Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret:
Pretty interesting set of facts and analysis. It will be interesting to see the responses from "scientists" here. Might be worth Elon Musk chiming in. This could do significant damage to EV case if not shot down.
Roamer, we don't get full retail. We are paid wholesale value as you are, but it is 0.0775 here, twice what you get. But it is still irrelevant. You point to the subsidies yourself. It is plain stupid economics for the government to be subsidizing you and me on 25 to 30 year paybacks. I get all the reasons, but it is still borrowing from overseas to subsidize rich people here, while there are other clean forms of electrical generation that cost a fraction of the amortized price of putting solar panels on my barn roof. I am exceedingly happy to have the subsidized permanent freedom from ever paying for electricity again, and driving for "free" but it is government policy run amok. The pure definition of insanity is giving rich people like us money to install equipment and drive cars that average taxpayers can only dream about, while mortgaging their kids futures to do so. I feel guilty every time some yahoo leans out the window of his rusted crapmobile to snap a picture of my luxury car that he or his kids will help pay for. I would have bought my S, and our next one, with or without the multiple government subsidies that are supporting TM.
@ Dave - I know we're really off topic here, but I'll ask anyway. With your grid tied/subsidized system, don't you lose electricity if the power goes out? I know, the grid is hugely reliable and never goes down for very long, but if it were to go down for a few days wouldn't your panels be "off" as well?
That was my understanding of the subsidy requirement, so I opted to build a non-subsidized off grid system...sort of an insurance policy against the grid going down. Within six months, the grid went down on the hottest weekend of the year, I was at work finishing a big project (couldn't worry about little stuff like the grid going down). I just smiled, told my wife to plug everything into the backup solar system, and went back to fixing the problems at work.
I like nuclear, in fact I used to think it was the salvation from Arab oil. It's very expensive though. After Fukushima, it's near impossible to win over reactionaries. Thorium fuel chain something I am personally interested in, but has never been implemented yet, any where. After all these hurdles are overcome, there's the NIMBY factor for both the plant and the spent fuel.
I still think someday, mankind will have to accept reality and work towards Thorium powered generation flow, which is both safe and robust. I am sure we will solve that one in time, but hurdles right now, are very high.
Geothermal, wind, solar, waves, there are plenty of resources that can be tapped and not all of them are as inconsistent as say solar and wind. No need to be so pessimistic about those resources.
@ Dave, Fun discussion. If I was getting a payment like the farm credits I just would not do it. Nothing in this world worth having to have a fellow citizens money confiscated and then given to me.
I view tax credits a little different. It is my money I earned and I find it sad that the government will let me keep my money only if I spend it in a way that pleases them.
Kill all the subsidies and credits and lower my rate to a fair number and I will choose what to invest in and when to invest in it. The current system where 50% plus of your income is confiscated unless you play all the little tax games and allow the government to control your actions is very destructive to growth and investment. With dividends now at 23.9 makes little sense to sell assets or make deals. Better to just enjoy life than invest.
I find the absolute worst investment I make every year is any money that makes it to the Federal Porta John to be mindlessly crapped away. If you are accustomed to operating high performance business operations the Federal Government is painful to watch and even more painful to fund.
I could fill pages with stories of idiotic government interactions. Just spent a year getting a second dive boat thru the coast guard system. Same as the last boat with minor changes and took twice as long to get plans approved. Then when it ships to Hawaii the Coast Guard there will want everything done over again. I can't think of a single Federal Agency that excels at anything.
Sorry to veer so far of topic. I will try to do better.
Whether you use the grid as a battery or deposit account, it's not a free gift from Dog. It must be built and maintained, and accommodate the uncontrolled peaks and valleys of your private input. The bigger and more numerous those are, the harder that gets.
Brian H I completely agree. Just as my bank pays me .00001% ( exaggerating) to use my money then loans it out at 18% to credit card customers and makes a profit on the spread so do the utilities.
Utilities need to come around to the changes occurring in the market. They do well on my solar. I pump power to them all day at peak highest rate periods and they immediately sell it to my neighbor at daytime peak prices. Then at night they pay me back with off peak cheaper power. They make a profitable spread every day on my production.
Most utilities are slow to adapt to the banking power manager model and are still stuck on the build a big plant and fight for rate increases to sell the plant output.
Can you imagine the innovation that could happen if we could deregulate effectively. Just like you buy an internet connection and fund the network with your connection, but don't buy all your content from the provider.
The grid should be paid for by a flat monthly charge based on your service size. 100 amp 200 amp etc. just like you buy bandwidth. Then the actual power can be wide open.
Had to smile when the utility gave me a rebate check for buying a more efficient AC. Was just an example of how fast the market is changing. They rewarded me for being more efficient when I already don't buy any electricity from them.
The only thing that that article basically should say is that US should move from coal ASAP. A nation cannot (China included) rely on such a dirty source
for a majority of its energy needs. So the flaw aren't cars but the source and it is replaceable (minus the lobbying groups getting their ways via directing
@ Dramsey - Coal is just another fossil fuel, I was using that term because it was what I used at the time. Of course I mean all fossil fuels. I am one of those people who doesn't see any problems with nuclear energy. The Fukushima plant survived the initial earthquake without issue, it was the tsunami that caused the plant disaster. I maintain that is not a problem with nuclear energy, but a problem with site location. Who puts a nuclear reactor on the coast of a country susceptible to tsunamis? Idiotic. When California has another big earthquake and the Diablo Canyon Power Plant goes down, everyone is going to blame nuclear energy and pay no attention to the fact that the plant was built directly atop a fault line. This is no different than building a house on the edge of a mountain. If your home is destroyed by a wildfire or mudslide, you don't blame the house. You also don't build there in the first place if you don't want your house to fall down.
Between solar thermal, hydroelectric, nuclear and wind energy we can shift a significant amount of our supply towards renewables. This is absolutely inevitable, no way to argue otherwise when you have a finite supply of fossil fuels. It's only a matter of time.
The fossil fuel supply may be technically finite, but it is astonishingly huge. We're not going to run out in any meaningful amount of time, what is instead going to happen is that we are going to exploit more and more difficult deposits and this will drive up the price of the stuff. At some point it will become too expensive for personal transport and perhaps even power generation, but there will still be plenty left for those who are desperate enough. Such as aviation perhaps which might prove tricky to electrify.
Agree, except you need to give Japan a break on location. Sea coast is almost the only place cooling etc. is feasible there.
As I've mentioned before, I expect and hope that the generator from LPPhysics.com will be available within 5 yrs, and make all other power sources (including nukes) obsolete and unprofitable. Think a 10X cost reduction (capital and operating). And instantly eliminate all enviro issues.
Also, all electricity production is not equal. Nighttime electricity pollutes less than daytime Watt-Hours.
For EV owners, who usually charge at night when rates are lower, we use very efficient cycles of electricity production. We allow the main generation plants to operate at a more steady level, and we don't use "peaker" generators, that are more efficient.