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Randy
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:03 pm

The main reason they can offer such low rates is because most of their power comes from hydro facilities....

http://www.seattle.gov/light/FuelMix/

Generation Type Percentage:
Hydro 91.2%
Nuclear 4.4%
Wind 2.3%
Coal 1.4%
Natural Gas 0.6%
Biomass 0.1%

Their residential rates are about 10 cents per kWh, plus a small meter charge...

electricfuture
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:07 pm

I beg to differ - the main reason they can offer those rates is because the City of Seattle is not taking a profit. You may be able to justify higher energy costs here to some extent - but not 3 times as much. That is ridicules. How about if SDG&E buys power from BPA instead of from gas power plants and emergency turbine generators? Oh wait SEMPRA, the gas supplier, is also a power broker!

Friday SDG&E in conjunction with So. Cal. Ed. and PG&E requested the PUC to approve an "electric grid storage fee" to net metering PV customers! As if the economics on installing PV wasn't marginal enough - SDG&E already buys PV excess power only available at peak times for $0.03 per kWH while selling at peak in excess of $0.27 per kWH. If I were the Judge reviewing the case I would ask SDG&E for the names and locations of the storage facilities! Looking at the numbers - you may wind up paying SDG&E for the privilege of providing them your excess power!

This is just another way to prevent PV from denting their bottom line and shows their true colors regarding renewable energy. Please remember that SDG&E is owned by SEMPRA which sells natural gas so anything SDG&E does to reduce dependence on natural gas is in direct conflict with their own interests.

The only way out of this is a PV battery storage system or other energy storage device (pumped?) so you can fill up your Leaf at night from that source 1st before connecting to the grid.

Can you imagine living in Seattle and running your Leaf for $10 a month? How does that escalate your payback rate?

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EricH
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:28 pm

electricfuture wrote:I beg to differ - the main reason they can offer those rates is because the City of Seattle is not taking a profit. You may be able to justify higher energy costs here to some extent - but not 3 times as much. That is ridicules. How about if SDG&E buys power from BPA instead of from gas power plants and emergency turbine generators? Oh wait SEMPRA, the gas supplier, is also a power broker!

It's a combination of 1) low-cost hydro, built long ago with 2) tax-free municipal debt, by 3) a municipal utility that doesn't pay taxes or shareholders. They do, however, deal heavily with local politics (Google "LADWP City Council" if you have a lot of time on your hands), and investor-owned utilities pay taxes that help, you know, the rest of us taxpayers out, so there are pros/cons on both sides.

electricfuture wrote:Friday SDG&E in conjunction with So. Cal. Ed. and PG&E requested the PUC to approve an "electric grid storage fee" to net metering PV customers! As if the economics on installing PV wasn't marginal enough - SDG&E already buys PV excess power only available at peak times for $0.03 per kWH while selling at peak in excess of $0.27 per kWH. If I were the Judge reviewing the case I would ask SDG&E for the names and locations of the storage facilities! Looking at the numbers - you may wind up paying SDG&E for the privilege of providing them your excess power!

This is just another way to prevent PV from denting their bottom line and shows their true colors regarding renewable energy. Please remember that SDG&E is owned by SEMPRA which sells natural gas so anything SDG&E does to reduce dependence on natural gas is in direct conflict with their own interests.


Without commenting on any specific utility, anyone with even a fleeting comprehension of economics can surely see that using the utility infrastructure to 'store' one person's solar PV output until they want to use it later in the day is NOT a cost-free proposition for the utility. If the economics of PV are "marginal", I'm willing to debate whether further subsidies are a good idea (as opposed to exercising some patience, while the economics likely improve), but as a utility customer currently subsidizing my neighbors with solar PV, I think it is a debate worth having.

If "Joe" installs solar PV and manages his consumption so as to net out a zero power bill, the cost of the wires, metering, billing, and - oh yes - the power plants and transmission lines that bring Joe power during the dark -- all are picked up by Joe's neighbors if Joe isn't sending any money to his utility. Whether Joe pays for "storage" or "backup" or "stable voltage" is pretty much semantics - Joe is getting substantial value from staying connected to the grid, and as Joe's neighbor with no solar panels, I resent picking up the entire tab for that value. EV owners are more keenly aware than just about anyone, of the cost of electricity storage (aka "batteries"), so pretending that should be had for free is pretty disingenuous, on this forum.

But wait, says Joe, he "generates" at noon and "consumes" in the dark! The trouble is that solar PV peaks at midday, and by the time the utility system hits peak demand (generally 4-6pm), solar PV is down to maybe one-third of nameplate capacity. So Joe's 'onpeak' contribution doesn't really occur when Joe's neighbors need the power, and solar PV is subject to outages that require backup generators for the 1/3 that (usually) works during the late-afternoon peak.

Should California legislators or utility regulators wish to subsidize Joe's installation of various equipment, they can (and do) issue cash payments directly, but pretending Joe doesn't add any costs to the electric grid has always struck me as a lousy way of subsidizing something, and it sends the "Joes" of our society an incredibly perverse price signal. Large industrial customers who self-generate (truly self-generate; they typically provide 100% of their own load 24/7, rather than lending/borrowing a la "Joe") pay a monthly "Standby" charge to their utility, which compensates for the facilities that are necessary for the few weeks per year when they shutdown for maintenance and take utility service (which they also pay for as incurred). "Joe" relies on the utility infrastructure daily, but under Net Energy Metering may pay nothing for this service.

