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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @01:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the global-warming-is-a-hoax dept.

World spending on renewable vitality is outpacing investment decision in electric power from coal, natural gasoline and nuclear energy plants, pushed by slipping costs of manufacturing wind and solar ability.

More than 50 % of the energy-producing capacity extra all-around the entire world in current several years has been in renewable sources this kind of as wind and solar, in accordance to the International Vitality Company.

In 2016, the newest calendar year for which data is out there, about $297 billion was used on renewables—more than two times the $143 billion spent on new nuclear, coal, gas and gas oil electric power plants, according to the IEA. The Paris-based organization assignments renewables will make up 56% of net producing potential additional through 2025.

The moment supported overwhelmingly by hard cash-back incentives, tax credits and other authorities incentives, wind- and solar-era charges have fallen continually for a 10 years, earning renewable-energy financial commitment additional competitive.

Renewable charges have fallen so significantly in the earlier number of yrs that "wind and photo voltaic now symbolize the least expensive-charge selection for building electrical energy," claimed Francis O'Sullivan, study director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative.

Sustained government assistance in Europe and other formulated economies spurred the development of renewable vitality. But expenses have fallen for other factors. China invested closely in a domestic photo voltaic-producing market, generating a glut of affordable solar panels. Innovation assisted makers make for a longer period wind-turbine blades, generating devices ready to generate significantly far more ability at a reduced expense.

Quoted Article: http://relatednews.net/31303/global-investment-in-wind-and-solar-energy-is-outshining-fossil-fuels/

Originally Submitted Article [paywalled]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-investment-in-wind-and-solar-energy-is-outshining-fossil-fuels-1528718400


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  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday June 12, @01:39PM (1 child)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @01:39PM (#691881) Homepage Journal

    again,

    Good!

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Tuesday June 12, @06:15PM

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @06:15PM (#692038) Homepage Journal

      Let me tell you, it's not good for our energy, or power, grid. Our grid loves beautiful clean coal -- maybe it's a little too clean, right? And it loves nuclear. Because coal & nuclear keep going and going. 100%. Like the Energizer bunny. They don't go on & off, on & off like solar and bird-killing wind farms. Which bird lovers have given the name "wing bangers" because they kill so many birds. Look at North Korea. And South Korea. In the South, their grid is 100%, they have a tremendous economy. North, their grid goes on & off, it's the biggest thing holding them back. Like Justin from Canada is holding you guys back. And you're going through terrible times right now. America, we need to be 100%. We need the subsidy for our coal & nuclear!!

      --
      Thanks to everyone that voted 🐘 Tuesday! #RedTide [twitter.com]
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @02:01PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @02:01PM (#691895)

    How does energy produced per dollar invested in renewables, compare to traditional sources?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday June 12, @03:01PM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday June 12, @03:01PM (#691931)

      The energy my PV panels produce, the retailer buys with 6c/kWh.
      The energy I consume from the network? The damn'd retailer (my "traditional" source) sells it to me at 22c/kWh.

      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday June 12, @08:19PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday June 12, @08:19PM (#692088) Journal

        Yeah, I used to wonder how energy companies could stand to promote green energy. Surely that would cost them business?

        But your situation is typical. You have to sell them all the electricity your solar panels generate, at the wholesale price, and then you have to buy from them all the energy you use at the retail rate. Often, you are paying them money to use your own electricity! Oh, and a nice bonus for them is that you bear all the costs of maintaining your solar cell system. The way to break out of that racket is go totally off grid. You ought to be able to wire your house to use your electricity first, but of course that would cut into their parasitic profits, and they don't like that.

    • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Tuesday June 12, @03:06PM (9 children)

      by Whoever (4524) on Tuesday June 12, @03:06PM (#691933) Journal

      How does energy produced per dollar invested in renewables, compare to traditional sources?

      It's cheaper.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @05:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @05:59PM (#692031)

        Governmental meddling does not efficient technology make.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday June 13, @12:35AM (2 children)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @12:35AM (#692168)

        That's complicated. Yes, it's cheaper, but it's also intermittent. So you need to handle storage. This can be done in lots of different ways, and which way works best depend on the local situation. Also on how long you need to be prepared for your renewable to be low or down.

        Batteries are an acceptable answer if you need to balance out a single day, but don't work as well if you need to balance out a few months. For that pumped hydro is a better answer, but that's better done at the grid level than at the individual level.

        There's also the question of siting for the solar cells. For an individual house it can be on top of the house, or if land is cheap in the yard. But that doesn't work well for an apartment building or a factory.

