WetEV wrote: RegGuheert wrote:
WetEV wrote:The interesting question is what are the differences between California with current policies and California with no policies pushing for renewable energy?
- CA would still have the nuclear reactor that it closed a couple of years ago.
Not so clear to me. While I think we might agree that nuclear is a power source we need, and should be using especially when already in place, I'm not so sure that CA would have kept the plant regardless of not pushing for renewable energy.
San Onofre was closed due to very expensive early wear problems that turned up in 2012 in 3,000 tubes that had been installed in 2010-2011. SCE decided to close the plant themselves.
Diablo Canyon's closure, scheduled for 2024-2025, was more of a joint decision.
RegGuheert wrote: - CA would enjoy the same clean air that it enjoys now since the air was cleaned up before renewable regulations went into place.
The big coal plants in the Southwest would have been expanded. CA was in the habit of exporting air pollution by importing electric power. https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/nature/airquality.htm
Yup. I can remember driving near either the Navajo or Four Corners generating station [Edit: it was Four Corners, between Shiprock and Farmington. Navajo, in Page, is responsible for much of the air pollution at Grand Canyon], and seeing the plume from it miles away - supposedly the plume from Four Corners, along with the Great Wall of China, were the only two man-made features the Mercury astronauts could see from space with the naked eye. LADWP ended (IIRR didn't renew) their contract share with NGS in 2016, and the plant is supposed to close next year. SCE sold off their share of the Four Corners production in 2010, three of the units there have been closed and the two remaining ones had their pollution controls upgraded.
RegGuheert wrote: - Photovoltaics and wind power would be starting to have a real presence in CA, only on a retarded schedule versus what exists today with subsidies.
Assuming someone else subsidized photovoltaics and wind power to get production scale. What no one did?
Right. We did (along with the U.S.G.) back in the '80s and '90s. We took the hit on early development and deployment, so that others could benefit. For example, we had the world's largest wind turbine deployment for (IIRR) at least a decade from 1981, in the Altamont and later other passes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Pass_Wind_Farm
These made use of a large variety of different companies' turbines, so it served as an ideal real-world test site to see what did and didn't work, failure points and other issues, etc. I used to really enjoy driving over the pass, because you saw such a huge variety of different types of turbines (upstream vs. downstream, 2/3/4 blades, feathering vs. turn out of wind protection, tower types etc.) - I particularly enjoyed watching the few vertical-axis Darrius turbines near the pass itself, which look much like upside-down eggbeaters: https://goo.gl/images/92RQBB
Companies like Vestas and the big U.S. turbine manufacturers learned from those early efforts.
Altamont's much less interesting now that most of those early turbines have been replaced by far fewer but much larger modern ones. OTOH, in addition to being much more cost-effective and reliable, they also cause fewer raptor kills owing to greater spacing and height.
Similarly, in the early '90s I was selling used Arco modules that had come off the decommissioned Carrizo solar farm: http://clui.org/ludb/site/abandoned-solar-power-plant
The article says that it was decommissioned in the late '90s and the modules sold off, but that was happening in the early '90s. When I got into the off-grid business in '90, my contribution was fronting my boss IIRR $18k (most borrowed from my dad) to allow us to buy more modules in bulk direct from the site instead of through a wholesaler, giving us a considerable price discount. He rented a trailer to go down and pick them up. All the off-grid AE retail companies I knew of sold these modules, which were available in three types.
Now, of course, we have PV farms like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Valley_Solar_Ranch
and this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topaz_Solar_Farm
Plus large numbers of rooftop systems. Then there's this, from last May:
California Becomes First State to Order Solar on New Homes
California also led the way with solar thermal towers, i.e. Solar One and Two in the desert. from 1982-1999: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Solar_Project#Solar_One
Ivanpah, which was and may still be the world's largest CSP plant, seems to have settled down after its initial teething problems and has been meeting its contracted energy output. Bird kills are still a concern, and of course through no fault of their own, CSP became less cost-effective than PV during the process of building, mainly due to the advent of Chinese PV modules which drove PV prices down. That it still uses large quantities of NG is another mark against it compared to PV, but then it can generate at night which PV can't (barring storage).
We also had the biggest parabolic trough solar thermal plant early on (starting in 1984), and apparently still do: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Energy_Generating_Systems
These projects undoubtedly raised the cost of electricity for Californians, but that's the price of pioneering. We also have had the world's largest concentration of geothermal energy since 1960, at the Geysers in Sonoma/Lake counties, but that was profitable from the beginning (AFAIA, the first geothermal electricity plant was in Italy, in 1902): http://geysers.com/