Link to Comment epicurious
epicurious's picture

I have been off the grid for a period of 5 years at one of my homes The use of PV is great if you don't have high amperage requirements.  I found the most economical storage was with golf cart batteries.  At this location I have both a small wind mill does 650 watts max/hr and 360 watt/hr PV panels.  I generally got around 3500 watts a day.  Just enough for computers led lighting and refrigeration.  Total system cost was aroud $3800.  Problem is batteries need to be replaced every 4 years.  Forget getting out your arc welder.

This place is in the Caribbean.  Sitting on my hill in 07 I thought wow when the fossil fuel situation gets going heating our homes in the Northeast US will not be cheap.  So I went to China to get evacuated tube solar collectors which are not made in the USA even though NASA developed them in the 1950's.  These tubes are 94% efficient and are fantastic in even oevercast weather.  425 degrees farenheit at the manifold in direct sunlight and 140 degrees on a cold overcast January day.  Heat storage is the thing that makes or breaks this technology.

It is very likely we can all use these.  I saw throughout China those collector on peoples apartment balconies etc..  There are a lot of ingenious applications of this technology using portable heat distribution from these units.

Study up folks.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 06:55 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

"And energy storage with batteries that cannot be recycled with lifetimes of less than 7 years and enormous upfront capital costs is also a joke."

What? Lead-acid batteries have been recycled for over a 100 years, and are not that expensive. The bigger issues I have are:

Clean Energy*

*By having all the mining, coal burning and manufacturing in China, the only clean part is over here, since the pollution was all made over there.

And battery powereed electric cars, which have proven to be not competitive for over 100 years.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:46 | Link to Comment swedish etrade baby
swedish etrade baby's picture

The article says that the demand for elecricity is highest in the afternoon. That makes sense to me. In the southern parts os U.S.A you use elecricity to run AC. Thats not the case in Sweden. Here the the demand is higher in the wintertime  when the day is short. PV panels might make sense in Texas but not in Sweden.  I looked at somthing called microchp. It is basically a wood stove combined with a sterling engine and a generator. You get both elecritcity and heat. If you own forest you could avoid the carbontax and VAT we pay on elecritcity in Sweden.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:14 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

One thing I'll never understand is how conservatives can be against alternative energy?  The hell guys.  If Teddy Rosevelt were alive today he's be all over solar energy.

There's nothing wrong with stewarding our environment.  Not doing so is a ploy by SOME business elements who want to save on costs.  It's a big fucking lie and another propaganda campaign.  One need only look at China, India or West Vriginia to understand that, "Hmmm, maybe we should just fucking take care of our environment" and do what we can to not wreck it..  If it's just a financial argument, the cost of cleaning now and keeping things as clean as possible is less than the cost of not doing it, most of which are untold and hard to put on a spreadsheet but easy to put into your lungs or your food or drinking water (fracking anyone?).  So lets just take care of our shit.

Now that that's out of the way the environmental issue is one of the last major things turning young people, say 18-35, away from from conservatives on other social issues.  If you want to pull the rug out from "the environmental liberals" don't fight them on an issue that everyone should be on board with....agree with them on it.  The environmental argument is one of the only arguments the liberals in the US have left.  So fucking agree with them on it.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:21 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive loon. The USA has over 200 years of coal reserves.  But let's buy all the f'd up solar crap from China.

No let's not agree with the progressives on anything.  They lie to promote their agenda just like W74 does above.

They are incompetent fuckups.  No to carbon tax.  Yes to nuclear energy.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 21:04 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture


You'd be dying of blacklung this very minute if you were burning coal for energy & nothing else.

Look at China: they are.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:36 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

I don't think much of conservatives (and less of 'liberals') but as an anarchist, I am interested in alternative energy because I want to be independent of national grids.  National grids are encouraged by the state, because they tend to justify its power.

Also, I hate uranium power, because it has always been a pure statist ploy: subsidize, hide the true costs, so you can (1) justify big grids, and (2) make big weapons.  The US makes big weapons and the USSR makes big weapons, so that everyone will have to side with one or the other. 

The governments are natural allies against the rest of us.



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:27 | Link to Comment firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

The "grid" isn't as centralized as the common man believes.  It is quite a fragmented system really, which is also a vulnerable system. 

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 09:11 | Link to Comment Cloud9.5
Cloud9.5's picture

Why is it that liberals would assume that conservatives are against alternative energy?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 23:04 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

Poor people do the most damage to the environment.  Inefficient or insufficient energy production makes people poorer by making stuff more expensive and gumming up the works.  Windmills and PV (and woodburning?!!) which are hobby scale at best will do that and have the opposite effect you claim to seek.  Good one about Roosevelt!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 03:22 | Link to Comment put_peter
put_peter's picture

Trading and advise to customers... oh yeah!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:49 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

The premises of the energy PARADIGM change are now being recognised; a small step for virtuous technology a great step for humanity!