        As always, once you get into the problem there are lots and lots of details to deal with.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
        • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Wednesday June 13, @02:55AM (1 child)

          by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday June 13, @02:55AM (#692198) Journal

          The USA has lots of empty land.

          Much of the intermittent nature of solar and wind can be handled by a grid. Usually, there is wind and/or sunshine somewhere.

          Both solar and wind output can be predicted, and solar produces more electricity during times of greater demand (except towards the end of the day).

          Batteries and other energy storage may be required, but we should not get hung up on installing renewable source because they cannot provide 100% of the power requirement -- we need to reduce CO2 output, not eliminate it.

          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday June 13, @06:21PM

            by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @06:21PM (#692445)

            OK. Now you're probably talking about long distance transport of high voltage DC. That's been talked about, but it requires a substantial investment before you start seeing pay-back. It's done in a few places, but you need to design a system where lots of small suppliers can contribute power, and another bunch of small consumers can extract it. I don't think this is intrinsically difficult, but I'm not aware of anywhere that it's been done.

            --
            Put not your faith in princes.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 13, @05:36AM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @05:36AM (#692239) Journal

        It's cheaper.

        At least with subsidies. With this much investment in a Trump administration, it may be close to being profitable without subsidies too.

        • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Wednesday June 13, @03:01PM (3 children)

          by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday June 13, @03:01PM (#692351) Journal

          It's cheaper.

          At least with subsidies.

          Please stop pushing your ignorance and get a clue.

          "Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidized wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world -- sometimes by a factor of two," Michael Liebreich, chairman of the Advisory Board at BNEF, said in the report.

          https://www.computerworld.com/article/3190409/sustainable-it/unsubsidized-wind-and-solar-now-the-cheapest-source-for-new-electric-power.html [computerworld.com]

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 14, @04:17AM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 14, @04:17AM (#692696) Journal
            While that might even be true, I still find it interesting just how much subsidies are actually out there for products that supposedly don't need them.
            • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Thursday June 14, @06:07AM (1 child)

              by Whoever (4524) on Thursday June 14, @06:07AM (#692730) Journal

              While that might even be true, I still find it interesting just how much subsidies are actually out there for products that supposedly don't need them.

              You are talking about subsidies for fossil fuels?

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday June 15, @12:23PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 15, @12:23PM (#693450) Journal

                You are talking about subsidies for fossil fuels?

                No, for renewables, though fossil fuels have them too. I'll note that comparisons of subsidies between the two are wildly dishonest. Nobody compares like to like or notes who does the subsidizing. For example, why should extraction industry depreciation or pollution be considered subsidies for fossil fuels, but not for the various resources that go into renewable power and batteries? Why should Iranian consumption subsidies (which are a large share of actual fossil fuel subsidies) be considered as a justification for EU subsidies on renewable energy?

                Further, renewable energy subsidies are going up at a time when they are needed less. Why should we need to greatly increase such subsidies, if these are outcompeting existing power generation? One obvious answer is that maybe they aren't actually that competitive in the first place.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday June 12, @02:06PM (15 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @02:06PM (#691902) Journal

    It is good news, but let's bear in mind that comparison is between sources of new capacity against the backdrop of an energy grid that is still mostly supplied by fossil fuels.

    Shifting the energy grid to renewable sources is a smart strategic choice. The US alone spends about $365 billion on foreign oil. That's a lot of money that could stay and fund the domestic economy. It's also a lot of money that doesn't wind up in the hands of jihadists and others whose geopolitical goals are adverse to the West's. It's a lot easier to secure energy sources that are within your own borders rather than strewn across the globe.

    Last, but not least, oh yeah, renewable sources don't dump trillions of tons of CO2 into our atmosphere that are trapping solar energy and monkeying up our weather.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday June 12, @03:07PM

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday June 12, @03:07PM (#691934)

      bear in mind

      (grumble grumble... like I don't have anything else to bear in mind)

      Listen, mate, how about, for a change, you offer us some beer for that mind? (grin)

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday June 12, @03:30PM (13 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday June 12, @03:30PM (#691951)

      Just out of interest, do you know how much of the PVs/raw materials are produced in US? e.g. are you trading dependence on Middle East oil for dependence on Chinese rare earth elements?