I haven't looked at SDG&E's specific proposal, but I think that conceptually, value should be paid for by the recipient, not the recipient's neighbors.
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EricH
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:35 pm

davewill wrote:Isn't there also a monthly meter charge with EV-TOU?

All three California utilities are installing solid-state meters that will record hourly usage, therefore, there should be no 'extra' costs to go on a TOU rate; these meters are now part of basic utility service.
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TonyWilliams
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:14 pm

EricH wrote:Without commenting on any specific utility, anyone with even a fleeting comprehension of economics can surely see that using the utility infrastructure to 'store' one person's solar PV output until they want to use it later in the day is NOT a cost-free proposition for the utility.


Obviously, there is no storage of electricity with solar power to the grid. However, there also isn't any additional infrastructure built to handle an existing utility customer who adds solar. Certainly, a different story for a new customer (i.e., new construction house) who goes solar.

Over time, of course, there will be money spent by the utility to maintain the equipment used by solar residential customers. But, here in SDGE land, we pay a minimum monthly hookup fee of 48kW of power, plus oodles of taxes and fees. It's not totally free. Now, they want a whole lot more.

I disagree with your assumptions about peak grid loads; at the time when the grid has its highest overall load (summer heat wave), the peak is closer to 2pm, quite close to when solar is most needed, and beneficial.

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EricH
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:32 pm

TonyWilliams wrote:I disagree with your assumptions about peak grid loads; at the time when the grid has its highest overall load (summer heat wave), the peak is closer to 2pm, quite close to when solar is most needed, and beneficial.

I can't speak to the time of peak demand in San Diego, but in the Los Angeles area, we've never had a system peak load before 4pm and they are normally closer to 6pm, and often in the fall months (Sept-October) after the autumnal equinox. I'm not arguing solar is useless, but I think it is well under 50% of peak output by the time 10 million people in LA and Orange counties need the power most - so its contribution to that peak is mitigated.
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:46 pm

EricH wrote:.... I think it is well under 50% of peak output by the time 10 million people in LA and Orange counties need the power most - so its contribution to that peak is mitigated.



Sure, of course. The peaks don't line up perfectly. The contribution is not at the peak grid load, we both agree, but it's one heck of a lot better than nada. And that has a benefit to the utility that won't have to buy additional equipment to meet the peak demand.

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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:17 pm

EricH wrote:Without commenting on any specific utility, anyone with even a fleeting comprehension of economics can surely see that using the utility infrastructure to 'store' one person's solar PV output until they want to use it later in the day is NOT a cost-free proposition for the utility.

Well, it depends on how much more it costs to deliver electricity when the sun is shining compared to when it's not, right? Daytime electricity is generally much more expensive than off-peak electricity.

As far as distribution costs - distributed generation should reduce distribution costs by lowering loads on equipment. Electricity my PV system generates in excess goes straight to my neighbor - presumably the cost of distribution should be much lower when they are able to sell my excess electricity to my neighbor.

So I in general agree that perhaps receiving full retail credit for exported electricity may be generous - but receiving whole sale rates designed for large generators whose electricity generally must be distributed great distances is going to the other extreme.
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:24 pm

EricH wrote:
davewill wrote:Isn't there also a monthly meter charge with EV-TOU?

All three California utilities are installing solid-state meters that will record hourly usage, therefore, there should be no 'extra' costs to go on a TOU rate; these meters are now part of basic utility service.

I don't know about E-9 but my E-6 (solar) net metering in PG&E territory does not currently use a smart meter and must be read manually. I see no reason they cannot use a smart meter unless it cannot properly record net flow out to the utility.
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walterbays
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Re: SDG&E Introduces New EV Rate Sept. 1, 2011

Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:59 pm

drees wrote:Well, it depends on how much more it costs to deliver electricity when the sun is shining compared to when it's not, right? Daytime electricity is generally much more expensive than off-peak electricity.
Yes, not only generation but also transmission capacity is more likely to be exhausted during heavy air conditioning loads of hot summer days. Here is a graph of renewable production on one summer day. http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/20110822_DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf. Notice how nicely the wind and solar power curves complement one another. I think the reason you see solar production extending into evening hours is that much of the utility scale solar is thermal solar rather than PV, and continues to produce power until it cools. That's probably one reason utilities seem to prefer large desert solar plants over rooftop PV: the thermal storage smooths out the power production.

As far as distribution costs - distributed generation should reduce distribution costs by lowering loads on equipment. Electricity my PV system generates in excess goes straight to my neighbor - presumably the cost of distribution should be much lower when they are able to sell my excess electricity to my neighbor.
Tony is right there is no distribution cost because the distribution network is already built, and local generation reduces both distribution and transmission costs. Transmission costs aren't zero though, because we PV producers need to import power now and then, whether from desert solar plants, wind farms, nuclear reactors, or natural gas plants.

It's debatable whether money is better spent building distant power plants and transmission lines to connect them (e.g. Sunrise Powerlink) or building more local generating capacity. The optimal solution might include some of each. I only wish that utilities were given full renewable credit for locally generated power, so that the mix they choose as optimal for their shareholders would also be optimal for society.

In The Third Industrial Revolution, Jeremy Rifkin argues that distributed power generation will transform the world economy to the same degree as previous revolutions. http://www.amazon.com/Third-Industrial-Revolution-Lateral-Transforming/dp/0230115217/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I13ERE7KJWJQY3&colid=DCG7YHFGBHDZ. However I doubt that local power generation will spell the end of utilities. Rather I think they will be the power brokers, the suppliers of a still very significant portion of total power, and the power reliability insurers.

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