May we now continue going down that experience curve fast. The world needs to end this madness of what Reagan and Thatcher started when they backed the oil lobby up to the hilt and walked away from the dregs of  peak Oil signals in 1979's second oil crisis. Europe/JApan did the same when it ignored the consequences of TMI's warning at same period rushing headlong into Nuclear trap : Sparkling uranium to boil water! Our current way of life "NON NEGOTIABLE"....You bet, when hubris bites, it bites deep. And it bit the Alan Greenspan and Wolfowitz generation down to their ideologically polluted nuts! 

We need Renaissance times in the Energy thread to walk out from under the poisonous umbrella of Big Oil and Big Nuclear bureaucracies whose imprint on Society is here both in ME world sterilization since Dear Henry's PAx Americana days and now the dystopian nuclear serial thriller of TMI, Chernobyl and Fuku polluting the Pacific ten times worse than US's Bikini plays and France's Murorua criminally negligent sleight of hand. 

Eleventh hour chimes of hope in a dystopian polluted world. We take solace wherever we find it; beggars never be choosers ! 

As for the perfect storm let her rip to change the face of industrial world; now become botoxed decaying patchwork.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:02 | Link to Comment Heroic Couplet
Heroic Couplet's picture

Gas lighters are a thing of the past. What the sun will do free, let's let it. The sun has been rising for millions of years.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 23:04 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

Uh, it's billions of years and the sun does not rise.  The sun made all this great coal for us too, for free!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:16 | Link to Comment firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

This report is total garbage.  Now I see why UBS is the laughing stock of the financial world.  Has anyone at UBS seen the output of a solar or wind farm for a 24 hour period?  Yeah, its not pretty, so fossil fuel is not going anywhere quick.  On another note, its the generators that are the ones feeling the pinch from the new EPA regulations.  Lots of capacity is being pulled from the markets, and the loser is the end user. 

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 15:20 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Anyone who wants to call BS on this need only look at Ontario's electricity market, totally screwed up by greenies and 'renewables'.

Huge contract to pay for solar at $0.80/kWh for 20 bleepin' years (since negotiated down a bit, but still, IIRC, in the neighbourhood of $0.60 kWh). Meanwhile, nuclear costs ~$.03/kWh.

Huge contracts to pay for wind turbines, again at prices an order of magnitude above nuclear/hydro. Wind turbines regularly generate 3-6% of their rated capacity, and they provide most energy in low-demand periods, so that Ontario is currently paying hundreds of thousands each day to NY, Quebec, MI, and Manitoba to take excess power (Ontario buys from wind farms at $0.20/kWh, sells at $.03 - guess they're going to make it up in volume!).

You can check the stats at Ontario's Independent Energy System Operator's site (IESO). Their stats show conclusively that, despite billions in investments and on-going expense, wind/solar is NOT economical, and can NOT be relied upon to produce baseline power for a modern industrial economy that wants to remain competitive. Already, many manufacturers, facing industrial charges of $0.14/kWh and up, have packed up and left Ontario. If you're running a tomato canning plant, like Heinz was in Leamington, Ont., electricity had to be one of the largest factory overheads, almost 25% of operating cost. When you can cut that in half by moving to a jurisdiction that hasn't swalled the greeny codswallop hook, line, and sinker, you can almost immediately put 10% back on your bottom line.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 08:35 | Link to Comment Reader1
Reader1's picture

There's nothing wrong with wind power.  Of COURSE it kills animals.  They need to put a giant grill around each turbine, just like you have on your oscillating Walmart fan at home.  Put a giant cage around the turbine and problem is solved.  I heard several years ago the problem is because birds are attracted to the red light flashing at the top of each tower.  I guess red helps guide them at night.  Put a giant wire cage around each turbine and no one will get caught in the blades ever again. 

Could we generate power from all the people pushing and shoving for cheap TVs on BLack Friday?  What about children?  They're bottomless fountains of energy.  If I could get my kid hooked up to a transformer, I wouldn't need to pay a power bill at all.  Turn on some cartoon, hand em' a bowl of fruity sugar whatever, and watch the meter spin backwards.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 23:10 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

Airfoils are not big fans of wind disturbance.  Giant wire cages disturb wind.  Interested to hear how birds would not collide with giant wire cages nonetheless.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 09:25 | Link to Comment Pee Wee
Pee Wee's picture

Distributed energy generation is much more immune to fraud and the manipulation/racketeering pervasive throughout the current industry.