      • (Score: 2) by julian on Tuesday June 12, @05:01PM (12 children)

        by julian (6003) on Tuesday June 12, @05:01PM (#691998)

        It's still probably a better deal. You only get to burn the oil once, and it's gone. The solar panels (or the raw materials to make them) are purchased once and then keep producing electricity for years.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @06:08PM (11 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @06:08PM (#692035)

          You only get to burn the oil once, and it's gone. The solar panels (or the raw materials to make them) are purchased once and then keep producing electricity for years.

          Still, after some years a solar panel is burnt out and gone, too. It's just as consumable as a barrel of oil.
          So the real question is, how many kWh's you can get with $X worth of solar panel, compared to $X worth of oil?

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday June 12, @07:22PM

            by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday June 12, @07:22PM (#692067) Homepage

            So the real question is, how many kWh's you can get with $X worth of solar panel, compared to $X worth of oil?

            It depends a lot on what costs you're including in those $X's. Some examples of what's often left out:
            - The cost involved in wars to secure control of the raw materials and relevant transportation infrastructure (e.g. pipelines and shipping routes).
            - The cost of environmental damage, including but not limited to health care for environmentally-caused illnesses
            - The cost of health care for workers involved in extracting and processing those materials

            Prices are supposed to reflect the costs of producing a thing, but don't because there are costs that aren't paid by the producer of said thing, which makes the math difficult at best.

            --
            A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday June 12, @07:38PM (7 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @07:38PM (#692075) Journal

            Still, after some years a solar panel is burnt out and gone, too. It's just as consumable as a barrel of oil.

            Nope.

            There's not much of a recycle market for PV panels (Yet) but there will be. And the rare earths you worry about are still in there.
            Strip the glass, re-refine the elements. Kind of like we do for lead-acid batteries since forever.

            So we are importing rare earths for the future, and paying for it by current savings.
            And yeah, we are paying for some of this with tax dollars (or more precisely, with tax credits - meaning the government foregoes tax collection).
            (Keeping money out of the hands of government is a social good all by itself!).

            So in the end its a win win win ... many more wins.
            Also the rare earths issue may be overstated: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2011/01/dont-worry-about-rare-earths.html [renewableenergyworld.com]

            Rare Earths are more prevalent in wind turbines than in PV panels anyway.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:49PM (6 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:49PM (#692081)

              There's not much of a recycle market for PV panels (Yet) but there will be. And the rare earths you worry about are still in there.
              Strip the glass, re-refine the elements. Kind of like we do for lead-acid batteries since forever.

              And all of this will cost energy.
              Will the panel produce enough of it in its lifetime, to cover its own manufacture and recycling?

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Wednesday June 13, @12:17AM (4 children)

                by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 13, @12:17AM (#692162)

                Will the panel produce enough of it in its lifetime, to cover its own manufacture and recycling?

                2 years to recoup the energy used to make them [solarchoice.net.au], then 28 years of net energy production. With virtually no maintenance or other operational costs - just dust/wash them if it doesn't rain in your area.

                Your turn now, show me how long is the time for a full RoI for a coal plant, operational costs included?

                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Wednesday June 13, @12:40AM (3 children)

                  by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @12:40AM (#692172)

                  You're assuming ores of current quality. Solar cells might be harder to refine than current ores. (They could also, of course, be easier.)

                  Just don't be sure that that current study will apply in the future.

                  --
                  Put not your faith in princes.
                  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday June 13, @01:00AM (2 children)

                    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 13, @01:00AM (#692181)

                    Just don't be sure that that current study will apply in the future.

                    It may also happen that the PV of the future will be more efficient with a sub-linear increase in production energy intensity (e.g. etch multiple stacked junctions on the same area - sorta like finFET). I.e. the time for energy-RoI may actually become shorter.

                    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday June 13, @06:17PM (1 child)

                      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @06:17PM (#692438)

                      It probably will be, at least somewhat. But it's worth remembering that usually the easy, cheap, optimizations are done early, and later on you just get incremental improvements. When this isn't true it's generally because of a major change in the technology used, in which case the rare-earth elements may lose their value. E.g., at least one report I've seen was touting a graphite based replacement for the body, with altered crystal forms rather than implanted elements as the tuning mechanism. I don't really believe it, but it's the KIND of thing that might lead to a major improvement.

                      Apparently you can tune graphite to be conductive [in some particular direction] and an insulator in the other directions, and there's an in-between crystal form that semi-conductive. Doesn't sound stable to me, and I may well have misunderstood their argument. But some other proposals used Boron doping, etc. etc.

                      Nothing convincing yet, but if you're hoping for a major improvement, that's the kind of area to look in. Or even amorphous silicon, as it's got a different set of advantages.

