Response to "Sense Partner Newsletter: It's a wrap! 2021 overview"

And push all the problems of handling nuclear waste to future generations.
But at least your generation was helped.


a lot of small ones would help. see below to how many are need for world wide solving the energy problem

The utility companies don’t generate locally in the city.
If it is not a problem for the utility companies, it shouldn’t be for hydro peaker plants.

From an article I already linked before:

Scientists have identified 530,000 sites worldwide suitable for pumped-hydro energy storage, capable of storing more than enough energy to power the entire planet.

Some more references:

The station, run by First Hydro Company can go from stand-by to 1.32 gigawatts in 12 seconds, making it one of the fastest installations of its kind, with a peak output of 1.728GW.

1 Like

Well, lakes are big, and require lots of water that you need to get from somewhere. You can’t just put two new lakes and an elevation change near where you need the energy storage. I would have thought this was obvious, but here we go:

Note that both open and closed loop systems have negative environmental impacts. The above link is just a comparison between the two.

There are lots on cases where dams in general negatively impact the environment around them. This is because they usually need to repurpose large sections of land and divert rivers. How could that not have a big environmental impact?

Additionally, I think it’s disingenuous for you to claim that there are 530,000 sites worldwide “suitable for pumped hydro energy storage” when all that was was a computer algorithm that scanned the high map deltas for the “dry-gully” and “turkey’s nest” sites. I mean, think about it: for most of those sites to be utilized you need to (a) divert the water from somewhere else, (b) create two new lakes, which would negatively impact all the wildlife that previously existed at those two spots, (c) build the dam and turbine/generator/pumps combo separating the two.

I mean, up here in Canada there is the “Site C” dam that environmentalists are upset about because of the results of environmental impact assessments. Yet the STORES software doesn’t (and can’t) do those environmental impact assessments from its GIS data alone.

So you first suggesting that we have over a half-million sites on-hand of various performance levels, conflating that number with the highest performance of the largest pumped storage projects in the world, with the implication that there are hundreds of thousands of others out there like it sans environmental assessments.

It makes me think you aren’t fairly assessing the relative environmental impacts if you are comparing relatively small volumes of nuclear waste with the amount of ecosystem flooding that you’re proposing and thinking that the nuclear waste is worse. This is especially the case since new nuclear reactor designs will produce much less waste per TWh generated than in the past.

Let’s put it another way: if pumped hydro storage was as available and cost effective as these studies suggest, nobody would be investing in battery storage. Note that the author of that very confidant article on Science Alert is written by someone with a English degree, so not exactly a subject matter expert, and he writes with much higher confidence than the authors of the original study. Like how sites that can be earmarked for future investigation magically became “suitable” in the Science Alert piece.

There is a YouTuber who does have a BSc from MIT that recently did a piece on on energy storage, and came to different conclusions about pumped energy storage after talking to people who actually work in the industry.

That is what califoria did in 1966

The report I linked to always said it would use SEA WATER.

correction: I did not claim, i posted a link to article of scientists.

I am going to end this discussion, this is getting really off topic.

My initial remark stands:
I do not agree with the statement that Sense made in their 2021 year review :smiley:

> Solar credits were extended for another two years, giving consumers the incentive to install solar panels on their homes.
That might be the case in some states but not in the state with the most solar & most solar installs

Interesting side note @dannyterhaar. I was talking with friend last night - he had just purchased a new house and was planning solar. I warned him of the California change coming, and urged him to hurry. He was already aware from the solar salespeople, and responded by saying he was going to buy on his timeline regardless of solar buyback energy pricing. He was very excited by the renewed solar credit though. Now he had batteries in the equation, mainly to mitigate outages, but he’s a datapoint that says something counter to what you and I think.

1 Like

The incentives for purchasing might be still there/extended.
If he ends up paying >$750/year in new static costs to his utility and thus sliding his ROI from 5-7 years >> 20 years , would he really not care about that?
Hard to believe, but it is possible

He doesn’t really care. 9.4kW, 21 panel system added onto a $4.5M dollar. He’s mostly concerned about keeping critical things going when they experience the inevitable power outages, with reduced electricity costs as gravy. They moved to a house in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains that was already wired for a generator. Current bill is around 350$/month.

They are talking about $8/kW so 9.4*8= $75/month = $902/year for that size system.

At some point, of income costs are not at issue.
You want the insurance it will work whatever happens.
Those are not the people that indeed care about incentives for their solar install & ROI

1 Like

I think he was more pre-occupied with the dual $10K tax credits for the panels and battery.

1 Like

California is not alone it seems…

And another state…

America’s Greenest Energy Giant Isn’t Trying to Save the Planet

Looks like all the petitioning, letter writing and phone calls may have worked!


Fingers crossed, but my hopes are not that high.
Follow the money…

and yet:

The funny thing about all this NEM 3.0 change is they power companies know exactly what they are doing and they are just trying to exploit the market.

Electric cars are becoming the norm, and in the next 10 years they will probably be well over 50% of the cars on the road. That means more people charging during the day while they are at work, school, etc, taking up all the current “over generation” that is occurring now and causing the duck curve. My guess is the duck curve will either be flat or very close to in in the next 10 years because of this. I can also see the situation where they stop asking us to save energy between 4 and 9pm and shift it to the middle of the day.

The power companies see this, and if they can restrict the adoption of solar NOW they they can profit more in the future SOLELY off of electric cars, and the extra costs generate from retail customers is just the icing on top.