Good riddance. Couldn't happen to better fossils.

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:14 | Link to Comment FrankIvy
FrankIvy's picture



Come on ZeroHedge.  You can do better.

The article says: "The average price for solar PV modules declined by 80% between 2008 and 2012."


Wow!  That's a huge number!  80%?  What happened?  Did they come out with a brand new technology?  New Pioneer invention?  New source of silicon?

Maybe, instead of going with those guesses, which should have made international headlines, we'll go with the more obvious guess, which is that the article is incorrect.

And they provide a link!  So we can check it!  And we do, and it says:

"From 2008 to 2012, annual average module prices on the global market fell by US$2.60/W, representing about 80 per cent of the total decline in PV system prices over that period."


What?  That's not the same thing!!!!!

It's like saying the cost of getting a truck tire installed and mounted was 100 bucks in 2008 and 99 bucks in 2012, with 80 cents of the reduction in price coming from lower raw tire costs, and then reporting that, "the cost of tires is 80% lower over 5 years."


Come on people.  80%?  Even if they said 20% I would have checked it as probably incorrect.  But 80%???



Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:13 | Link to Comment FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

Read your comment, read the article and agree with you that the article itself is a bit misleading, but we can all agree that the cost of solar installations continues to fall. Since the Jimmy Carter days, the reductions in price per watt are large.

Solar is viable for some, not for all.

I don't know about you, but I appreciate any opportunity to get the utilities' dicks out of our collective asses.

Merry Christmas!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:29 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Don't get too critical.

Did you check the numbers?

Cost per watt has fallen from about $2.00 in 2008, to $0.80 now.

I make that a decline, based on the 2008 cost, of 60%.

Not the 20% that you would have assumed was an error -- 60%.

And anyway, why would you have been surprised at even a 20% decline in 5 years?  Do you remember the price curve that flat screen displays followed?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 23:24 | Link to Comment jamesbbkk
jamesbbkk's picture

And yet somehow the price at the meter goes up.  Price of plastic surgery: down.  Price of heart surgery: up.  Price of flatscreens: down.  Price of education: up.  

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:24 | Link to Comment AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

No wonder ALEC is trying to pass legislation on states to make people who have solar panels to pay extra for electricity...

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:29 | Link to Comment bourbondave
bourbondave's picture

Is this an Onion article?  This can't be serious?

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:36 | Link to Comment esum
esum's picture

nonsense.... LNG hasn't fully kicked in yet...

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:35 | Link to Comment FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

I predict I'll be completely off the grid in less than two months, which is an easy prediction for me to make, since I've already acquired the land, there are no utilities hooked up, and, after talking to both Duke energy and the servile public servants of Greenville SC County Zoning Enforcement, I'll be damned if I hook up to any of their statist power - or, for that matter, sewage or water - supplies.

The land has a water source (river on one border; my line is in the middle of the river) and abundant sunshine. The zoning ass-hats had the absurd idea that I could not even construct a temporary 160 sq. ft. storage shed, UNLESS I built a 900+ square foot house or mobile home on the property FIRST.

I spoke to various real estate pros and shed merchants and all of them agreed they had never heard such nonsense in all of their lives. Mind you, my property is 3 1/2 acres and relatively secluded.

This so raised my ire that I began looking into becoming completely energy independent and I've found some very reliable sources, one of which is a fellow who is going to help me with hydro from the river. There's more than enough land available to me, that, if I so choose, I could put an array of 100 or more solar panels on site, hook that up to the utility line and have them paying ME for the rest of my life.

I wonder how Duke Energy and the Greenville Zoning Nazis would like the taste of them apples?

Fuck the utilities. I've lived in NY state for most of my life and have paid $$$$ mucho to the thieving bastards. ALL consumers in RG&E (owned by iberdola, a Spanish company) territory pay a minimum of $35 a month CUSTOMER CHARGE whether they use any energy or not.

Nothing gets me riled up as much as looking at a utility bill and all the BS various charges and taxes. Anybody who can't see the value in solar, wind and small hydro must be shareholders or zombies.

This has been a long time coming for me and I relish the change to LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS ON MY OWN LAND, DAMMIT! This statist bullshit is going to stop at the boundaries of my property, and I will be going public with any interference by government regulators. I'll keep ZH - and hopefully the rest of the world - posted once my adventure begins in February.

FREEDOM, bitchez, and Merry Christmas to all!

Mon, 12/23/2013 - 20:57 | Link to Comment MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

hopefully what you pay in taxes for the size of the land won't just add up to the same as what you'd pay for utilities. Then again, you'd pay it regardless. I wonder how much the panels will cost between replacements.

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