                      --
                      Put not your faith in princes.
                      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Wednesday June 13, @06:54PM

                        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 13, @06:54PM (#692471)

                        When this isn't true it's generally because of a major change in the technology used, in which case the rare-earth elements may lose their value

                        The way I know, PV technology does not require rare-earths (and neither other semiconductor components)
                        Usually, the bulk p-type is done by introducing boron in the melt, with a strongly doped thin layer on top using phosphorus as impurity (with POCl3 mostly let to flow on top of the cell at 800-900C). The top antireflective layer is silicon-nitride - again, no rare-earth.
                        True, a multijunction pv cell will be technologically harder to manufacture, but I still don't see the need of rare-earths.

                        Where rare-earths are needed - strong permanent magnets, like in the case of wind turbines. But in such cases, the rare-earths are much easier to recycle.

                        Nothing convincing yet, but if you're hoping for a major improvement, that's the kind of area to look in. Or even amorphous silicon, as it's got a different set of advantages.

                        A tandem solar cell [wikipedia.org] (two junctions) reaches 30% efficiency under 1sun and 40% when using concentrated illumination. But they are horrendously difficult to manufacture.

                        Feeling of guts - meta-materials may be a direction.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 13, @05:40AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @05:40AM (#692241) Journal

                Will the panel produce enough of it in its lifetime, to cover its own manufacture and recycling?

                The answer has been "Yes" for several decades. You're smart enough to understand the problem. That means you're smart enough to do some slight googling and answer the question.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by suburbanitemediocrity on Tuesday June 12, @08:58PM

            by suburbanitemediocrity (6844) on Tuesday June 12, @08:58PM (#692100)

            A 1watt cell will produce, in Phoenix AZ, ~2500 wh of electricity, 2.5kwh. Assuming 10c/kwh, it will make 25c/year.

            Taking the standard 1% yearly loss in output results in 77% nominal over 30 years (using a bit of calculus). So after 30 years,

            $.25 x 0.77 x 30 = $5.775

            Solar panels are currently ~$0.62/wp, so every solar panel will make about 10x (9.13x) the amount of electricity as it costs to buy.

          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday June 13, @12:38AM

            by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @12:38AM (#692170)

            Still, after some years a solar panel is burnt out and gone

            Well, no. But it does need complicated recycling and rebuilding. So at the moment this isn't being done properly. It *could* be done, however.

            --
            Put not your faith in princes.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Aiwendil on Tuesday June 12, @02:51PM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday June 12, @02:51PM (#691925) Journal

    That is double-edged, in part it is good that non-fossil sources get more investment, and in part it is bad.

    To explain the bad part it is twofold - in part you want as much high quality energy as possible (placing sources of pollution away from people is better than placing it near people) so the relative higher cost for non-hydro renewables are bad, and in part it might hamper the replacement of worse sources.

    For instance it might shock some of you that building even brown coal plants without exhaust control might be good at some places, like estonia. this mainly due to that their power is even dirtier (they pretty much only burn oil).

    The falling order of CO2/kWh roughly is (so if you can replace something higher up then anything lower down is a good choice) what is hidden by the spoiler-tag in order to shorten post


    * Oil
    * Brown coal
    * Black coal (antracite)
    * Biogas (but this is non-fossil, so it is good as long as sanely sited)
    * Erdgas / "natgas"
    * Coal with CCS
    * Gas with CCS
    * Solar PV
    * Solar Thermal
    * Wind land
    * Nuclear
    * Wind sea
    * Hydro dam
    * Hydro run-of-river.

    Given the bang-for-the-buck your best choices is to first completly build out the hydro, then for as long as your grid allows for it to build nuclear or wind sea depending on how much wind the grid can cope with, and after that build either gas or any plant with CCS up until everything worse it taken out of the grid. After that build out nuclear and wind sea up until almost everything with more than 20g CO2/kWh over the lifecycle is gone from the grid. Then start to export clean electricty to your dirtier neighbourds and and only when their grid is clean as well does it make sense to pit nuclear and renewables against each other (rather than as complements to speed the build-up of clean sources)

    If the grid is very small (less than about 600MWe) then wind and solar has a very good case (assuming you are in a suitable position for those).

    I'm actually cheering less for heavy RE investments in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, or Ontario (canada) than I do for coal plants in estonia or gasplants in poland (the former will drop the CO2/kWh with between 280g to -2g CO2/kWh, while the latter will drop it between 800g and 400g CO2/kWh)

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