The funny thing about the entire situation though is eventually it will lead more people to just go off grid. Battery tech will get cheaper, smaller, and more accessible in 10 years and at that point, why we connected to the grid at all? Unless you know…a new bill is passed that doesn’t allow you to go off grid.

1 Like

don’t put ideas in their minds…

I started looking into legal off-grid situation.
This will be different for every state I guess, so I limited only to my state California.

I like this article a lot:

and some more food for thought:

In short and imo (and IANAL)
You could have a hookup from your utility company, but not use it and setup a secondary system with solar/batteries which in worst case (not enough solar/batteries empty) could be disconnected and switch your home back to the grid.

This thread has evolved and probably deserves to be split for future postings.

In the meantime props to the X-nonEVHummer driving Terminator for expressing his opinion in the NYT today:

Apologies to those who don’t have access … here’s the text:

By Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mr. Schwarzenegger is a former governor of California.

California has more rooftops with solar panels than any other state and continues to be a leader in new installations. But a proposal from the state’s public utility commission threatens that progress.

It should be stopped in its tracks.

When I was California’s governor, we set a goal in 2006 of putting solar panels on one million roofs across the state. Skeptics said it couldn’t be done, but with bipartisan support in the State Legislature, California met its goal in 2019.

The state now has 1.3 million solar rooftopsgenerating roughly 10,000 megawatts of electricity — enough to power three million homes. And more are being added every week. Roughly two-thirds of those rooftops are on houses and businesses; the rest are on government buildings.

But this hard-earned and vitally important accomplishment is now under threat. The California Public Utilities Commission is considering a plan that would make it too costly for many Californians to embrace solar power. A decision could come as soon as Jan. 27.

The plan is complicated and has some good features, like creating funds to encourage homeowners and businesses with solar to add batteries for storage and to help bring solar power to poor and polluted communities.

But it would also include a new monthly “grid participation charge” that would average an estimated $57 a month for solar customers. People who power their homes with fossil fuels wouldn’t pay this. So let’s call it what it is: a solar tax.

This solar tax would also apply to customers who invested in batteries to store that solar energy. Battery storage is critical for the transition to clean energy and grid resilience. But this tax will only discourage that progression.

Moreover, the commission would cut credits to new solar customers (and some older ones) as much as 80 percent for the electricity they don’t use and send to the grid under the net metering program. Those credits in turn can lower their utility bills.

Critics of these rooftop solar incentives — mostly investor-owned utilities — contend that net metering leads to higher electricity rates for California homeowners who can’t afford to install solar and for apartment dwellers by shifting the costs of operating and maintaining the power grid to them. They also contend that California needs to move from incentivizing solar to incentivizing battery storage.

California should do more to incentivize clean energy in lower-income areas. And the state should be promoting the installation of a million batteries to store the energy that the solar panels capture. That’s how we can truly democratize energy. But adding a tax and removing incentives will hurt the solar market, and making solar more expensive for everyone does nothing to help our most vulnerable.

California has been hit hard in recent years by the changing climate, with record droughts and catastrophic wildfires. That’s another reason this proposal makes no sense; we should be pulling out all the stops to slow global warming. California is already so far behind on meeting its 2030 climate goals that the state isn’t projected to hit them until 2063. And our 2050 goals? We are on track to reach them by 2111.

Now California is about to take a big step backward by setting up huge barriers for consumers to adopt solar power. Installing panels on roofs is one of the fastest ways to produce renewable energy. They can be installed without complicated permitting or land fights, and they produce immediate reductions in dirty and dangerous emissions.

Rooftop solar also helps protect open space by generating electricity in places that are already built up. Every home, apartment building, school, farm and business that installs solar panels makes the air cleaner, reduces the need for costly investments in the grid and helps communities keep the lights on in the face of wildfires and blackouts. It also gives people a sense of self-sufficiency and independence from the grid. Is it any surprise that the big utilities want to take that away?

PG&E and other utilities want us to rely on their grids. But how much can Californians really depend on them? In the case of PG&E, we are talking about a company that pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 84 Californians because it failed to maintain a transmission line that ignited the deadly Camp fire in 2018.

This is just another case of the big guys — the investor-owned utilities — fighting for themselves and hurting people who have invested or want to invest in solar panels.

Incentives matter when creating a new energy infrastructure. In Nevada, for instance, the state’s rooftop solar adoption rate plummeted 47 percentin the year after the state’s public utilities commission made solar more expensive for consumers by adding higher fixed costs on net-metering customers and reducing the price paid to customers for the excess energy they generate. A public outcry compelled the Nevada Legislature to reverse the changes, and more people started putting solar panels on their rooftops again. It’s common sense.

In areas of California outside the utility commission’s control, we have already seen what happens when policies ratchet up rooftop solar costs. When the Imperial Irrigation District in Imperial Valley abandoned net metering in July 2016, residential solar installations declined 88 percent over the next two years as measured by added megawatts. The Turlock Irrigation District ended net metering at the beginning of 2015; within two years, annual residential solar installations declined 74 percent. Sacramento, sadly, is about to see this happen too.

We can’t afford that kind of backsliding. Gov. Gavin Newsom can sustain the state’s record of environmental success and keep California forging ahead on a path to 100 percent clean energy. Although the utilities commission is independent of the governor, he appointed four of its five commissioners. What he says matters.

Mr. Newsom recently acknowledged that “we still have some work to do” on the plan. He and his commission must stand up to the monopolistic utilities and protect California’s solar power programs, for the state’s future and the planet’s.

1 Like